finding shelter.

Oh. Hi there. I’m alive. Sorry it’s kind of been a while. Consider my week-long absence from blogging an elaborate and effective April Fool’s Joke.

The truth is that the end of March and the entire month of April have proven to be the busiest time of my life I can remember. Busy, however, with happy and fun things: three weddings, one of which I’m in, family engagements and celebrations, driving back and forth from here to Central Florida, rehearsals, meetings, events at the church, Lent, Holy Week, Good Friday, Easter, being six (is this real life?!) months pregnant…

It’s gotten to be a bit much. Too much to blog about, I’m afraid. But, like I said, all great things!

Each day this week, my church is holding gatherings at 7:30AM to explore Holy Week. Amidst all the insanity that is my life right now, I bet you’re wondering why I would ever drag my pregnant butt out of bed an extra hour earlier each day just to go to church before work. You wouldn’t be alone, either — I leave my sleeping husband, the pastor and spiritual head of my household, in bed every morning to do this. As I kiss him goodbye, he grumbles sleepily, “You don’t have to do this, you know.” Ah. Yes, husband. You’re so right. Alas…

At Monday’s gathering, my attitude was dreadful to say the least. I was tired — I’m battling insomnia again because, well, that’s what I do — and I was experiencing an epic case of The Mondays. So, even I didn’t know why I “wanted” to be there so badly because, if you looked at me or talked to me, you would have guessed I wanted to be anywhere but. My less-than-great vibes were evidently more obvious than I’d previously thought, later inspiring an overly depressing Durrenbaby blog post and prompting a few “I’m kind of worried about you” and “I love you” texts/messages/emails from some friends.

I really apologize for that. Truly. But, at the same time, feeling safe and cared about is invaluable. For that, I am grateful, even despite the circumstances.

When Tuesday’s alarm sounded at 6:00AM, I’d already been awake for a couple hours again. At this point, I was going on less than ten hours of sleep over the course of three days, and I was so frustrated about it. But I got out of bed anyway (I mean, it’s not like I was going to sleep or anything) and headed to church.

On my way there, I put “The Shelter” by Jars of Clay on repeat.

May this place of rest at the fold of your journey bind you to hope.
You will never walk alone.
In the shelter of each other, we will live, we will live.

I can’t tell you why I put that song on. I guess I just needed to hear the lyrics and feel rested and sheltered from adversity, even though I was anything but.

Well. Wouldn’t you know it?

When I got to church Tuesday morning, Eric’s message focused on Jesus’ stop in Bethany before he headed to Jerusalem for, you know, the good times that awaited him. The town of Bethany was kind of a safe haven for Jesus — a place he could truly “let his hair down” and be himself. Eric challenged us to think of the “Bethany”s in our lives: the people we’re most comfortable being around, the places we’re most “at rest”…

the areas in our lives we find “shelter.”

Well. Okay then. Sacred echo, consider yourself heard.

Where are those places for me? In my husband’s arms. In my church’s corporate gathering area at 7:30AM on a humid weekday morning. On a close friend’s couch, clutching a mug of peppermint tea or decaf coffee.

I just want you to know, if you are one of those people around whom I feel safe (and you know who you are, because I’ve probably said something inappropriate or embarrassing around you, or I’ve cried on your shoulder or in your ear over the phone, or I’ve sent you a frantic text message in the middle of the day detailing some sort of overly melodramatic crisis, whatever) I truly appreciate you. I am so humbled by your presence in my life and I graciously thank you for allowing me to find shelter in you.

I hope you can find shelter in me, too.

In the shelter of each other, we will live…

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