How to Play the Sunrise

This morning a friend from Texas who now lives in upstate New York posted an image of the sunrise over the Hudson and I felt my heart constrict: this is the sunrise I know. This upstate sunrise, these trees, these leaves, theses rivers. I breathed and missed. I came to the laundry room to write. I do this because it is light here in the morning. And the sunrise in Texas today, it took my breath away. It's a bit hard to see through the neighbor's tree, hard to hear through the sound of the traffic and landing airplanes, but it's there, full, and beautiful. An easy rival for my upstate New York sunrise. Easy.

Screen Shot 2012-11-03 at 8.46.46 AMMy roommate told me the other night I romanticize everywhere but here and I suppose that is true for every place I've lived. A friend asked me last night what I miss most. About New York, I asked her? No, just about anything, what do you miss most? Yesterday and the day before I was texting with one of my little girls from home and we're talking about how no matter where you live, you always miss home, and when you're home, all you know is that you're never home.

I suppose I have lived too many places to be home anywhere, but being home and being present are two different things—and I can be present anywhere.

I gave some people a good scare in the past few months—the wanderlust burgeoning inside of me and the desire to leave and go somewhere entirely new rising up. Our lease was up a few days ago and knowing we're month to month sets me free and binds me tight all at once. But I have commitments here, a homegroup full of women I love, a ten-month program at my church, roommates who I love like family, and a job I still can't believe I get to do. I have reasons to be present and these keep me.


Two autumns ago my pastor talked about authority in the church, discipline and love, and it was the first time I understood that discipline is the fruit of love, and not the other way around. He loves his wife, so he puts his laundry in the basket. He loves us, so hard conversations happen sometimes. In the same way, the Father loves us, so He disciplines us. He keeps us, even when we don't want to be kept.

And you all know that I don't love Texas. I don't. I miss the northeast. I miss mountains. I miss open-door policies. I miss dropping by anyone's house for dinner. I miss riding my bike to the grocery store and front porches. I miss the sunsets. I miss rivers. I don't love Texas.

But I love sunrises. Spectacular ones that take my breath away in the morning. And today I'm grateful, deeply grateful that real love might not come fast and furious amounts, sweeping us up in full measure. Sometimes loves comes in quiet ways, in laundry rooms with a row of succulents on the windowsill and the sunrise in all its glory.

And we each take our sunrises, wherever we are, one in succession after another, on our pilgrimage to Zion, our pathway to heaven. We take comfort in the small loves, knowing they work in us greater things.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. Psalm 84:5-7