“Then, I turned around and walked into my room and closed my door and put my head under my pillow and let the quiet put things where they were supposed to be.” – Stephen Chbosky
Sometimes, it just comes.

Uninvited. Unexpected. Unwanted. Unquiet.

A tenacious taunting. An anxious choking. An apprehensive worry. Uncomfortable unease. Especially in January, when the whole brand new year is beginning and we wonder what in the world it will bring. It will bring more of what it always brings. More joy. More sorrow. More laughter. More tears. More terrible. More beautiful. More daring invitation to live and love brave in every minute of every hour of every day.

In the part of the world I live in we are in the depths of winter. Winter light is less intense and thinner than other seasons which makes it feel kind of stingy, accentuating the generosity of the cold. Earth can look barrenly beautiful in the depths of winter – particularly when it snows. I have always loved it when it snows.

But when dressed in my sad-colors, I do not see or feel the beautiful to much depth at all.

The sky is often sullen and sadly, I realize how sad I feel.

I feel so sad.

The taunting sounds so loud.

Distress can rise up in so much loud. Dread and despair join in. The loud is blurring my darkening countenance. I am introspectively aware of how anxious I can still become regarding loss, especially considering my most fiercely held attachments – certain people in particular. The seeming futility of things disturbs and disrupts me. Hope can be hard to hold.

I have been in this wondrous wild before and am wondering why it is haunting me once more. How many times will it torment? Time and time again? Year after year? Having struggled and faced my fears over the years, I shudder at the thought that these war torn places can still rise up in me. Does this ever happen in you?

One of my deepest fears is that I will I never be able to entirely get rid of the ugly in me that protests for control over the circumstances of life, which is obviously illusionary, for some sort of safe and secure. I fear how my fear impacts the loves of my life; incapacitating the ways in which I genuinely want to love them. How is it, exactly, that I define safe and secure? How do you?

Will we dare to live and love with lavish in every moment we are given of this new year with unposed abandon to the dangers living and loving inherently bring? Love cannot be love and refuse the burdens of love.

Sometimes in the struggle I feel like I can barely breathe. In the stingy. And the cold. And in the barren beautiful. In the dread and the despair. And the blurring. And the sullen and the sad.

And the anxious.

It is all so loud.

I hibernate by the quiet fire.

Above the fireplace are Big Beautiful Black letters that spell DUM SPIRO SPERO. I remember picking them and painting them, pondering their weighty message as we hung them.

“As I breathe, I hope.”

Hope resulting from the fact that one still breathes. The message is actually stronger as DUM SPIRO SPERO – CERTO. It emphasizes the conclusion necessary for carrying our resolution – a courage to fight shall continue as long as I have breath.

As I breathe… I hope…

I will grapple with courage and I will fight fear by feeling rather than dismissing the sad and the anxious. I will listen to the thundering loud and hear it as an invitation and opportunity to something much more that is meaningful and holy.

I will breathe and I will hope and I will nerve myself and I will run to the sticking place where courage is stronger than fear.

Run to the sticking place; to the Man of sorrows. The One whose burden to bear was the heaviest of of all, sufferings of body and soul. What do we truly know of His crushing losses? His intimate acquaintance with grief? His midnight of great trouble?

This is the One who holds you by the hand and watches over you in the midst of tenacious taunting. Who rejoices over you with singing in the barren beautiful. Who is shaping you and forming you according to His love, not according to our fear. Who fights for you in the blurring sad, who will never ever forget you, who collects your tears with deep tenderness and quiets you with His love.

The Beautiful Savior who gives you breath. Who breathes life and hope and courage right into the heart of you, with a love that is stronger than death.

The sonority of the invitation swells in the midst of the surging anxiety. Let it grow loud, intensify and crescendo. It is invitation to exploring, engaging, knowing, relating with Him in eternal love.