Friday night //
My husband was driving. It was dark out. And it had been a long, long week. We were on the way home from an excursion to Mankato (the nearest city, about an hour’s drive away). We were riding in silence, and I was pouting. A lump was forming in my throat and I almost wanted to cry as the miles sped us away from the hustle and bustle of bookstores and malls and coffee shops. I felt torn and tugged – stuck between where my heart now lived and the suburban, comfortable upbringing I was familiar with. Sometimes this weird selfishness hits me out of nowhere…and as the minutes passed, I convinced myself that I was going home to the middle of nowhere. I was clinging to the “fulfillment” that I thought the hustle and bustle and shops and noise everywhere brought me. I sat there with my hood up, hands wrapped around my Starbucks cup, trying to preserve my minutes with this “city treat” for as long as I could. I stared at the white lid of that cup in the dark car as black fields whizzed by. There wasn’t much else to look at, anyway – besides the self-pity I was face-to-face with.
Then I realized the reason I was even able to look at that white Starbucks lid was because of the way the moonlight struck it… I looked up and up through the windshield and there it was – the moon singing in all its dewy pearly glory in a bed of stars. The sky was proclaiming Hannah, there is more – so, so much more – to see when you lift your gaze up.
And then the tears sprung. Not only from exhaustion, but also from shame. Shame in recognizing just how sinful I am on a daily basis. Why should I bemoan my circumstances? There was nothing to complain about! The lack of a Starbucks? Life is so much bigger than that!
A conversation sprung from that moment. And my husband gently reminded me that no, my heart was not in the right place. Marriage is such a good, although vulnerable and sometimes hard, place to be. God gently tugged me back to a spirit of contentment that night, even though my tumultuous emotions had wrestled with Him.
So, do I miss the suburbs sometimes? You bet. Small-town life is not perfectly idyllic all the time. It’s different from the setting I was raised in. And adapting and changing takes time. In the spirit of maintaining authenticity, friends, I wanted to share with you my heart on one of its ugly days. We humans never skip through life constantly grinning and singing. What I was reminded of that night was this: to lift your gaze up to the heavens and to the One who designed them. It’s true that to gain a truly healthy perspective on life, we must wrench our sullen gaze away from the little things things that distract us, and instead bask in what God has made and done and provided and promised us!
A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.