I woke up extremely early one morning for work feeling dissatisfied with every major area of my life. I stood in front of the mirror getting ready, complaining to my mom who stood nearby. When I get into this sort of mindset, my mood quickly darkens. I already knew in some ways that that sort of thinking doesn’t lead anywhere good, but it’s hard not to feel entitled to it when I deeply wanted things to be different from what they are. Being dissatisfied seems to be a way that I try to show that I don’t want to settle with how I am in my present state and how the things and persons outside of me are in their present state. I have a way I’d like things to be and this isn't it. But God unexpectedly seemed to remind me that that wasn’t the way I should be.
To back up, the night before, while I mainly pray in my own room, I went outside in my backyard at night under the stars to pray. Sounds a little dramatic, but I felt like it was a way to be closer to God. I know he’s everywhere, but the privacy of night combined with the feeling that he’s looking down from the stars helps, and I was deeply craving an encounter with God. That night, I was feeling the fear, as I temporarily do sometimes, that I was wrong about everything. I’ll feel the fear that he’s not there the way I thought he was. Everything I want to do and some major decisions I’ve made have been based on my faith, so when I feel shaky, if only for a few hours, I’ll feel like the ground I walk on day to day is falling out from beneath me. In faith, I cry out to God in those times, because ultimately I believe he’s there and that Christianity is true, and since he already knows what’s on my mind, I bring those doubts and fears before him in hope that he’ll help me get through them. I wanted him to find me somehow, to feel more real to me to allay my fears. I think I also sincerely wanted closeness with God.
Let’s back up some more before the praying, before the complaining in the early morning, earlier that night. I promise it will all connect at the end. I was reading the blog of this pastor and writer named Jonathan Martin whose writings I had found through another blog. I had been binge reading the whole thing since I had found it, and that night I was reading one of the ones I had skipped. The honesty he had about the turmoil in his own life and the ideas presented in that blog were fascinating to me. In more than one blog he had mentioned the importance of U2’s song “Beautiful Day” to him, how he had even felt God speak to him through that song. He wrote about his experience at U2’s concert at Madison Square Garden. He wrote about the lines, “What you don’t have you don’t need it now/ what you don’t know you can feel it somehow.” I was generally aware of the song, mainly for it’s use in commercials, but I’m not a U2 fan, so I specifically googled the song lyrics so I could have a better idea of what he was writing about. The main line of the song is “it’s a beautiful day, don’t let it get away.”
Then came the praying, then came the complaining, then came me in the car driving down my street to work in the dark because it was a little after 5 in the morning. I turned on the radio to this station that I had recently found, and what came on? Beautiful Day! It was right at the part I had read about the night before in Jonathan Martin’s blog. I was shocked. I would have normally turned it off right away but now I was listening. It’s a beautiful day. Don’t let it get away. I felt like the thing was to not begrudge the day that I have for what it is not. What you don’t have you don’t need it now. For me, it didn’t mean that all of those longings were not valid or that I stop wanting what I want, but that I should trust God in the station that I’m at in life. Whatever I don’t have, whether through my own shortcomings, or circumstances that I can’t control, I didn’t need them the way that I was acting like I did getting ready that morning. I didn’t need them to enjoy that day. I can appreciate the goodness in front of me even as I want good things in the future.