There’s pretty much nothing better than a spring morning working ‘in’ the garden.
THE past couple of days I’ve been running a short scenario that’s bringing me some pleasure. (What is to come is not necessarily a validation of the healthiness of this kind of imagining.)
It involves me being somewhere with a lot of people and yet I’m alone. Then from across the room or shopping centre or carpark comes a beautiful woman. She is blonde and thin and petite and stylish and walks gracefully. And she is my wife. While she is still some distance away I catch sight of her and I catch my breath because she is coming to me. As she gets closer my excitement to be near ‘my wife’ builds and I get a goofy smile on my face. We embrace and stay close to each other and talk intimately.
I’m not sure what it means although I think that mainly it means nothing. (Although psychoanalysing it and thinking perhaps I feel alone in the world and I want to be ‘rescued’ by a woman feels wrong.) Hopefully it’s just a nice thought about having someone special I delight in. I feel that I imagine a woman rather than a man is because I would feel wrong thinking of a man thus removing the pleasure from the scenario. I feel I would struggle to think the same way about a man though. It’s hard to delight in someone similar to me as opposed to someone who’s different.
The thing I’m most aware of in couples is these little things. The glances across rooms or the intimacy in shared understandings when people see each other again. The little conversations and going shopping together. I know, I’m a bad romantic and I’m romanticising things which for the actual couple go unnoticed or perhaps are tedious.
The class of 2013 at the school I teach at only has a couple of weeks left of schooling (our school year is different here) and considering my own last year of high school is now 10 years ago, it has got me thinking. Looking at them I think of the potential. They have their whole life ahead of them and they are yet to start making choices that restrict them. It’s all open.
I feel that 10 years on; I’m landlocked to some degree. I’ve made my choices and two degrees and two jobs later, I’m somewhat limited to where I go next. I’ve got a house and mortgage, which again limits me geographically (or at least for a while). Being limited has its benefits, of course.
If I could go back I think I’d do it differently. I would head to the big city instead of a small regional university and I’d study something differently and I’d take more risks.
I guess I’d do it all differently because I’m different. I’m not the fearful 18-year-old embarking on the safest and most secure route possible. I’m more confident and optimistic and forward looking. I wish I could have been that way then.
I’m willing to do something a little crazier now. If, for some reason, I don’t have a job at the end of next year, I think I’d like to go and teach English at some school overseas in the middle of nowhere. I’d really do it this time too.
Also my adult-man garden is looking good with the start of spring with the sweet peas flowering…
ON Sunday my pastor preached a powerful sermon on Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis.
As he was praying afterwards he was talking about God and he said ‘He’s not angry with you anymore.’
It hit me hard. The tears came and I had to work to prevent tears becoming sobs.
‘He’s not angry with you anymore.’
I guess I didn’t realise I felt like God was angry with me and so it surprised me that it was this line that caused so much raw emotion for me.
I’ve been pondering why it caused this reaction and I think it goes something like this.
Sometimes I feel like I work so hard. I get up and go to work and then come home and exercise and then work some more and then on the weekend I rush from gardening to cooking for friends to more work and church. It’s exhausting. And yet even though I work so hard, people aren’t pleased with me. As a high school teacher, it can be pretty thankless and all the work doesn’t mean the students are appreciative. The other day my favourite class was having an off day and they were so disrespectful.
With SSA, I feel like I’ve done the ‘right thing’ for going on 16 years and it’s still so much hard work and striving to keep doing the right thing. Right now, there is a guy who I’m not into, but sometimes we make eye contact across the room. Okay, when I say sometimes I really mean ‘not very often’, cause we’re not in the same room very often, but I know that he knows that I know. And then this is work as well. The guy who I’m going to avoid eye contact with so as to not send signals, which I have zero intention of acting on anyway. It feels like it mocks me.
I guess I’m the older brother in the prodigal son story. The one who stayed home and did the right thing and got bitter and felt that ‘dad’ was angry at him. Maybe that’s why I got some emotion from my pastor’s words. The possibility of being accepted without work and striving.
I want to go and spend the next two weeks in a beach house surrounded by forest and listen to the waves crash. The place I was this time last year.
I’m not sure it would help.
As someone on the resurgence wrote the other day:
“What we really need is to rest in a Savior who has sacrificed everything for us already and can give us life to its fullest every day, as well as for eternity.
The gospel gives us that rest. The pursuit of idols is a relentless and endless pursuit of acceptance, but the gospel gives us a position of acceptance in Christ Jesus. We already have in Christ Jesus all the acceptance, security, and hope that every idol promises, but can never deliver. The gospel allows us to stop working in pursuit of acceptance, which leads to restlessness, and frees us to work from our acceptance, which leads to rest.”