Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Lt. Dan and Me
Hi Friends! Long time no talk. It's not that I've given up on blogging; not at all. It's just that I've been a little lost. Most of you know that my family has been through some life altering events over the course of the last few years. And you know what? I think we've come out on top...perhaps, a little worse for wear, but so much stronger as family than I thought we would be. We all know people who have suffered great losses or lived through traumatic events, don't we? If you are like me, you've always looked at those folks and thought, "Wow. They are so strong. I could never survive something like that! I'd be on the first paddy wagon to the crazy house if that awfulness showed up at my door!" I am in awe of people who have lost someone they love dearly, for example, and just keep on truckin'. Somehow, I always thought that if the bottom were to drop out, I would just cease to function.
But this is not so! Quite the opposite, in fact. Regardless of how crappy or stressful life gets, the world just keeps on turning. I find that to be incredibly comforting! While, I know that life can be painful and the future will hold many more bumps and bruises along the way, I know this truth: I am strong. People are resilient. Nothing can keep me down for long. Believe it or not, I just found this out about myself (slow learner). This truth is a rock that I can stand on, a place to plant my feet firmly on the ground. With God's grace, I will not only survive, but thrive again! "There but for the grace of God, goeth I."
I also learned that you should not tattoo inspirational mottoes onto your body because there will be a new one on Pinterest that you'll like next week.
With all of this inner strength under my belt, I've had another realization. Who you are at 18, is not any indication of who you will be at 34. My counselor said today, "Ah, to be 34. That is a really great age, isn't it?" He is Australian and everything he says sounds like he's reminiscing about the golden days of his youth Down Under. He is right! Despite the crappy year, 34 is really pretty fabulous. It's young enough to have small children, but old enough to have complete ownership of your uterus and boobs if you so desire. And I do! Whoo-hoo, no more procreation (sorry Mom and Dad)! It's old enough to have worked at a job that you were really good at and young enough to decide that you would like to pursue a new career. It's old enough to have been humbled thoroughly and young enough to rebound from the hard stuff without any bitterness. Ugh! To be 25 and think that you know it all...I'd rather have my impacted, wisdom teeth pulled again.
Now, that the dust has settled, I am learning to be excited about life again. It's been a really, really long time since I experienced excitement. I am opening myself up to new career opportunities, new education, and new habits. I am not making any plans for the future because I still find myself with a spirit of fear concerning that four letter word, "hope." Hope is super hard for me. I have this irrational fear that if the universe catches me hoping, it will snatch up my dreams before they can materialize. What can I say...it's a work in progress.
The only unsettling piece of the puzzle is spiritual. If you have read my blog for three or four posts, you know that my identity has been largely defined by my faith in God. I cannot remember a time when I did not feel wholeheartedly connected to God through my faith in Jesus and His word. I was so sure, so confident in the role that God plays in my life, my future, that I was almost prideful about it. "Look at me! Look what God has done for us! He will do it for you too if you just believe!" Looking back, I realize that the box I have placed God in is quite small (you know, for the creator of the universe).
I still believe in a God who gave his only son, to suffer on the cross and die for my sins. I still believe that He is the greatest of healers and that His love is endless and perfect. I just don't quite understand how I am supposed to relate to Him. Do my prayers really change the course of events? Or do they just change me? Has everything already been predetermined anyway or is there room for change? If we're all part of a perfect plan, what is the purpose of praying about events? If you could type up a thesis on my theological questions ASAP that would be awesome.
My philosophical quandaries remind me of a moment I shared with a Holocaust survivor who spoke to my middle school class, years ago. We had just finished reading, Diary of Anne Frank, and my little heart was full of righteous indignation over the suffering of the Jewish people. This kind, soft spoken, German man spoke to us youngsters about his awful ordeal as a Holocaust survivor during WWII and offered afterward to answer any of our questions. I bravely (super shy) raised my hand and asked in a little voice, "Do you still pray to God after everything you've been through?" For a moment, he was silent and looked uncomfortable. Then he said, "That's a little too philosophical for me. Next question?" In that moment, I was wishing that the floor would just open up and swallow my seventh grade body!
I realize now that he just didn't have the answers. I don't have the answers either. And you know what? I'm okay with that. God is patient and merciful. I believe that He will grant me the time I need to work these doubts out. I imagine myself shaking an angry fist at the heavens in the midst of a storm (like Lt. Dan on the shrimp boat...Forest Gump, dude) and finally, the storm will pass and I'll hurl my body overboard and backstroke away, smiling. It's a metaphor...just roll with it. Hopefully, I won't be handicapped, wearing a wife beater, and working on a shrimp boat when I figure these things out.
But, like I said, I'm open to new possibilities! Preferably, ones that don't involve me living on small boat that smells like fish.