Not long ago I worked on the Hill as an Executive Assistant. Life moved in hyper speed. Long days and late nights filled with glory and excitement. Life in full swing—I loved every minute of it. Except, something deep inside me wasn’t right.
As a Christian I was confused. How could I feel lost, so disconnected? I was sinking. Deep inside, crashing. Searching for something that seemed impossible to find, but continually searching. Or did I not want to discover it?
In the moment it was easy to push aside these thoughts. There was this creeping sense that listening to them would cost more than I was willing to pay. Work, parties, adventures: I was never at a loss for something to fill my time or hold my attention. It was a vicious cycle of pleasure. It felt enchanting and invigorating, but it was shallow and left a void, as if I was depending on only a small part of the picture to take up the whole frame.
Eventually I gave up. I left DC, hoping that leaving would fix whatever was off inside me. “If only I had space to breathe,” I thought. So, I went back to a place where I thought I could feel free again. Where beauty abounds in trees and mountains.
When I arrived, the slower pace of life made it feel like I’d hit pause, but this longing wasn’t quenched. I soon found out that leaving wasn’t the answer. I was still searching for meaning, for connectedness and for purpose. My new job wasn’t the answer I was hoping for. I quickly became restless and frustrated. So used to a job fulfilling the mainstay of my identity, I felt even more lost when all I dreamed of doing was walking out the door. One grey Sunday afternoon as rain drizzled down outside, I sat on the floor of my apartment pleading with God. “I can’t go on like this any longer. Something isn’t right in me. I left DC. So why do I still feel broken? I give in, I give up control. Whatever you want take it.”
In that moment, it seemed like an inconsequential prayer of desperation, but it shook everything up. I was ready to let go of my will. I was ready to face the “demons” inside me that are too easy to ignore when you’re living a fast pace. It was a terrifying moment, and even though it led to a “dark night of the soul,” I had a sense of longing and urgency for it. What I soon realized was that inner peace wasn’t about leaving DC and I won’t need to leave where I am now for somewhere else to chase freedom.
It’s fascinating to me how the Lord is just waiting for when we’re ready. After I had that moment it’s as if all of my priorities were re-ordered. The church I was attending at the time went through a series on Silence and Solitude, which essentially is the practice of sitting in silence waiting on God. This practice reset my course and helped me reconnect with the Creator. From silence I began realigning my values, which has in many ways afforded me the opportunity to become a healthier, more full version of the half-self I'd been living before. I'm re-creating what I want for my career and and focusing on what I find life-giving: relationships, community, creativity, and risk. For me resetting and recreating looks like silence and solitude. It’s…
Stepping to the water’s edge. Watching as small waves crest upon jagged rocks. The sweet smell of fresh water filling the air. A passing breeze.
I take a deep breath in.
Hold it in for just a second.
As I let it out I pray: Father have your way.
In the stillness of the moment I shut out all distractions and wait on the King.
Father have your way.
Soaking in the elements around me, but not holding on to them, my mind is free.
Father have your way.
There’s something dangerous yet satisfyingly safe in letting go and waiting for his arrival. It’s a moment of deep vulnerability where I fully let go of control, but because He is so good I’m never in danger. It’s here that my faith is deepened. Here is where I learn to be free.
Terassa Wren is a PNW native and former Hill Staffer. After a handful of years in Washington, DC she's back in the Northwest eating her way through Portland and still very much obsessed with everything happening in politics.
WEEKLY ACTION ITEM:
This week, take a look at these resources on the practice of silence and solitude. Based on your schedule and needs, make plans to add silence and solitude to your calendar this fall. https://practicingtheway.org/practices/silence-solitude
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Liberatus is a community journal about bringing truth and beauty to American politics from the inside, because people who work in politics are tired of dysfunction. Writers who join us creatively explore healing for work culture, communication, and personal well-being.
Journal Entry #106