In the Spotlight: Emily Wood.

1:54 PM

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am trudging my way through this Monday.  

   Maybe a guest post will liven things up a bit!  May I introduce you, dear reader, to the lovely Emily Wood.  She is heralding all the way from Pennsylvania, and blogs over here, at La Corbeille.  

   A bit of history for those of you that like connections....she is a cousin to MY cousin Ryan Graber.  She was a Maust, like my mom was a Maust before marrying my dad, and like Ryan's mom was a Maust, before marrying my dad's brother!  Did you follow that? Didn't think so.'s a small world! 

    I have long admired her very contemplative and thought-provoking writing style, (this is one of my favorite posts) and thought I would have her do a guest post for me.  She graciously agreed, in spite of a super busy life/schedule, and I'm glad she did.  So without further adieu, here she is. 

   Last winter, at the end of myself and in the presence of a good and safe friend, I made an important confession: “I think I’m living Groundhog Day.”

   You don’t need to know the old Bill Murray movie (although you totally should) to know the feeling–-you wake up, do your life’s work, and return to sleep – every single day. You lack the time or direction or energy to do what you love – or feel guilty for not loving what you have to do. Regardless, the days are all the same, and the next person who tells you to carpe diem is going to get it.

   Now, if you’re planning on bucking the nine-to-five, soul-sucking-commute, kiss-the-feet-of-mammon routine for something you were made for, I’ll be the first to cheer you on. I’ve done it and it’s great. But what I’m puzzling through these days is why it’s so easy for the senses of excitement and purpose to slip out of our lives.

    Sound familiar? You know it when you see it – the glazed-over look, the society-approved 

Here’s one half of my hypothesis.
  1. We can’t handle real feelings.
   I think our packed-full Western world schedules can’t handle naming and processing emotions, summoning the bravery to tell our friends how we actually are, or letting God’s world’s beauty and brokenness make our breath catch in our throats. Our busyness shrinks our capacity for wonder.

   We can’t admit that life’s not what we expected it to be – whether it’s life on your own or motherhood or the career you studied six years for, disappointment doesn’t seem permitted.
We can’t do grief anymore. We can’t even get sick. Think about it – the last time your friend got sick, the greeting card you sent instructed them to get well soon. That’s because –
  1. We don’t have time for this.
   Ain’t nobody. Not for Sabbaths or risks. Not for bursting out of our cultural molds and safe routines.

   So we mute our feelings, hide our suffering, put our heads down and press on. It’s sick.
If you’re like me, you can get by like this for a little while by growing in other ways. You add deep-sounding titles to your reading list, add weights and miles to your workout regimen, develop new skills, meet new people.

   Follow this long enough, and you can be a fit, popular, highly skilled, totally hollow person.
My husband and I remind each other often that we’re in a transitional phase of life – I’m trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do (paid to write to save the world would be nice) and he’s in graduate school and our house has been stripped down to the studs and is a little embarrassed to be naked and we’re a little embarrassed to be homeless. Marriage experts whose deep-sounding titles made it on my reading list tell me that dreaming together is important to the health of your marriage. But we’re good at dreaming. It’s in daily life that it’s hard to connect.

   Actually being where you are, engaging your world, being transparently you? That takes effort. 

   It helps to remember that all these little “transitional phases” make up our whole marriage – moreover, our whole lives. Is there ever a moment when we’ll breathe a sigh of relief and decide we have arrived? I’m thinking no.

   Our cape cod is not the Promised Land. Nor is the job that Josh wants. Nor is the self-sufficient, stick-it-to-the-man garden that I want, regardless of the fact that I can’t even keep a basil plant alive.

   And you won’t make it to the Promised Land by wishing away the season you’re in. Wishing away is a good way to turn all kinds of days into Groundhog Day.

   Usually it’s the bad days we skip. We speed through the healing days, the wrestling days. It’s too hard to believe that the best way to heal is facing the exhaustion of allowing your heart to feel every single day like it’s been through the blender. But you need to let the Lord meet you there, raw and unsettled and unsettling as you are.

   The miracle of the Christian life is redemption – not just in the first rescue but in the daily one – the slow rescue that heals us, that sets our days apart, that keeps us from being Bill Murray. The slow rescue takes time, but God is not cruel. It’s just that restoration won’t fit in your microwave or whistle when it’s ready. It’s a slow fix, but ultimately a permanent one.

   Someday you’ll reflect on the days that seemed the same and realize that, while you could have strangled poor Phil the groundhog, there was much more than Phil to those days. Those 24-hour pieces that felt the same were actually hotbeds of beautiful things, of slow changes, of God behind the scenes. And although it’s helpful to get more sleep, switch up my schedule, go on more dates, and go carpe those diems, I’ve found that the best way to actually love each passing day is to trust that God made me for this day, and this day, and this day, and that all my misadventures on planet earth occur for a reason.

   When you trust God that way, sooner or later you’ll find the strength to pray the millennia-old words:

Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.

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