Everything is changing. This is what I keep thinking these days — that everything around me feels like it’s changing.
I sit here in Nashville, on this bed with a white comforter that reminds me of home except not. I seem to do my best summer debriefing when I am away — just far enough, like a plane ride to Nashville, or that car ride last year to Florida.
Leaving makes me understand why we stay. I enter an airport and am suddenly nostalgic: grasping at the last bits of summer all the while knowing it’s slipping through my fingertips faster than I can catch. I remember that this is why we stay — because the people we love dearly are reason worth staying for.
I entered this summer in a terrified state of mediocrity. That seemed, to me, worse than having a hard time. Even though I had just had my first art show and was utterly dazzled by the kindness people showed me there, I was still strangely scared that I would only ever be mediocre.
Show me the good, my heart whispered to God, without my mind being aware of the request. Show me the good.
And he did.
I saw the good while we were dancing at midnight, our lungs burning and throats sore from singing as hard as we could. I’ll remember how I felt then: so free, and yet entangled at the same time. Entangled in summer and being twenty-two and knowing those warm, late nights were ending soon.
I saw the good in the faces of my friends. When they held my hands and prayed for me, when we laughed until our eyes dripped, when we cheers’d and sang and danced. When the windows were rolled down and we sat by the water and we laid under the stars. I saw the good when we talked of God’s goodness and his remarkable love.
I saw the good in California and now in Nashville and when I drive alone in my car. When I prayed the whole way home and God kept urging me to love harder, to love deeper, to love more intentionally — even when love feels like hurt sometimes.
I saw the good this week on the airplane when I read John 10:10 — I came that you may have life, and have life to the full — and it felt as though Jesus was telling me, “Aliza, this summer was a glimpse of your life to the full,” and I felt like crying because it was such a precious, precious gift.
I saw the good in dozens of shared plates of nachos and rounds of Dutch Blitz. In glasses of wine and sitting in the hot tub, and making lists of all the dreams I’d long to have if nothing could stop me.
But even when I think of all the good God has continually shown me this summer, the fear still sneaks in somedays. In these moments, when the fear is most evident, my heart feels smashed open. My hands will shake, and so will my insides. I’ll think that I’ll want to be alone, and two moments later long to be surrounded by people. I’ll feel as if I’m falling — hard and fast, soon to crash and splatter, a million fragmented pieces.
I’ll sit with my hands beneath me to try and cease the shaking. I’ll feel like a quivering, terrified mess of a girl, and I’ll feel guilty for feeling this way after seeing all of the good.
But in a few weeks, everything is changing. And fear is large and looming and often more recognizable than peace.
So I’ll take my shaky hands and insides and I’ll lie down. And I’ll say to Jesus again and again, show me the good.
And this, more than anything, is true —