Reflecting on the Absence of Me

Look up

Let me start with an apology, despite the fact that my husband tells me frequently to stop apologizing. I apologize far too frequently for things I shouldn’t, but that’s a story for another post…

I apologize for allowing my head to stop my heart from living. I apologize for allowing circumstance to dictate my perceptions. I apologize for allowing myself to become missing in the haze of chaos rather than being present and available. I apologize for being absent from my own life.

This season I’ve been trudging through has been…I’ll just say…hard. I’m naming it, in my own nerdy way, “The Transitional Positional”. Without getting into the details, I’ll just say, I’ve been going through a lot both personally and professionally. The ground I often expected to remain solid beneath my feet has been shifting and cracking and quaking. At times, it’s been a lot to take in. With that, I’ve had a few realizations that I thought I’d share.

The first is that I am ultimately responsible for my life. Of course, I knew this, but not I KNOW this! I can be highly reactive and deal with things as they arise from a reactive posture rather than a responsive posture. Everything must be handled simply because it’s happening but I forget to stop and think and respond appropriately. I forget to delegate and acknowledge that I do not have to do it all and be everything for everyone. I have the power to say what I’m thinking, to feel what I’m feeling, and to find gratefulness in the process. The two letter word, “no” is not a four letter word and I can use it when necessary. I can choose to be happy when everything around me seems to be falling apart. It’s all a part of the journey. I get to be who I choose to be, plain and simple.

I’ve also realized that perfection is a myth. I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to attain the elusive, self-proclaimed, standard of “good enough” not realizing that I have been good enough all along. The only “perfect” out there worth attaining is “perfectly myself”, with all my flaws and failings. “Perfect” is the acceptance that God made me to be the best me I can be (forgive the Dr. Seuss-esque rhythm of the preceding). It is good and perfect to embrace the process of growth in my life rather than constantly feeling less than in the pursuit of perfection. I refuse to listen to that lie anymore.

The thing about transition is that I can choose one of two perspectives. I can look at the things I’m leaving behind and feel sting and loss. Or I can look to the unknowns ahead and feel anticipation for the good I know will come. Which perspective I choose, again, is ultimately my responsibility. I choose to believe my best days are ahead. I choose to get up each day and walk, and sing, and dance, and laugh, despite anything that life hurls at me along the way. My response is my choice.

Somehow along the way, I allowed myself to go missing into myself. I held back. I hid in the corner. I forgot how to use my voice. I forgot that I have something to offer. I admit, part of the reason I’m writing this post is to force myself to come back to the world of the living. It’s kind of like releasing the hatch on the bunker I’ve been hiding in and stepping back outside. But, it is also, because I’m realizing that I’m not the only one. I see it in the faces of others who struggle and fight to keep their heads above water, and I know the whole time, they are strong, and beautiful, and perfectly “enough”. They just can’t see it from the middle. In the middle of the haze and the chaos, they’re clouded. I was clouded.

There is this light though…it shines and breaks darkness to pieces. There’s this grace that reaches through the thickest fog and finds us. It shows us the way home. It wraps us up wholly. It carries us back to solid ground. I think so often, I turned my face away from the light thinking I was not worthy to be seen. In truth, the light was inside of me the whole time and the light of the world was using this, and every trial, to guide me into the “me” He designed me to be.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come. And the glory of The Lord rises upon you.” Isaiah 60:1

So I apologize for hiding. I apologize to myself for letting my heart be taken captive by “busy”, and fear. I write this now, my resolve to live on purpose.

I am alive and I am grateful.

Gotta’ do what you gotta’ do

Whoever said pregnancy was magical must not have dealt with morning sickness. I have, in my four pregnancies, experienced varying degrees of first trimester ickyness. This time hasn’t been too bad until the past week or so. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that folks ask how I am feeling and up to this point, I’ve been able to say that I’m feeling great despite a little fatigue and the occasional nauseated moment. So since I was bragging, I am getting hit with the big guns. I am not feeling so good these days! Even as I sit here and type, I feel more and more rumbly in my tumbly. I’m sure this post will be cut short and revisited before it becomes complete as a result of this.

I realize that this is a completely normal part of a healthy pregnancy so I try not to complain about it too much (though my husband may disagree with me about the quantity of my whining). I also know there are little things I can do to stave off the nausea. The most effective is for me to eat something which always makes me laugh when I think about how ironic that is. When I feel the least like eating and the most likely to be unable to eat, I must eat in order to feel human again. What an awful trick?!

Like so many other things in life, the principle holds true that sometimes we need to do what is good for us regardless of whether or not we feel like it. My kids rarely jump out of bed first thing in the morning bursting with excitement about another day of school, but they need to go in order to grow. I rarely revel in the thought of a tough workout (try NEVER these days), but if I want the results I go for it anyway. I rarely find my kids begging for more zucchini or broccoli (except for my oldest who is abnormal and prefers veggies to meat at ALL times) but I know they need healthy foods to be healthy so they eat them anyway. Sometimes, I don’t feel like spending an hour in prayer or a little extra time in the word, but without prayer and study, I cannot maintain my spiritual health.

I am sitting here at lunch time trying to determine what I’m going to try to ingest to calm my queasy midsection and nothing sounds appetizing but I either eat or I continue to feel miserable. What we need may not always match what we want but that doesn’t mean we won’t end up with the desired result. God knows exactly what we need and what’s best for us. Instead of trying to beat the system and get our way, maybe we should just do what we know is best and get rid of the ‘icky’ for awhile. Sometimes we just gotta’ do what we gotta’ do.