“Hustling to do something glorious; failing.”
I read this line, and much of the rest of the story is lost on me. This line isn’t the point, but my, it falls heavy on me, heavy and light, bold and clear. I hear it in the conversation I have with my mother, my friend: “I’ll just go and do it, do what I have to do.” I am doing this, this hustling, this grasping for something glorious. Something I can be proud to share, something my parents can keep on their coffee table and point out to guests, ever so casually: “Oh, our daughter wrote that.” The glorious, or at least as far as I’ve been listening, has been calling my name. “Here,” it beckons, “is where you’ll be happy. Proud.” So I hustle on, unsure of exactly where the glorious is, but running all the same toward it.
But over and over in the past few months, I have heard the command: “Stop that hustling.” I do not stop the first time or the second time or the time I hear it again 12 days later. I do not stop, I continue to run, reaching for what must be the glorious. When I come up empty-handed, I stomp my feet because I am unsure what to do with them. My eyes spend time examining the floor as I answer the question, “Where are you going?” with an, “I’m not sure yet.” I write another blog post about saying goodbye, finding it still feels like leaving some place, not going to the glorious. And still, the glorious seems to beckon me, a Promised Land I need to find.
The problem, though, is that I haven’t been promised land, and I’m actually tired of hustling toward it.
I’ve been promised freedom in the place I stand today (2 Corinthians 3:17).
I’ve been promised peace that I can’t make sense of, joy that I can’t hold back, grace that tempers my steps steady (Philippians 4:7; Isaiah 55:12; Romans 5:2).
I have been promised enough for today, and I have learned this lesson before (Psalm 68:10). I have been promised that I will know how to hope, that it is written in my marrow, that I will know the way my bones have always known how to move when they hear the music (Psalm 71:14).
I have not been promised a bowl full of glorious, not the glorious as I see it, anyway. And I have never been in a place where I am not found, sopping wet with the love that, morning by morning, begs me to stop the hustling.
But that line, about the hustling for the glorious–though I know all of what I’ve said, it still jumps on me, growling, and I know exactly what she means when she says she’s been hustling to do something glorious, because so have I. Because I feel certain that once I step into the glorious, it will all make sense. But that was never promised to me, either.
It occurs to me as I watch the barista steam milk for my cup of decaf. It occurs to me because he is asking me what I’m always working on, here in his coffee shop. It’s late now, later than lots of people’s work days, but my fingers still tap, pounding out truths and could-be-truths by way of verbs and commas. I’m working on the sheer electricity that comes from arranging semicolons, because, like I said, I’m drinking decaf. I’m breaking for a second cup, and he offers to steam my milk. And he asks me what I’m always working on.
“A story,” I say, because it doesn’t hit me that “a story” is kind of a strange answer (in my world, we’re always writing stories.) So, for clarification, I add, “I’m a writer.” “Oh,” he says, “What do you write?” I smile, because what do I not write? “I used to work for a magazine,” I explain, “and I’m working on my last story now. I also write a blog, and sometimes I come here to work on that.” We talk about some other things, and then as he pours the milk into my cup, he asks, “Is the blog your job now?” I laugh, loudly, raucous to the late-night readers and math-homework doers, who are all quiet. “No,” I say, “but I get to write,” as if it’s enough. His eyes say they understand, for maybe he’s walked this road before, and found that steaming milk for the customers who are always there is enough.
I sit back down in my chair, begin to write again. It’s enough. And I hear the whisper song: “Stop hustling. It’s enough. You’re standing in the glorious.”
Don’t stop hoping, reaching, grasping for light; but for the sake of glory, stop with your hustling. Stop looking for the wrong things in your hands, and you’ll find you’re not empty-handed. You’ll find you’re eating ice cream with people who know your middle name and make you laugh. You’ll find that you’re crying, and you have a friend who understands, or you’ll find that in the middle of an ordinary Tuesday, there is revelation. You’ll find it again, on a run with your mama, that your feet hit slap-slap and your hearts goes thump-thump together, and this is what some people long for; this is what you’ve longed for. You’ll find you can slow down and add beauty to the place you are, or you can run right through, looking to do something glorious. You won’t just notice shards of glorious glimmering, but you’ll realize you’re shoulder-deep already, that each step is wrought with light, and you’ll open your hands and say firmly to your heart, “Open your eyes.” You’ll let you head slip under. You’ll stop begging for your kind of glorious to be, and you’ll say, “Distract me with Your glory.”
All of this to stop the hustle. All of this to find yourself on a bench, overcome by the Promises, finding they’re true. You can’t make sense of it, and tomorrow, you may need a reminder. In an hour, you may need a reminder. The glorious thing is that the reminder will come, and you will again slow your movement. You will whisper, “Thank you,” and even if you forget again, you know right then that if you lived for a thousand years, you wouldn’t run out of Glory.
It’s more than enough.