Sometimes if I look at my life objectively I feel overwhelmed. Sometimes in those empty spaces in the day when I realize that this is my life and it is not what I had expected, I want to despair. Sometimes I wake up and swing my feet onto the floor and wonder how on earth I find the strength to get out of bed.
Sometimes I interrogate myself as if I am a stranger looking from the outside in, and I ask:
What is it that keeps you going?
It’s friends answering your pain with song recommendations, sometimes more meaningful than encouraging words. It’s those lists of songs that feel like a long-distance hug.
It’s exploring a new personality typing system and the excitement of diving into something new. But more than that, it’s the tears that come because you finally, finally understand what you are struggling with and why and how to fight it. It’s knowing that you are not alone and you are not crazy and you are not broken beyond repair.
It’s wrapping a blanket around your shoulders and it feels both like a hug and like armor.
It’s salads for lunch—healthy but yummy, something you can look forward to and not feel the least bit guilty about.
It’s little sisters asking you to say goodnight to them every night. It’s their cards hanging on your wall and their stuffed animals decorating the house and their voices filling the air. It’s what they never say but you always hear: We like you, just as you are.
It’s your room with everything put away, all the surfaces clear, everything clean and neat and the way you want to be. It’s a glimpse of perfection in this messy world.
It’s worn stone and moss beneath your bare feet, cold and smooth and somehow soft.
It’s the necklace that is exactly your style and makes you feel happy and pretty whenever you wear it. It’s the kind of thing you always wanted without knowing you did.
It’s biking into the driveway after a long day of work and seeing lights on inside. It’s opening the door to warmth and welcomes and the wonder of having a safe place to come home to.
It’s the sight of your bookshelf gleaming in the late afternoon sun.
It’s the little mementos around your room that remind you of loved ones and beautiful places and experiences you can’t believe you got to have.
It’s connecting with a friend you haven’t heard from in a while. It’s a friend writing you just when you realized it’s been a while and felt that old familiar guilt over not being a good enough friend.
It’s the excitement of checking football scores, the gift of something just plain fun on cold, mundane January days.
It’s having to stay at work for a little longer than planned and realizing that you don’t mind, that you like being here, that this has become a safe place.
It’s someone who stops in their busy day to ask you how you’re doing. It’s someone who called you by your name and looks you in the eyes. It’s someone who smiles and waves.
It’s songs of lament that make you cry and then fade to silence and realize that there is a glimmer of hope that hadn’t been there before.
It’s washing the dishes after dinner, standing there with the warm water and sparkling soapsuds and your favorite band playing in the background. It’s the knowledge that being able to do this is a blessing, being able to stand here and work and make this corner of the world the little cleaner, a little better.
It’s inside jokes and shared memories and spontaneously breaking out into the same chorus at the same time.
It’s hearing someone on a podcast mention one of your favorite book series and you grinning like crazy, ridiculously excited that someone else loves it too.
What is it that keeps you going?
It’s a thousand little things seeping through the jagged edges of my life, finding their way through the cracks, forging a path in the dark—
It’s a thousand little things, and it’s one thing.
For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. | John 1:16
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