“Well, I wake up in the morning and think, ‘Jesus is good. And I don’t have a job.'” This isn’t what my friend was anticipating, probably, when he asked, “How are you?” Furthermore, it’s not really what I meant to say, although I do play in the ball game of honesty 94 percent of the time. Passing hallway “How are you”s don’t exactly lend themselves to startling responses, but the words tumbled out before I could stop them and so I paused as I passed and smiled. “But it’s OK,” I said, taking a deep breath and looking him in the eye so that he knew I meant it. He patted my arm. “It’s going to be OK.”
I nod and smile at him, because well, that’s what they all say.
And they’re all right, all those well-meaning wisdom-throwers. “Apply for everything,” they say. “Don’t take the first thing offered to you,” others suggest. “You’re really awesome,” everyone concludes, throwing out a knowing smile and another arm pat. And we’ve all still got time, graduation only a week and change behind us. My friends and I are quick to remind whoever falls victim to Meltdown of the Day that “nobody knows!” It’s easy to say when you’re holding someone’s hand, the trust in your own heart thriving; the words seem spun out of thin air when it’s you who’s given in to the waves of fear, though. But they take your hand, they look you in the eye, and they say the words that are real and true and mighty: “Me too. I understand. It’s going to be OK.” And the fear, the fear crashes on the shores of trust and rolls back out again.
Even so, I woke up this morning with that familiar knot already lodged in the pit of my stomach. I drank some coffee and read some verses. I stared at the ceiling and waited for the Lord, who is so faithful to remind me again and again that its going to be OK. Ever patient and gentle, He takes my hand until it passes, reminding me that we’re in it together, that He’s been here before, that He knows where we’re going. This morning, though, He did not calm me with those adages. Instead, He whispered something different: “Daily bread.”
Now, I eat toast for breakfast every morning, and I thought maybe my spiritual thought waves had gotten mixed up with my digestive tract, but no, there it was–a new revelation, reverberating through my being with a clear trill: Daily bread, daily bread, daily bread. Give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). It lands on me like a feather drifting to the ground before my feet: We were not taught to pray for monthly bread, for bread come July, for tomorrow’s toast. We were taught to ask for daily bread, for get-me-through-right-now manna, for I-need-you-every-single-day sustenance. We were taught to return again and again, daily, taught to begin the morning asking for and inviting in and seeking hard and chasing fast that grace which sustains us.
Blessed be the Lord, Who bears our burdens and carries us day by day, even the God Who is our salvation! Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! –Psalm 68:19
And after this, my morning thoughts–“Jesus is good. And I don’t have a job.”–seem to be the best ones I’ve had in a while. Because one of these days, my thoughts will be, “I have to get to work”–I believe it–and what if I lose my dependence on daily bread? What if I wasn’t learning now how to wake up and demand nutrition, learning now that I am so broken and afraid without it? What if having a job, or a husband, or a fill-in-the-blank, lessens that desire to be filled each morning anew? It seems like the place I’m in, the one where the only things I’m certain of are today’s toast and coffee for breakfast and this song on the way to work and people who are praying for me, is the place where I can taste bread daily. This revelation does more than roll the fear back; it pulls me out deeper, until I’m floating moment by moment, where the peace is as tangible as the salt in the water–not really tangible at all, but man can you taste it.
For all the revelation, for all the peace, I head out into a world that tries to insist that the best thing is five-year-plans bread, bursting-with-success bread, exactly-what-you-dreamed-of bread. I sit down and begin again: publications jobs in Birmingham, AL; editorial jobs in Atlanta, GA; magazines in Mobile, AL; “To whom it may concern, My name is Lindsey Lowe…”
“How’s it going?” my roommate asks, and I look at her and shrug, because today is not the day. I’ll wake up again tomorrow, and I won’t know where I’m going, but I seem to be getting better at that. After all, I had my toast this morning, and I trust that it will be there tomorrow. So I send a few emails. I apply for something I’m not sure I’m qualified for, but it can’t hurt, I tell her. And then I close my computer and we go for a coffee and a walk. We go out and we get our daily bread, our today, our this-is-your-right-now sandwich. And it tastes good.