“Lament” by Audrey Assad

“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” ~Oscar Wilde

There’s this message following me around right now about paradoxes.

*Side note: is there a more accurate plural form of the word ‘paradox’? It sounds so funny to me this way… paradoxes. Paradoxes….

Anyway. Two truths that conflict with each other.

Anyone else picking up on this sort of a message?

It’s coming to me in partnership with other messages (you know, from God and the Universe) of being who you are so everyone else can be who they are.

It’s a theme that runs me over constantly like a bulldozer flattening the proud and stubborn earth:

“Learn who you are, admit who you are, and BE YOU. BEW*. With JOY!”

The thing is, we like to act as if this bulldozer should only run us over once and then we will always and forever be this nice, smooth, finished surface with no cracks or potholes. The truth, however, is we BEW** constantly. It is not a one-time occurrence. Once we BEW one thing, we learn something new about ourselves, and we then BEW again, all our gravelly parts being smooshed together under the weight of the Universe and God’s perfect will until the surface is smooth enough to be seen and traveled by others, who with their feet kick up other gravelly parts until the bulldozer -God runs us over and smooths us out again into another flat surface to be traveled by more new people. We’re all walking all over each other’s BEWs. And this is good. This is GREAT. We need each other.

Once upon a time, approximately 11 years ago, I BEW’d into a little adult. I was a 23 year old victory lap college graduate living with her parents and begging God for a job to justify her adulthood. I had no inkling of a ‘call’ to any path and no true vision of what I could be, except for the typical picture of a woman becoming a wife and a mother. I loved to sing, I loved to read and write, and I was very average at teaching, as per my collegiate student teaching records. I also had lukewarm feelings for the profession, but none of that seemed to deter me in any way from staking myself out a job in a district worth the horrific man hours and meaningless piles of paperwork. (And I can tell you, they are meaningless. In eleven years, truly not one of the forms I’ve had to spend googobs of time on has done anything more than prove to people I don’t know [who don’t care] that I can teach students and they can learn from me. I guess it’s necessary. But to me, it’s time I had to spend on something other than my students, and that is meaning less and less, but happening more and more. Which is a big reason for my dissatisfaction, but I digress….) I was supposed to get a job in a school and teach and be happy and meet the man of my dreams and marry him and stay at home to raise our babies. The end.

Some of this has happened. But none of it the way I pictured it would and none of it in the time-frame I planned. Which is excellent. I don’t doubt His hand in all of it, and I am very grateful for how this story is being told.

So why can’t I love it right now? If I am not disappointed with the big picture and how it looks from here, why am I so afraid I won’t have what I desire? Why can’t I love being a full time working mother? Why can’t I be satisfied with the friendships I’ve made here and the beautiful children I get to work with every day and the paycheck that keeps this wonderful roof over our heads? Why isn’t this enough?

It’s not enough. But why?

And how long before God flattens the earth for me so I can blaze this next trail and BEW already? Again?

*BEW is a common finding on license plates in the great state of Michigan. I’ve only lived here 4 years, and everywhere I go, there are a handful of BEWs driving in front of me and even behind me in reverse in my rearview mirror: sWEB.
If you’re not following me here, sound it out. EW with a B in front of it. BEW= Be You. In my silly mind, this makes perfect sense.

**Ok, clearly, I haven’t yet determined if this BEW is a verb or what. It’s my word, so it can be anything I decide. Deal?


I’m Mary and I’m Martha all at the same time;
I’m sitting at His feet and yet I’m dying to be
I am a picture of contentment and I am dissatisfied.
Why is it easy to work but hard to rest sometimes,
Sometimes, sometimes

I’m restless, and I rustle like a thousand tall trees;
I’m twisting and I’m turning in an endless daydream.
You wrestle me at night and I wake in search of You…
But try as I might, I just can’t catch You
But I want to, ’cause I need You, yes, I need You
I can’t catch You, but I want to.

How long, how long until I’m home?
I’m so tired, so tired of running
How long until You come for me?

How long, how long until I’m home?
I’m so tired, so tired of running
How long until You come for me?

I’m so tired, so tired of running
Yeah, I’m so tired, so tired of running
I’m so tired, so tired of running



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