room to breathe

october was crazy.

it’s my favorite month of the year, other than december. it holds my birthday, my parents’ anniversary, my mom’s birthday, and the birthdays and anniversaries of seemingly half of the people i’m related to or friends with.

october means crisp air, crunchy leaves, trees the color of fire, apples, apple cider, pie, pumpkins, cinnamon, cloves, bonfires, hayrides and highjinks after dark. it’s the month where the world recognizes it’s dying but determines to go out gloriously ablaze.

it is also the busiest month of the year at the publication for which i work.

last year, october was a month of quiet as i sat and watched my world being slowly pieced back together. i guess it’s always been a crazy quilt, but i didn’t realize just how crazy until this october.

my parents took a well-deserved trip to new york and vermont to celebrate their 25th anniversary. instead of having one birthday party and inviting all my friends, i celebrated the coming of my 24th year eight days in a row. at the end of that my parents came home and work had entered week one of turbo-charged schedules. five days after my parents got home, i left for a three-day business trip. the day i got back home, my dad flew out (from the same airport, three hours before me) to colorado for a two-week business trip. while he was gone i had a second week of turbo-charging at work, then additional design projects for church to complete after i got home.

green day has a song called “wake me up when september ends.” i wanted to sing “wake me up when october ends” instead.

i wanted to not be tired all the time. i wanted to not ache everywhere from nights of lumpy pillows and poor sleep. i wanted to be able to hear the thoughts in my head without a million other things begging for my attention. i wanted to run away and hide. i wanted to sit and breathe and be, somewhere very far away from everything i had to do.

the problem with being that stressed out and not dealing with it properly is that, instead of talking to yourself and reminding your mind and heart and soul of God’s truth and all-sufficiency, you start listening to yourself instead. and eventually you start to believe the things you (or, rather, the archenemy playing with your mind) tell yourself about how you’re not good enough or smart enough or perfect enough or grown-up enough or child-like enough or any other of the legion of “enoughs” you’ll never be. you start playing little games with yourself, pretending the wasted time or distractions don’t matter … while at the same time agonizing over the fact that they do matter. then follow panic, anger, paranoia, jealousy, frustration …

at least that’s what happened for me.

so now october’s over and i have some room to breathe. some of that room i’m determining to make forcibly. there are so many wonderful things i could do or be involved in, but there is only so much me to go around. when i run out of my own strength, i crash and burn. God is and must be the source of my strength. He has to be the most important relationship in my life, the One around Whom everything else revolves, and in which everything finds its proper, perfect place.

i have to run to Him. even if people dear to me don’t, or won’t. i have to. not out of guilt, or because i’m supposed to … because i have to. He’s the One Who puts the fire inside me, and if i don’t go to Him to be rekindled, i go out. i shatter. i fall down.

whenever i think i “have it all together” (whatever the heck that means) i find out i’m still learning. and one thing i seem to have to learn again and again is the wonder of the reality of the gospel. i could write a whole post about that (i probably have, and definitely should again), but here’s just a short — but weightily true — applicable thought from g.k. chesterton:

“the world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.”