Dear Chicago, The best is yet to come

En route from Chicago to Amish Country

I’m laying in my van seat/bed/dressing room, leaving Chicago for a quick 3 hour drive to the church we play in Indiana in the morning. I feel sick, borderline exhausted and I know that though the audience appreciated it, tonight was not my best.
So many things are running thru me right now, last night at this time we were leaving western Minnesota, a few hours into what should have been a 10 hour trip one of our back tires blew out. Just after 4am we got the van parked at a Walmart, slept until the tire center opened and then all piled out of the bus and into the store for a 7am Tour de Walmart, which started with a bathroom stop and ended with Jess, Ben and me laying in a row on the bottom shelf of cushions in the furniture department falling asleep.
We did get our tires drivable and eventually made it to Chicago, from whence we are now departing, all too soon…

As I’m leaving the windy, dirty, beautiful, crime filled, history laden city. It brings up my history with it, and I try to keep my eyes dry…
My heart is too often on my sleeve these days, but I have stopped making apologies for it.
Three years ago almost to the day I started falling in love with my best friend, right here…
Chicago, look at what you started and didn’t finish.
All that is in the past, but history being behind us doesn’t delete it, it seems to concentrate it. We seem to marinate in mixtures of everything that was, what got us here and what it did to us. Which only makes the present more potent, not unbearably so, just richer… piling on the memories and emotions don’t make for something light. But the stronger I grow the easier I digest, its true that struggle makes you stronger… But I keep feeling this whole falling in love, loving and losing, learning what love is thru pain thing…I keep thinking its run its course. I keep hoping there was a master plan behind truly loving (the “more than you love yourself” version) and having to let go, besides just teaching me a lesson.
I’m a good reader, there has to be better ways to learn lessons… And if it is a lesson, Dear God, let it make sense now instead of unraveling after another few years of letting go… These things are all layered in here, rolling around, half thoughts, half prayers…

Speaking of prayers, I spent part of last week at a conference surrounded by artists & musicians part of me was in heaven and part of me felt like I kept myself a little removed at first, unwilling to mingle, unconsciously preserving myself from being involved with more people that could let me down and vice versa, mostly vice versa… Because while I was there, as I watched other people step out of their fear and their comfort zones into what God had made them for. I came away with many lessons. One, that God wants me to stop trying so hard and just to be.
Two, As I’ve been talking to a painter friend a lot lately we’ve covered a lot of insecurity, and other traits of our birthrights as oldest children… As she talked about making a mistake in a painting and how now she doesn’t know where to go from here with it. I saw so many of my life choices mirrored in our conversation, and my motivation for not doing things, painting, improvising, writing, loving… things that have repurcussions, things you can’t just back out of once a mark has been made.

And last but not least I spent time thanking God for loving me where I am, and wanting to learn how to fully love others where they are, not where they could be, or where I hope they’ll go, not at a distance, not with expectations… All of those things are things God is perpetually teaching me, breathing into me day by day, time after painful time. And its not a bad thing. As I’m writing this, as I’m driving away from Chicago, as I’ve been processing the final stages of grieving the loss of a love I had to let go of… I know without any look even to the future or what may still come of it, how many more ways I can be shaped by it. I know that each pain increases my compassion, each ripping break to my heart, deepens my sympathy, every tear sharpens my understanding and this deep, “wanting the best for someone else at your own expense” kind of, grown up love. Loving like a woman, loving like a human, loving like a little piece of what God has for me broadens my wisdom. It isn’t just about me, or about me and him, its always about Christ and Him crucified, its always about the perfect unfailing love that is God. Life is about understanding His love for us, its intricacies and pains. If my small human heart and soul can live and beat and break and go on loving someone else like this when they don’t even understand the love was there wanting the best all along… What does the maker of love, the beginning and end of all love, feel for me, as I am, when I don’t even know it. The more I know love the closer I am to God… Thanking Him for loving me, for how he loves me. Not who I hope to be, not an image of me, not his version of me, knowing all of me He loves me right here. And that should be enough.

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