I’m on a flight back to California from Iowa. Planes are always a good place to get severely analytical- at least that’s true for me. I’m feeling a mixture of things as I watch trees and buildings become a patchwork of fields and highways while we ascend. I turn on some music and think about Jesus and try to forget I’m surrounded by hundreds of strangers while I attempt to get in touch with my heart. I think about Mel and how grateful I am that she helped me reconnect with my heart this year. I think about Trevor and how I’ve never felt about someone the way I feel about him- and this makes me both excited and afraid. I think about how much I hate my messy handwriting. I close my eyes and try to see Jesus’ face. What are you feeling heart?
I don’t do well with change. I want to be one of those spontaneous girls who can take off in a moment’s notice for a new adventure- and I even pretend that I am, but deep down, change scares me. Routine is a safety net. It takes away the unknown. It keeps me in control.
Being back in the Midwest is both wonderful and strange. My family no longer has a home here, so I’ve been couch-surfing with family and friends. I wish I’d been able to spend more time with my mom. God, I love her. I feel like I’m in a transitional season- ha! Aren’t we always? Being in this place where I spent 18-20 years of my life feels like that season was a completely different life. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel real- as dramatic as that sounds. I pass buildings and roads all with memories attached to them and feel like I’m watching myself on The Truman Show- where none of my life has been real and everyone but me is aware of it- and I’m slowly becoming aware of it, myself. Everyone looks older- same faces, more wrinkles; more tired and worn. Here I’ve gone off to Colorado and California looking to become a more “alive” version of myself, and they’ve gone seemingly untouched- like those things most precious to you that get put up on shelves and tucked away in boxes. There’s an excitement and a nostalgia about reconnecting with them, but that soon wears off, and there’s a certain kind of sadness that overcomes you; a startling reality of how much time has passed and how little of yourself remains attached to that part of your life. Trying to remember my childhood self and re-identify with that person feels a little like grasping for a few tuffs of a dandelion as they drift carelessly and wonderfully away- only to realize all my attempts were near misses.
It feels like my only option is to move forward. It feels like the page has turned and that part of my life is no longer accessible for revision or influence. Next month I’m turning twenty-five and I realize that’s way younger than it feels to me, but I do feel I’m being gently nudged toward the next phase of my life. I grew so comfortable in the warm water of the last phase that I just want to sit in my raisin-wrinkled skin and never get out to feel the discomfort of cold, fresh air on my lukewarm skin. Everyone who loves me and has been sacrificially investing in my life is waiting to see how I’ll steward all I’ve been given and who I’ll become. I can feel all their excitement and support. I just feel little to no motivation to get up and move forward. Maybe I’m running into old mindsets where my life is feeling bigger than me, again, and renewed thoughts would carry renewed hope for adventure and the unknown places. Or maybe I’m over-analyzing it and it’s the three midol I took on an empty stomach that are making me feel uneasy.
This weekend Carey, our dear family friend, posed the question: if you had all the money in the world and everything you wanted, but still had to work, what would you do?
I would be a mom. & I would write.
But those are things I’ve always been afraid to run after. I’m watching a mom two rows back trying to get her coughing/crying baby to suck down some motrin and fighting against the turbulence at 30,000 ft. I’m wondering if my ideas of motherhood lack realism. I fear I’ll struggle with thinking I’m failing my kids in some way- that some how I won’t be rightly preparing them for the world or that I’ll scar them in some way because of my own issues. I envy the little girl next to me wrapped up in her security blanket, sound asleep on her “Nana’s” lap, as I know I’m moving farther and farther from the innocence of her youth and closer and closer to the age of woman she’s sleeping on-who’s thoughts are probably consumed with cares and life’s responsibilities. I suppose that’s pessimistic.
And, I guess, that’s the main reason I’m afraid to become a writer. I’m already “too analytical” as it is. I fear what hole I may end up in if I were to allow myself the freedom of indulging in the deep and unchartered territory of my thought life- which is so intimately acquainted with the deepest areas in my heart and soul. I fear discovering some dark and cynical part of myself- or worse yet, leading others in with me by way of my words. I’m not quite sure what I’m getting at here…
I fear the future. I fear the unknown. I want a home and to build a life and family- preferably with Trevs, but I don’t want to get there and realize my dreams were all idealistic and feel unfulfilled. To dream is to risk. You cannot dream without faith. A dream, in its most basic form, is the acknowledgement, the admittance of a desire of the heart. A dream is conceived in the most intimate part of humanity- the heart and soul.
I can’t say I feel completely stable after the first year at BSSM. But I do feel healthy in the sense that I’m in touch with my emotions again, and I can at least look at them head on. I can close my eyes and see His face. In a moment of despair, I am taken by Him and swept into awe and wonder as I feed on the experiential knowledge of His goodness; the unfathomable nature of His faithfulness.
I’m still just a little girl wrapped in her security blanket resting on the lap of her grandma- completely unaware of the miracle and risk of my current geographical location: 30,000 ft above earth, floating in a metal tube where a million things beyond human control must dance together in perfection to ensure safety.
I’m His little girl. And even when I’m a wife and mom someday, I’m His little girl. Even when I’m aware of realities like breathing in disgusting, recycled air or the dangers of bearing children or the statistics of declining health- I’m still His little girl. I choose Jesus in the midst of cynicism and pessimism. I close my eyes and see myself on His shoulders at age three in a white lace dress, bouncing up and down and laughing as He carries me through green pastures with blue skies- His soft curly hair wrapped in ringlets around my small finger.
I’m coming to terms with the truth that none of us like growing up or growing old. None of us like seeing our parents age as their eyes grow dim and memories dull. None of us like looking in the mirror and seeing a person much older than we feel inside. That’s why we cling to old songs that pull us back into feelings of comfort and familiarity. That’s why we sit around telling stories and trying to keep our favorite parts of life alive— because we’re afraid the best is behind us, or at least I am. I’m not too proud to admit it.
This is the hope we can cling to- that we will never outgrow His Fatherhood. He has written eternity on our hearts, because He knows how much we hate goodbyes. He’s made a way for us to live forever, together. In His kindness, He’s made a place without time- the thing that, deep down, scares us more than any other thing- as it cannot be controlled or denied. Eternity is the seal on our hearts and the security blanket that holds us in all seasons so our hearts can find rest amidst change. It is the peace that transcends the turbulence of flight and chaos of a crying, sick baby as mom attempts to soothe her little one. It’s the, “Hey, I’ve got you,” we feel as we watch our grandparents struggle to get up off couches and our nieces and nephews, who’s diapers we used to change, graduate from high school.
Thank you, Father, for Jesus- the bridge between the realities of this life and the comfort of the eternal one.
And may the ones who do not yet know the Person of Peace, who cannot close their eyes and see His face, meet Him- so that their hearts may, too, find rest.