A Lantern of Hope

Several days ago I asked God to show me how he is working in my life. As you could probably ascertain from my last blog post, I’ve been having a hard time seeing this. Being able to admit what I did in the last post is one of his answers and then something that happened yesterday, which I now share:

All day I was feeling the pointlessness of my existence. This wasn’t situational, necessarily.  It wasn’t a “big day,”  other than the rambling, normal celebration of a friend’s birthday. I had spent all day with these friends chatting, eating, staring off into space, being entertained by their children, taking photos with my cell phone…

It was all very usual except that behind all of this average living I felt myself clinging to the edge of a deep, cold abyss. I had just recently watched a movie about not taking any day for granted and was desperately trying to enjoy the moment, but my insides ached in a way that made my eyelids heavy and my conversation well empty. So I grabbed a couch blanket and inconspicuously tried to nap away the depression. Sometimes despair is merely my mind’s way of telling me I’m tired.

I woke after dinner had been mostly eaten by the rest of the friends in the house and it was offered to me to make myself a grilled cheese sandwich. This was a good way to transition into being a part of the group again and while I busied my hands with that task, I sleepily sought to cling to small joys. Buttering bread, the challenge of making the perfectly golden browned sandwich, the kindnesses of my friends and the funny things their kids say.

Thinking about these things has a mixed response in me because on one hand I am grateful for them, but on the other hand they make me aware of how alone I am within myself. I seem to have an acuity for pairing the simple pleasures with morose realities.

Directly following this recognition of my solitary state, came this unbidden mental picture/feeling of my lonely, pointless self (in some cavernous, dark room) suddenly embraced by the eternally joyful, and consoling God of the universe (with arms of sunlight). Without saying it, he whispered to me, “This is enough.”

This normally happens when he speaks to me, it’s more like he just looks at me and I know something more true than anything I’ve known before. It is the most necessary kind of pep talk. It is (I think) what Paul meant when he said, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” Being alive isn’t about maintaining meaning, but about living in the direct and loving gaze of God.

I really am quite pointless, but also, I am loved. And that is, miraculously, enough. I’m not saying that God was telling me I’m pointless, so much as he was giving me a lantern of hope in the darkest of all of my caves.

4 thoughts on “A Lantern of Hope”

  1. So many of the things you write resonate with me, and this is one of those. As I drove my kids from place to place doing normal boring things today, I wondered how many other people were feeling the same as me, that their day was caught up in doing seeming unimportant stuff. Then….

    “This is enough.”

    When I read that, the tears stung my eyes because that is precisely what God has been teaching me too. This is enough, and it is good.

  2. Thank you for this. I also struggle with feeling like my life is pointless because I don’t “belong” to anyone. It’s easy to go from that to feeling like you’re not very important to God either.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Brenda.

      This idea of belonging to someone is big. I know (and you probably do, too) that marriage doesn’t give one a feeling of worth when there wasn’t one to begin with.

      I pray that, scattered throughout all of your regular and your fancy days, you are graced with the knowledge that you are loved and eternally important to God.

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