I’ve always been a romantic, head stuck in the clouds, heart thin enough to be opaque.
It used to drive my father nuts… “You keep having these dreams and it’s only going to disappoint you when it all comes crashing down.”
I’d roll my adolescent eyes and go back to writing poetry of Alaska, big cities and dangerous boys. For most of my young life, I lived in the future.
At least I did until until my father’s honest adage began to come true.
Alaska was bitterly cold, big cities were awfully lonely, and dangerous boys were dangerous for a reason. My little heart began to grow scar tissue and got too heavy to return to the sky.
Then my father left when I was eighteen.
My world seemed to slow into a sepia-tinted reality and I disowned my God. I screamed it at my ceiling as I brought blades to my wrists.
It was around then that I started to change my address from the future to the past.
I would reminisce about anything and everything as a form of escape. I would look out windows and imagine towering skyscrapers replaced by the Western Red Cedars of my childhood, or kiss a boy with another in my mind. When the world became too true, I escaped to the past.
It wasn’t until a certain day on a certain beach that a certain voice spoke to me for the first time.
And I was finally called to live in the present.
Be present, be here with Me. I’ll keep you safe.
I’ve been promised that before: from my father, and then when he left, the dangerous boys with a kind smile, and when they left, there was no one. How could this voice be true? What made him so special? I wanted to scream this to the stormy sea with the same voice I screamed at my ceiling from years before. Scar tissue was growing heavy again. Tears followed a carved path down my cheeks. I felt like this was my last chance to trust a man, especially a face-less, faith-based, Father.
Gulping stormy, icy air, I said ok.
That was the day I came back to my faith after nearly nine years. On a grey beach in Washington State. Alone and crowded at the same time on that driftwood log.
Me and Jesus together facing the storm that the world had built for me.
No one should live in the past or the future.
In the past, nothing can change and no amount of rose-tinted revelry will.
In the future, no amount of worrying or panicked pauses will morph the unseen.
When I yearn for the past, I live in depression.
When I crave the future, I live in anxiety.
God doesn’t want us living in either of these. Not only does it hurt His children, but more importantly, He can’t be with us when we’re not present.
God cannot communicate with or aid His daughters when they are not in the present moment with Him, devoting their time and mind and souls and bodies and pain and joy and tears and shock; their life.
I am still a romantic, but now with a heart for the King of Kings, not empty dreams.
When I find myself not in the present, I ground myself with God.
I don’t go back to when my father was a better man or when I was back in my hometown or when I was dating one of my ex’s. I don’t go forward to imagine my future marriage or my dream career.
I go back to God. I go to Him, and then I don’t need to go anywhere else.