We all have situations in our lives that challenge us. Sometimes they are major but more often than not, they are minor inconveniences that we tolerate. They are not debilitating, just annoying but over time, dealing with these minor inconveniences can be discouraging. I was in that space and in my distress, the only thing I could manage to do was pray. I’m not saying that out of any sense of moral virtue or to brag. In fact, it was actually the first time that I had deliberately prayed in a little while. I mean, I pray daily but my daily devotion had started to become more obligation than anything else. And I am clergy, but my liturgical prayers had started to feel like work. So a moment of focused, deliberately vulnerable prayer was long overdue. So I prayed.Honestly. Fervently. And the Lord answered.
I’m sure you are waiting for the testimony about the spectacular and marvelous things that came to pass. Here it is: I woke up this morning to and got dressed and out of the house on time. I ran an errand that had the potential to make me late,but I managed to get to work on time. As I pulled in the lot, I found a convenient parking spot. When I got to my desk, one of my team members greeted me with a cold glass of water and another decided out of the kindness of his heart to buy me lunch today. These may seem like insignificant things to you, but when you have been discouraged by the little annoyances of life, these little moments of grace are extravagant and lavish. When you struggle with chronic pain, a convenient parking spot is better than surgery. When you really couldn’t afford the money you were going to spend for lunch, then the chicken salad sandwich your coworker bought is a five star meal. When you struggle with anxiety and often can’t leave home at all, to get up and out without any trouble and without taking medicine is a miracle.
I understood today better than I ever had what the songwriter meant by these words:
In seasons of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief;and oft escaped the tempter’s snare by thy RETURN sweet hour of prayer.
I realized that I haven’t blogged in a while, but I have a lot going on in my life that I haven’t wanted to process. At least not now. I just don’t want to deal with all of the stuff and I wonder when I became so risk averse.
I have always been a little quiet and cautious, especially in my younger days. It was the residue of some dysfunctional situations in my life. I didn’t really know what to do or say or think, so I retreated.But I learned how to articulate my thoughts and found my voice and for a while, I was fearless.
But now, the old anxieties and doubtful feelings have resurfaced and I know that I need to deal with the situations at hand,but I don’t want to. I think because the possible outcomes could be extraordinary that the enormity of the moment has me a little paralyzed. But great reward demands great risk. Love and peace and happiness is risky business, so I guess I need to get myself together and take the risk. It’s worth it. I’m worth it.
I have been living in the southern United States for more than twenty years and as a result, I have become very accustomed to the weather. When I first moved here, I was not phased by a little snow but now it gives me anxiety. I don’t travel beyond my front door until the streets are clear, but I don’t worry about it much because I enjoy staying home and more importantly I enjoy time alone. I’m comfortable with myself and my thoughts. That’s not to say that I don’t want to talk to others and this year, I really wanted someone to be snowed in with me, but I am not devastated by the fact that it didn’t happen. I can entertain myself. I love my bed. I can pretend to be a domestic goddess, cooking and cleaning. I can watch every weird documentary and cartoon that I want. I can spend time in prayer and really listen for God. While it is inconvenient and anxiety inducing at first, snow days become a much needed time to rest and reflect. Let it snow. I’m good.
When I was 25,I thought that relationships had to go from zero to sixty rather quickly or I didn’t think the guy liked me. Consequently, I ended a couple of potentially good relationships because I didn’t appreciate taking things slowly. It was a painful lesson to learn, although twenty years later, I still have some residue left from my old ways.I don’t like uncertainty in relationships. I like to know where I stand. Mind you, I am not talking about the song and dance that happens in the early stages of getting to know someone, but rather once there’s been some connection, some time spent some understanding established, then I like to know if this is a flash in the plan or does this have the potential to be regular. I’m not looking for marriage,I am looking for consistency. I need some expectations:once a week, once a quarter, once a year. I’m weird.
I fully recognize that the heart of my issue is control and I am working on that but it is hard. I manage people for a living in an industry that is all about accounting for every second in fifteen minute intervals and it is difficult for me to not let that need to manage leak into affairs of the heart because it is a futile effort. Love is all about uncertainty and passion and desire. It really can’t be scheduled.
So with this new year, my continued prayer is for patience and to make peace with the uncertainty because what they say is true: you can’t hurry love. You just have to wait.
One thing I am excited for
It is the end of the thirty day writing challenge, but what I am excited for is the beginning of the Christian year. Sunday began the season of advent which is the beginning of the liturgical year of the church. We wait in joyful expectation for the birth of Christ in the world and in our hearts. Advent is a time of preparation and love and we gloriously anticipate what new thing that the Creator is going to manifest.
I have loved working through these 30 days of writing and reflection. I have learned a lot about myself and the things that interest me. I am also elated that my musings have opened a door for my friends and colleagues to get a glance at the workings of my life. I hope this leads to stronger connections and great conversations.
This is just the beginning of a new chapter in my life and I remain excited about the possibilities.
I’m not sure if I have a lot to say to my ex and not because we are on bad terms, but rather the opposite. With one exception, I remain connected to them and consider them friends. I also have a policy of letting go of regrets.Hindsight is always 20/20 but the decisions we make in the midst of a relationship make sense to us at the time.
If I could say anything, it is simply thank you for loving me. Thank you for looking past the slightly introverted, sometimes high maintenance woman and making a connection. Even through the rough patches, I learned more about myself and am stronger and wiser as a result. Thank you for sharing your hopes and dreams with me, for letting me see you at your most vulnerable times. I admit that I didn’t always understand your direction in life, but I tried my best to support your journey. Thank you for coming into my life and for taking the time to hear me, see me, feel me, know me. Thank you for loving me in your own way.
This is the hardest writing prompt so far because I never like to think about my fears. It’s right up there with my weaknesses in that I don’t consider them often. Why think on those things when I can reflect on my greatness and possibilities; when there are things noble, just and true to consider?
Nevertheless, that’s the challenge for today. Five of my fears in no particular order:
1.I’m afraid of escalators.I know it’s completely not rational, but I am sure it is a manifestation of my agoraphobia. I don’t like them.
2. I’m kinda afraid of dogs and that is the direct result of being bitten when I was about 8 years old. I was walking down Svec with my sister and her friend Geretta, when a German shepherd came charging out of the house. I remember seeing my sister reaching for me as they ran in the street, but I didn’t react fast enough and the dog bit me. Now because a lot of my friends have dogs, I have learned to manage my fear a little, but I don’t really like them.
3. I’m afraid of mice and other small rodents because they are creepy and wrong.
4. I don’t really like funerals and to be more specific, I am afraid of dead bodies. I think it’s because I went to a funeral with my mom when I was really young and I just didn’t understand what I was seeing and never quite got over it. What’s funny is that when I worked for the church, funerals were my responsibility. God has a sense of humor.
5.I’m afraid of dying alone. You know one of those stories of someone dying in their home and nobody notices. It’s why whenever I get really sick, I have to call someone to come over. Maybe it’s vanity, but I would hope that when my transistion comes, that someone will notice and acknowledge that I had a place in this world.
If you had asked me about my life in seven years when I was 25, then you would have received a well articulated 7 point plan about the direction of my life. I had goals and dreams and determination. Nothing was going to stop me, nothing was going to turn me around. And then life happened. Don’t get me wrong, I did achieve many of my goals, but by the time I turned 30, I was very far from the path I saw for myself at 25. Very, very far. So twenty years later and you ask me about my life in seven years and I am uncertain about how to respond. I still have goals and dreams, but I am clear that my life is not my own. I’m called, chosen, set apart fir God’s exclusive use and it took the hard lessons learned over the past twenty years of my life for me to realize that God’s plan will always supersede mine.
Consequently, in seven years I hope that I am on the path that God has chosen for me. In seven years, I hope that I am satisfied with Jesus alone. In seven years, I hope that my greatest desire is for the Holy Spirit to fully reign in my life. In seven years, I want to have a renewed mind and the fortitude to endure the trials and tribulations of this world with grace until Jesus cracks the sky.