Struggling

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

― Rainer Maria Rilke

Oh geez louise.  If there is a mistake to be made lately, I am making it.  The struggles are real.  I’m trying to comfort myself by reminding myself, ‘this too shall pass’, ‘in everything there is a lesson to be learned’, ‘find the value’ and ‘God’s got me’.  Truthfully…I wonder if these things are true.  What if this is as good as it gets and nothing is going to ‘pass’?  How come I keep getting the same lessons, what am I missing?  Am I figuring out who I have always been or am I living out the years I never got to live out (adolescence)?

I bet parenting me is much like parenting a wild 17 year old who is determined to find her own way without undertaking any advisement.  So be it, I guess.  It’s where I am and I am so entirely sick of fighting with myself that I’m trying to just be.  Be me.  The challenge…I’m not entirely sure who I am.  One day I’m full of maturity, light and goodness…the next day I am determined to be as naughty as can be, wanting nothing or no one to constrain my freedom.  But you see…I’m not even sure what freedom means to me.

Forgive my scatteredness, and be thankful I took time to write in my journal before this post in order to ‘sort’ my everrunning thoughts. 

I spent time with a fabulous new friend last night, who happens among other several things to be an atheist.   I am very much a lover of Jesus and a hater of rules, and I greatly enjoy discussions with those of different belief systems.  As long as we can agree to disagree, I find great value in hearing another’s perspective and in sharing mine.  I am open to both their story and to telling mine.   We are all connected, there is value in each of our stories.  This is why I have difficulty when someone is closed to these interactions.  Like…what’ so scary about hearing another person’s view?   There’s no need to have a change of heart or mind just because there is a different perspective and if a change results…whatever.

I also have a dear, dear friend who happens to be more devoted to his Catholicism than anyone Catholic person I’ve ever known.  We have strikingly different views and we’ve had some terrifically difficult conversations.  That said, I have the utmost respect for his beliefs and I feel valued when I share with him.  I am thankful for that give and take. 

On the same token, another one of my dearest friends is an atheist.  It’s the same kind of give and take in our relationship and we actually learn a lot from our open heartedness toward each other. We ask each other super tough questions and continue to challenge one another to grow through these fittings together of our puzzles.  I guess I can surmise from this that when a person is valued over the need to be right, a very different relationship emerges.

Furthermore, I have many friends who don’t fall into an extreme end of the spectrum but somewhere in the middle.  They might be sure of their faith, they may be doubting and searching or they might just be numb and oblivious.  There isn’t one of them that doesn’t offer value to my life with where they are and I hope I do the same for them.

So…back to last night with my new friend….  I was very curious about their reasons they hold so tight to their beliefs.  They shared  and so much of it made  complete logical sense to me.  During our conversation, I tried to share just the little bit that I could about my faith.  It was hard.  I am deeply searching and trying to understand the foundations of my beliefs.  The faith part is so much easier for me to share.  Just like my own life, I’m so much more assured of how to share my feelings than my thoughts, and as a Christian, my feelings are more cemented and easier to share than my logic.

I explained that it was exceptionally difficult for me to understand how I was alive.  I made it through an open heart surgery at 9 months of age that was supposed to be done in two parts.  As I understand it, they came out in the middle of my first surgery and told my parents that they had to do the rest then or I would ‘be a vegetable’.  My Momma tells me that this was the first time she really knew she had faith because she never doubted that I wouldn’t be just fine. 

To give a little picture of the weight of the circumstances, I was more tubes than baby, and was one of the youngest babies to ever have this complete correction at such a young age.  It was a significant deal.  The doctors told my family it was a 50/50 chance of success but not doing it would mean bad things.  They did it and I’m obviously here to tell about it.  So, why, oh why are there babies with a lesser degree of the same defect that die today still?  Why am I alive?  Why doesn’t everyone get their miracle?

Then…a pretty healthy life.  Fast forward to that big ole stroke when I was 37.  That one that ‘should’ve killed me’ and that one where I had to learn to walk again…like an infant.  Again…why am I here?  So many are not.

So…my new friend asks me what kind of God would let little bitty babies die and me live?  An extremely fair question and one I have often wrestled with.  Tonight, I wrestle extra hard because the best answer I have is that I’m not God and I have to trust that He has a panoramic view and I have a snapshot.  Sometimes I believe this a thousand times over, other times, I doubt everything.  

I sure don’t know why God has me here and I’m really wondering how my life is one he’d be proud of right now.  I mess up.  Alot and quite intentionally.  I can be obstinate and determined to create my own path, hurting others along the way of my learning.  I can be unfocused and lackadaisical.  I am a bundle of pure messiness.  It is what it is. I am so deeply grateful for every moment.

A bit weary and overwhelmed, I am searching too often in others and not often enough in my own heart. It’s all okay. I’ve finally found peace with trusting that God not only accepts my doubts, He welcomes them.  For when I doubt, I am searching for his majesty when I am so small.  I am searching for His peace amidst my chaos.  

I am struggling, 100% with the dawning of these new lights…and that’s perfectly okay.

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Compilation

  1. So much going on and it all eventually becomes just another life compilation.   My precious sky blue eyed son turns 16 today.  SIXTEEN!  This means that I will be 45 just a day over a week and my beautiful daughter is 6 months away from being a teenager.  I can barely fathom how fast time truly does fly. 11, 12, 14, 15, 43 and 44  have  been sorta hard on all of us, respectively speaking.

I’m not looking for easy, I’m too much of a realist for that.  I am hopeful that the deep inventory I continue to take of myself is not a futile effort and that there is great goodness in what I find.  I am still searching for freedom from the things that bind my heart…there are many.  I am yearning for the things that make my tummy have the best kinds of butterflies, there are several of those things too.

There was a time that I walked every single day.  My goal was to reach 100 days straight of walking at least 10 minutes a day.  Most days I walked 45 minutes to an hour.  Then, at 91 days of walking…I sprained my ankle and couldn’t bear any weight on my foot.

Looking back, I can’t believe I stuck with a form of exercise that long.  I am a wiggle worm, I have a hard time sitting still.  I normally hate exercise but somehow in that process, I had learned to cherish my daily walk.  I spent the time talking with God and at the end of my walk, I’d lay in the grass and listen to worship music and ask God (again and again and again) to help me surrender everything to him.  This small act made the biggest impact in the way I lived my life and in the peace I had in my heart.  It wasn’t that life was easy, it was that I took time for myself; time to ‘be’ with God and just time to be.

This is definitely missing from my life.  I avoid connecting with myself.  I run from God.  I sure as heck don’t take time to just ‘be’ and care for myself.  I have read countless studies about the effects of long term low stress levels. Weight gain, lack of motivation, trouble sleeping, etc, etc, etc.  Name a side effect and I have experienced it at one time or another.  I am amazed at me.  It’s comparable to my ability to handle 32 crazy kids in a classroom while I struggle with my perfectly imperfect 2.  I can counsel people all day on the significance of self-care.  Preaching to the choir!

I touched on this when I last wrote, I believe that somewhere along the line I quietly decided that I wasn’t worth it.  That’s not fair to me and it’s not fair to my kiddos.  They need to know their Momma is a beautifully confident, capable and compassionate woman who  is doing her best to raise beautifully confident,  capable compassionate kids.

I’m beginning with what I have and where I can. I took a 30 minute walk yesterday.  My phone died immediately after my feet hit the pavement.  That irritated me and I nearly went back to charge it.  I had wanted to make a phone call or listen to something.  I had a dear friend (maybe more than one at times) tell me that I was so stubborn and sometimes needed a figurative smack in the head to listen.

Ouch!  I know why I haven’t been walking and it’s not because I am lazy.  While I might say that I desire that time with God and to care for myself, I truly do not.  I just stated that I’ve been running from God and can’t stand to be alone with my own thoughts.  This is truth.  I would rather read, talk, play candy crush, do dishes, eat, drive….anything that keeps me from being alone with my thoughts.  Sometimes, when I am still, the tears still come.  I’m tired of the tears.  So I run in various ways.  I’m beginning to see what a self destructive pattern this is.

I walked.  I noticed six beautiful geese and I wondered if they were partnered.  (you know…because they mate for life).  They were in close proximity but not right next to one another.  However, when a car drove by or there was a noise, they would immediately pair off with their mate.  It was the coolest sight to observe and I doubt I would’ve taken time to notice God’s intricate design among the geese had I been on the phone.  Ironically, I was able to turn my phone on long enough to snap a few pictures of my feathered friends.  No accidents, ever.

Tonight, I will walk again.  Not because I have to but because I can.  I am on a journey of learning to love myself.  It’s not all bad but I’m honest enough to express that much of it really sucks.  I’m taking some scary steps, pretty consistently stretching out of my comfort zone…because that is where life begins, right?  I’m ready life!  Oh, what’s that?  You say you’ve already begun.  Oh dear!  I better start living!