I decided to try out a women’s small group tonight that meets in a home nearby. I got in touch with one of the leaders through Heartsong, the new church I’ve been attending of late. The women were very kind and shared a lot of interesting, heartfelt, funny stories about their lives. But what astounded me was the simultaneous pain and suffering many of them are going through. The end of the meeting was all about prayer requests, and each one of them brought forth at least one major issue that, for me, would be devastating. Five minutes earlier? Not a single trace of that hardship was on their faces. They were laughing, chatting, sharing good news. Then, suddenly, one was worried about cancer, another was losing her mother to an alcoholic loser, yet another was trying to counsel a family dealing with addiction—all so much more than I could handle.
I was so glad not to be asked if I had any prayer requests, because although I’d be happy to offer up some major praises for the way my life has been going, I didn’t want to have to say, “Actually, everything’s great with me—but thanks for asking!” But they didn’t ask, so I didn’t have to tell. Instead, I shared their heartfelt prayers for God to be in each situation and calm the hearts of those involved. What more could I say or do? I was astounded by their burdens… and at the same time by their lightness, which I know comes from the Lord. It’s much greater a joy than any man can produce on his own, that’s for sure.
So, in light of all this, I had to mention how blessed I’m feeling. I still have those nagging worries that it will all fall apart tomorrow—and if something really bad does happen, even if it doesn’t unravel all the good, I will honestly tell you it may just bring me down completely—but I am so glad for even momentary, temporary happiness. As short as the weekend at home was, it fulfilled my need for love and family and friends. As little as my job description will change, it brings me unprecedented pride and joy to say that I have my first real job, to be a permanent part of a great company. As hard as it is to be alone here in Memphis, I am so thankful for those I will maintain ties to in Michigan (and elsewhere), and thankful for my coworkers and acquaintances established locally thus far. I could spend an entire year of days alone and still feel blessed to be where I am, doing what I’m doing. I won’t lie and say I like living in/near Memphis, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy here. Even if all I have is my job and the tiniest roots of a church connection in the making—that’s enough for me!
One thing that has been bringing me down a bit lately… I’m wondering: Am I really as smart as people think I am? Because I haven’t been feeling smart recently. Maybe it’s just that I’m surrounded by some radiantly brilliant people, but I have this perpetual sort of haze on the brain. My (desperate) theory is that I’m not getting enough sleep, that if I went to bed a couple hours earlier, my thinking would be clearer, my heart rate lower, my emotions more in check. Possible? Likely? I’m just not sure. I hate to think that my brain is stunted somehow, that I have all these ideas and ponderings (or at least that I used to…) and can’t actually do anything about them. My sleep theory comes about because it’s usually right around 3 o’clock in the afternoon that I suddenly become capable of thinking and doing stuff. Which is pretty lame considering I’ve been at work for 6 hours by then… Anyway, something to try to work on in the coming weeks, I guess. And on that note: Good night!