7 Months in Heaven, or Today I Wore A Crop Top and No One Died
I have a few --
One is that hour or so on a Saturday (and occasionally Sunday) mornings where I wake up early, but knowing I have no where to be, reach for my phone or kindle and lay in bed wasting away the sunrise. I am an early bird and tend to do my best and most positive thinking early in the morning.
Another is that lull that organically happens while gathered with friends late at night, right after a deep session of laughing, letting your guard completely down. Sometimes aided by alcohol but often simply the presence of deep and dear friends is enough.
Being in an airport alone.
Sitting on your bed after your room has been 100% cleaned and all your laundry is done.
Last, that feeling of pride and excellence when your morning goes exactly as planed. You feel great in your outfit. When you know where you are going without GPS, you have a gift card burning a hole in your wallet, you have your favorite breakfast, all the lights are green, the store has exactly what you envisioned in stock. You have the money to spurge and buy yourself something small and nice. Your coffee to cream ratio is perfect. You put together an Ikea item in 15 minutes with no problems. You truly sincerely enjoy being alone, being single.
Today was that day, and I'm not going to let it pass without acknowledging where it comes from.
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
I know, I know. God isn't always going to make my life perfect. I am not in any way trying to promote the prosperity gospel here. I am certain God blesses and adores me though, and delights in giving me a day that, to me, is perfect.
When I moved to Oakland I found a shriveled up Queen Victoria Agave on the porch outside my window. Agave, a type of succulent doesn't need much care to thrive, but this one had obviously been left for dead. It still had life in it, but just barely. I am certain when my mom saw it she recommended I through it out. I didn't. I knew that if the roots were still alive I could nurse the plant back to life. I tugged at the roots to see how sturdy they were. The plant came straight out of the dirt as if nothing was anchoring it down. Oh no, I thought. This probably won't ever be revived.
Thankfully I was wrong. Right now if I look out my window in the Regen apartments I can see my house plants, all 5 of them, one of them being my now very strong and very much alive Queen Victoria Agave.
I have been in Oakland for almost 8 months now. I cannot comprehend how quickly time has flown by. I can, however, express how astounding my time here has been. I have grown holistically. I was very much like the agave I discovered. Barely getting by, feeling more alive than dead. Feeling hungry, thirsty, and spiritually neglected. Regen folks took me alongside them, helped me find water, light and TLC, and now, I have stronger deeper anchored roots now because of that.
There is a deep feeling of acceptance in Oakland, and especially at Regen. I do not feel like I have to mold or shape myself into a certain type of person to be accepted here. In Fort Worth, and especially in England I felt that I had to paint and portray myself as a certain type of person in order to feel accepted and wanted. This falseness seeped into my relationship with God and stunted me in many ways. My weak roots needed to be anchored to something better.
Today I cried while driving home from Target and Ikea. I am not PMSing, I am not sure what exactly made me get so emotional but it happened okay so I wanna tell you. I was driving down Madison, sparkling ethereal Lake Merritt to my left, listening to MØ, heaps of people and their dogs walking on the path around the lake and I broke down.
How lucky am I? How blessed and cherished am I?
I get to live and do ministry in a place so wonderful as this. My heart was so full of excitement, contentment, and happiness that I did what any rational normal adult would do. Cry about it.
Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:8-9
Thanks for following along on my journey in Oakland, at the end of this month I will begin my Regen internship, I am so excited to get started and to discover what gems of goodness God has in store for me over the course of my year.