hallelujah

It happened as I was getting yogurt, of all things, last Friday morning. I was in my numb mid-morning haze, spilling granola on a laminate countertop and trying not to think too hard about anything except schoolwork, when the music floated its way into my head.

It was simple: just a soft, understated melody, a driving female voice, a song I’d heard a thousand times before. And it stopped me in my tracks—mouth hanging open, spoon raised in front of a tub of yogurt. That moment of stillness lasted a bare second, one that felt suspended and sacred, somehow.

But then I’d moved on.

Anna—bright, beautiful Anna, who I will never not associate with sunlight—asked me how I was doing as I passed her table, yogurt in hand. My response was a thin smile, the words “I’ve been better.” The real answer would have been: Life has loved punching me in the gut lately, and I’m pretty sure the least important thing for me to be doing right now is conjugating French verbs, but I’m trying to make the best out of it anyways, and I’d rather not cry in the Commons, thank you. But—I’d really rather not have cried in the Commons, and so I told her that I’d been better, and then I’d moved on.

I forgot about the song until noon, and the only reason I know this is because my phone tells me that that’s the time I typed that one line into a note, not wanting to let it escape me. And now, Sunday evening, I revisit it yet again.

Lately I’ve been spending each day rummaging for something bright to hold onto, finding solace in words and warm drinks, spending time with those who remind me through their presence that I am loved. I’ve been discovering how to focus on one moment at a time, how to find a way to be content with unanswered questions.

And also: I’ve been relearning how to pray to a God who, I’m realizing, I hardly understand. It’s all I have to offer, this disjointed praise, this ‘cold and broken hallelujah.’

But I think it might be enough, for now.

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