You know that commercial for Claritin, the allergy medicine, where everything looks hazy, and then someone magically peels away the blurry film and suddenly, all is bright and shiny and clear (Claritin clear)? Well, I think maybe I’m mid-peel. I’ve still got a lot of stuff to figure out: some things I didn’t know I didn’t know, and others I’m relearning, but MAN. So many other things have become crystal clear to me recently. To wit:
1. When someone makes a choice you can’t control but that affects you in a very large and life-altering way, hindsight will probably show you that this isn’t the first time. Possibly (probably), many of that someone’s choices altered the way you might have done things, especially if you were trying to keep the peace, or if you saw glimpses of greatness that gave you hope until the next letdown.
2. And maybe going around that mountain so many times began to have an effect on your outlook, your personality, your ability to express yourself. Probably, you didn’t even realize it, except for that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that told you something just wasn’t right. Perhaps your creativity dried up. Maybe you couldn’t sleep or had constant stomach issues or felt stressed out all the time.
3. But you kept going, kept believing, because God is good and merciful. Until one day, God said to you, “Drop your sword and shield, take off your armor, and leave the battlefield. This is no longer your fight,” and you knew that free will had won out over God’s will. Because he is good and merciful, there were many, many chances to come into alignment, but also because he is good and merciful, he said, “Enough is enough. My daughter isn’t going to be subjected to this anymore.” And the next day, you heard about the very large and life-altering choice that someone made.
4. And you were exhausted and in pain and sad and angry and sad again. And you didn’t eat, and you didn’t sleep for too many days in a row. And then God whispered, “You’re gonna find yourself again. It’s gonna be good.”
5. And then you remembered that you’re a thinker, not a feeler…which means that once you felt all the feels, your default was to process them through the question, “Okay, WHY am I feeling like this?” And you were so grateful for the question because it made you take an honest look at every single thing, and it helped you to let go of a whole lot. And you started to feel lighter, and dare you admit, free. And you remembered how sensitive you are to what people carry around with them spiritually, so you drew up some very healthy boundaries. And you taught your teenage son to forgive and then do the same.
6. And your friends reached out…and kept reaching out. One friend, in a far worse situation than yours, checked in every few days from across the continent and loved you through her own tears. Another friend, back in contact with you after 25 years, reminded you to find joy in the smallest things simply by telling you about his days, and as you listened to him, you remembered what it felt like to be awestruck by a sunset or your child’s laughter. Your closest friend made herself available to you night and day, knowing when to talk and when to just listen, when to make you eat something, and when to simply plop her giant purr-machine of a cat in your lap and let him do the work (that’s why she’s your closest friend).
7. And then you remembered telling a woman you knew back in Texas how you felt like a greyscale copy of yourself, drained of color and life. And you thought about your love for art, photography, cooking, and writing, and you wondered where it had gone. You looked at the vibrant clothes in your closet that you hadn’t worn in ages and decided to change out of sweats. You realized you hadn’t had a haircut in months, and you didn’t really like your stylist, anyway, so you found a new one who spoke your language and did a fantastic job on your hair. And slowly, slowly, you began to feel the color seeping back into you. And you felt God smile and heard him say, “See? I told you it was gonna be good.”
This has been my journey since the first of the year. There’s still paperwork to file, logistics to figure out. I need to find a job. Et cetera. But really, all that is by the way. The important thing is that I’m moving forward. And honestly, even though the situation sucks and is not what I would have chosen, the reality is that it’s been a hard road for the better part of 2 decades. I’m ready to not be dragged down, held back, or consumed. And the thing is, God’s promises are for anyone who aligns with them. I can’t imagine living my life any other way, but it’s not my choice to make for someone else. So, okay. Here we are. I’m excited to see what the future holds, and I’m not looking back.