…and Hallelujah is our song. –Pope John Paul II
This quotation has been nestled in my heart the past few weeks. I can’t seem to escape it, though I am certainly not complaining.
To believe this statement – to believe that we ARE the Easter people – changes the way we see the world. If we are the Easter people, if we believe that Christ rose again and defeated all sin and shame, then mishaps and mistakes and “screw ups” aren’t the end of the story.
Almost one month ago, I discharged from a residential treatment facility that almost undoubtedly saved my physical life. In two days, I will begin graduate studies in expressive arts therapy. Who saw that happening? I certainly didn’t.
But now I see it as a gift – as precious as the gift that God gave me that first Easter Sunday. If you look for it, God is constantly giving us gifts. When I moved into my new apartment last weekend, I knew absolutely nobody in this [adorable and quickly growing on me] town, no idea what I was going to do for work, no idea how I was going to keep it all together. And, while it seems silly, I had no idea how I was going to fit all my toiletries and cleaning supplies into the tiny cabinet under my vanity.
I went to a new church last Sunday, one that I had “short-listed” while doing my research before moving. It is a church that values expressions of worship, however they might present themselves – in song, in dance, in art. I walked into the church and sat in the most non-descript place possible, unsure of how this socially anxious person was going to handle a room of entirely new people.
A young woman asked if she could sit at the end of the row I was on. I welcomed her with a smile and we quickly began talking. She, too, is a grad student at ASU, but in her second year and doing her internship in Nutrition. After worship, the pastor invited us to take five or ten minutes to get to know and welcome the people around us.
FIVE OR TEN MINUTES?! I love the Catholic Mass because there is a script for this part: “Peace be with you” – “And also with you.” No awkward questions about how old you are, how long you’ve been attending, if you’re married (because at 28, you’re sort of expected to be). Let’s just say I wasn’t looking forward to the next five or ten minutes.
But I was welcomed by a group of senior girls who told me a little about themselves and about the church and campus ministries and ways to get involved. I met another woman who was really interested in my degree program and we talked for a few minutes (and led to another connection with one of the coordinators of the art ministry). At the end of that time, as we were sitting down, the nutrition major beside me offered me some trail mix.
I had forgotten to pack a snack.
Art created during worship 18 Aug 2013
After church, I took out some recyclables to the dumpster area at the end of our parking area. As I was approached the recycling containers, I noticed a metal shelf sitting next to the green bins. I put my own recyclables into their appropriate containers and then took a look at the metal shelving in front of me. It seemed structurally sound. It was clean. It could be covered in lead paint or asbestos, I’m not sure, but I do know that I took that shelf and walked it right up to my third floor apartment.
I placed it in my bathroom and found that everything fit with space to spare.
I had applied for a few jobs babysitting/nannying and heard back from one of the families almost immediately. I met the family (2 professors at App with a 13-month-old son) on Monday at 1:45. They had interviewed quite a few candidates and said they would be in contact in a day or two. At 4:00, I got a phone call offering me the job. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. Opposite days from classes, leaving me plenty of time to read and study.
And I would be working with an adorable little boy, not waiting tables or stocking shelves.
We discussed the pay. And here is where I see the hand of God more clearly than anywhere before, assuring me that He has come before me and prepared my path.
What I will make each week babysitting this sweet boy is exactly enough to pay for one therapy appointment, one dietary appointment, and groceries each week. And probably some gas, too.
Hallelujah. Hallelujah. HALLELUJAH.
I won’t have to dip into my student loans to pay for therapy and dietary appointments. I can continue to see my dietitian and therapist weekly as needed to maintain my recovery. I get on well with my roommates. I have a church home. I have finally (sort of) figured out how to get around this town, including how to get to classes in the most expedient way possible.
There are many, many reasons for my heart to sing.
If you look closely enough, there are dozens of reasons to sing “hallelujah,” Easter people.