D.L. Mayfield

living in the upside-down kingdom

Filtering by Tag: loneliness

Jesus be near

A week or two ago Seth Haines was asking around for contributions on a series centered on the prosperity gospel, on the ways it creeps into our life. Sign me up, I said, calculating my angle. I was going to rant about women and oppression and Half the Sky (which I had just watched, and which had left me undone) and our horrible pursuits of blessing. I was probably going to write something also about confusing American blessings (life, liberty, pursuit of happiness--often at the expense of others) with kingdom blessings (you know, those pesky fruits of the spirit that are born out of things like . . . suffering). But then tragedy came and slammed us hard, knocked us down, dragged us to the door. So my rant evolved into a quiet little question: what do you cling to when it all hits the fan?

It's funny how things change, so fast.

Head on over and read it, probably one of the more vulnerable pieces I have ever written. The husband left today to fly to Japan and here I am, alone. Very little for me to cling to here--no family or heart friends or people who have known me for more than a few weeks. I don't know my neighbors, don't know all the customs of this place, I am scared to drive and the baby hasn't napped in 2 days. I am freaking out, a bit.

But someone prayed for me yesterday and it changed things, inside. I could feel the tears already starting. We always think we will be successful in our pursuit of happiness, just one touch away from it. If only I was closer to my family. If only all of my neighbors wanted to be best friends. If only the heaven rained casseroles for a week straight. If only people didn't get in car crashes. Then, then I would be finally happy.

But what if I gave all that shit up? What if I realized that right here and now, in the most mystical and mundane way, Jesus Christ wanted to fulfil all my needs and longings, how he knows them anyway and came to carry them into himself; what if I believed it? But I find myself arguing but that's too simple; someone has to pay for this world, for the way things turn out. And then I hear, so small and simple: someone already did.

I think that is what this lonely week is for. I feel the hard parts I have worked hard to build up collapsing; I feel my identity shifting. I feel like I don't know how to explain this without reverting to the Christian language I grew up hearing, but this is terrifying and life-altering stuff here.

And the only prayer I have been praying for these past two days is pulsing with life, calming my spirit. It is the only thing I can think of, and it is already healing my fears.

Jesus, be near.

my place in this world

well we drove across the plains and now the future feels like one, all flat and brown and seamless from start to finish. overwhelming in its possibilities, i want to curl up and go to sleep, to burrow into a mountain with grass as silky like velvet, to sleep in this world. but instead i am very much alive, no burrowing allowed, already feeling forgotten in this jam-packed urban space, the world around disorienting in every way.

we made it to the exotic midwest. the apartment set out for us is not . . . available yet. we are hoping it will be by the end of the month. as for now, we are living in a very nice condo supplied by friends of our organization. it is all so nice, but it is so disappointing to continue to live out of suitcases, to not have a spot to make my own. i never knew i was that kind of girl, but it seems to be a desire that grows with my age. when i was young, in YWAM, longing to change the world, i read a book by Loren Cunningham (the founder of YWAM) where he talked about how his wife Darlene could make any place a home with the simplest of touches--a beautiful single flower in a vase, books arranged artfully on a bedside table. I read that so many years ago and scoffed, thinking how archaic, how gender-based this longing for home seemed to be.

now, i crave that skill. but i am still myself, tending towards messy bohemia (o, let me drown in books and throw pillows and quirky art). but this summer of simplifying, of giving most of it away, of living out of a couple of car's worth of stuff has taken its toll. i want a place. i want a place for me and my heart, early in the mornings. i want a place for my baby, to grow and learn and feel safe, a place where she can cry and be comforted, make a mess and help clean up. i want a place to have people over to, for coffee and english lessons and dinner and games and conversations and prayer, prayer into the hours of the night when it becomes the watchful period, where we pray for our dreams to become real. and this desire, my urge to put a flower or two in a vase, doesn't seem so silly anymore. it seems darn right spiritual.

but for now, we wait. we are slowly taking in this new city, and i am having a hard time describing how different it is. maybe the words will come to me, later. all i can say now is this: the majority of people in this neighborhood are so different from me that it strikes fear in my heart. for a truth of human nature is that we gravitate towards people who are just like us, who make us feel good about our decisions and thought processes and life paths. i get the sense that when you choose to live and work with people who are different from you in nearly every way, that loneliness is a very real and ever=present companion.

instead of running from these times (disorientation, grief at saying goodbye to friends/family/church, loneliness, fear), i am taking advice from a friend (the ever wise and lovely Kelley) and i am trying to not busy up my time in order to not feel these things. we are taking some time for the sadness, over here. we are trying to come to terms with our companions, the ones in our hearts and our minds, always calling us away from kingdom-living.

 

it has only been a couple of days, and we don't know when it will feel like home. but we watch, and we wait. and we pray.

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