Over five years ago now, I knelt on a cold concrete floor in India, crying again as my house church sang around me. I was known in these weekly meetings for two things: my tears and my writing, always furiously journaling throughout the evening. So there was no surprise to those around me, no flying hands to hold mine, or arms to wrap around me. They knew that it was just my way of processing, of releasing the week’s events into the atmosphere, so that I could move into a new week with my heart ever so slightly lighter.
But this week was different, in that it wasn’t a week’s worth of tears flowing from my eyes, but weeks plural, months plural, maybe even years spilling over. I was in the midst of transition, having lost my team and teammate in a matter of weeks, very suddenly. Even before that, though, I was losing more than people—I was losing my sense of calling, the narrative that had held my story for so long, and was the main reason I was back in India after years of longing and love. Now to have those years thrown into question and shadowed by deep doubts was overwhelming.
What else is at stake? What else am I risking to lose by staying here?
I had been given the option to leave, of course, that very week. Over early morning coffee, my would-be-new-leader went over all my options. Not having the entire team you came to serve with present anymore is a pretty good reason to throw in the towel. I still loved India, calling or no-calling, that was true. I clung to that truth, but I had no capacity left to believe for the rest of my term to not also be about loss. How can I believe for more than this?
These questions swirled around in my head, and they came out in those tears. I was trying to also pray, but sometimes tears are all you have. Tears were all I had the entire week, actually, where I knelt on a different concrete floor, surrounded by women, but they kept a wide berth around me and my sobs. Many of them walked past me as they answered their own altar calls.
Was my altar, was this water-offering, not enough? Or too much?
At my house church and this concrete floor, I was no longer overlooked. A woman came up to me and shared with me words of hope, words I would cling to for months, like a lifeline of promises given and held, treasured and trying to believe in. She didn’t question my tears, or ask me to explain myself, or ask what I was going to do. In other words, she didn’t crowd my questioning mind with more questions. She didn’t throw burdens afresh on an already burden soul. She simply sat with me, read words that literally said these tears sow something, anything, into the soil we walk on, maybe especially when we don’t know where the path is leading.
And she offered an invitation opposite of all the questions, the doubts: dream again.
“Dream again.” The words rolled around my head, somehow stilling the questions, even if just for a moment. The invitation in itself felt like a promise, answering the questions I was asking—There is more ahead. There is no risk in sowing seeds on this path. Your tears are watering the ground, preparing the soil. Dream for the harvest ahead.
It felt risky to believe these words, to open this invitation, to break the seal of my own silence and pain of the last six months, and to let others in, to tell my story, and to trust that there would be another side to this shadowland. There would be a sunrise once again.
It still feels risky, six years after those dim days, five years after a dream felt fresh again, four years after leaving the original dream fully behind, three years after writing it all down, two years having it all interrupted by a boy, one year after marrying him, just on the other side of finishing a first draft of a book that’s growing as if it was that dream from years ago…
It still feels risky to write these words, to know there’s more words, to trust that words are part of what I need to do with my life, part of who I need to be. I worry if I’m making another calling out of my own need to organize my life, instead of just living and being and trusting that that is enough.
But I choose the risky feelings anyway, because they are worth the edge-of-the-ledge feeling for the view they provide.
A view of seeing what you love as having less of a hold on you than you thought.
A view of seeing your work as sacred, like the rest of you.
A view of seeing your dreams as invitations and risks worth taking.
A view of seeing your questions and doubts as wide-open doors that won’t slam in your face.
A view of seeing yourself as more than a weeping girl on the floor, unseen.
A view of seeing yourself as worthy of words, of dreams, of everything you never saw coming…
This perspective can change everything. This vantage point can impact your entire worldview.