I am 20 years old, bred and born in the sunflower state, under the big, blue sky.
Exactly five days ago, my entire life was loaded into a U-haul van, shuttled down the interstate and stowed away inside this sprawling, brick house in the heart of a pine forest in Arkansas.
There are some changes in life that are just too big to ever fully absorb. At the end of last year I wrote that “nothing of major importance has occurred: no weddings, funerals, births, moves or national disasters.” So far this year, three of those events have materialized. All of them this summer.
And I’ve worked so hard—cleaning up after the flood, helping my brother and best friend plan their wedding, packing for the move—that none of them have really seeped into my mind and heart to cause a chemical reaction. There have been no tears. Just a few surface emotions: excitement, stress, determination. Now those layers are beginning to seep through, to mix with something deeper down inside—with the ground water of my being.
My heart has ripped into two jagged halves. Half I want to transplant here in Arkansas to grow straight and tall like a pine tree, pointing to the Lord. The other half I buried in Kansas before I left, in a field of sunflowers, with my face to the Risen Son, seeking to know His beauty. Inside, I am empty.
This new home is beautiful. The sun drips down in golden droplets between the pine needles and Magnolia leaves. Lizards scamper over my window sill, tempting me to run outside with them. And the house is ample, sufficient and more than fully supplies all my needs or wants. I’m sure the less than pleasant smell will wear off. Well water is a quaint addition to my life. Precious friends are everywhere, lending helping hands, bringing thoughtful gifts, laughing, welcoming, full of excitement and joy.
The sky is so small. I need directions for everywhere I go. Everywhere I look there is so much to do. I can’t find the tools I need to finish the tasks I see!
And somewhere, deep down inside, I am secretly anxious. I’ve been steady. I’ve been ready. I’ve been dependable, unmovable, unemotional. But I’m terrified. Of what? Of more change.
I’m afraid of blindly following the Shepherd’s lead. I’m afraid, before I can even catch my breath and settle in, before I’ve become comfortable with this path and settled into a pace, He’ll have turned me off onto another uphill path.
I thought I was submitted. I thought I was willing. I thought I was eager.
I am only tired, confused and frightened.
And ready to give up.
Lord, when I feel lost and lonely
Be Thou, then, my one and only.
When my thoughts have strayed to me
Turn my mind, Lord, back to Thee.
Lord, when looming change increase
Illumine them with words of peace.
When I want to turn and flee
Remind me Lord, I hope in Thee.