*Loooooong Post Alert
Oh, Lordy Lordy Lordy you guys. It’s is 1:30 in the morning and I am supposed to be sleeping but I just absolutely CANNOT because I feel like my life is completely changing right this very moment and the last thing I will be able to do is bed myself back down in the face of something so profound. That would be like trying to sleep on a big comfy bed of crocodiles.
Here are the things that have changed my life in the past few hours. I am realizing that:
1) God really is in control of everything. My life is a bunch of little puzzle pieces that He’s meticulously connecting. (This applies to my EVERYTHING. ALL THE TIME.)
2) Despite my greatest efforts, I am not my mother.
Allow me to explain. Here are the recent puzzle pieces that have brought me to where I am now- in the dark office at 1:30AM on a Saturday night.
–A few weeks ago I got this idea while sitting at church. A little idea of something I might organize- a publication of sorts. But the idea was blurry so I tucked it away in my brain somewhere.
–Then, a few days ago, a friend of mine came over and said she’d had a similar little idea tucked away in a pocket of her brain, too- so we started to talk about our ideas and give them a little more shape. This left me feeling *gasp* inspired for the first time in, oh, 987467q8640 (is that a Q in there?) days, and this little burst of creativity and inspiration led me to this little, teeny tiny inkling in my heart: I am right where I’m meant to be.
This is not a feeling that I have often, so I babied it and gave it food and a warm sweater and then clung to it like it was my last ticket out of GOING-CRAZY-VILLE.
–Then, lo and behold, a new thought popped up in my brain. It said something along the lines of “All of this discontentment that you’ve been feeling is coming from an impossibly high standard that you’ve set for yourself.”
“Interesting!”, I thought to myself. “I wonder where this standard I’m setting for myself is coming from?” Then I ate lots of cookies.
–Then, an amazing thing happened at exactly the right moment. A thing that occurs so rarely in the universe, it is considered an absolute scientific phenomenon.
It’s called DATE NIGHT.
–My husband and I dropped off the baby child and drove towards the movie theater. We were going to see Juno. But then, my husband (whom God in all His infinite wisdom brought to me years and years ago so that he could help me not cave in on myself) told me he did not want to spend our precious free time staring at a screen… that he would rather spend that time having actual conversation over a good meal.
Part of me dropped. This meant I would have to, you know, talk about stuff. Outloud. And I hadn’t brought any cookies with me.
–We end up at a fancy restaurant that we had a gift card for. Chris shows no mercy. “Why do you think you’ve been isolating yourself so much lately?”
I fear the worst: Melting into a puddle of messy cry right there on the fancy restaurant floor. AND WE HAVEN’T EVEN GOTTEN OUR BREAD YET.
Instead, I keep it together and I tell him that I don’t really know… I just feel like whenever I get a moment to do what I want to do, I can think of nothing but being alone. All day long, I crave these moments. I feel like I NEED them to survive. But, I keep denying myself these moments or I feel guilty because of them… I mean, shouldn’t I be doing something more productive with these free moments? When I drop Ezra off at school- shouldn’t I be grocery shopping? Why do I (without fail) end up at a coffee shop- staring out the window and getting lost in my never-ending stream of thoughts? Why do I end up wandering through stores or reading or sitting in my quiet house writing? Why can’t I just get my butt in gear and go buy bread?
–As I am
sputtering talking like this, I start to realize something. I am (and have been) trying desperately to be my mother. Because I respect her with ever fiber of my being. She’s organized. On top of things. Productive. Orderly. Task-Driven. And when I don’t measure up, when I end up sitting in coffee shops for hours staring out of windows when I should be calling doctors, I feel like I’m failing. I tell myself I am a failure. At life.
My mother is amazing at all of these productive organizational things, because she has had to learn to be. Her mind is sharply brilliant and logical- she is wise and tackles problems with dexterity and a level head. (Whereas I usually take more of the bumbling and ful-a-baloo approach.) When something needs to get done, she does it. This is simple logic to her. And I envy her for her abilities.
Suddenly, while sitting in this fancy restaurant, I realize that maybe… just maybe… I’m wired differently. And, what’s more: Maybe That’s Okay. (Maybe?)
My family is a perfect split of artists and logicalists. (haha is that even a word? That pretty much PROVES I’m not a “logicalist”, eh?) One brother is a starving artist. The other is a successful civil engineer. And I’ve always felt like I’m somewhere in the middle– not sure which side of the fence to plant my feet on. And I’ve seen my parents grapple with understanding where my artist brother is coming from. Because they are more logical and don’t understand the ‘eh, it will all work out’ mentality. So, I’ve been afraid to embrace the artist in myself. Because I don’t want them to worry about me.
At the same time, I know that all they want for me is to be happy. And I AM happy where I’m at- if I could just get myself to accept that it was enough.
What would happen if I stopped putting all this pressure on myself and just started being who I am? I am an artist. I need time and space and quiet to wander through my thoughts so I can write them, sing them, get them out of my skin. I have a husband who takes care of me and understands this part of me better than I do. He sees that the thing I’m struggling against so hard is nothing more than me arm wrestling MYSELF. The Me I Think I Should Be VS. The Me That I Am.
Chris is constantly telling me that he can help take care of the little things. That I don’t have to stress so much about everything. He enjoys taking care of me in that way. But something in me won’t let him. Something in me says that if I let him help me in these things, I will be sealing the deal forever:
I FAIL AT LIFE. F minus plus plus.
Here’s the thing: I am at a point in my life where I have the freedom and ability to explore these things about myself. My house is in working order, my husband is not starved, my boy is cared for, and after all of this, I still find pockets of time to sit and just be. To think and write and think and sit and be. So why will I not allow myself to do that? Why can’t I just embrace these times and use them guilt free? Gobble them up like the hungry artist that I am? Why do I keep telling myself I have to have a job? When will I realize that depriving myself of these times is doing more harm than good?
If circumstances were to change, and I were unable to have that time, if I suddenly HAD to be in charge of all the little things, I know I would be okay. I would do what needed to be done (with god’s help) and spring to action where needed. I know how and I am a capable and intelligent human being.
But in this season of my life, I am taken care of. And I think that’s okay. To rest in that. Chris is my covering. And… for now? I think I’ve got some writing to do.
I think I’m finally ready to accept these things and move on with my life already. I think I’m ready to pick up the reigns and tell this thing where to go from here.
I think I’m finally ready to be okay.