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This Is My Life

This is my life
Its not what it was before
All these feelings I’ve shared
And these are my dreams
That I’d never lived before
Somebody shake me
Cause I, I must be sleeping

Now that we’re here,
It’s so far away
All the struggle we thought was in vain
All the mistakes,
One life contained
They all finally start to go away
Now that we’re here its so far away
And I feel like I can face the day
I can forgive and I’m not ashamed to be the person that I am today.

– Staind, “So Far Away”

So it’s been a month.  And I’m wondering when I will stop comparing this life to the last, when I will stop saying, “It’s been ___ months now.”  I cannot deny that I’m so much happier, that pretty much everyone is so much happier.  It’s such an odd state of affairs.  Most people’s response to the news is, “I’m sorry.”  But I can’t respond the same.  And I’m not ashamed.  Of course, there are parts of me, corners of my heart that will always be sorry, that will most likely always be sad, but not really for the same reasons that other people are for us.

We’re making it through, and it’s not as tough as I thought it would be.  A month ago really does seem so far away and the change in my heart has happened quickly.  There are places in there that have been awakened that I never even knew existed, or perhaps forgot they existed. Most days that awakening overcomes all of the hurt, the pain and doubt.

There is still so much uncertainty, but that’s ok.  The uncertainty will strengthen my faith (hopefully soon) and keep my fire burning.  I’m learning to embrace the uncertainty, to accept that it’s ok to not know what the rest of my life looks like.  It’s totally fine to not know where I’m supposed to go from here.  It’s ok to know what I desire so desperately and to not know if that’s in God’s plans for my life.  It hurts some, and that’s ok too.  I have to accept that this is my life and while it is so vastly different from what I ever wanted, while it is not in any shape or form what it once was, it’s still mine…and it’s still life. It’s good.  It’s  blessed.  And there is so much more of it to live.

“Those who believe that they believe in God, but without passion in their hearts, without anguish in mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, without an element of despair even in their consolation, believe only in the God idea, not God Himself”

Miguel de Unamuno


Seasonal Giddiness

“Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.”

Charles Dickens

I have found that I get giddy when I know the seasons are changing.  Sometimes I’m that way even during the season.  I never really noticed it until this year, but I wait, in anticipation, for the changing of the seasons.  Partly, I suppose, because I am aware of what each season holds and partly because I don’t.  I don’t know if spring will be short and the flowers will die quickly or if, like this spring, we’ve had plenty of time to enjoy the new life that has sprung forth.  I also associate certain happenings with spring….Easter, the arrival of warmer weather, daylight savings time, evening walks and longer outside play, grilling out, and more time with friends.  I do this with each season.  Each season I feel giddy.  Each season I love for it’s own possibilities, it’s on uniqueness, and it’s own happenings.  Granted, I’m always a little hesitant to let go of summer, but I do (eventually) fully embrace each season.

I wonder, too, if the butterflies I feel in the pit of my stomach occur not only because of the changing of the physical seasons but also because of the changes in the seasons of my life.  Admittedly, I am not always so excited about these, but when I look forward, I do have a sense of excitement, of anticipation.  What will the next season bring?  What changes will happen?  What progress will be made?  Where will our lives be next spring?  And life is so much stranger as an adult.  As an adult, I notice the time passing, the seasons changing.  It goes more quickly with each passing year almost as if each year is getting shorter and shorter.  It helps me to think on those tough seasons of life more realistically, short and passing, despite how long they may feel at the time.

Like the changing weather, my changing life changes in so many subtle ways each day that I scarcely know it’s happening until it’s done and dusted.  Each season only lasts for a while and then it’s suddenly the next.  The actual change is subtle, but the realization is sudden.  I hope that it is always that way, that the seasons of my life will pass subtly and that I will, at some point, realize that they did.

This one actually looks kind of autumnal, but it’s really the blooms on our red maple!

Mediocre Drama

Have you ever thought about what your friends do in the privacy of their own home?  Or even what they look like doing it?  For instance, there are some friends that I have that I simply can’t imagine cleaning their home.  I just can’t picture them bent over a toilet scrubbing away.  Having been in their homes, though, I’m almost 100% sure that they do (or at least someone does).

I keep thinking about the things I do on a daily basis.  I’ve been pondering how mediocre my life is yet how dramatic is our story….even as it still unfolds it is dramatic.  Yet I don’t do anything amazing during my day.  I haven’t done anything spectacular, invented anything, done anything that people would consider crazy.  I haven’t built a self made business or worked my way to the top of a corporation.  I don’t have a high paying job (more like a pro bono one).  I vacuum two times a week.  I clean our toilets (aren’t our guests thankful?).  I feed our family.  I do dishes (by hand) and sweep, clean up toys, make beds, change diapers. I buy groceries and generally keep our household running while my husband works.  I don’t feel like I do anything that important.  I know I know.  Raising children is important.  But I don’t feel like that’s anything extraordinary.  I mean really.  We’re all capable (meaning we all have the capacity to, not that we all DO) of raising well behaved, productive, and generally socially acceptable children.  We can’t make them believe in the Lord, but we can expose them to it, live as unto the Lord, and attend a good church.  That’s not extraordinary.  That’s normal.

At the same time, my life is so very dramatic.  My family has been going through some rocky times for going on four years now.  We had an unexpected pregnancy (Peanut) in 2004 when we had no money and had just bought a home (that we really couldn’t afford).  The pregnancy was very difficult and the labor was traumatic.  We had another unexpected pregnancy 11 months later that we terminated at 20 weeks (yes, that’s half way through) due to severe neural tube defects of the baby, baby dying, and potential death risk to me.  Six months after that we got expectedly pregnant (the Bean) and my husband had finally landed a good paying stable job.  However half way through that pregnancy my husband admitted  some disheartening news, some devastating news which definitely brought me to my knees just in case giving birth to my 20 week old baby wasn’t enough.  This news forced Bloke to quit his job.  So then (2007) we were expecting a baby and had no means of income.  Bloke found a job rather quickly, but this lead us to another city.  Well out of respect to my husband and family, I can only finish the story with a few details.  Bloke and I wound up separated.  He was jobless in a city where he knew no one.  The girls and I were completely supported by my family here in my hometown.  Bloke wound up in a homeless shelter begging me to pick him up.  While I didn’t pick him up, God did.

And so our story is still dramatic.  We have ups and downs.  We have good times and bad.  We are really just about polar opposites. We have baggage.  We have stories.  We have hardship.  We’re still poor, and we own nothing except the furnishings in our home and our car.  This leads to my pondering.  How mediocre and dramatic every person’s life is.  How relative each person’s story is to the next person’s story.  Hardship to me could be a life of ease to you.  Mediocrity to me could be extraordinary to you.  So either way we are all, I suppose, living some form of mediocre dramatic life.

Are we, as Christians, supposed to live this sort of life though?  Is life supposed to be about our drama and our average every day comings and goings?  Maybe.  Maybe we are called to use the life we are given, the life we live,  in a way that glorifies the Lo rd whether it’s dramatic or not.  Perhaps this tendency to be unhappy with the average life I live is God’s way of drawing me closer to him.  Perhaps this sinful tendency to feel self pity and unhappiness with my lot in life, this temptation to be angry that I have not done better in all areas of my life and to envy others who have, is breaking me to lean on the Lord for my purpose and my filling.

This life, the strife, the drama, the mediocrity and averageness of it has led me astray…or I have let it. I know that right now I am unsettled.  I am a bit listless.  I am not joyful, and I am not at peace. I am weary. I am not abiding in Him.  I have voices pulling me in different directions.  I wonder where He is amongst them.  I wonder which voice He is using to speak to me. What will it take to bring me back to Him?  What will happen before that?  I’m scared to go to Him, but I’m not sure why.  I don’t want to be rebellious, but I am.  How do I find him?  Where is the peace that I should have?  Where is the light in my life?  The light that isn’t average but bright and beaming through the mediocrity and struggles.   I’m tired of the darkness, the dreariness that inevitably accompanies time away from God.  I’m tired of this mediocre drama.

“The voice of Truth tells me a different story.  The voice of Truth says ‘Do not be afraid.’  The voice of Truth says this is for My glory.  Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the voice of Truth.”  – Casting Crowns, the Voice of Truth.

Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.   Psalm 43:3