After a hiatus of more than two years, I spontaneously returned to my collage-making hobby. It was a strange sort of impulse which I couldn't quite make sense of at first. Being the existentialist that I am, I have tried to find some meaning in this seemingly random event. Here is what I came up with. The last time I made a bunch of collages was when I first started to feel better after (or at the end of) my battle with hyperthyroidism. I was starting to feel hopeful, starting to look ahead and see something better than my (then) current state. I didn't think about this at that time, but since then I have thought that there was some metaphor to my creative activity: I put lots of little, insignificant, disparate pieces of paper together and tried to make them into something that made sense, and that was exactly what I wanted to do with myself. I wanted to put myself back together and make sense again. Each collage was a microcosm of me--if I could make something with pieces of paper, maybe there was hope for the pieces of me.
In a way, I'm in the same boat now. I'm not sick anymore (I continue to praise God for this), but I'm preparing to try to make something new out my life, which currently feels disjointed. There are a lot of good things my life, but none of them are matched up neatly right now. I constantly have one foot in Ocean Springs and one foot in Hattiesburg, so I feel like I'm not fully a part of either one. Alex and I are growing closer (and happier, and better at working together), but I'm still an hour and a half away and see him only on weekends. I'm a member of a new church (more on this later), but I can't be there regularly. I'm planning (ok, helping to plan) a wedding and a move, but I still haven't guaranteed an internship that is close to the place I'm moving to. I'm trying to maintain relationships with happily unattached friends whom I can identify with less and less but whom I love and want to relate to. I'm jumping through the hoops of grad school even though my mind is not usually in the game. I'm struggling to complete a research project that I care very little about while wanting to focus more on my clients whom I care very much about. All these pieces are just not creating the whole, singular, beautiful, unified picture that my heart longs to be. That is why I have come back to finding solace in putting paper pieces together again--it reassures me that I will be put together too, soon enough.
Here is one of my new creations:
It's my favorite Bible verse, Romans 12:2. I love these words because they speak to a part of faith that many people seem to overlook (or miss out on) but that has been powerfully and beautifully real to me. Christianity, too often for my taste, is characterized chiefly by "touchy-feely," emotional things or by outward, behavioral events. Too often, faith in Christ is seen as something that disagrees with intellect. This may be true in some cases at some times, but I have found that my richest and clearest experiences with God have been when I think--question, wrestle, wonder, study, try to figure it out. I recognize that I will never "arrive" (at least not in this earthly life), but I cannot imagine missing out on this journey.
Lord Jesus, please let Lent be a time of renewal despite the countless distractions; please restore my faith in your perfect will. Amen.