Are you there God? It’s me, Hannah.


“It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out.

I want to repeat one word for you:
Leave.

Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn’t it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don’t worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.” Donald Miller

On a mediocre day it will take me four or five attempts to get into the perfect position. Sitting Cross-Legged. Curled into a Ball. Knees Folding Beneath Me.

Shift. Shift. Shift.

All to look upward, bow my head and attempt to speak with God.

“I know you are up there, God. But it is awkward.” Shift. “I believe in you, no doubt. But I have no idea what you want from me.” Shift. “Couldn’t you just send me a book, God? I mean, your Bible is great but things might go smoother with me if you could just beam down a packet of cliff notes.” Shift. “Then I would always be doing what you wanted from me, right?” Shift. “A picture book would even suffice, God. A Single Water Color Glimpse at the next page or a chance to see the Bigger Picture from the last few years.” Shift. “God, did you really think this through? Honestly, why did you send me into this Mess of Skin without a legitimate chapter book? Chapter 11: You fall short. Chapter: 26: You leave on the Northbound train. I need to know these things.”

It is in my shifts and position switches that I realize one thing: God will never give us a book. Not an instruction manual. Not an eHow. Not finding it on Amazon.com tomorrow. I better quit praying for one.

As of lately, I can hear Him countering my thoughts, asking me, “Child, why would I waste my time with a single book when you have an entire library before you?Big Swooping Bookcases, Packed Up to the Ceiling. A Library full of Individuals from all over this world, each one packed with endless Stories & Lessons to Learn. Waiting to be cracked open with that first hello or finally closed with that last farewell.

Why sit and read chapter 19 when you could be out living it? Why wait longingly to read the next few chapters when God has granted the world with pencils & paired them with courage to do the scripting?

A Great Friend of mine led an amazing prayer on our mid-year retreat this past week where he asked all of us to close our eyes and envision our lives during the last four months in the volunteer program as a strand of single moments instead of One Long Journey. He guided a group of Close-Eyed Missionaries through a Wide-Eyed process of picking out specific moments of Chaos & Joy and holding them up to the light.

With my eyes closed tight I envisioned a strand of Pearls. Strung together. Simple but Poetic in their Arrangement. The Hard Moments. The Estranged Ones. The Elation. The Spontaneity.

I realized for the first time: Maybe I don’t understand the purpose to all of these moments. Maybe I never will. But none of these moments have been by accident.

All of our moments are like stars in the night sky, waiting for a wide-eyed wanderer to lay down before them and Connect the Dots. Embroider Constellations Amongst the People We Meet, the Places we Step Upon, the Emotions left Stirring Deep in our Souls.

We might not have time to Contemplate our Constellations and Keep Connecting Them all the while. Better we Keep Connecting and Contemplate some other time. Better we keep writing that chapter book instead of sitting down to read.

Lately, I like to believe that Don Miller and I were married in a past life. At one point or another, we sat and drank tea together on the wrap around porch of a house with peach-colored shutters. He reads my soul like a book. He writes my soul into books. In his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, he wrote about the grand possibility of sitting down with God at the end of our lives. Sitting with Him. And Sharing Our Stories. God will listen and nod his head and then, when our lips grow silent, he will tell us Why. Why we suffered. Why we loved. Why we were drawn to that man. Why we had to say goodbye to her. God will fill in the blanks of our lives, the blanks we left like puddles that ached for a good pair of rain boots to jump in them. The Why’s, What’s, and How’s, wearing Bright Yellow Rain Boots, Splashing Clarity into the Moments We Craved to ¬†Understand at that very moment.

I grow giddy at the prospect of meeting God at the end of all of this, just like Miller writes. I’ll bring my notes and God will bring His. And we will sit in sun chairs with a fresh pot of coffee between us. Perhaps Pumpkin Spice. Maybe Hazelnut. Together we will sift through a tangle of memories and mishaps like a Good Will bin filled with all the best finds. I will have the chance to tell Him my story from start to finish. And then he will reach into his Godly Right Pocket and pull out the Pearl Bracelet that had formed in the closure of my eyelids. From his Godly Left Pocket he will pull out a pair of scissors and cut the pearls loose to begin stringing them onto a New Golden Thread. All the while, God will tell my life from His own perspective, realigning the pearls to show me the people I impacted without ever knowing it. The difference I made. The Seeds I Planted Even When My Palms Felt Desperately Empty.

Good work, Little One. You have served my purpose well,” I pray He will say to me. Without Shifting. “I brought you into this world with Full Arms and you have come back to me Empty-Handed. You delivered all that I gave you to all the right people. Her Chapter 16. His Chapter 12. My Child, I am quite proud of the cursive I was able to script through you.

 

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11 Comments

Filed under Big Dreams, God, Happiness, Humanity

11 responses to “Are you there God? It’s me, Hannah.

  1. Brianna

    Beautiful, insightful, hopeful. I loved every single word. But don’t despair, Hannah, I have a feeling that God will reveal more of those pearls prior to your meeting with Him than you may think.

    • Brianna:

      One) Thank you so much for the comment. Two) Receiving your letter upon arriving back into the Bronx was perfect! Absolutely what I needed.. I, too, am looking forward to that coffee date in the future.

      I am holding tight and holding strong for ya love. You are the best.

  2. I’m just in awe.
    Complete awe.
    This is beyond magical. I LOVE thinking of having a great big conversation with God at the very end. Going through all the memories and thoughts and experiences and making sense of them like we’re Literature majors picking out the meaning of a life story. I LOVE thinking of you and Donald Miller being married. Both brilliant writers together? Oh yes. That man is the reason for my renewed faith, I swear. Blue like Jazz was so very eye opening to me! I’m actually reading “Searching for God Knows What” by him right now! Eery much? I think it’s a sign that we really should be BFFS.

    But most of all, I love this so much more than you know. Your brilliance is just, I can’t even describe it. So fantastic.

    And I agree with the commenter above, I think the pearls get revealed a lot throughout your life. :)

    • Mackenzie:

      Perhaps we should be penpals? I am big time sucker for snail mail and you and are I are seemingly always on the same page!

      I really believe that Webster and all of his dictionary buds need to reconvene in order to come up with new words for the way that Donald Miller writes on faith. It is breathtaking. I am lucky to even hold his books some days.

      Blue Like Jazz.. Oh gosh, I gush so much over it! And how do you like Searching for God Knows What? I read it last year and loveddd it! I really recommend the book I mentioned above. It has provided me with so much clarity… Or honestly, just Google quotes by Donald Miller, make a cup of hot chocolate for yourself and fall in love over and over again. It makes for a great afternoon activity. I must say.

  3. Dear Hannah,
    Yes–i am starting this off as a letter, because who knows how long this comment might be. From our past conversations, our meetings at blend, our endless emails, our back and forth tags at moments–you know almost better than anyone where I stand on God, where I have always stood on God–where my beliefs are–and what I want to find–and how I want to find it. You know that I don’t know what’s up there, but I am willing to seek it out. You know that I don’t have a strong belief in one thing, but that I am willing to believe there is something. You know that I am not in touch with whatever there is–but I am open-minded to whatever it may be. You know that I don’t practice religion, that I don’t attend mass (but will with my best friend when she is looking for a friend to kneel beside her), and that I don’t talk to God. But this post…this post literally brought me to tears…Sitting here in a room that isn’t my own on a bed that I will leave in three weeks–I am drowning in tears at this post at the idea of what we are sent here to do, how we are meant to do it, and why we do these things. I love this idea that our books AREN’T written–that we are writing them–that we are meant to learn that way on our own–so that we can reflect on those later–over pumpkin spice with the Big Guy in the bright lights or in my case over a cappuccino with anyone we end up finding. People as a library of books to be open and read–it’s brilliant, connecting constellations rather than contemplating–more brilliant. Remember when the main guy in A Walk to Remember buys the main girl a star? And they go to find it later with a telescope… Your definition of moments as stars–what if we could buy someone the most brilliant moment ever–and just see that moment in the sky every single night. Smiles would be endless….Keep writing your chapters Hannah– I think the what you will find is one long epic novel of extraordinary moments leading to a one of a kind life for someone who truly deserves it.
    Love,
    Lib

    • Libby:

      It’s almost funny, because I write each post with people stored up in my mind. Thinking about who could use the words that are appearing on the screen. You really came up a lot in the writing of these words. You are such an amazing and remarkable individual and I am so lucky to know you and to wonder about life with you. Not enough people stop to wonder, but you plants thoughts and ideas into my head all day long. Thank you for this.

      I am looking so forward to more soul-searching… and on matters of God, we could very easily seek Him out together.

      This idea and post came during my retreat in the last few days, a grand opportunity to sit a big, cozy chair, sipping hot coffee from a stunning Yellow Mug, and thinking to myself… every little thing is going to be alright. No moment, in the past four months, has been a mistake. Not a single struggle. Not a single doubt. I am stronger and more resilient because of it. Thank you for holding me together, Libs. I will always thank you for that one.

  4. Firstly, pen pals!? With you? How do I get in on this action? Secondly, I loved this post. I guess I never thought about leaving this world empty-handed for we have given all that we have… that’s a great perspective and I love it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for reading! And, I am down to be pen pals with anyone! I love love love snail mail and have made it a larger chunk of my life in the past few months. Address exchange?!

  5. mom

    splendid!! Isn’t it amazing to think God has us in the palm of His hand (with our pearls) That He cares & has a plan & because you search & believe you are His. And all of his love is there for you to share. Loved the donald miller bit for some reason i always pictured talking to him in a van. and never do i picture myself having coffee w God but i could see the picture of Him reaching into His Godly right pocket. Surely He has given you a gift with words and surely my family is His gift to me (among many) love you daughter of my family

  6. Oh Hannah, I’ve missed your blogs.
    Once again, you’ve yet to fail me with your amazingly wise and witty posts. Genius at its finest, and I couldn’t agree more. I was just thinking today about how we can never expect anything in life, but that’s the beauty in it. Hope you’re keeping NYC warm with your smile. Miss you already!

  7. Samantha

    I was researching physique 57, and I came across your blog post from last May. Do you still do physique 57? Do you have any updated pictures?

    Nice guns, by the way!

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