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Stuck and seeking grace

Stuckby Cara Strickland

I recently was walking over unfamiliar sidewalks and streets in my city, carrying a bag of political flyers to hang over doorknobs. I’m not a particularly political person, but a transition I’d hoped for had failed to come to fruition. I had time on my hands and what felt like heaviness in every cell of my body. I felt powerless to change my circumstances and my attitude.

We’ve all been there. Something happens—or doesn’t. We’re in a holding pattern, hoping to be on track again soon. Time passes and the changes are minute or nonexistent, especially when we’re fixedly watching, waiting for them to move. We’re stuck.

For me, the scariest thing about this place is that no matter how faithful God has been to me, no matter how many times I have been surprised by the peaceable ways my life has reformed after falling apart (or growing stagnant), no matter how much healing occurs, I still wonder if this is the time that it won’t happen.

God is constant

I have a history with Jesus. I devoted myself to discipleship at a young age, and I have seen my life through the lens of faith ever since. I know that hard things, and ruts, come. I know that feelings and hopes ebb and flow. But God remains constant and unchanging. I believe these true things; but when I’m tired or stressed, I prefer to keep complaining on my own.

At times such as this, my therapist asks me whether I’m going to yoga. It seems like a small thing. Up early, I get onto the mat and begin to bend myself a little in response to the words of my teacher. Yoga isn’t my secret passion, but it gets me moving. It reminds me that while I may feel paralyzed, I am not.

That’s partly why I’m walking through neighborhoods as a volunteer. Other people are present, just as when I’m in yoga class. They would notice if I gave up and sat down or went home. They’re counting on me to finish my list of addresses. I’m counting on myself as well.

Something will hold me up

Outside, if I pay attention, I can see that transition is in the air. The seasons aren’t stuck. They remind me that time marches on, whether I acknowledge it or not. As I keep moving, I’m allowing my body to remind me that there’s something ahead, something which will hold me up if I walk on it.

Cara Strickland writes about food, faith and life from her home in the Pacific Northwest. She writes at www.carastrickland.com and is currently at work on a spiritual memoir about food.

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