I quietly slid the door closed and buried my hands in my pockets, making my way along the maze of sidewalk in the darkness. I paced back and forth in front of the stacked silver mailboxes, like a confined polar bear at the zoo. Finally, hands shaking, I flipped open my phone and scrolled to his name.
I had been haunted with the nagging feeling that I should call him for weeks. And it was getting worse. You know the feeling—the same tug on the back of your mind that exhorts you to finally get your oil changed, switch your laundry, and text your mother-in-law. The voice of should and ought and must.
I thought the voice was God’s, calling me to connect, to reconcile, to be the better person. Calling me to call.
As I scrolled to his name, heart racing, a trickle of sweat running down my back, I froze. I scanned the letters of his name that once made my heart leap, and the tears pricked hard at the back of my eyes, hurt balling up in my throat.
The ought to voice screamed louder, screamed “DO IT!”
I dropped my phone, dropped my body to the sidewalk and yelled back “Just give me a minute!”
Huddled on the curb, I forced the breath in and out of my lungs. Forced my hands to still. And in the stillness, a different voice spoke:
“Aly, I love you whether or not you make this phone call.”
Not the voice of ought, but the voice of Love. The voice of Grace.
I wasn’t accustomed to hearing voices so kind, so clear. I knew it was not my own.
I stared wide-eyed into the sky, the dark, soaking in grace. When, minutes or hours later who knows, I pocketed my phone and walked back to my apartment, the phone call still unmade, all outward signs pointing toward failure, I didn’t care.
I was a different person. A person who was just beginning to tune her ears to the voice of Love, but a new creation nonetheless.
I did eventually call him, and we met up to reconcile, albeit somewhat unsatisfactorily. But that’s not really the point. That night I learned something, knew something, I perhaps had never known before: I was loved in that moment and in all moments. Even if I didn’t make the phone call that night. Even if I never made the call.
Even if I never obey the prodding of his Spirit, I am loved.
I am loved. I am loved. I am loved.
Daily I am a new creation. Daily I am learning to retune my ears. To depend on Grace to call me out of my own ego and frenzied justifications and call me in to relationship with the One who loves.