It’s 11:11 pm. A pine-scented candle flickers next to me. The wick is too long, causing the flame to bow compulsorily. The glow casts my reflection against the frosted windowpane and refracts back on the glassy coating of my eyes.
I am tired, but I cannot sleep.
As if my exhaustion is bowing compulsorily to the unceasing swirl of internal chatter. These nights, I can’t get them to shut up, so I sit up late and try to piece together sentences as fragmented as my thoughts. I might be more grumpy if it weren’t so wonderful.
Swathed by the streetlamp, the snow outside matches the color of my candlelight. I used to dream about being kissed beneath that streetlight. I went through a Jane Austen phase where I lit candles all around my room and wrapped up in shawls to scribble Regency stories or pen letters to nobody, all in a British accent….
In the last twenty-four hours, two people have told me I am too romantic for my own good. I took it as a compliment. When you are romanced by the God of the universe, you do become too romantic for your own good–you become romantic for the good of others. Both of these people were women. Regrettably, they have traded in romance for reason, denying–but never escaping–their infused nature of a romantic Creator.
If only you knew! my heart cries out. If only you would open yourself up to the reality of his desire for you.
I didn’t, all those years pretending to be Elizabeth Bennett. Or the following years I pursued the affection of young men. Or the subsequent months I shunted my heart for my head, traded romance for reason. In recent weeks, I have forgotten the reality he is teaching me to believe. It’s only a few days into the new year and already my heart is wandering from the love I came to trust the previous year!
January descended upon Minnesota with a belated arctic blast not nearly as cutting as the emotional icicles that pierced my heart. God was silent. I was sick all of Christmas and cried all of New Year’s. Wondered how 2015 could turn like a switchback and how I was supposed to drive on when I was likely to derail and crash cliff-side into oblivion.
I bellowed into the snowstorm, “AREN’T YOU GOING TO SAY SOMETHING?”
I love you.
That only agitated me further. Agh, God, I know that! You’re always saying that. That’s the only thing you ever say anymore. Why won’t you speak to this pain? Why won’t you give me answers!
I have always loved you. I will always love you.
I was in pain. Nothing made sense. All my expectations of the coming year were like gaps in a Jenga tower, tottering before my eyes, collapsing before I even lived it. And God was telling me he loved me. I groaned with remorse because it didn’t mean anything to me.
Jesus, I feel bereft.
And finally his voice breathed through the void in three words that stilled every fear, soothed every hurt, and spoke to fifteen years of romantic longings:
You are known.