All I wanted was 4 sofa legs from IKEA.
4 sofa legs that would lift my sofa up off the ground and make it easier to clean under. I felt certain that if I could bring some order to the chaos I would feel like I had accomplished something this Saturday. But, once I reached IKEA, I realized this was going to be harder than I thought. In fact, it was going to be impossible. The type of sofa we own does not fit the kind of legs that lift it up off the ground. I was stuck.
Upon receiving the sad news, I thanked the associate and promptly plopped down on one of the display couches. I just sat there staring across the display floor. The sea of floral cushions and brightly coloured sofas blurring together in a rainbow schmozzle.
I did not want to get up and I did not want to go home empty handed. I was having trouble accepting “no”.
I started to wonder if maybe I could stay here, in the couch section. It was so tidy and bright, orderly, relatively clean and quieter than things at home. There were no muddy boot prints on the floor, no single socks or pairs of child underwear squished up into a corner, no lego bits or shoes behind doors making it impossible to open them all the way. No one was asking me questions. This seemed like a good place to camp out until this season of life passed.
Yes, I would stay here and make a life on this mustard yellow sofa.
I guess I wasn’t feeling very “springy” today.
Spring arrived here with an amazing swing of temperatures and everything began to change and melt. The whole world seemed to burst open in a bright sunny delight. We could breath again, the time of bracing your muscles every time you left your house had ended. The world was changing.
And, yet, I have found myself a little out of sorts this past week.
As I sat there, on the mustard coloured couch, I realized that this quick onset of spring has exposed that I have been waiting for something. I have been waiting for spring in my inner world. I have been waiting for healing, renewal, change, for something more than my current medical routine and doctors appointments.
I feel like I’m living in life in a spirit of waiting. Trying desperately to be patient with God’s timing, with my inability to control my future. I have been waiting for God to move. Sometimes I find peace here and sometimes I do not.
Maybe you are waiting too. Waiting for God to act, to change, to speak, to release you from a season, or perhaps start a new season.
The real problem with waiting is that it is just plain hard. It aches inside, it is full of fear or panic with our inability to control the outcomes, it occupies our thoughts, it can feel like hope gets crushed over and over as we wait with unfulfilled desires.
I was hoping the sofa legs would solve something. Maybe it would make the waiting easier by making our home a little nicer. I am trying to plant those gardens in Babylon. And when I wasn’t able to complete the task…well…I found myself sitting on that mustard coloured couch planning out my life living in the IKEA sofa display area. I just did not want to go back to craziness of the season with little kids, with the slowness of my own journey, with the waiting. I did not want to go back .
These past few weeks I have found myself wistfully longing- wishing things were different, wishing something new and exciting was happening inside me, nostalgic for times in the past when I did not have as much responsibility, when I was carefree and concerned with just me. (In reality, those times were not that great but it’s a grass is greener on the other side sort of situation.)
So - here is what I know and what I was reminded of on that couch today.
If God is present with us, always present with us and watching over us - then we are exactly where we should be. We are exactly where God has us. If we are truly trying to follow God and be faithful, then we are where we are supposed to be.
And I believe that God has not forgotten about me.
As I read through Matthew, my eyes have been awoken in a new way to the compassionate Jesus - awoken in a way that can only come from the Holy Spirit, as encouragement in this time. The word for compassion used in Matthew is a word too wonderful not to share : splagchnizomai. It means to be deeply moved in one’s gut.
In the 1st century, people believed that love and pity where to be found in the stomach and so, if someone was moved in their gut they were moved in the absolute deepest part of love. Over and over you see Jesus turn or return to people who need to be freed, healed, saved. Over and over he helps people, he sees them and frees them from their oppression. And that Jesus, the one who feels splagchnizomai sees you and me the same way. He has not forgotten about me. And he has not forgotten about you.
He sees me and so I wait. I wait for the one who has compassion, the one who brings young girls back to life, who has healing in the tassels of his garments. The Messiah, the risen one, sees each of us.
I did eventually get up off that couch and make my way home - even if I arrived empty handed. And it wasn’t so bad when I got there. I was met by the sounds of children’s giggles as they splashed about in mud and the foggy morning had dissipated. I took a few moments to feel that warm spring sun on my skin and felt renewed in my ability to wait.
I know that God is the inventor of spring- both outward and inner spring. And so I will wait. Wait for spring to to take shape in my inner world just as I watch it unfold in the outer. I will wait under the compassionate gaze of Jesus.
So, if you need me, I will be on my back step with the sun on my face, waiting for spring to come.
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