How did I get here again? So soon. It seems like I have barely recovered from the last year of medical school & exams. Maybe I actually haven’t. I’m still tired more weekends than not in this new cool city of ours. I have chosen to rest. To not make myself go do things, but listen to my body. Rest is needed and I’m in a season of luxury where I can rest. So how did we already circle back to exams? And to be clear, I am not in medical school, but I have been in my own learning journey during my husband’s school experience.
If you have followed my story for awhile you know that exam season almost kills me and I not always at my finest. Do y’all remember the plastic spoon story? Heaven help me. It’s hard, stressful, long and filled with every emotion under the sun, yet every year I somehow think “this year it will be different, this year I’m ready.” Then I realise afresh I am not. So I’m here, now what? Well as per usual, I’m going to show up. I’m still recovering from last year like I said, yet here we are again. Exams are less than a week away and as I read through past exam seasons on my blog this morning, I thought a familiar thought, “I think I’m ready this year.”
Now before you say, “Oh sweet Dana you will be melting down soon,” let me share one thing: I gave up this year. I did. I really did. I stopped trying to be the Medical Student and carry the stress and worry and fear. Sounds simple, but it took me five school years to get there. Ironically, I have had more peace this year even though the circumstances & finances have been the worst by a long shot. But giving up was the best and hardest thing I have ever done. It came around April. It took me until July to fully give up and realise I am not in control. And man it felt good. So good. Do I still get nervous? Heck yeah. This week I have wanted to panic at least four times a day, but I just had to say nope I gave up. This isn’t mine to carry.
Do you have a place that feels like home? Or that feels holy? Where you feel safe? I do. It’s church. For some of you that sounds counter intuitive because you haven’t felt safe in a church ever. I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry that the place that represents a God who loves you doesn’t make you feel safe. I’m not better than you or more spiritual, it’s just my place. In fact, this year it’s been my lifeline and nine weeks out of ten this year I’m not even listening. I know, right? That sounds super unholy, but truly for me I end up lost in this conversation with God in church. I’m reminded who I am. I am reminded of promises I feel like are for me. I find myself with tears in my eyes because I feel hope, I feel like I’ll make it this week. It feels so holy that before now, I haven’t really talked about it. Sometimes it feels like the songs and the speakers have had an inside look beyond the curtain of my life, yet I know they haven’t because I have made zero effort at this new church to get to know people. I don’t say that’s the right way to do church, but for me in this season it’s what I needed. Tonight I walked in to my little holy space and it didn’t feel holy. It never does when I walk in. It happens somewhere within the first few minutes. I can’t tell you how or why. I just know it does. Can I tell you something? If you have that moment just stay there. It might be in a run. It might be in nature. It might be with friends or it might be when you’re lost in a book or creating something with your hands, but when you feel this inexplicable moment of awe and like you are in a holy moment just stay there. Don’t justify it away, don’t feel bad it might not be in a church, don’t feel weird that you aren’t even spiritual and you are experiencing this, just stay there and see what you hear. Experience it. Feel it. Engage it. Why do I say this? Because in this year I didn’t do any of the “churchy” things I knew to do in order to feel God or have peace, yet I have it. Why? I think it’s because God loves us more than we know. He is way bigger than structures and doubts and anger. He is going to meet you where you are at. For me this year, it was in the back of this huge church that did the exact same thing week in and week out. A church I didn’t connect in, a church I didn’t really fit in, yet that was my holy place. And specifically my holy moments were when I wasn’t listening to the speaker. See God doesn’t always show up in structure. I can’t explain it & I won’t justify it, I’m just going to experience it until it’s over. So tonight, tonight I walked in and felt out of place, then this song started and tears were streaming down my cheeks. Words on a screen being sung that made sense and put words to my thoughts today as I read through old blogs and saw old dreams and old promises. Words that weren’t magical but were holy. What does holy mean to me? This space where time stops and I feel like someone is reading my mail, where peace is present and shouldn’t be, where I don’t want to move because it feels safe. It’s why I show up week in and week out. I feel hope, I’m reminded old dreams are not dead dreams, they are just not yet fulfilled. I am reminded that I’m okay. I’m reminded I’m created with purpose.
So tonight, I wrote this blog in church because it’s what seemed right. But isn’t that beautiful. If I ran a church I would care less if someone listened to my program even though I worked hard on it, I would be so happy someone encountered God and something holy. Maybe that’s the secret of church?
I’m showing up. Exams are hard, the future I thought was coming four years ago seems so fleeting, the hopes and dreams I had might be shifted in the next few moments. Hard. But I’m showing up. I’m not running. I’m not controlling. I’m just going to walk straight through it because this is not my forever.
If you are a praying person I would love your prayers for us, if you want to think good thoughts for us I would love it. If you know me, encouraging words is what I need in the next few weeks. And where ever you are I hope you have a holy spot. I hope you know that a God loves you and will show up where you are no matter what. And above all else I hope you never forget, this is not your forever. Shall we show up in our respective lives together this month? Okay, see you there.