When I think of an atlas, I always imagine the picture of that girl. & though you may have no idea who the girl is I am talking about, I feel sure you’ll recall the scene if I just describe it to you. Here is me jogging your memory.
Atlas holds the girl with her legs on the dash, her feet scaling the windshield. The huge map is spread over her thighs at war with the sun who’s begging for her attention over the creases along the ridged borders of states. The fireball turning all her caramel highlights to gold, breathing every strand to life, their glimmer dancing to that radio only through faith can you feel reverberating light-hearted beats through the photograph. She’s careless. Free. Joy. & it’s effortless.
& you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this now & not two weeks ago when I first posted something I called [an] Atlas.
Take a seat.
Here’s how I feel about that girl in the picture. She’s a photograph, nothing more, nothing less. We want to give her more life, lift her paper body off the page. We pull out our notebooks, we take note. & her body & ours are aligned Venn Diagram style & we try to mold our life- to empty our life- to be filled with hers. She can take it all. She’s never lost. She never feels out of place. This girls got a grip on life.
But what you’re trying to be, love, is merely a page. Contracting every heart beat to be paralleled to a flat, piece of paper. Because that’s reality, sweetest girl. You’re wanting to become the words you’ve placed so weightily on a girl you judge from one picture. One moment. Easily faked, mind you. One moment that I’m sure you’ve had on a grey day when you didn’t feel like going to begin with but you’ve already taken your rain check once, & all the sudden her camera’s out & she thinks a picture to capture this marvelous reunion is in order. So you smile. One moment, easily faked.
Because the thing is, everyone battles within, & sometimes it just seeps out our pores a little more. & if you looked her in the eyes & the woman behind the atlas was standing before you, if she called you her soulmate & spilled her guts on all this moment really contains for her & what she’s come through to be here, I think you’d know deeply.
She’s fighting, too.
& that’s this. Those are why these words are spilling from my lips by the gallon & here is why I’m unashamedly going to look you in the eyes & say you & I, love. We need time. Time to sort this out. Because we’ve both been mistaken & all women don’t look the same & all Christian women don’t look the same. We don’t always read our Bibles with our morning brew & we don’t always go to Christian Universities & who said college & who said homemaker? & that’s what this is. This however long it takes to reach your heart & break the words of the liars that told us if we didn’t get this perfect & if we didn’t do this completely right, that we’re a mess & we don’t fit in. This is to the whispers that chide you to isolation. This is to the cruelty that abandons & divides. However many weeks, months, however many voices are raised, this’ll break down barriers. That’s all I pray. Make us one, Lord. I pray that this is your something. Something that you grip in your hands as you live through your grandfather’s death & your wedding day. Something that loosens your gaze on what her life looks like & focus on your own. I pray awakening. That these are your moments & this is your atlas & this life, this life love, is no straight road. No one way street, no Map Quest directions. There aren’t single roads leading us all to the same party. This life isn’t pre-mapped, prepackaged, with the option of toll-free roads. This is your life, babe, & no one can tell you all knowingly where anything will lead you, they can only be encouraging words & listening ears & hands that hold. Because this is life & she is not you & you are most definitely not her & all the roads are perpendicular & parallel & allies & highways & back-roads & most intersect & some never.
This is life, love. & this is what you’ve got to make friends with.
This life is plans with spontaneity, surprises, & rude interruptions. & there is no alarm to introduce you to the next waking moment. This is life where everyone thinks they know your answers but you are your own road & you have your own God designated plans. Make friends with him, too. The closest thing to a navigation system we’ve got, he is a keeper. Love him.
Here is your life, love, & here is a fistful of maps that you’ll only fully see after you’re done needing them. Here’s your atlas. Press go.