I was most emotional on the drive from Raleigh into Wilmington, but not for the reasons I expected. I was preparing to feel like I was finally going home, and had practiced all the things I would have to tell myself to keep from stubbornly refusing to get back on any plane to go away from there. I was almost looking forward to that feeling, as I think that at some point my hostility towards Tampa had become spiteful. I was mad at Tampa. I didn’t want to give it any more chances. I wanted it to be easier, and I didn’t want to have to try. This was an easy resentment to keep up – everyone sympathized with my loneliness and nobody was telling me to get over myself already.
But I did not feel any of those angry things on the 1,000 miles of I-40 between Raleigh and the coast. I instead was overcome with an intense and unexpected feeling of relief, not because I was escaping something terrible but because I was reminded of something very good. Perhaps sometime in my fight against Tampa, Wilmington had become unreal. It had become a dream or an oasis, and I had forgotten that it was not a romantic ideal, but a real place with streets and people and smells. I think the road signs did me in. I suddenly realized that Wilmington still existed and was surprised to feel, more than anything else, remarkably reassured.
People still love each other in Wilmington. God is still moving there. There are churches there that are telling people the Truth. The gospel is alive, and if it is alive in Wilmington then it is still alive in me and I am not as alone or as unlucky as I falsely believe. I am weary of this lie and I am anxious to learn to trust in the sovereignty of a God who knows more than me. What I am realizing, slowly and reluctantly, is that I tend to not believe in His good intentions. This is dumb.
“But he gives more grace.” James 4:6
There is hope for me yet.
Our weekend was extraordinarily refreshing. I am most grateful for familiar faces, conversations about life instead of work, and being surrounded by people who love and know each other. Also, agnolotti at Osteria Cicchetti.
The week we got home I sat down to unwind and finally prayed for peace with Tampa. I wrote in my journal, “I feel empty, but it feels like spring is coming.”
I am so thankful for you, friends. Please go hug someone you love.
|1. Twins 2. The Zoo 3. Friends & Burritos 4.The Sky|