snow, “true selves,” education reform, and Jesus

i promise, they all go together.

i ran this morning, kicking myself for not buying yaktrax weeks ago.  it was slippery and took nearly double the time to go the distance i normally go.  still, it was an incredible work-out.

just before Thanksgiving, we were all secretly grouchy, secretly pissed off by the upcoming Holiday and the struggle it presents for most of us who’s families are not the best.  secretly hurting.  secretly, of course, but still wearing our emotions on our sleeves.  as Larry shared with us, recounting the bleak spaces we found ourselves in, he finished by raising the blinds. 

and then it snows,” he said quietly, as the sky revealed our first snow of the season.  it represented then, and continues to as the season goes on, the idea that in even in the bleakest of seasons, this beautiful thing happens.

and then it snows, i thought to myself as i stared out the window this morning.  the fall of the flakes creating a feeling in me, deep in the core, that i couldn’t understand.  but it was exhilarating, similar to the feeling of going down a hill on a roller coaster.

one of the pastors on staff talked with us today about our “true selves,” that person we were created to be.  this has been a journey i’ve been on for years, an uncovering of who i am, a peeling away of the layers.  a struggle i’m still engaged in on a normal basis.

beneath the roles and the masks lies a possibility of a self that is as unique as a snowflake.  it is an originality that has existed since God first loved us into existence.  our true self-in-Christ is the only self that will support authenticity.  it and it alone provides an identity that is eternal.
           -david benner

for the majority of my life, education has been the solution.  if i just educated myself more, then maybe i could figure out who i was.  the truth is, though, that i hated the education system.  i was bored, unchallenged.  i wanted to quit college, like seriously quit, but it was too imprinted on me that a degree was the key to this lock. 

how obviously i did not know myself…i hated the structure of education as it stood, but turned to it time and time again as the avenue for “finding myself.”  now i have an English degree, which opens no doors, and the debt from a private school, which demands a certain income level to pay back.  like most Americans, i have buried my true self and will likely have to continue to in some way or another until my debt is relieved.

after another 40 minutes in the car, driving at no more than 45 miles/hour (since the accident, i drive like a “grandma” in the snow), i arrived at work, feeling on edge.  a friend in Toronto immediately message me on gmail chat and asked, out of nowhere and without provocation,  if i was “anxious.”  i hadn’t thought about it but, when i was really honest,  something deep down screamed yes. 

anxious from class, from an unresolved relational situation, from driving in the snow and fearing my tires might slide, from letting my “true self” loose to dream and wonder for a few hours, and then putting her back.

relax,” said my friend.  “anything real cannot be threatened.”

this is the same friend whose note i posted just after Toronto.  i could hear his smooth, Caribbean voice saying the above, and suddenly i did relax.  i didn’t and don’t quite know what that means, but something tells me it is very significant.  still,  it was less what he was saying and more the fact that he was there, that he cared enough to see past my facade and ask.  in that moment, he was Jesus to me.

i’m not sure how all these pieces fit together, but they found themselves in my morning.  i do know, though, that i must keep walking this journey.  God and i have not been speaking a lot lately, but He is not silent.  quietly He slips gentle reminders in that He is with me and i am left with the realization that you do not always need to talk to travel well together.

onward, in the silence that speaks more than ordinary words can communicate…

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