I miss the way it used to be. I miss when my steps were sure and confident, when we packed all of our stuff into a U-Haul and a mini van. With a smile and a “because God told us to,” we moved from Muncie Indiana to Atlanta Georgia the day after I walked across a stage in a robe too short for me. I had to borrow that robe from a friend of a friend because I had accidentally packed mine. We were young, crazy, broke, and sure. We were so sure.
We still live in Atlanta, where God sent us. The church we came to start never started. We found a different one. We have a house now, two babies, and I have lost somehow that fire in my belly, the sureness of my step. “Because God told us too” has more often turned into “I’m not sure” and “I don’t know.” I don’t know is becoming the holiest phrase I have.
The sermon this week was on Jacob and Esau. We were encouraged to wrestle with God. After the kids went to bed, the wrestling began. For me, the story of Jacob and Esau is like The Great Gatsby. By the end of the story I hate everyone and wish misery on them all. The Great Gatsby at least grants me that ending. Jacob sends his whole family to go face Esau because he is too scared, and he ends up having an extreme encounter with God.
I do what I do when I don’t know the answer to anything. I google it. The answer that keeps popping up is that Jacob was favored, as though that is supposed to make me somehow feel better. I can’t be the only one left wondering, and what if I’m not? What if I heard wrong, what if it won’t all pan out in the end.
I don’t mean the END end, I still believe in ultimate redemption. But how long does that take? What happens when you heard, and you are sure, and then it isn’t at all what you were so sure you heard?
This once sure and steady path is starting to feel like walking on a water-bed. It probably has for longer than I realize, and my legs are so tired from the effort to just stand still. But what I remember from the times I ran around on ever-changing surface, is that the standing still is actually far harder than the moving. If you just keep moving, you feel more secure.
Reading the scriptures lately has been like holding jello in my hands. Squeeze it too tight and it looses its shape and slips right through the cracks between my fingers. I know that there are promises in there for me, but I can’t quite get the right grip. Perhaps that is the point of reading scripture, to get me to keep my hands open.
Keep moving. Hands open. The posture sounds familiar. I wonder if that was the way it was, the way I was, when we heard God and moved here. I wonder if that is the way you are sure.