lessons and loves

Good morning, friends. I write this from my favorite couch under a big window where Saturday sunlight is pouring in as if it knows that I have 45 minutes to myself and has chosen to be nice to me, specifically.

Oh, my apartment. It is completely silent. And for the first time in what feels like almost ever, since moving here two weeks ago, I have the option of a private life. By that I mean I am not sharing a fridge and dishes with 5 other people, or have to ask permission to take over the living room for a night. Those times shared in big houses with new friends was precious, but at the risk of sounding obnoxiously old I’ve outgrown it. And the peace of sitting here, alone, in silence, has done my heart good. I have a place to retreat and recharge. 

Living with Maddie is a privilege. It’s nice that our friendship started by living together, so we don’t have too much to figure out — thought there are funny things, and by funny I mean I’m insane, about myself I’m discovering under the microscope of moving to a smaller place and it just being the two of us: “what do you MEEean you leave the lids on Tupperware and coffee travel mugs when you put them up???!? Don’t you know it traps the moisture??!?” etc. It will come to no one’s surprised that of the pair of us she is the more relaxed. It’s one of the things about her I hope will rub off on me. She is also encouraging, a challenging thinker, considerate, loyal, self-sacrificial, a good listener, and insightful. I treasure her friendship a lot.

This summer has been one long lesson in expectations. The Summer of Great Expectations. I may have already said this. But everywhere I turn in my life I find another person or place or thing I have dumped the weight of what I want on them. Acceptance. Approval. Time. These aren’t bad things to want. But when I layer them on thick on friends and family, it gives our relationship a weight it was never meant to bear. I have done this to church, to work, to Greensboro in a vague general sense. A series of fortunate events led to realizing that without making a regular habit of pausing and peeking into what sort of things I am heaping on a person when I feel unwanted — a habit that is so necessary to me making it through a single day — I move through life with UNWANTED written on my heart. Evaluating those expectations is good because it is [SURPRISE] usually never about me. There’s the freedom. Still hurts often. But I am daily trying to lift the heaviness off of what I love. To love lighter. So that’s been good.

The summer has also been an exploration of sorts. In Deb’s words, I had the choice to unplug and run, or deepen. I am choosing deepening (HARDER), in the form of being a tiny bit picky for the first time in my life of who to truly pursue friendship with; by discipling women through a college ministry; joining a kickball team; taking more risks at work. And perhaps beginning to rest in Jesus without always being so hung up on Arriving somewhere.

Now that I type it out, it encourages me to see these choices. They reflect some refining work in the past year of the Holy Spirit within me, doing what he needs to get done, mostly in spite of myself. And reflect a fall ahead that is sure to be beautiful and hard and different.

I have to head out now. My life is such that several of my friends in Greensboro are 10 years old. This is the best thing ever, and one of the reasons I love the way my church does community where age groups are not siloed. I was invited as a guest (not chaperone or babysitter — GUEST) to a pool party of one of the kids in Hope’s youth group. It made my LIFE. All the grownups were standing around talking about stocks and mortgages, while I was double-dog-daring her and her friends to do different jumps off the high dive. Today I am going Harry Potter costume shopping with another dear [10-year-old] friend who SINGS her PRAYERS to Jesus. We once biked around her neighborhood and just sang to Jesus about how great he is. Maybe we’ll sing again today.

PS — Today’s song is “Can’t Deny My Love” by Brandon Flowers, the lead singer of The Killers whose solo stuff if arguably even better than the band’s. Honorary Cousin took credit for introducing me to this one while cleaning what I refer to in my head as The Boys’ House, but learned from Actual Cousin that it was his discovery. Too many cousins and too much good music to keep it all straight. Good problems.

PPS — Come to the Food Truck Festival on Sunday at Chapman and Spring Garden. The whole world is invited. Bring your food to Hope Chapel and come hang out with me and some other good people.

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