There’s a couple of sentences my friend Marlena has in her book, The Way Up is Down, that I can never seem to get out of my head:
“And yet even the waiting room of my life remains God-haunted. Really, what I am is God-intoxicated, a staggering drunk.”
I return to these sentences now because life itself feels like a perpetual waiting room. Our family lounges in the waiting room when it comes to our housing situation. I hang out in the waiting room when it comes to my writing life, and specifically, to the second book I dream of publishing. Our country – and certainly, the world as a whole – remains in the waiting room as we emerge from stay-at-home orders and other effects of the covid-19 virus (although as some medical professionals have pointed out, “the new CDC masking guidelines centers those communities that have high rates of vaccination and for whom masking was a burden.” Clearly, we’re not there yet and a lack of justice remains).
Whether you browse news headlines or look around the living room of your own story, life can often feel like a waiting room. Yet, for some of us, a God-hauntedness remains and our staggering drunk selves cannot escape our feelings of God-intoxication.
I see this on my walks, when a burst of flowers stop me in my tracks, leaving me breathless.
Just yesterday, I walked one of my favorite loops, dog in one hand, cell phone in the other on video chat. There I was, in the middle of a sentence when a most dazzling set of purple irises, purple hydrangeas and purple succulents beg me pause, intoxicated by their beauty.
Part of me felt like the squirrel-distracted dog in Up, but instead of a furry varmint it was a flower, one and then another and another: Flower? Flower! Flower!!!!
I stopped talking. I couldn’t say anything else I was so distracted by this beauty.
I found myself wondering who planned and planted and executed this burst of purple. Was it a master gardener? Perhaps more importantly, how did the biggest Master Gardener of all come up with these varietals, these bursts of color, these shades so subtly different from one another, yet all so uniquely, perfectly exquisite?
I felt overwhelmed by this gift, spirit and body made a God-intoxicated, staggering drunk – and this at a time I seemed to need it most, because isn’t that always how it happens?
As I had written in my journal earlier that day, I felt like I was in the most liminal of liminal spaces: in a place of transition, of waiting and not knowing, even if I know in my heart of hearts that something good is on the horizon.
Although I couldn’t vocalize it at the time, I needed a sign – some sort of sign that let me know that I wasn’t alone, that God was present in this place.
I needed to know that I wasn’t alone, that the God who is just as personal as corporate was in this place, on this walk, in this life with me.
In a way, this reminder – a reminder, no less, found in bursting flowers on a stranger’s front lawn – let me know that even though it feels like I am in this space now, this is not a forever-place.
It’s like the flowers said to me:
I see you.
I see the in-between you find yourself in.
I am in this with you, for I go before and behind you, above you and below you. I am on your right and on your left. I squeeze into every nook and cranny of your life and I am there for the waiting, the taking, the noticing – when you’re ready to wait and take and notice with me.
I guess that’s what a God-haunted, God-intoxicated, staggering drunk kind of life looks like. And it’s one I’m going to keep running after, one day, one moment, one hour at a time.
If I remember to open my eyes in the first place, that is.
What say you? How is God meeting you in the liminal space you find yourself in? PS: I don’t want you to miss a post – be sure to sign up to receive my Patheos posts today!
*Post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Speaking of, Marlena’s book, The Way Up is Down, is all about losing yourself – in this God-intoxicating beauty – so you can find yourself. It’s pretty much gold. Order it today!