march: the loudest “i love you”s

March was cherry blossoms and misty rain. It was Sunday-fundays spent cleaning out the fridge and vacuuming the floor. It was all of the coffee and all of the hope and all of the fighting for healing– both for me and for others.

A bunch of my favorite people now live within a one mile radius of where I lay my head at night and I could not be more grateful, especially when they cook me dinner. (Sharing food with someone is one of the loudest “I love you”s I’ve ever heard). I used to pray for community to show up in my loneliness; I hoped and prayed and begged for for friends who would choose to stay and not be scared of me on my bad days. Slowly, community has become reality, but not without a few bumps. Because, well, people are just people after all. We’re messy and stubborn and beautiful and loved and worthy. In the end it matters that we choose to stay through the mess.

Donald Miller once said that relationships are “all going somewhere and they’re turning us into something, hopefully something better, something new… what else changes a person but the living of a story? And what is a story but the wanting for something difficult and the willingness to work for it?” Don is always saying the things I need to hear.

I fought with Jesus a lot this month, mostly because I needed control. Mostly because mystery upsets me. Mostly because I am so needing of grace and sometimes grace looks like not getting what I want. Mystery is beautiful in theory, but in reality we all want things we can easily explain and understand. We want relationships and dreams to come easy, but they don’t.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: I want Jesus in the flesh. I’m jealous of Peter and John and Mary who walked with him every day, who sat at a table with him, who traveled with him, who heard his words and still didn’t understand what he was saying. But I keep coming back to what a dear friend told me many years ago: Jesus is here. We are the actual body of Christ. Eating at each other’s tables and traveling together and loving one another. Jesus is here, He is in us, and we are in Him.

It’s true. It doesn’t make mystery any less annoying, but it is true. I want a to-do list that I can write in my planner, highlight and cross off and consequently feel better about myself and better about others. But what I get instead is a community of people who love me and sometimes annoy me, who push me to be more like Jesus (even if they don’t really know it) and who feed me good food.

March looked like running around with clinched fists and Jesus continually prying them open. Relationships and dreams need open hands to breathe and grow. It’s human nature to keep our fists clinched, heart closed, and walls up. But what if we were able to let go just a little bit every day? What would become of our lives?

Here’s to living with open palms and open hearts. As Springtime brings nature from death to life, my hope is that we all shake the dust that fear has created and live truly alive.



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