Where Did Wonder Go?

The sun is setting before the low-grade headache from another day spent on my screen fully registers. But now the muddy light of my apartment has sharpened the artificial glow of the laptop, and I can’t help but wince.

Note to self: explore blue light glasses.

A bit of self-awareness ushers me into my body, and I recognize that the low-grade ache has spindled down my spine. I roll my shoulders and tip my head side-to-side.

Note to self: hire a live-in personal masseuse. 

I rise from my desk, click off my work lamp, and turn to lift my white board off the wall, slipping it behind my dresser and replacing it with a picture painted by my sister. This is how I mark the end of the work day, with a small act of reclaiming the space.

I crave the days when I handled time more casually, when a fresh environment and fresh faces could mark time’s passage rather than the symbolic act of switching rooms in my apartment. I miss marking the end of work by rounding up with teammates to share a drink together in the bar below the office. Or when the weekend sprawled itself across friends’ couches and local restaurant booths and a dive joint where a band from Frankenmuth was trying to get its first break.

I miss the days when my desk and a candle called to me like a creative sanctuary rather than a mundane burden. I feel as though I have nothing to pen right now, and I dread the attempt. What room is there to grow and become amidst all this sameness?

Perhaps that is why my internet browser has become littered with tabs of all the things I’ll do someday—houses my boyfriend and I could buy when we get married, cars that would hold a whole family, trips we could take. I currently have twelve different vacation spots pegged on AirBnB.

And the thing I want to do most right now?

Stop typing this article and go get lost in planning another.

Napa. We should go to Napa.

Dreaming of someday has become my way to do over the present

I’m tired of this now; I’m tired of learning its lessons. I would much rather eject into “someday” houses and cars and trips to assure me that when I get the chance, I’ll do this season over, and I’ll do it right. I’ll fill “someday” with adventures and “yeses” and laughter. I’ll shape it with a bright home where travelers can rest and friends can be merry. I’ll create a safe and kind space for little hearts. I’ll make something full and good and reconnected to the wonder of the world.

Last week, I laid flat on my bed talking with one of my oldest friends on the phone. I told her that my faith felt like a struggle right now, mostly because I am so disconnected from any sense of wonder in the story God’s telling—not just in my life, but for all of us.

I don’t know about you, but I have stopped even calling this season a wilderness. “Wilderness” would bring its own kind of romance and sense of God’s presence. Wouldn’t you give anything to be guided by a pillar of fire as we make camp together on our sojourn to the promised land? I’d trade quite a bit to tuck in under the stars with the conviction, “The Spirit of God is leading us somewhere.”

But divine beauty feels thin in our stories these days. 

This is something else—perhaps occupied Jerusalem, where the governors and priests have all grown corrupt and our acts of worship feel empty. Jesus is coming, but who knows when that will be? “Someday,” we remind ourselves. “Someday.”

All of my browser tabs and “someday” dreams are how I manage the wonderstruck parts of my heart that feel tired and disappointed with the way God refuses to intervene in the story we’re living. 

In the muddy light of my apartment, embracing the quiet to listen for God takes courage and trust. Somedays, I am up to the task; other days, I need a do over.

Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’” — Jeremiah 33:3

Katy Johnson lives, dreams, writes, and edits in a messy, watercolored world. She’s a 31 year old, discovering her hope, her longings, and the wild spaces in her own heart. Her favorite creative project right now is called Will I Break?, and someday, that manuscript may see the light of day. For now, she shares her thoughts here.