Aged three, it was going to nursery and getting my own bed. These were the things that made me a proper person, with a name badge and a hook for her jacket. But even at nursery there were hierarchies. It soon became clear that I was nobody without a bike. So I counted down the days till Christmas. And it was BRILLIANT – for a few months. But in time, the bike got rusty and the wheels came off my skates. These, I realised were just preparation for real life: going to big school (and a blazer I would Never grow in to).
Big school was ok. But there were struggles too. The drone of lessons and hours of endless dates. (Not real dates with actual men obviously. 1066 and Normans). Feeling like I was too big and too small, all at the same time. Looking ahead to the time when I’d fit. Being 18! Leaving home! Actual LIFE, not just treading water.
I went to uni. And met some incredible people. Graduated. But still, felt like cardboard; a cut-out person with key bits missing. Who was I? What was I going to be? I had no idea. All would become clear when I got a job – a salary, sense of purpose, a business card.
And so it’s continued. Marriage. Moving house. Birthday milestones. Twenty, twenty-five, thirty…but life starts at 40, right? Always looking forwards – to the Next Big Thing. The one that makes me Grown-Up. The One where life finally starts.
But life has started. I’m in it, right now – not next week, not next year. Not when I’m forty, not when I’m successful, not when I retire. Now. And the grit of it reminds me that it is real. Though it might not feel the way I expected, and I might not be in the place I planned, this is what God has given me – and you. It’s where He has placed us. And though we might not feel it, He’s at work. Carrying us and leading us. Teaching us – how to live: now.
That boring job you have to do. That call you have to make. Those forms you have to fill out. This awkward stage of life when things are not ideal. This is life. This is where God is at work, meeting you in the mundane.
Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)