Then why are you here, Nonoka?
– Koharu (episode seven)
Seven episodes into Celestial Method (Sora no Method), and the relationships between the group of old friends is almost wholly repaired. The way the show was going, I thought that in this episode we might see Shione become the latest to break down and succumb to Nonoka’s grace. She does in fact begin to open her heart a bit, but not yet fully. This episode, instead, threw me for a loop by focusing less on the other characters and more on Nonoka herself and her relationship with her mom.
As the group makes it to the grave of Nonoka’s mother (despite poor guidance by Yuzuki), Nonoka hesitates and eventually breaks down into tears. She’s afraid of facing her mother because she believes herself to be a disappointment. In her mind, Nonoka hasn’t lived up to her mom’s ideas and standards – the outward kindness and love which she set as the bar. And while Koharu agrees in a sense when she says that Nonoka should smile more, like she once did, she and Yuzuki support their friend, whose love and kindness has been for them life-changing.
Nonoka’s guilt reminds me of some of the earliest days of my faith. When I committed certain sins again and again, I grew despondent. I felt guilty. That was, of course, when I allowed myself to feel at all. Like Nonoka avoiding her mom’s grave, I would talk to God but sometimes only briefly pray about my struggles, avoiding the elephant in the room.
But as Koharu reminds Nonoka, shame and guilt don’t define her. Though Nonoka knows she has even further to grow, she’s growing now, too. She’s here. She’s at the gravesite. She’s making the effort.
Have you felt like Nonoka or myself, either becoming imprisoned in guilt or ignoring sin in your life, or both? Sometimes, it takes a gentle nudge, a movement in the right direction, as Koharu and Yuzuki give Nonoka by traveling with her. And by taking those steps, by going on that journey, by facing your demons, you’re answering Koharu’s question of why are you here? You’re here because you have some semblance of faith in God, that He is all He says He is, and that He is Lord.
And making just that step is the journey. Take one step forward, and you’ll be met by the One who’ll take you the rest of the way.