when it’s finals here

It’s finals here, with reading day on Friday. There is a light snow falling now, there is a movement across campus – the hurrying of Christmas and Advent, the fear about exams and finishing it all, the longing to be able to just go out and drink peppermint mochas at Starbucks without thinking of all the responsibilities, all of the work, all of the things-you-said-you’d-do-and-didn’t.

My senior year of Gordon, I remember this time of long runs and this fear, oh, this aching fear that I was not loved, that I was not enough, that the world I was holding by the tips of my fingers had already left me behind. That what everyone thought I was, I wasn’t, and what they thought I could do, I couldn’t.

I wrote this post about “Winter Song” – still, to this day, my favorite collaboration between two artists I love – and I wanted to give the people who were reading my blog way back love, to carry them closer.

And today I remembered that our hearts might ask these questions even when we can’t ask it out loud, even when it’s busy and Christmas-y and full to overflowing.

So, if this finds you in the midst or at the beginning of your finals, if this finds you with those questions about enough and beautiful and worthy and cherished, about whether those will be words that belong to you?

This is my winter song to you.

Can I remind you that the bravest work is done when we do not believe we are brave? Can I remind you that the word “enough” is only really relevant in the story about Christ come among us, the final, full and sufficient sacrifice that becomes victory and redemption and life everlasting – that Jesus is enough. That we are longing for him, the fullness that he brings? Can I remind you that what is beautiful these days isn’t caught on camera or in the bright lights at the gym, but it’s somewhere living between the kind words you choose to say and the extra Hershey’s kiss you remember to put in someone’s mailbox, or the hug you give them when you pass the peace of Christ on a Sunday morning? Can I say that you are, and we are, somehow worthy and cherished, because the Lord longs to be compassionate towards us?

Because how the Lord longs to be compassionate towards us.

This is my winter song to you, and to me, too. Because that senior year when I wrote that blog I was running four or five miles a day to hide from myself, scared to move at all for fear that the careful holding everything in place would collapse. And even now, I wake up to the cold morning and I worry that I will lose the things I love because I am not enough.

I write in the hope that, by saying it, I will bring a beacon of light closer – that I will be your harvester of light. Maybe it will shine a little on me, too.



3 thoughts on “when it’s finals here

  1. Hilary, I have been a follower of your lovely posts for a while now. After I finally joined WordPress, it seemed like the right time to thank you for your honesty and the way you insert poetics into your work. I don’t know where this gratitude will find you today, but thank you for your beautiful, thoughtfully rendered words in this space. It is needed. It is good.

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