I don't know what it is about Brooke Fraser, but every time her music comes on, I can't help but become contemplative. I've been trying to start writing here for about an hour. What with tweetdeck chirping every five minutes & my dog Gatsby sighing with contentment every ten & e-mails dinging every...I don't know...thirty, it's a bit hard to focus. Tweetdeck, off.
When the world is crashing out from under me/I'll be found in You still standing....
Ah yes. There it is. Perspective.
We went to Austin yesterday evening after Russ got off work. Our goal was to find a place to live, and we did (thank you, Jesus). With time to spare, we wandered downtown for a little south by action. My sister, the avid photographer, inspires me to pay more attention to what's around me. I had a bit of practice last night. From graffiti to people watching to skylines - it's amazing what is available if you just pay attention. As we walked down 6th & on to Congress, my heart seriously suffered from sensory overload. Yes. My heart. I'm not sure what's happened to me in these past few months, because I never imagined living in a city like Austin, but bumping into strangers & learning names & soaking in the life and lack thereof, it felt right. Like a missing puzzle piece nuzzled into the perfect spot.
We went into Waterloo & there was this incredible bluesy-jazz-southern rock band waxing poetic in the mic. The drummer looked like he was in another place. So did the guy outside wearing a kilt.
Everywhere we went - everywhere - even Whole Foods - you couldn't get away from the music. And as the bands' music begin to fuse together to join this culmination of some type of chaotic goodness, I began to notice the absolute unabashed nature of those enjoying the environment. Laughter. Yelping and hollering and asking for another round and screaming at the top of the lungs for just one more song because you absolutely have to hear the band keep playing because if they stop that means you stop and you just don't want to go home. Not yet. Not in this weather. Not in this sense of...perfection.
I don't care what anyone says. You can tell me people in Austin are self-indulgent. You can raise your eyebrows & mention the shameful nature of the liberals taking over SoCo. You can even tsk tsk at the churches who are setting up shop in downtown - in bars & in clubs - in an effort to minister to those who won't step foot in a traditional church.
I don't care.
I'll just smile & nod & turn & head back to my home where I can walk down the street and ask a stranger for directions and everyone around me will join in the conversation.
I'll head down 6th & Lamar and buy some Amy's ice cream - chocolate - for my friend Bird who has no tongue. He spends his time reading the Bible & taking shelter on this bench. Around ten you can see him walking down the street with his belongings - likely to some bridge or shelter where he is safe. I'll sit & watch him smile & talk to him as he points to the sky in thanks when he tastes the cool treat on his lips.
Or I will go find Derrick - he's pretty easy to spot & is usually panhandling in some way. Last night he was so excited to see us he ran across South by Southwest traffic just to talk with us for a second and promise to pay us back for what we have done: "I'll tell you what. All you will have to do is buy the stuff. And let me say, I'll make you something to eat. Ooooh boy. It'll be good, too. That's for sure. That's a fact!"
I'm not sure what's happened to Russ & me, but we are savoring it. We've been captured by this city full of life and hope. So many people hurting - so many people searching. So much beauty lost in a messy, messy world. These past few weeks have shown me the messy side of Austin. Despair. Loneliness. Addiction. Pain. But in the middle of this mess is a breathtaking display of hope. God is moving in the hearts of the people in Austin and He's quickening the steps of those headed there. I have no doubt this journey isn't going to be perfect. I have no doubt there will be days I miss the simple life of work-school-home-church-back again doing the same old thing every single day. But just as God is faithful in bringing my husband & me to a point where we see the need to breathe & let go of our life plan and just let Him move, He is faithful in providing us the most exciting and breathtaking life lived to the fullest in His grace. All we have to do is look around & see what He sees. Ask him to break our hearts for what breaks His and love people as He loves us in the midst of our flaws and imperfections.
Oh can you feel the gravity falling, calling us home/ oh did you see the stars colliding, shining just to show we belong...
Brooke's CD is winding down. Gatsby has moved from the inflatable mattress set up for sisters & friends to the couch. He's still sleeping & sighing with contentment. E-mails are still dinging but tweetdeck has been off for the past thirty minutes.
I take a deep breath and wait...
silence. it's magical.
I hear his quiet voice wash over my soul and heart. Savor the magic, daughter. Savor my presence and savor my calling. I'm doing something new - I'm doing something new. Take a deep breath and hold my hand.
And I know, in the midst of these past few weeks and what I have seen and experience and who I have met and come in contact with on the streets...I will cling to His hand. I will savor what He is doing in the lives of me and my husband. I will tell of His goodness and mercy and grace to all who will listen or read. I will love like I have never loved before and I will get my hands dirty so others can feel the warmth of His cleansing power.
But most of all, I will savor Him.