I just want to have everything figured out. I mean, really, it all seems very simple. Either we move forward or we don’t. It’s one or the other. I just don’t understand this indecision.
My friend’s email this morning struck a chord, bringing back to me the time in my life where she is now. The time when I seemed to be finally hitting my stride. My career as an editor of a magazine was taking off and dare I say my love life too. Or so it seemed.
There was this one pesky little problem hanging over me like an annoying cloud that teases you with the threat of rain yet no rain ever comes. It was the problem of indecisiveness. It was a problem on both my part and my boyfriend’s part as we tried to figure “us” out. Do we move forward together? Does that mean engagement? Then a wedding? Wait. Where do you see yourself in five years? Or how about just next year? Do you want to live on the Upper West side or Lower East side?
Let’s cut to the chase and get to the more important question. No, not the “do you want children” question. What I want to know is do you perhaps sometime in the near future see yourself living in a historic old house within commuting distance to Manhattan? (Yes, that was my burning question and I was surprised to learn that many people aren’t fond of the small windows, low ceilings and lack of closet space that charm me. Luckily, years later, and with a different beau, that question would be answered with one caveat. The home would not be in commuting distance to ANY big city or congested roads and that was fine by me.)
Now these questions were never actually discussed as two healthy adults should discuss. These were the questions silently swimming in our minds as we tried to figure out what I call “the matters of the heart”—those things we hold close to us, that make us who we are and that are often the very things that guide us and drive us, helping us move forward even when it seems we aren’t really going anywhere. The matters of the heart are unique—and sacred—to each of us, thus, making them tricky, if not complicated, for another to even begin understanding where it is you are coming from.
And so I read my friend’s email over again not wanting to rush in too quickly with a response for I was once where she was. I remember many a seemingly helpful email from friends who thought they knew what was best for me. Again, matters of the heart are unique and sacred things. But their words didn’t do much to comfort or help me. Perhaps I wasn’t ready to hear or perhaps they weren’t the right words. Who knows? Again, matters of the heart are unique and sacred things. All I knew was that I wanted to make sure my words would be hopeful and helpful.
I sat there tapping my fingers on the keyboard but nothing hopeful and helpful was appearing on the screen before me. I hit the delete button and tried again. After doing this one too many times, I gave up. It was time to face the truth. I really didn’t know what to say to my friend that would give her the bright hope for tomorrow she was seeking. I thought about how disheartening it was to keep searching into the future and only seeing clouds. I was there once—and find myself there again at times. For even after finding the man who answered correctly my living in an old house question, life always presents you with next steps to take.
And perhaps those steps are not meant to be easy. Perhaps we are not given a crystal ball out of mercy and grace of not knowing exactly everything that will happen. Perhaps we are meant to take one faltering and indecisive step at a time, trusting not so much in the unique and sacred matters of the heart we think are guiding us, but trusting that the One who has placed that sacredness within us will not fail us. For if God lovingly calls us by name, then why let any unknowns in life rattle us or even drag us down?
And here is something else. Why do we even spend time hoping for another to understand us or for us to try to understand them? Have you ever driven yourself crazy with the question, “But what are they thinking?”
One time while peering into a cloudy future, I stumbled upon a devotion that I knew was God’s way of hitting me over the head with exactly what I needed. The devotion basically said each heart is intricate and only God knows exactly what is in each heart. We can try all we want to understand the other, but we will never fully get to the most private and intimate place. That place is reserved for the God who created us. All we need to do is place the unique and sacred matters of the heart (mine and yours) into God’s loving hands.
All of a sudden I began typing my reply to my friend…
God sees beyond our cloudy futures. And God has already made up his mind. He’s decided (thank goodness!) to never leave or forsake us. This I do know. The matters of the heart matter much to God. Trust the sacredness to the One who is Divine.