beep. beep, beep, BEEEEEEEEEP. I jolt upright, panting. My fingers sleepwalk towards my cell phone, sliding it silent again. I look around. I’ve kicked my comforter into a heap at the foot of the bed, scattered pillows across the floor in my dreaming. I feel my arms, goosebumped and cold.
I know the dog is downstairs, waiting for my father to feed him. I can hear my mother in the next room clinking hangers together as she decides what to wear for the morning. I know my brother is sprawled on the old couch under our one air conditioner, and the other brother (the red truck driving brother) is eating a bowl of cereal before his work day begins.
Everything is in its place, all the people, all the animals, even the flowers that bend their petals towards the sun that hasn’t quite finished rising. And then there is me: sitting in a pile of leaf-printed sheets, hair in a messy red-blond halo, wearing a T-shirt from my days in an elementary school play and an old pair of soccer shorts, and my heart is spinning.
What if I have been wrong this whole time, Jesus? What if when I thought you said, “This is important,” you didn’t mean what I thought you meant? What if you meant for me to move to DC, to move to teaching, to move to France? What if you wanted me to go to grad school after all, and if I was there instead of here I wouldn’t face this heart-and-gut-wrenching situation, this worry, this falling and failing?
I dreamed I had gotten it wrong, I realize cup my chin in my hands and draw my knees up towards my chest. I dreamed he had wanted something else from me, something brighter and braver.
I hear the water running for toothbrushes. I hear the coffee gurgle and drip, and somewhere in the ordinary morning below these three hundred year old floorboards, the world is moving.
I swing my legs over the bed, trip over a stray book, and fall to my knees. This isn’t funny, Jesus! I’m already late! I roll my eyes, but then I close them.
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2 Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
3 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
Today, I will wait. More than watchmen for the morning.
The coffee will be almost gone if I don’t hurry – and I race through the rest of the room, gathering shoes and glasses, putting an earring in while I try to brush my hair. Even here, though? More than watchmen for the morning.