I am an introvert. I sought for many years to define the marked restlessness of a soul driven by the desire to communicate in a wildly expansive and profound way and the equal craving for sanctuary and introspection. While I have come to embrace this personality preference, it tends to lend itself to a complexity that confounds and a distant simplicity that bewilders. But deep waters often run quiet.
Inside is where I am most comfortable, amid restless exasperation and unremitting curiosity. I am energized and excited by ideas, always looking between the lines and behind behavior. And while I would rather the serenity of contentment, my brain pushes to question, to deliberately shake up what is neatly ordered, comfortable and safe.
My beginning was fairly uncomplicated as beginnings go, but my becoming has been anything but. I have, for much of my life, done what was expected of me. I have bent in reverence to culture and kingdom and I have lived in a land where everyone is merry and without a care in the world. But how often I have wondered how terrible it must be to have no worries or longings. I simply feel too deeply and want too much, longing to throw myself into something significant and yet unable to find what exactly that may be.
Without politicizing our world as of late, I can only express the experience of a soul wired for “why?” At the dawn of each new day I find myself cautiously connecting with the news of the morning, and almost without fail, it is as if the doors of the darkest room have been opened. It is a tunnel of sorts, where we enter without a choice because it is the only way to get to the other side. And in the abject darkness of racism and divisiveness, in the heavy normalcy of violence and unfathomable loss, we forget where we are. It is as if the depth of the trench and the severity of brokenness stifles our forward movement, keeping us bound by our perspectives and stuck in our thinking. We default to insignificant spiritual clichés in abject avoidance of compassion in action. We become stuck in place like tires in mud looking utterly serene and cheerful while the world abounds in chaos. Hard is the invitation to a journey of growth, but it is one that we seldom accept.
There is so much to be asked of God as of late, the whys of shadowed places where things are so wrong. But in the musings of my mind there is only because. Because life is unfair, because we lose people we love and life on earth comes with a side of hurt, and because sometimes there aren’t really answers to our musings in the immediacy of crisis. But even in the unanswered whys there is almost always a what, because sometimes chaos is the very thing that shakes up our neatly ordered world for the facilitation of forward movement.
It is good for God’s people to be put in a place of restless longing. Tragedy washes the windows of the soul, for the purpose of removing bias and hate and allowing us to move forward in expectation, with the knowledge that whether we can see it or not, the God of the universe is at work in our world. And when God shows up, the fight is simply over. There is healing, forgiveness and freedom that no amount of human depravity can ever hope to bring. And therein lies the challenge. God moves in battle to the rhythm of our response.
We can do hard things. We can live our lives opening wounds and breaking hearts, touching lives and bringing about change, raw and ready in the chaos of it all.