No one person shares identical passions, gifts, and dreams because in our personality and character is imbedded desires developing directly from the identity of that person. From my very soul desires are born and grow to burst forth in different times of my life. Some of my longings I don’t even recognize whether for the fear of never reaching them or for never listening to my heart on that specific subject. Then there is a day like Tuesday that is so perfectly fulfilling to the desires of my heart that I could cry. Since I am in a time of transition in my life, I had the opportunity and freedom to explore DC leisurely and do exactly what I never knew I wanted. It is funny that when you take the time to explore with no agenda, you discover the most amazing adventures. Starting in the Capitol, I tried to absorb the inspiring history of our government that supports Frederick Douglas’ words, “If there is no struggle there is no progress.” Life is not easy, but we find that with perseverance and hope, the struggle is worth the progress gained. Our country is proof of that and days like 4th of July declare just how free and privileged that struggle has made us. After spending time in the Capitol’s visitor center, I wandered to the tunnel entrance for the Library of Congress and there was no denying the tug of a smile at the corners of my mouth. In that beautiful and disappointingly well-lit tunnel, my smile was a direct reaction to the realization that I live in m favorite city (so far in life).
If anyone has spent any time with me, they know how I feel about books and Thomas Jefferson explained it best when he said, “I cannot live without books.” Maybe slightly dramatic, but that is how it feels. Now in my earlier research, I had discovered a map showing additional tunnels leading from the Jefferson Library to the Adams and Madison Library buildings, but seeing no evidence that public had access to them while inside the Jefferson I thought I would go to the entrance, not as exciting, but at least I would be able to explore them a little. Brief pause in the retelling of my day (which I’m sure is enthralling…or not), I want to revisit my starting idea of identity. A foundation for most people’s personality is whether they are introverts or extroverts and many character traits and/or quirks stem from this base. Being an introvert, I have struggled throughout my whole life with confidence and expressing myself and making sure I had a healthy balance of being alone (to recharge) and spending time with people (to grow and invest in others); otherwise, stress and depression can be real possibilities. I am not saying all introverts struggle this way or that being an introvert is the negative of the two options. Both come with their own trials and possible baggage. Without having a confidence in my own identity or maybe even knowing what that identity was, I felt defeated by own shyness, unable to talk to people or have meaningful relationships and I was trapped inside myself. Various moments and lots of learning leading to growth have aided me in overcoming myself to know my own identity and embrace being me with confidence. The really fun part is the more I seek God the more He reveals about both of us. It is really quite the adventure of a relationship. I say all that to say, instead of accepting the denial of a dream I didn’t fully recognize until I saw that map, I actually asked a docent and wonder of all wonders the tunnels aren’t closed to the public. Even more exciting since you are supposed to take the elevator to the cellar to get to said tunnels, most don’t know they are a possibility. Walking through tunnels under wiring and pipes past countless labeled doors, I almost burst with a combination of laughter and tears. Since tunnels fascinate me and libraries are book houses, my heart was full. Everyone I passed in those two tunnels wore badges or was maintenance personnel and I strolled through like I belonged there. (Disclaimer: The Adams and Madison buildings of the Library of Congress don’t actually look like libraries, but to me it was the knowledge that I was in the presence of books and book people). To top off an already wonderful day, I actually got my Library of Congress Reader’s card and was able to spend time writing at my favorite coffee shop, Ebenezer’s.
Although I am not entirely sure why I decided to share the host of details recounting my day, I felt compelled to do so. From my day’s experience and past experiences, it is undeniable that God wants to give us the desires of our heart, especially when those desires are a surprise even to ourselves. Too often at least in my own life, I sink into complacency because I allow a false mindset that a relationship with God can be stagnant to develop and I become disappointed. A relationship with God is a beautiful adventure of discovery and intimacy so when I find myself feeling stagnant, I need to do some soul searching because chances are for one reason or another, I have put God at arm’s length for any number of ridiculous and unfounded reasons. Then like the perfect Father He is, He surprises me with a glorious day of freedom to be myself and experience some desires of my heart. With that surprise I realize the distance between us was not His decision, but my own and He is gently pursuing my heart, yet again. Our Abba knows us better than we know ourselves and He fulfills desires unknown to our hearts. His goodness and closeness never cease to amaze me.
“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”