I left a party a few nights ago. The laughter and the food and the deep conversations had helped me forget about the things in my life I’d rather not think about, but as soon as I turned my car for home and drove through the humid summer night along winding back roads, I remembered. That there is so little money. That we are still looking for our own place. That the drop-dead date I gave myself to get this writing life going again is six weeks away.
Behind me, the western sky still had the slightest tint of color, but I was driving east, driving fast, driving into the dark. I rolled down my window and the rushing sound of heavy, August air filled the van. I decided that I had had enough, so I began making a list for God of all the things in my life that sucked.
And I guess he was in a listening mood because I went on for a few miles without any sort of response. Typical, I thought to myself. Where are you? I’m exhausted. I’m worn out. I can’t believe you keep asking me to wait. Wait! For what?
Then another narrative began floating through my brain, a narrative that did not feel like my own creation, a dialogue inside of myself with someone or something entirely separate from me.
What if you remain a semi-mediocre writer for the rest of your life – would you still love me? the voice asked.
“That would be disappointing,” I muttered. “But, yeah, sure, I’d still love you.”
What if you never make as much money or have as much security as some of your friends – would you still love me?
“Yeah,” I mumbled. “If I’ve learned anything in the last three years, it’s that I can live an adventurous life without much money. So, sure, I’d still love you.”
What if you couldn’t write for a living any longer – would you still love me?
I was starting to understand where this was going.
“Yes,” I whispered. “Yes.”
What if you lost everything – would you still love me?
Silence. Stillness. The sound of air rushing through the window at fifty miles per hour.
I arrived at my parents’ house and parked the van, then walked inside. I went down the stairs into the basement. I stopped in front of the cupboards and saw a piece of paper hanging where I had put it three years ago during the toughest time of my life. On the paper, printed in ink the color of the western sky just after the sun sets, are the following words:
Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. Hebrews 10:36
I am driving into the darkness. Driving. Driving. Driving. Waiting for the morning.