It’s been building for about six months now, this feeling like I just need a good, dambreaking cry. I’ve been on the verge now, a little closer a few times, where my eyes well, but everything stays there, right on the edge.
Happened again the other afternoon, as I was wandering through the campus center. Someone serendipitously managed to schedule too many things at once in the music building, so chorale was forced to practice in the campus center. I wandered over with a few others, and took a seat in the loft overlooking the stage area. And I took a couple minutes, watching the students below, imagining/remembering my own treasured time in chorale.
Though I’d originally not even planned on auditioning, music was part of how I got through, back then. I remember one tough day, receiving some gut-punching news (to me, anyway) over lunch in the commons, going back to my room in West Hall for a good cry, and pulling myself up, taking a deep breath, and heading to chorale practice, where I sang out the rest of my sorrows. I left practice that day feeling healed, and stronger.
And so, I listened the other day, with those memories streaming through my mind. One piece they were practicing centered on Galatians 6:9: “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest of we do not give up.”
Lord knows, I’ve seen plenty of weary days along this journey. Many, many days full to the brim of joy, of gratitude, of being constantly aware of just how unreasonably good God is to me. But there have been days of weariness, days I feel like Robert Francis Weatherbee, days I feel invisible and unnoticed and all I so desperately want is for someone to pull me aside and tell me that they see and they know how hard this is sometimes. But it doesn’t happen most days, and so, I go on. I do the next thing.
And now, the harvest looks pretty ripe from where I stand. Twenty-six years after I began, I will walk the stage in the graduation gown that now hangs in my closet –the same stage on which I once sang gowned in a dress two sizes too big, in a hideous shade of baby blue taffeta, hemmed up five inches, taken in nearly as much, and literally taped to my chest to conceal my poor tailoring skills, because Dutch girls don’t come in 5’2″ bodies. I’ve survived heartbreak, disillusionment with a dream, depression, recovered, and lived to write about it. I’ve changed my major, found a husband, and found my calling. I’ve made lifelong friends and mentors whose companionship and encouragement I’ll treasure even beyond this experience. I have had not just one, but several of my pieces published. I’ve had a review in an academic journal, several pieces published online, and another piece due to appear in a print magazine this month. People have read my work and told me not only that they enjoy reading it, but that it’s been used of God to do His work. What more could I ask?
It was an impossible dream two and a half years ago, that December I first considered going back for real. But the itch to finish wouldn’t go away, and I heard that voice again, that voice I assumed was God, telling me that I would have what I need when I needed it. And now, I come to the finish line. A twenty-six year journey, written with more turns and changes and surprises than I could have ever imagined, but, as always, I see more clearly how I love His stories the best. They have the best endings.
Granted, it’s only one impossible walk I’ll do on the morning of May 5, but it’s made of far more than six impossible things, believed in faith that certainly didn’t come from myself and made reality by strength and passion beyond my own.
The trees are greening, my lawn needs mowing, and the next page turn in my planner lands in May already –one more week and a few days to draw all the marrow out of this experience, breathe it in deep and take it with me for the next turn on the road. I think I’m slowly becoming okay with this. Slowly.