I started writing another post having to do with language, all that it does on a practical level and the power it even has on a deeper, more weighty level. That one will be coming later, but there’s some angst I need to work through on a personal level first. What has interested me in particularly lately is how language and our words can only go so far. When people ask me how my time in China was, I give a generic answer, but inside I honestly have no words. When I’ve opened up to friends recently about my continuing struggles with depression, the ones I value most have not been the ones quick to give advice. The friends I cherish are the ones who’ve sat, listened, fixed me coffee, prayed to God on my behalf, invited me over for dinner, watched movies with me, played music with me, and gone running with me. They’ve communicated love to me without opening their mouths and saying a word. I’m eternally grateful for those loved ones and experiences. They renew my hope.
My relationship with God has been similar lately. I haven’t had the best relationship with the bible in recent times. Nor have I found a lot of nourishment in sermons.
Instead, I’ve found God in raindrops, clouds, wind, leaves tumbling across the sidewalk, moths swarming around the flood lights in the evenings, the sound of the train in the distance, and the croaking frogs. God has showed up in seemingly simple things.
When I’ve had a hard time communicating with Him and nailing down what I believe, I feel like He’s given me avenues to receive His grace when I thought there were none.
Partaking of the communion elements has been huge for me lately. A couple of weeks ago, I was having a particularly dark weekend. I mustered up every reason possible not to show up to church. After eventually prying myself out of bed, throwing my hair in a bun, and riding my bike down a side street, I walked in. Made it. When it came time in the service to receive communion, I felt this sudden, deep, desperation. A good friend of mine was in line in front of me about to approach the table. For a split second, I considered literally pushing her out of the way because I felt like I needed to get to the table so desperately bad. ("Get out of my WAY! I NEED THE BODY AND BLOOD OF JESUS!" Just kidding.)
As I dipped the bread into the juice and placed it on top of a napkin, I wandered off to the side of the auditorium rather than going quickly back to my seat because I really felt like there needed to be some sort of dialogue with God. I found myself a nice little spot behind a stack of chairs. I started to tear up a little bit (trust me, I’m not the world’s most emotional person) and slowly hit my knees.
“Jesus, I don’t know if transforming white bread and off-brand grape juice into your body and blood is something you actually do. I don’t know if something this simple could actually have that power. But right now I don’t think I have enough faith to receive you any other way...so please help me receive you.”
Bread and juice have transformed me more than anything I can recall in the recent past.
In times of both sorrow and profound beauty, words don’t seem to cut it. For me it’s been a matter of finding a whole other way of communicating with myself and God lately...
Bike rides. New songs. Guitar riffs. Tears. Cups of french press coffee. Speaking out prayers in a language only He knows.
It hasn't been so bad either, learning to communicate without words.