Today was a close to perfect day, and it arrived like all of them do, without ceremony or hint of extraordinary promise. Rather than wanting it to be so, I realised it was when it was already happening, like when you recognise a song that has been playing for some time. Today the unassuming truths of clean hair, half an hour to buy good coffee and the sweet smell of jasmine got the ball rolling. Other things helped – brilliant sun, good friends, just the right amount of silliness at dinner and hugs from little people who have decided to love me, as easily as choosing which shirt to wear.
Today was one of those days when my soul felt light and life felt beautiful and happiness fizzed. There were all of these moments that felt weighty, that I moved around in before they disappeared. I can never predict or plan or will an almost perfect day into being – they have to be stumbled upon, as though part of the joy is in the unexpected.
Today I opened up my storybook bible for the first time since purchase. It has been sitting in the naughty corner of my shelf, the part reserved for flights of fancy. Everything in its season right? Today was the day.
We did the story of Jesus calming the storm a few weeks ago in kids church, so that’s what I read first. It had me at hello.
“Then Jesus turned to his wind-torn friends. ‘Why were you scared?’ he asked. ‘Did you forget who I Am? Did you believe your fears instead of me?’ Jesus friends were quiet. As quiet as the wind and the waves. And into their hearts came a different kind of storm. ‘What kind of man is this?’ they asked themselves anxiously. ‘Even the wind and the waves obey him!’ they said, because they didn’t understand. They didn’t realise yet that Jesus was the Son of God.”
Seriously doesn’t that just knock your socks off? The creation that recognises the voice of its maker. The disciples who believed their fears. The different kind of storm in their hearts, because they didn’t understand.
When I mentioned this bible to Han on my first ever Bay walk this afternoon, she jumped in to say her favourite story is Jesus calming the storm, the part where the wind and waves recognise his voice. And I looked at her, and squealed and wondered aloud that we latched on to the same moment. But I think this is what it is to have a friend, isn’t it? So that finding out is less like learning and more like recognising.
My friendship with Han is a long time, many words, hugs, laughs, prayers and tears kind of friendship. A housematey, knows all my angles, clearing out the fridge kind of Saturday night debrief friendship. But I’ve been thinking about how such a thing starts, why you suddenly want someone you hardly know to take up space in your life, and I think it’s because they tick boxes that represent entire categories in your mind. So that an innocent comment about a shared love counts for an entire discourse about politics and joy and the beauty of words and nostalgia. A kind of shorthand. The punch in the gut of the familiar in the new. So we ascribe more to the person than they have shown us yet, because their love of something we love spills into more than just that gap.
This entire week really has been a gift, a gift from my gracious God. So often, when there is barely a light breeze, I am the anxious disciples; forgetting who Jesus is or what that means, trusting in my own fears. I do that because I am selfish and proud. I do it because I am sinful and afraid. Sometimes I trust myself because I think I’m pretty great. Sometimes I trust myself because in that moment it is easier than believing that Jesus could still scoop me up, dust me off, love me ever, considering how far I’ve wandered.
Often it takes a storm outside to address the storm in my heart, the one that still rages when I take my eyes off my king. And so came the storm. And so comes the calm, as Jesus asks me gently “Did you forget who I Am?”
Today those threads were woven together and they were cohesive for long enough for me to catch a glimpse of the whole, like a rug being shaken out in the sunlight. For a moment lots of things loomed their right amount, so that in a day of unremarkable, everything sparkled and whispered, and time took the right amount, and there is nothing to be afraid of.