It's been such a long time since I've written anything: at least a month has gone by! I've missed this blog, and I've missed writing, but I don't think I knew how much until a few weeks ago, during a week of epic stress, a friend (shoutout to George!) said to me, "You should write. That'll help you relax." He was right: this little place does my heart good.
There are a lot of things that I have to say (shock, right?), so hang on tight.
Since I last wrote, life has been a massive whirlwind, which is why I haven't written. In fact, I'm having to check back on previous posts to see what was happening in life. We finished our opera two weeks ago! It was a double bill of Menotti's The Old Maid and the Thief and our production of Puccini's Suor Angelica. It involved a lot of late nights at the amphitheater outside of town, a lot of microphone feedback, and a ton of down time. I was so blessed to be part of such an incredible cast of women. They are all so beautiful and unique in their own ways, and I don't think they'll ever know how much I love them. I got closer to a lot of them over this process, and I thank God for that. My fabulous double, Katie, and I had a ball in our role as La Zelatrice, the monitress of the convent. Y'all, this girl is like the big sister I've never had. She's so dear to me. My amazing family came out to see the show -- and I mean all of them came: Mama, Daddy, Luke, Cooper, and my Nana and Pawpaw. They really enjoyed it, even the boys! They also brought me Quest bars, which was delightful. I was really happy that I got to spend some time with them, even if it was only for a couple of days.
About a month ago, I cut my hair -- and I mean I really cut it. Before the cut, it reached the middle of my back. Now it's a long bob that hits my shoulders. I LOVE IT. It's so light and full of sass. Today my friend Michaela (shoutout and all that) told me it looked voluptuous. Points to my hair.
One of the great lights in my life this year has been my church and my GC. For those of you who don't know, my church in Lubbock has small groups that we call "gospel communities," or GCs. We study the Bible together and pray for one another and truly encourage and exhort one another in Christ. I cannot tell you the myriad of ways that this group of people has made my life good; I would be sitting here all night, trying to put it into words. It is so exciting to see God at work in others' lives. I'm so in love with prayer and community. The hardest part of community, but invariably the best, is calling someone on their crap: telling someone when you see a destructive pattern in their life. It's so hard to hear, but it's something that you need.
This year, I've learned that I struggle with control: not of people, but of events. I want my life to be well-ordered, and in order to attain this, I grip it tight and try to maneuver it as I will. As part of this, I work myself to death. I'm a classic workaholic, y'all. What shames me a little is that I feel a small surge of pride as I write that. I pride myself on being in control and being on top of all my stuff. I work late hours and wake up early -- partly because I love the morning, but truthfully, also so I can get more done in a day. There's a lot of stress involved and not much sleep. I've been terribly convicted about this over the past few weeks, and let me tell y'all, it is not an easy habit to break. You think it just means relaxing, but it doesn't. I don't think it's possible for me not to have five tabs open on the computer at once (I do right now). It feels impossible to relax because if I'm relaxing, I'm not getting things done. I come home at night and I work, because during the day I'm practicing or at the office where I work or something else that requires my time. I could go on and on about this, but I don't think there would be an end.
God has truly convicted me: my need for control shows a lack of trust in Him. I am trying, in the utter limits of my humanity, to trust Him more and -- here's the key -- to rest in Him. Bam, there it is: the title of this blog post (You wondered when it was coming). Grace is a beautiful thing, but it's difficult to allow myself to live under it. Christ has finished all my work: all my struggle against my sin, all my long days, all the hours of study -- all of it is done. He's conquered and defeated all of it. Since I've accepted His grace, all I have to do is rest in Him. It's so hard. But little by little, I'm becoming more able just to chill out and really live under grace. Last night I got home at 6 pm and did NOTHING. It was delightful. I went to bed at 10:24 pm, which was even better. Tonight I'm sitting and writing, which I haven't done in a long time. Jesus is better than all my striving.
That's the theme of my life right now: rest. Chill the heck out, Sara. I have three fabulous friends who text me and tell me to go to bed. This semester has been so strange for me. There's a lot happening all the time, and so it's passing in a whirlwind: we just had our Form and Analysis midterm this week. ENTSHULDIGUNG. Sometimes I get random heartaches -- small, but noticeable. I was just talking with a friend about this (KATIE KELLEY I MISS YOU), and she says it's just life sometimes. She's right. It's learning how to deal with it that matters, I guess. Resting is hard.
Last weekend we went on retreat with my church, and even though it was chilly, we had a ball. I made new friends and grew closer to my GC. I learned so much, and was convicted on so many levels. It's really difficult to describe (that might also be because it's 11 pm now), but I'll say again that it's so exciting to watch God work, and it's so good to get perspective.
Tonight we had our first choir concert of the year: the annual Kaleidoscope of Choirs. The program involves all four Tech choirs, and the program tonight was beautiful! The Matador Singers, the men's choir (WE LOVE THEM), sang some Bach, which is always a good idea. University Choir, which my best friend Liz is in, sang some absolutely beautiful music, which WC heard from backstage. Let me pause a moment to tell you about my friend Becky. Becky is one of my favorite people in the world, and she knows she is. She's super passionate about color guard and choral music. Tonight, U. Choir sang this epically long, epically gorgeous piece called "Dark Night of the Soul," and she and I backstage conducted. She's a much better conductor than I am. The expression on her face caught my eye as she conducted, and in that moment I thought about how beautiful she is. I told her this in person, but my heart is so full of this image that I have to write it: she is so gorgeous when she conducts -- I mean, she's beautiful anyway, but this is absolutely incredible. She was so involved in the music, totally committed to it. I could see her listening and feeling out the piece in her head, and I saw her make a couple of conducting decisions -- on the spot! -- that were different than the way it was sung tonight. She was so in the moment with the music, and I honestly could not stop staring at this beautiful conductor, one of my best friends in the world.
Speaking of friends, I just need to say right now how beyond amazing my friends are. I don't deserve them. Sometimes I don't know how they're friends with me. They're all such amazing people. Of course, Liz, Becky, and Roxanne are my best friends in the universe, but I'm not just speaking of them, but of my GC, my fight club Sarah, the amazing ladies of Women's Chorale (I can't tell you how many hugs I got tonight), the Angelica cast, my AIMSers (who I miss to death), and others besides. They have laughed and cried with me and listened to me vent -- they are all such good listeners. They have seen me at my best performances and my worst lows -- some of them have seen me ugly cry. This is all so cliche, but I just need everyone who reads this to know what amazing friends I have. Between them and Jesus, I have more than enough.
Words fail me now. I cannot describe to you the wonder of people. I just love them all so much. I want my love for them to shine through -- too often, my joy does not show. I find myself getting swallowed by my own worries, instead of shining. Shine, y'all. Don't let life get you down. You've got so much within you that is not defined by what you do. Rest in that. Just rest, period. Chill out. Go watch Netflix. Write. Sleep, for the love of God. Sing (always). Rest in the love of God and the love of your friends: they're the ones that matter.
If you made it to the end of this blog post, props. Know that I love you for that. Writing is cathartic, but it helps to have someone to listen.
Stay tuned, because I'm pretty officially a mezzo-soprano now! Also, Christmas is coming, and I go a little (a lot) Christmas crazy. Also also, in less than two months: JURIES.
Much love to you from me.