Here I sit. In my coffee shop. The one with the rough brick walls and the shadowed light and the rooms that I weave through as if I was at home.
Here, I am at home.
I am always and never at home.
The rain is coming down outside. Hammering onto this parched desert soil with a force that makes windows turn waterfall and employees frantically try to block the flow of water rushing in under the double doors in front of me.
People walk in – drenched – plastic bags hastily pulled over heads. The scattered few who listened to the forecast and brought umbrellas look vaguely smug.
Us desert folks, we don’t prepare for downpours like this. We pride ourselves on the resilience it takes to grow roots in hard-packed soil. But the free flow of water? It’s a rare and wondrous thing.
It’s a long, long way to the ocean from where I sit.
I swallow the last long-since-cool dregs of my latte. A deep, long held sigh releases. My shoulders drop.
My wild heart, she is weary today.
I am swirling with thoughts of all the ways that we break. Feeling this in my bones. All hard bite and liquid surrender. How life does not give us a single blessed guarantee. How the foundation of all that we build is this wild and vast unknowing.
How, in the end, all there is for us to do is choose where to stake our faith and our trust. Not because we are promised anything or can rely on external security. But simply because we want, and that want asks us to choose.
Because want always demands choice.
Choice. To place our feet upon a path. To walk through the unknowing with all the ferocity and grace we can muster in our weary and hopeful hearts.
For the moment, the rain has let up. Even a storm needs to rest. Seeks pause while it decides what it is that it will become and where it should become that thing that it is destined to be.
There’s a wild sort of beauty in the sky now. It’s all potential and possibility and life and destruction and elemental force. Letting its own want push it in the direction of choice.
And here on the ground? All there is to do is to wait.
To move through the world and make our best guess of where safe ground lies. To decide how to best move ourselves in that direction. Or to choose exposure. The vulnerability of staying in place, walking out under that ominously low gray sky and knowing that there are times you have to risk in order to fully receive that which brings life.
And even in that, sometimes the forecasted storm never arrives. We batten down the hatches and brace ourselves – cover the windows and pound up makeshift walls. And then, without fanfare or drama, the storm decides that destiny calls it elsewhere, or to become something other than expected.
Sometimes the battle we brace for is actually surrender. Sometimes the security we seek isn’t at all what we need. Sometimes it’s the embrace of the unknowing that delivers us to grace – however wild and untamed and raw and real that grace may be.
And sometimes the storm comes. It hits hard. And when it does, we cannot find shelter. We are swept up in its force under cracked open heavens. And there is nothing to do but let the flood waters rise and yes – sometimes things break and sometimes we break and sometimes it seems that the damage is catastrophic and that nothing will ever be the same again.
And sometimes this is true. Nothing will be the same again. It can’t be – not in the wake of a storm like that. Things are uprooted that cannot be regrown. Things come apart, are ripped from their moorings, are carried along by forces beyond their control. And even when the waters recede we return to find the landscape changed. To find nothing as it was before.
Sometimes nothing can ever be as it was before.
To live through this is to be acutely awake of all the ways that we break.
To live at all is to be acutely aware of all the ways that we break.
The light changes now. The deep of the storm mixes with the bright edge of what is next. It’s the kind of light that holds promises, the hard and true kind. The kind of light that stirs something deep. The kind of light that only comes after.
Me and my wild and weary heart? We walk outside under that hard promise of a sky. Where everything seems sharply defined. The edge and the center. The brutal and the soft. The broken and the healed and the whole.
We spin slow, right in time with the wind that tangles hair and the cadence of beat and the pulse of light. And we make a promise. To honor all the ways that we break and all the ways that we knit back together. And we bow in reverence to the storm and her teachings. To honor the way that even this far from the sea, the water can still wash everything clean.
The way the water will always wash everything clean.
I return inside and sit with the blank page in front of me. Right now I am called to only two things. The words ready to live on the page and the memory of her hand on my lower back this morning as we walked again into the unknowing.
And I am reminded, once again – that to live at all is to break and to break is to make space for becoming. And in that becoming, all of the rest is made purposeful and good and true.
In the weary and grace and the storm and the raw and promises and the redemption and the light that illuminates this wild and vast unknowing. Without fail. Every single time.