I just sent a text to the guy I’m dating, asking him to recommend some music I can listen to while writing.
“Something pretty and not distracting,” was my request.
His near-immediate response?
Classical music buffs (of which I’m generally not) will likely know the name. Claude Debussy was a French composer and pianist of high repute, and as I rarely dispute his musical recommendations, I cued up a playlist.
La mer, L. 109: No. 2. Jeux de vagues began to play. I felt like I was in the middle of a Disney movie, swallowed by the sea and swimming in the depths alongside all manner of fantastical fish and colourful creatures.
It seemed a fitting image for my life of late. Well, at least the swimming in the depths part.
You see, last spring my husband and I separated. We had been married for 13 years. Two wonderful children. It’s all so very sad. The final troubling years. The decision to actually end it. The horrible fallout and confusion and depression and roller coaster of emotions and medication and therapy and changing routines and upset children and sorting out finances and thinking you’re over it but realizing you’re not over it, and, and . . . .
“Be still and know that I am God.”
My minister (and good friend) reminded me of this verse quite some time ago, before my marriage actually fell apart but things were still tough and painful. My job of 14 years – I previously was managing editor at the Presbyterian Record – was also coming to an end, and at the same time, I turned 40.
In the midst of that storm, and while splashing and gasping in the depths, it was difficult to remember God at all.
I listened to music that either cheered me up or made me cry. I went to the gym. I practiced yoga. I talked with good (read: loyal, supportive, utterly amazing, God-given) friends. I wrote. I read. I cried.
I said the occasional prayer. I knew God was there.
Or did I?
I guess, like that lovely little “Footprints” poem I’m sure we all know, when the two sets of prints in the dampened sand became just one; during the time of hardship, of sorrow, of difficulty, when we question God’s presence, “. . . it was then that I carried you.”
And when I look back on the past year or so, I see it of course. I see how God sent me friends and family and support and work and new opportunities. I see how I started to feel better, little by little, day by day. And I see how God kept me connected to the church world that has become such a huge part of my life.
Particularly through the kinds of work I’ve been sent. I’m a full-time freelancer now, doing various sorts of communications work. One of my roles is as the new Features Editor for this wonderful publication. I very much look forward to getting to know these pages better, as well as our loyal Christian Courier readers.
That said, my hopes for these pages are that they will inspire, inform and challenge you. I want to bring you wonderful stories. Stories of people, mostly (isn’t it a beautiful thing to think that everyone has a story to tell? The next time you’re with an old friend, an elderly relative, or even someone sitting beside you at the coffee shop, ask them to tell you a favourite story from their childhood!).
You will most likely notice some recurring themes that I’m big on right now: community and community-building; connection, authenticity and vulnerability; family and faith; food; and stories about life in all its mess and pain and joy. Also bigger-issue stories related to ethical questions in the news.
I am so looking forward to diving in, to swimming these waters with you. Hopefully, I will help remind you that everything in life points to God – even when we think God is no longer there, and the waves threaten to swallow us up entirely.
“Be still,” the psalmist reminds us, “and know that I am God.”
Until next issue!
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