As it stands now I cannot drive home for Christmas. Instead, I will be here in Louisiana, at home with Gigi and sleeping as long as both of us can in my small, twin bed. I'll turn on the lights, up on the mantel, and I'll look at the christmas bulbs glinting; I'll pet Gigi, and all will be well. Ah. (Sigh). I'd planned to go home, you know. I guess there's a small chance that it could still happen. But I'm not going to count on it. It sucks: to have finally made a plan, and now have it stand as obsolete.
Isn't it true though, that life is not supposed to work exactly as we've organized it? For most of my life I've avoided planning--maybe to avoid disappointment when the plan doesn't work out. Maybe it's easier to live in a way that half depends upon chance and half upon hope, trusting that God has got it all worked out in his head--in his hands. I'd like to say God's got it all in his hands.
I believe that. But sometimes I doesn't feel like he does. Sometimes it all feels like things have been left up to chance. Sometimes it feels like I'm swimming, in a huge pool, treading water, without making progress in any one direction. And God is waiting for me to move, to try harder, swim more confidently in the direction I decide to go. And then when I move, he'll be there. When I plan, he'll be there--as long as I'm looking toward him. Whatever happens then, will be in HIS plan. So: his plan is not my plan. And that's the thing to remember. His plan is always superior. Whatever it is.
. . . I'm in a job I don't want to be in right now. I think my boss knows it. I think he knows I'm ready to leave. But he also knows that I'm the type of person who cares, who wants to stay true to a commitment when she makes it, who won't give up just because something is hard, or feels shitty, or is worrisome. And as much as I don't even like to say to anyone I know, "I work in a kitchen," there it is--that's the truth. It is a not a glamorous job and it does not make me look pretty, nor attractive, nor strong nor aromatic nor mysterious. It is plain. It is obvious. I make food.
There it is. And it will not be forever. It is a job just for now. I'll move on. Hopefully in the direction of God's dreams for me--God's plan for me. (It could very well be true that where I am now is exactly, exactly, where God wants me. That right now, I am inside his plan). You know, I have a feeling God's dreams, God's plans, are many. I think he just wants me to choose one. And whatever it is, it will always look like loving him.
As for books: I finished another one! Look at that. I'm still winning. (Wink wink. How many have I read now?! I'll count later. . . )
. . . I skimmed the last hundred pages of Seven Storey Mountain, by Thomas Merton. I do not regret it. Seven Storey is Merton’s autobiography of how he came to the Catholic faith and to his eventual arrival at the Trappist monastery at Gethsemani, in Kentucky. It is a good book, but very wordy. Perhaps all autobiographies take a measure of patience to read through to completion; knowing the ending before the beginning, a reader’s got to be interested in the process and not just the result. Like that saying, “it’s not about the destination, but the journey,” or something like that. That saying is true; but, most books win over readers by pulling them on toward the finale, the reveal, the eventual culmination of tension, and its release, to the resolution. What was Merton’s resolution? Contemplation. The contemplative life. A desire to renounce his former self in the name of God, the Holy Christ, and Mary. But. His book is not a persuasive one—nor do I think he tried to make it so. Clearly the life of a monk is not going to be for everyone, yet contemplation can be. And Merton encourages me to look deeper at the desires of Christ for my life.
“For now, oh my God, it is to You alone that I can talk, because nobody else will understand. I cannot bring any other man on this earth into the cloud where I dwell in Your light, that is, Your darkness, where I am lost and abashed. I cannot explain to any other man the anguish which is your joy nor the loss which is the Possession of You, nor the distance of all things which is the arrival in You, nor the death which is the birth in You because I do not know anything about it myself and all I know is that I wish it were over—I wish it were begun. / You have contradicted everything.” (459)
There's so much out there to learn, to see, to begin to try and understand. I enjoyed the glimpse of Merton's life, but I'm excited to move on to something else. Maybe Ursula LeGuin? The Wizard of Earthsea. Yes.
Keep loving, keep living, keep on keeping on. Be blessed.