It’s late on a Thursday – the ordinary, almost-but-n0t-quite-the-weekend day – and I’m lying diagonally on my bed, thinking about working out. I don’t really want to, if I am honest. I’d much rather lie there, in my outdoor coat and my favorite brown boots, the ones from the store that closed in Union Station two years ago. I don’t want to jump around at 10pm to music that I feel like I know too well. I don’t want to run on a treadmill going nowhere.
I’m moping, and I’m tired, and the lonely hits me deep after the long week. I remember that once I whispered to a dear friend, almost a year ago now, over cocktails at a jazz bar near campus – that I was tired of learning about myself alone. I want to do all that good work of figuring out who we are, who we want to be, together. I don’t want to do it alone anymore.
And those thoughts dont’ seem to be banished by the lump in my throat. They don’t disappear by crying – or by yelling, or by praying the same question, of how long, how long, how long O Lord.
So I pull on shorts and a ratty T-shirt. I pull on socks. I find the Zumba YouTube video (yes, I am that girl). I click play. I halfheartedly jump up and down to the first song. I stuff my hair into an elastic and hope for the best. My bangs, which are outgrown by at least three months, flop helplessly around until I force them into bobby pinned submission. I’m still half-hearted, still unwilling to say that okay, fine, it’s fine to be me, to be in this skin, to be bouncing around with insecurities at 10pm.
But a few more songs in, and I can start to catch a rhythm. I can even (barely) see something like flexibility or strength in my muscles. I can feel my body cherish the work – it is something to do, anything, and it is something more concrete than lying on a bed feeling all over the “how long how long how long” question.
By the time the video finished, I was ready:
this is the moment I play, “22” and “Kiss You” on repeat at 10:40pm and dance around in gym shorts. This is the moment when I choose to laugh with my body. This is the moment when, looking at myself, I catch a glimpse.
It’s not a perfect picture, oh, but can I tell you what I saw?
I saw a heart filled with stories to be poured out on the people who wander across my path.
I saw my laughter – how it can fill a room and go before me down a hallway at work.
I saw lonely that became lovely, loveable, even something that I cherish.
I saw me, ten years from now, remembering “22” and “Kiss You” and chopping red onion and pregnant or not or in Italy or not or married or not or with a PhD or not, still promising God that I wouldn’t forget how much He loves the things He made.
I saw a glimpse of me, radiant.
And I saw us – fierce, independent and free, each following the wild call of love.
Because though these weeks are filled with that, “how long, O Lord?” and that, “why not me, Lord?” and that, “but what about, Lord?” – though we might know so little, though we might doubt ourselves, though we might be disappointed and angry and overjoyed and tired and anxious and gracious –
I can see our wild love. I can see it in you. I can catch a glimpse of it, gym shorts and all.
a love so wild, so fierce, so free – I almost can’t bear it. how radiant we are. how transformed. how lovely.