I am logical. When there is a problem, I look for the cause, and then I look for a solution. Last week, I was once again surprised by my own insignificance. This is not a nice, glittery, happy-birthday kind of surprise; it’s more like when you’re eating blueberries and suddenly you bite into a really bitter one and your mouth goes all puckery even though you have had bitter blueberries before. It felt like a problem to me. So, I am logical. I look at humans, at the way loving makes you vulnerable and the way people will always fail you at some point, and I think ‘how could I avoid this hurt?’ And it’s simple. I just won’t love more people. Then it won’t matter if I don’t matter to them.
And it works, for about a week. Then I get lonely, which is a different kind of hurt. At the end of this week, the husband and I go down to Texas to visit his family. While we eat sandwiches, I tell my father-in-law that I can’t find any purpose in existing anymore. It’s not that there’s nothing good in my life, nothing to love, nothing to look forward to. I just don’t see the point in it. And are you really just supposed to open wide your heart and be okay with getting hurt again and again and again? He’s very kind and he asks me questions and he listens well. He is a good blueberry. But then everyone leaves and I am left alone with myself in a house that doesn’t smell familiar.
So I go outside, and I sit on the swing in the fairy corner of the yard, and I listen to classical music, and I try to find peace. I close my eyes. I breathe. I listen. I pray. Talk to me, God.
Will He, though? When does He ever, to me? It’s my fault, of course. If I remembered to pray every day, if I read my Bible more, if I was less lazy, more intentional, better…
I’m not finding peace. And my toes are itchy.
I swing more, breathe more, listen more.
When the husband comes back from his knife-sharpening party and joins me, I do not sing songs of welcome. I say hi. He says hi, and gives me a book. Trust or Control. Tina sent it.
I already read it, I say. Before we were married.
He didn’t know if I had or not. She asked if he was married and gave it to him for me, so he brought it. And it’s hot out here. He’s going inside.
I don’t stop him. I swing a little more, listen a little more, and then I follow him in. In some areas, my conscience is well-developed, if a little slow and soft. When I’m left alone, it never takes me very long to remember that I want to be supportive and loving and interested in him. He is a good blueberry too.
After I am supportive and loving and interested in him, I recline on the couch to read the book through. Again. I might as well, I think logically. My afternoon stretches empty and I have nothing against reading books twice.
So there, says God, very quietly and very loudly at the same time. You asked.
Also, possibly I don’t let you feel people love you because you’re not counting on My love first. Possibly you get hurt because you’re giving them power that should be Mine.
That’s logical, I say. Thanks, God. I know You’re bigger than my logic, but I appreciate that You speak my language to me. That when I ask for a sentence, You send me a book.
And I find the peace. It’s a gift.