Yes, I Have a Pulse

If my relative silence here (since December 2013, good Lord) didn’t tip you off already, I guess it’s time to admit: 2014 has been a doozy.

In some respects, this has been the most challenging year Luke and I have spent in Colorado. It’s also been, by a considerable margin, the most rewarding. I got a new job, diving headlong into the craziest six months of my professional life so far. I finished the first draft of my long-gestating novel, and am halfway through a second stab at it. Luke completed a year as a volunteer Victim Advocate. He also finally got a permanent boss at his full-time job, after four years of working for interims. Good friends moved away; our social life took a 180, causing us to focus more on each other. We’ve grown a little closer, a little nuttier, a little wiser. We bought a house.

I’m exhausted, but it’s the kind of exhaustion that comes from scaling a mountain—the view from up here is pretty spectacular. I can’t breathe too well, but that’s no big deal if I just sit here for the next few weeks with a mug of hot cider and/or coffee, drinking in the perspective.

And make no mistake, that’s exactly how I plan to close out the year. There are countless books I’ve been dying to read sitting on my Nook or next to my bed or on my library list; my PS4 is only now remembering my login info (hello Dragon Age: Inquisition); and the Scrivener icon has been poking at my eyes every time I turn on my laptop. “ALI,” it barks. “YOU SAID YOU WOULD FINISH DRAFT 2 BY CHRISTMAS.”

2015 is full of shiny promises and excitement, but I don’t want to forget all the grunt work accomplished in ’14.

Wandering around our home, I still cannot fathom that it’s ours. Walking out into the yard and inspecting the many plants, herbs, and trees the former owner left for us to tend, learning what’s what and how to make sure they all come back again in the spring… it feels like a gift—too generous, too personal.

Luke and I are not creatures of wanderlust. We are, in actual point of fact, hobbits. We long for stability more than a brand new adventure around the corner (though we won’t say no to Gandalf at our door). We crave peace more than a whirlwind city life. I just wanted a place where I could set up a writing desk in relative seclusion and stare out the window at the mountains, without neighbors banging on our walls. Luke wanted a place where he could sit outside with a firepit and a beer and a fence to keep the rest of the world out. (Okay, and also a place where he could set up a deafening surround sound system without neighbors getting ornery.) After all this time and work and dreaming and effort, we got it.

There are small mercies, and then there are big ones. This one feels incalculable.

Putting down roots isn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I find that I want to get tangled up in a place without an easy out. More than ever, I feel God opening my eyes to the exhaustive world within my everyday radius. There are needs and beauties here aplenty. It’s a relief to focus on where I am instead of thinking about where I could be. It’s wonderful to embrace this and be still for once, not endlessly searching for where to place my feet next.

So here’s to you and all your madness, 2014. Maybe by this time next year I’ll have that Inklings-themed library set up in the living room; maybe not. I’m not feeling particularly rushed about anything at the moment. I kind of want to let the future chase me for awhile, not the other way around. I’ve never been more obscenely grateful for where I’ve landed and all I’ve been given than I am right now.

As I’m taking a breath and watching the dust settle, this keeps coming to mind:

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Luke 12:48 (NIV)

That has never been a taller order.