In the stillness of the bedroom, I hear a truck engine growl to life, the muffled roar of I-90 traffic almost like the ocean, the gentle whir of towels spinning circles in the dryer, the splatter of rain on the leaves outside the window, the songlike conversation of small birds. And nearly the thudding of my heart against my chest. I strain, I wait, to hear something audible in the caucaphony of thoughts. I don't want to trample this moment. God is here.
My eyes move to the open door. The chalkboard sign hanging on satin ribbon: "Do not disturb." A mixed message - open door and do not disturb - meaning nothing at present, after all, the sign is mere decoration. But is this... could this be... how I've settled into life with God? My door's open, but I don't want him to disturb my life, not too much? Please be present, God, but leave most things in tact? Isn't this the antithesis of how I've always wanted to live? Of what falling in love with Jesus means?
And I'm unsettled, uncomfortable, not sure yet if it's true or just a profound thought. But a thought it is. And I haven't been here for awhile, haven't asked myself this tough question for awhile - perhaps, in itself, evidence of not wanting to be too disturbed.
I've got enough going on, enough on my plate right now, God. Please come again later.
When was the last time I prayed the prayer - prayed into the fear - "God, you can do anything with me." A sacred hush, a quivering heart, an adrenaline rush of faith. Yes, anything. "I open every door of my house to you, God. You can throw a big party, bring in guests from the streets, use all my towels and eat all my food and leave all the dishes dirty on the counter and in the sink, and sleep in my bed. Whatever you want, this house is yours and everything that's in it."
My marriage is yours.
Whether or not we have kids, when those kids may come, where they come from - it's all yours.
The next paycheck is yours.
The waiting for work is yours.
My family is yours.
My health is yours.
This apartment and all the stuff in it is yours.
All that food in the fridge that fills our bellies and nourishes our bodies is yours.
Our plans for the future, our dreams and hopes, those are yours, too.
These words I type in black font on white screen and publish for who even knows to read, the words I hope make me smaller and you bigger - they're yours.
Who am I to kid myself, to reach for something of my own to stash away, away from your grasp, when all is yours? Who am I to think I can keep anything, anyone safe when my spirit knows the only safe place, unsafe as it may feel, is in your grip?
And what of now - when I'm no longer free and single, aspirations of living in an African slum, loving on orphans? But that page turned a long time ago, and it's not like the game's over. I don't often think of it, but the memory returns and lodges in a tender spot in my heart. The love for orphaned children. The yearning to mother little ones who have no one. I felt it as a child, I felt it in college and after college and after the earthquake in Haiti, building in intensity. Strange, for a woman who has never identified as a natural mother, never felt a strong urge to bear my own children. A woman who has borne many secret doubts as to whether or not she'd make a good mother. My friends and family know and seem to accept that I'm not one to dote on their children in a big way.
But give me orphans, and something shifts deep in my heart.
And why all this now, all these questions and confessions? I stumbled upon another writer's blog. A young woman from Tennessee, maybe twenty-four, who gave everything up at age nineteen to move to Uganda and love on orphans. Since then, she's started a nonprofit organization, become the foster mom for fourteen little girls and published a book. And she's completely in love with Jesus. I'm sure she never thought to herself, "I'm up for all this" - and yet, she hasn't turned back, hasn't called it quits. She just keeps opening her hands for God to fill and watching the miracle of his life inside of her do what she isn't equipped to do.
And this stops me in my tracks this morning, and I want to weep, "What more do you want to do with my life, God?"
Am I willing for him to disturb my comfort? I lean into the silence with a yes forming on my tongue.