The Summer when the Windows Changed

We got new windows on the second floor of my house, three years ago tomorrow, the summer before my senior year in high school. Before this, we used to have the windows that came standard with our house…wood frames, crank out; typical windows. Our new windows, as odd as it sounds, were the kind of windows I’d always envisioned having some day. They were white, plastic, sliding windows that I didn’t have to worry about rotting out or opening and then not being able to close them. These new windows are sleek, clean, and convenient. I often think back to that summer when the windows changed.

There I was, almost every night. If you wanted to come by each night just to check, you would be seldom disappointed. In the window I stood looking out over the neighborhood; all is calm, all is quiet. That’s probably because it was usually around two in the morning when I had logged off of Facebook, said goodbye to my Skype friends, plugged in the blackberry, and had turned out the light. It’s then that, without fail, I would find myself standing at the window, screen open, leaning on the sill looking out. I was never looking for anything in particular…just watching and waiting for something great to happen, something that might catch my eye. Nothing but the occasional dog walker or police car.

Senior year was going to be a big year for me, I could always feel that. Indeed, it was more than I had ever hoped it would have been. But despite all that I have accomplished or stored away in my memory box, I look back on most of it now with a fuzzy recollection I can only hope to decipher. Those late nights at the window, though, I can reclaim with crisp, cool, and clear memories; memories which reflect the exact disposition of those nights. I can remember exactly what it felt like to finally feel like it was just me, the universe, and God all alone even for five minutes at the end of a cumbersome day.

It was as if the entirety of my life I’d already lived was replaying itself in the context of the mystery of the night, in the uncertainty of the future. It was as if everyone I’d helped or positively impacted was standing there on my lawn with words of thanks and everyone I’d ever wronged was in the crowd waiting for my words of apology. It was like God was standing there with me trying to soften the hardness in my heart that I didn’t even know existed as I turned away from Him and toward my own perfect world. My time at the window was like a splendid dream and a nightmare all rolled into one as I faced all that was and all that could have been but wasn’t because of me. All at once I felt insignificant and lowly yet full of life and on top of the world. I had spent my life reaching in every direction, grabbing hold of anything that would make itself known long enough for me to do so. I could change my opinion like the change of that night breeze or make myself comfortable like leaves of the trees. I could do whatever I wanted to whomever I wanted and never be haunted by it until I found myself at the window, oh so late at night.

On the wall of my bedroom, I kept the Crucifix I bought with my birthday money when I was still in elementary school. Hidden away in drawers and baskets there were countless rosaries and holy cards, little statues from my grandparents; I would not have been able to tell you where a person might find a bible in that room of mine. That didn’t really matter, though. My room was bedecked with speech medals, various trophies of every kind, plaques and certificates; distant reminders of a public school success story.

Sometimes, like tonight, I get in these moods similar to ones I would experience as I leaned out the window, taking slow deep breaths of the cool night air. A feeling a peace and uneasiness, of comfort and affliction, of satisfaction and pain. I’ve come to realize that in those moments when I was searching for the rest of my life, I was wasting my time. All that I desired, I already had. Then, an egotistical senior-to-be, and now, a far-from-finished seminarian, I remain very much the same. The only difference is that now I can clearly see what I’d been longing to see those many nights at the window: God. All that I ever searched for staring out the window is found in God and my new relationship and union with Him. Even to this day when I get upset and wish for something more enjoyable or convenient, or when I back away looking for a new road, all that I am doing is looking for He who is mighty and Who has done great things for me; Holy is His Name.

Truth be told, I have no idea why I wrote this. I’m having a downer of day and feeling sentimental as I’m reminded of the summer when the windows changed. Friends, it is comforting for me to know that no matter how many times I mess up or fall off the road or move away from Him, God will do nothing but hold me tighter and bring me closer, because He is my Father and my best friend. Stop searching and give Him a chance. Give Him your life and He will give you treasures greater than anything imaginable. Certainly, one day in His courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. Give Him a chance, let Him come in, and do not be afraid.

See you at the window,
RA