Rain drops on window panes. Whether there are three or three thousand, the world looks more beautiful when there are tiny drops of water clinging to the glass you’re looking through. Something about the distortion of shapes. Something about the rain lingering when it has stopped falling. Something about light and water and the elements right on the other side of that pane of glass.

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On Thursday evening I was walking across campus to our weekly OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship) meeting. It was just after six o’clock, and (thanks to daylight savings) the sun was still shining. As I walked past the duck pond near the middle of campus, I heard a bird singing. Everything else was quiet, save for the soft, watery sounds of the fountains in the pond. I looked up and saw, perched on a west-facing branch of a large tree, a single robin, singing toward the sun. His rusty red breast shone in the late-afternoon light and I was close enough to see it expand with every breath.

I stopped walking and watched him for a few moments. I forgot about my stress and my deadlines and just enjoyed this lovely little creature and his beautiful song. Every note echoed off of the nearby buildings and seemed to fill the air. He never has to practice. He just does exactly what God made him to do.

I babysat for a new family tonight. When I got there, the oldest boy was over at a friend’s. The mother had informed him that I would be babysitting tonight, so she left, knowing he’d come back in a little while.

As I was putting dinner on the table, he stormed into the house. I said hello, he responded, and I could see he was crying. I followed him into his room, where I asked him what was wrong and he told me. His friend had been mean to him, and he shared the details as he cried and told me exactly how he felt.

We didn’t even introduce ourselves. He was hurting and he told me, point blank. His willingness to trust is a beautiful thing. We lose it as we grow older, understandably, when the brokenness of the world shows itself. But children, they know what it is like to be in unbroken relationships.

Sitting in the corner, at a tiny little table, “doing work.” But really just people watching. There’s the group by the door, laughing. They’re playing a prank on their friend, and she has no clue. Ah, the humor of college life.¬†There’s a line out the door, students in a hurry to get their caffeine fix before their next commitments. And there’s some clich√© country song playing over the speakers, mixing with the din of voices and growl of the espresso machine to create a constant clutter of noise. The midday light outside is clear and bright, but it’s rather dim in here, with the drab walls and dark floor. But that fits perfectly with the deep, sultry fragrance of fresh coffee.

The whole atmosphere is perfect for creativity, exactly the sort of place where one would feel inspired to accomplish tasks, but exactly the sort of place where one would get too distracted and contemplative to actually get anything done.

Twelve pens in a plastic package: plum, navy, brown, lime, turquoise, pink, orange, purple, green, red, blue, black. They sit nestled together, waiting to bring the pages of my journal to life. I feel the thrill of potential, that siren call to make something beautiful out of words. I will no longer stay in the comfortable realm of elegant black ink; I venture out as an explorer, ready to discover new landscapes and try new cuisine. I consider all the unwritten words, unsaid things, untold stories. My pens and I are ready.

My journal goes with me almost everywhere. I throw it in whatever bag I’m taking with me, just in case I need to stop and process something by writing it down. I’ve had it for slightly more than two years now, and today, I decided to look through it.

Each page is covered in a different color ink, and I remember which pens held most of that ink. The ink makes up sketches from when I decided to attempt to be an artist. Brainstorming about a paper on King Lear. Cues for Torrey Theater lights. Notes from a lecture or two. Quotes and thoughts from three weeks in England. Battles with myself and battles with God. Despair and utter joy. Praise, contemplation, thoughts. Lyrics and Bible verses.

Two years of my life in a green and brown plaid book, purchased at Target on a whim. Writing and looking back on what I wrote create a rhythm in my life, and I am glad.

I sat under the shadow of an overhanging tree, letting my thoughts freely flow with the sound of the running water in the fountain. Catechism in hand, I pondered the question: “How does the knowledge of God’s creation and providence help us?”

Suddenly upon the rock of the basin alighted two sparrows. The female threw inquisitive glances at me as she leaned forward to dip in her beak. The male perched slightly behind, vigilant in his guard of his mate. I sat statuesque so they knew I meant no harm despite my stare. Satiated, the female burst into flight with several swift movements of her wings, closely pursued by her partner.

I smiled and returned to my reading. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father” (Matthew 10:29).

The kind of tired that isn’t stressful or discouraging. The kind of tired that comes from a long, fulfilling¬†day, instead of countless late nights and too much work.

It’s a beautifully simple tired. It’s being worn out, yet not exhausted.

The mind and body begin to melt. Sleepy eyelids beckon unconsciousness with every blink. There’s no resistance here. Just an amicable surrender.

“It’s so cute!” I exclaimed. “Spin!”

My roommate turned on the spot in a shirt she just pulled from my closet. I had brought it back from home with the express purpose of making her try it on. I’m not the type of girl to squeal over clothes, but in this case, it wasn’t the shirt that made me happy. It was standing in the room where I spent four months last year with the wonderful girl in front of me.

Over a year and a half ago, I was standing in that same shirt, playing bizzare ice-breakers and trying to remember that girl’s name. Her Irish curls were the biggest help. They are longer now, reaching down to her shoulder blades. I have seen her grow into a beautiful woman, a shining daughter of God, loving and talented.

We have spent countless hours together in discussions about anything from romance to government, and we have been there to witness each other’s struggles and triumphs. Our affinity for tea, books, and quiet times of study brought us together, and I love nothing more than being in the room with her. Whether we are talking about books, complaining about homework, laughing at Facebook, or just sitting in silence, I am happy with her in the room. The thought of four more months with her is a treasure. I thank God for my roommate.

The first (four-day) week of school is not even over, and I’m already refurbishing my need for a (twice) daily cup of coffee just so I can think clearly. Schedules; deadlines; decisions; expectations; fears.

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

– Matthew 16:18

And my heart finds peace.