I’ve always thought of myself as a night person.
My mind comes alive when the sun goes to bed and the stars are privy to my best conversations (Yes – I think talking out loud to the sky is one of the best forms of therapy).
My most creative ideas and my deepest epiphanies sneak into my brain right as I’m drifting off to sleep, and I’ll often jump out of bed to scratch ideas in a notebook before the thoughts get lost in my dreams.
However, for the last month I have found myself chasing the sun (shout out to my girl Hill hill Duff). I’m desperate for sunrises, sunsets, and naps in the kind of shade that speckles you with sunlight, twinkling with enough brightness to keep you in that limbo between dreamland and complete awareness.
I’ve rolled out of bed to pick up California breakfast burritos at Santana’s before winding up GMR into the foothills to watch the sun wash over the city lights with some of my dearest friends.
I’ve found myself perched on a park bench overlooking the city with my roommate. We plant ourselves on this bench after the kind of days that suck you empty, writing and speaking new life into our souls as the sun ignites the LA skyline with burnt orange and majestic purple and peony pink.
I’ve lain in the grass behind my old freshman dorm, staring at the large white “A” that marks the mountains behind our school, remembering past prayers whispered towards the sky in this exact spot over the last 3 years.
There’s something about the sun that brings us back to the basics.
For most of time the sun was that outside force telling us when to wake up and when to go to bed. Our distance from it determined when we could plant and till and harvest in fields and when we had to bundle up for winter.
The sun ran our seasons; it dictated much of our work and rest balance.
But we mostly ignore it these days, working as late and long as we feel we need to. Sure, to some extent our wardrobe is dictated by the mood of the sky, but we have learned so many ways to cheat the system that the natural imposition of work seasons and rest seasons is a thing of the past.
But every once in a while I am recaptured by a sunrise or sunset, reminded that the transitions of life are the most vibrant and beautiful. Every so often I stop long enough to feel the sun seep through my skin and into my bones, and when I do my soul is infused with a new lightness because I am reminded that I cannot always force my body and soul to live up to the demands of the world. Sometimes I have to listen to the circadian rhythm that draws me into rest with the setting of the sun and prods me to rise with the birth of a new day’s light.
At the close of last semester, I turned in my final papers and had final conversations and packed my bags for Christmas at -10%. I had given it all. And then some. More than I should have, more that I was really capable of.
I treated my being like a machine. I told myself with another cup of a coffee when it was time to get up and go and produce (still working on that one). I told my rapidly emptying heart when it was time to muster up some more love and conversation and positivity.
I ignored the sun (or was it the Son?) and I tried to live like the master of my own days.
And at the end I could hold a pretty stellar resume up the sky. I could present a transcript and a planner and an updated LinkedIn profile that would impress. Facebook proudly advertised a bursting social life and Instagram screamed, “she’s got this thing by the horns”.
But the weary, empty girl who clutched too tightly to that resume could not speak much of who she was apart from it.
That’s not to say every picture was filtered or every moment lacked integrity.
Last semester was abounding in grace. There were full-circle moments left and right as old wounds healed over and old lies were dispelled. I discovered a lot of what I am good at, and I was empowered to do more of it. I made some pretty rad new friends and dove sweetly deeper with the old.
There was so much good. So so so so so much good.
But looking back, almost all of that good came from His abounding grace in the face of my injurious habits and detrimental dispositions.
It was good because He showed me mercy.
It was good in spite of me.
At some point, I got lost. In the end, I was just empty.
But there’s something beautiful about being that kind of empty. It’s the kind of empty where there’s no other choice than to be filled again.
And let me tell you, His grace continues, and the last few months have been filling.
I think I have too often confused “full” with “stuffed”. In the pursuit of whatever a “full” life looks like I have crammed my schedule with responsibilities, stuffing every second with meetings and work (aka last semester).
Now, full means something completely different.
Full means living life with margins.
Full means listening to what my body and mind and heart tell me they need and then giving that to them.
Full means quitting at midnight (my college-esque version of living by the Sun. Still not the best, I know. Enter in grace.)
Full means filling gaps with things I know will bring me life.
Full means giving myself the freedom to say “no”.
Full means contentment and waiting and pausing and rest.
Full means chasing the sun and basking in its warmth.
So by default, I’m still totally a night person. I’ll probably still pull all-nighters (I’m going to be up late tonight because I’m taking the time to write this post, oops. It’s soul care, remember?). I’m still going to stay up late and sleep in on weekends. I’ll still probably have a few days a month when my Google calendar reads all color, and I forget to look up as I run from one thing to the next.
But I’m learning to live a bit more by the Sun (..Son..). I’m learning to walk in the light of the day and rest in the dark of the night. I’m learning to s l o w d o w n and accept the grace I need. I’m learning to let go of the resume.
I’m learning to breathe.
And for me, that starts with chasing the sun.