I know I haven't posted much this week, but that's simply because I've been in the house most days, canvassing jobs on the computer, catching up on some reading, having no place to go and no money to get there. Not much Portland info one can glean inside 4 suburban walls, so I used this dead time to observe my life in a purgatory state.
We just get stuck in our habits, don't we? I mean, I have had the same amount of time each day to spend however I please, and I find myself doing the exact same things: sleeping in, flipping through discarded books, browsing the internet, talking to friends, applying for jobs, making meals, watching a movie, going to bed. My days were filled, my checklists were being completed, and yet, I felt as if I was making no progress at all.
That's when I decided to change my life up. What if I didn't sleep in just because I had no place to be or because it would help waste a little more of my already elongated day? What if instead I spent more time praying for people and reading my Bible?
And what if I didn't just sit on the computer browsing for hours looking for jobs, but rather applied to the few I was really interested in, spent time developing a better resume, and then leave the results to God?
And about those books-- instead of a random few pages in various novels, why don't I pick up that giant epic that I've been meaning to read for the past 18 months and actually begin it? What's stopping me?
and while I'm at it...
When I'm tired of reading, instead of popping in a movie, why don't I sit down and hand write a few letters to people to let them know just how much I've been thinking about them?
When I need some type of entertainment, why not put in my Portuguese language cd and challenge my mind to a different way of viewing the world?
And instead of heating up a frozen pizza, or cooking another bowl of spaghetti, why not experiment in the kitchen and develop a new taste for food?
So, I began to move in my frozen sphere of time. I began to operate as if I was already becoming the person I wanted to be, instead of staying the person I was longing to change.
And you know what I found?
...I found a God more faithful than my next heartbeat and more tender than a soft breeze. I discovered that praying to Him was not some futile, godly exercise but this most intimate gesture of love between the earthly and the divine in which I could participate. I learned that when you go to battle in the spiritual realms, the battle is never over, but there are reservoirs of strength you could have never imagined set aside to help you continue. That although there are a lot more needs than you could have ever fathomed encountering, there is a grace that paradoxically draws you deeper with each new wound. I glimpsed a bit more of Jesus each morning and those brief moments stole my breath away.
...I found that the computer did not have to dictate my moods-- whether I was accepted or rejected or emailed or messaged. I perceived that the quality of offers oftentimes outweighed the value of those with more positions or hours. I recognized that no matter how much time I've spent polishing something, such as my resume, there was still always improvement that could be done. I learned that seeking God for the outcome of my applications instead of wearing out the inbox button of my email was far more productive and incredibly less stressful.
...I found that the way through a giant epic resembles the way to complete a long journey--take it one page at a time. I began to sense that those who were inspired to write epics are possibly the ones most able to motivate me in uncovering my own.
...I found that being still and actively reflecting on my life makes what I have to say far more interesting. I discovered that something magical still resides in a postage stamp and the seal of an envelope. That the way my hand uncurls ink is intensely more revealing no matter how personal the typed content of past emails. I began to treasure anew the relationships I have, recognizing that sometimes the best way to show people my love is to spend 44 cents on them.
...I found that expanding my horizons can be as close as the dimensions of my mind. I developed a glow in finally nailing the correct pronunciation of a phrase in a language formerly foreign to my tongue. A beauty was uncovered as I peeled back egg, and under, and jump only to discover they were cloaking such words as ovo, embaixo, and pulando. I discovered a camaraderie with those whom I had never met and a commonality with those who went to sleep under a different sky than mine.
...I found that taste can be developed and the arrangement of food can enhance its flavor. I detected comfort in the warmth of a muffin and exhilaration in the chill of a smoothie. I rediscovered the original Garden in an unknown fruit, yet relived the bitterness of the Fall when my teeth sank into its bruise. I found that the quickest way to warm a cold house was to make a batch of cookies, and if you find yourself deficient in nearby loved ones, cupping your hands around a steaming mug of frothy chai almost distracts from the pain.
I understand now that Purgatory is a place we allow ourselves to remain. A place where we unconsciously stay in the wheel ruts of yesterday. I realize that being rich in time can rob you of yourself if you do not invest its wealth in growing. I have begun to discover that life happens when you are planted, stuffed in the soil, and ready to receive what is availing itself to you. But be willing to break forth from the seed... the only other option is to wither and fade.
My best lesson this week? It is good to know that turning a year older doesn't mean turning a year deader.