I saunter through the aisles at Target, browsing for nothing in particular. Candles. Bed sheets. The cutest section of children’s decor. I pass the light bulbs and home improvement tools and eventually end up in the container aisle with its glorious selection of cloth, plastic, and wooden boxes neatly stacked. They promise organization where there is clutter, peace where there is chaos; everything in its rightful place.
I have no use for them, but still, I mentally walk through my house, seeking a reason to buy one. I could definitely use one for the living room to hold all the extra blankets we have laying around. Or maybe we need one for the kids’ room or even the car. A catch-all for the random things we have everywhere would be helpful. I reason and argue back and forth with myself, but at the end of it all, I know I’m just trying to fix what can’t be fixed with Target containers.
My mind has felt chaotic for too many months without end, and though my life has settled down to a regular rhythm and grief doesn’t show up as often as it did before, my mind and heart can’t seem to find a place to land. I’m both running and somehow frozen in place. My days aren’t busy, and yet I’m tired all the time. I don’t feel far from God, but I’m jaded and cynical about people, about the church, about what changes can happen to make the world a better place.
Even the gospel feels messy and unlike good news at times because of the harm and hurt that’s been caused and experienced because of the way people have wielded it.
And this tension is where I find myself in every situation I’m in, every relationship I must tend to. They all require nuance instead of black-and-white or right-and-wrong, grace and tenderness again and again instead of judgment, bitterness, and cynicism. I want the ease of being on one extreme or the other, of taking one side as the right one. I want to choose the more convenient and comfortable path of not living in the tension because it’s work and I don’t want to do it sometimes. I want all the gray to be split back up into black and white so I can categorize them into neat containers and not have to deal with how to navigate love well when rules and standards and regulations are more clearly defined.
Righteousness in my own eyes is less complicated than loving and living in this world as Jesus did.
And every time I remember Jesus, I’m undone. The tantrum boiling up inside me, yelling that it’s too hard to try, too hard to hold complicated situations, too hard to hope, finds open arms in Jesus. I don’t have to figure out all the nuances or how to be or do something to move forward. Instead, I get to crumble and be held. My tears and anger, my frustration, find a place to land because it really is too hard even if it doesn’t look like it on the surface.
Even this is becoming. It doesn’t mean beauty will come from the ashes or that the story will end well or that all will be figured out for the greater good. It simply means that God is, God is with, and God is here.
And that’s enough for me to keep going, to keep trying, to hold out for hope, and to work toward a better reality. I don’t need promises of certainty (even though I want them) nor do I need the clarity that can come with a box so everything has its place. All I need to know is that God is — and that’s the surest certainty there is.Leave a Comment