Sitting in cupped hands

Cancer horoscope that reads, "Though you are nominally in charge, you are likely to find yourself doing things because someone else wants them done."
Prescient 10-year-old horoscope taped to my work computer, September 2023.

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." —Romans 8:38-39, NAB

Nor Present Things

This month I said goodbye to an organization where I worked for 13 full and productive years—a departure four years, two kids, one pandemic, and one debut book in the making. I'd been feeling the call for some time to move on, and I re-upped my search earlier this year with the intent to find a role that would nurture and stretch me in new ways.

In June, I began interviewing with two different organizations, processes that ended up taking most of the summer. Hitting this stage during a languid season had a curious effect on me. My sense of time felt suspended. Amid the routine of my 9-to-5, homefront, and job search, life took on a liminal, almost luminous quality. Days were long but full, with the summer warmth and daylight helping me feel calmer, slower, and more present to the season's rhythms.

Nor Future Things

Unlike at many other points in the past few years, I wasn't afraid or fearful. I couldn't pin down my near future, and that was ok; instead I cupped each day lightly in my hands, admiring it from all angles. Given my innate desire for control, I'm not usually one to say, "Just give it up to God." But this summer, I felt free to say it and free to do it, free to do the best that I could in whatever circumstance I faced and be comfortable with both the effort and outcome.

When the offer for my new role arrived and I finalized my acceptance, I wondered what feelings or reactions would wash over me. The phrase I kept returning to was deeply satisfied, a feeling that stemmed from a sense of rightness and contentment. I wasn't worried about leaving the familiar, and I wasn't worried about pursuing the unknown. After years of fits, starts, and pivots, my brain recognized a soft and secure landing place, and my gut agreed: This is where you're meant to be right now, even if it's not yet clear why.

Nor Powers

I don't ascribe to the concept that God has a detailed, predestined plan for every individual. But I do believe we are each created in the image and likeness of God, with an infinite range of gifts, abilities, and perspectives to share, and that we can discern—with God and through God—how best to embody our Imago Dei in the world.

My discernment process often gets stuck in my brain, and it's not until I let it move through my body and spirit that my next step becomes clear. This summer, in an unusual-for-me embodied experience, I felt God holding me, cupping me in Their hands, admiring me from all angles—as present to me as I was to Them.

"Nor present things, nor future things, nor powers ..." There will likely come a day again when I am not keyed in as fully to the wondrous weightlessness of divine security. Until then, though, I am taking the opportunity to breathe deeply, close my eyes, and rest.

Prayer #392: In the Hammock

For the first time in a while, I am staring at my toes.

Unlike the rest of my body lying prone in this hammock, my feet poise perpendicular to the swaying cloth, my toes little sentinels peeking over the folded edge to the wild woods beyond. For so long they've trudged beneath me, keeping me upright with little complaint and moving me forward with barely a break. Now is their time to rest and to rise. Instead of pointing down a path, they are pointing up at the map-less sky, and the breeze rocks them back and forth, back and forth, with no aim except to lull.

God of sturdy rope and soft threads, soothe my sighing feet. Heal their blisters, massage their aches, and hum to them the melody of whoosh and creak, the song of sweet safekeeping.