“Help us to embrace obscurity,” my pastor once prayed. I scribbled it down in the margin of my notebook. I wrote it down on another piece of paper and put it somewhere to remind me day in and day out.
Yes Lord, help us to embrace obscurity.
Help us to embrace the ordinary ins and outs of a faithful life.
Help us to embrace the steady rhythm of living. The air in, the air out, the one-thing-at-a-time mindset in a world that tells you everything matters all the time right now.
Help us to chew our food and taste it. Help us to choose ingredients that taste like real food and recipes that feed our bodies.
Help us to embrace an empty calendar. Help us to do this by choice.
Help us to shun the cultural mindset that the movers and shakers are sleeping less, traveling everywhere, and starting something new every day. Help us to be moved into a place of trust. To not require shaking in order to anchor ourselves in you. To get enough sleep, plant some roots, and trust the ancient paths.
Help us to embrace quiet. The kind that makes even the sock-covered feet move delicately. The kind that makes the old house creak just to remind us that it’s still here.
Help us to live like our Lord, who went to solitary places, who sought out times to be alone, because the noise and the crowds and the demands wasn’t the goal.
Help us to feel the hot water and the dish soap, to be a part of the simple work that is necessary. To let a finger fall gently on a piano key and feel the way the note reverberates into your arms as though it’s just an old woman doing her duty, humming the song she’s always known.
Help us to pray in the in-between. To take our fears and remember that for all the things I fear will happen, today someone might be actually facing that thing. Remind me to carry them with the same burden of weight that I feel when I dread that it could be me. It is them. Remind me to bring that to you.
Help us to be pilgrims. To open up our hands a bit more. To leave what can be left behind, behind. To talk about home more. And no, not the home where we sleep every night. I mean to talk about the home that we’re journeying toward. The place where we’ll finally lay down our burdens. The place from which our Father runs to meet us. The long dusty road toward the party. Help us to remind each other “We’re not home yet” and to reminisce a bit about the place we know exists but have never seen.
I’m coming up on my 36th year. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this — the world doesn’t need you. It will go on without you. The reminder of age will creak inside you when you least expect it and you’ll suddenly be aware that you don’t want the world anyway. Not the one that is peddled and curated and marketed and on the clearance rack. You want the storied blankets. The golden sun. The early mornings with the people you love. You want the ease of people who know when you’re not fine even when you say “I’m fine.” You want the creaky floors of a life well-lived, day in and day out, faithfully, steadily, mostly in obscurity. Help me to embrace it, Lord.