Living. Color.

Holy moly, have I learned a lot the past few weeks. Intense. But don’t worry; this post isn’t a total bummer.

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.

Onward…

Thank You

I know an incredible number of good people.

We-e-e-e-e-e-ll, it seems that only one of us took the talk after Scott’s funeral seriously (Scott Stories).  We were going to slam the old book shut and start a new one together.  The old one has been slammed, indeed.  But instead of writing a new one with me, J decided he’s leaving, for the third and final time.  The Lord told me the night before J did that he’d made his choice, and so I’m currently dealing with all the unpleasant decisions that need to be made.  I could write thousands of words about the roller coaster of emotions I’m wanting to get off of, about the hindsight that illuminates the truth that I forgave many, many things over the years that were so not okay, but frankly, I don’t want to write about all that.  I’m experiencing it as it is, so why give it any more attention than necessary?

Instead, what I want to say is thank you.  Friends across the country reached out to me when I broke the news on Facebook, and many of you continue to check on me nearly 2 weeks later.  I am humbled and overwhelmed by the amount of support y’all have given me.  There’s such healing in just knowing I matter to people.

For most of my life, I have felt completely alone.  Well, okay, I’ve always known the Lord is with me, but in terms of people, that’s a different story.  There have been so, so many instances where I’ve walked through things that people had no clue about, or they couldn’t relate, so they just backed off uncomfortably.  It’s not a good feeling, and after time, it leads to not really trusting anyone, while at the same time, desperately needing someone to come alongside and be supportive.  That push-pull is exhausting, and I can’t speak for more extroverted personalities, but it tends to make us introverts draw inward even further.  Which further heightens the sense of aloneness and keeps us from reaching out even when we really should.

Initially, I posted about this situation on Facebook because I knew it would get out eventually, and I didn’t relish the idea of having to talk about it over and over when the questions started coming in.  But instead of questions, people offered prayers and hugs and shoulders to cry on.  They sent private messages telling me about their own, similar situations, asking me if I’d slept or eaten that day, reminding me that I matter.  And I began to experience something that many of my fellow humans already know:  there’s a cushion of peace and acceptance in hard situations that comes from sharing your brokenness.  I guess there’s always the chance of someone being horrible about it, too, but that has not been the case here.

So, my friends, thank you again, even though the words aren’t adequate.  Your love has been life-giving to me in a time that I have questioned every good quality I have.  The simple act of taking a few moments out of your days to reach out has helped me breathe a little easier and keep moving forward.  The sleeping and eating parts, I’m still working on.  But it will all balance out eventually, and maybe I’ll get skinny in the process.  The Lord has been very, very present with me, and he said, “It may be over with him, but it is far from the end for you.”  So I’m hopeful for my future, and I am held afloat by the concern and care from so many good people in my life.

Thank you. ❤