Tonight, I walk to yoga under the kind of pure clear skies that follow days of hurricane-drunk rain, the first time this season I’ve worn fleece under my coat. The stars speckle like bits of spackle on the deep black autumn sky, the smell of fire seeping into the air all around me. God says, I will love you even when you do not love me back.

The next morning, I run in the apocalypse-dead of a city that shuts down for holidays, the wreckage of the storm hardly apparent but for the way the mud still sprawls across the sidewalks. My mp3 player dies before I’m halfway done, and I spend the next half hour listening to my shoes squeak on wet ground, my lungs downing gulps of near-freezing air. God says, If you lose it, you must trust that you were not yet meant to have it, and when you get it, it will come back better than it ever was before.

Things look different in the light. What, at night, I saw as only empty plots of land have turned, by day, into beds of soil, rich with promise. I know next to nothing of gardening, but what I understand intrinsically is this: that seeds planted in the dead of winter are not forgotten, even when the muddy earth seems to swallow without tasting. God says, I am the God of second chances, of third, fourth, and fifty-seventh chances. Do not think that this is the end just because it doesn’t look like the beginning you expected.

I will not apologize for thinking “hope” when flocks of geese stream high above me. I will not apologize for thinking “love” when the sky flushes fuchsia pink for a brief moment at dawn, a moment so brief I’m sure I’m the only one who’s seen it. I will not apologize for thinking “faith” when glimpses of the future are embedded into the walls of my chest, like sleeping secrets I’ve been charged to not wake just yet. God says, I will speak to you in ways that only you will understand, and this is how you will begin to hear. This is how you will learn to listen.

There are times when I think I’m ready for things, and God keeps them from me for years. There are times when I think I’m not ready for things, and God puts them right in my path. If I’ve learned anything on my journey thus far, it’s this: it is not for us to dictate the how and when, and it is not for us to ask the what or why. God says, This is love: that I called you mine from the beginning, even when all you knew of me was my name.

I worry. I worry you are seeking something you’re never going to find. Oh, blindness–you are a malady only the Lord can heal. But the unseeing still have to come to Him, they have to ask for sight, they have to crawl on hands and knees to the banks of the river and smear the mud into their eyes. God says, You will be blessed, not because you deserve to be, but because you allowed yourself to trust that I would bring you love regardless.

I wonder why letting ourselves be loved fiercely, inconveniently, and against our better judgment is one of the hardest things human beings will ever have to do. It makes me understand how what we consider our kindest deeds may actually be our greatest cruelties. God says, I will sing you to me, not like the Sirens sing sailors to their rocky doom, but the way a sparrow sings in the tree outside your window. All spring long, it calls and calls, so faint, you don’t even hear it, until the day you do. I will sing until you listen. I will sing until you hear.

I am perfectly capable of living my life without you. But I don’t want to. And while I wait and wonder, building my words like stone structures upon a frozen lake, I will sing you to me in the only way I know how. God says, I love each of you as if there were only one of you. I will crawl into the hollow where you’re praying. I will make my home inside your fear. I will wait with a patience you can scarcely imagine until the day you are ready to accept that I will be beside you all along.