Happy 2016!

Wow.  2016?  When did that happen?  Remember when it was a big deal to be entering a new century?  How does sixteen years just…*poof*…fly away?

And what have we to show for nearly two decades of time?  A new year always brings about reflection, and this year, I’m feeling  especially reflective.

I’m not sure I’m particularly happy about what I see.

It’s a feeling that has been bubbling and percolating under the surface for some time and is now begging for release; I’m not sure that I can give it.  How do you articulate something that you’re not sure you understand…or are afraid to understand?

Maybe it started with knowing that I’m knocking on 40 years old pretty hard.  It’s not as far away as I think.  My life is drastically different from what I imagined it twenty years ago.  I was supposed to be well into twenty years of sharing a life with the love of mine.  We were supposed to be well into our child rearing years with the oldest entering high school at least.  Working as a nurse was supposed to be my adult outlet and a way for me to help contribute to my family.

It was to be a good, sensible life.  Very acceptable and rubber stamped.  It was the way life in my circles was supposed to be.  I would’ve loved it; I know I would’ve.  And it was truly what I wanted…at least in part.

See…and this is the part I’ve kept hidden away in the darkest corner of my heart…long before this, I had another dream.  One that wasn’t so rubber stamped and would’ve been found frivolous and unsuitable by those in my life.  One I tucked away like a good little girl and pretended it didn’t kill a part of me to lose.  Because I was always a good little girl, and whining or pining over it would’ve been frowned upon.  It haunts me and hurts as much today as it hurt back in January of 1990 when it happened; when my dream of being a musician was taken from me because the adults in my life decided for me, and I didn’t get a say.

As I write that sentence, I feel petty and vindictive, even now.  I feel like I should be over it.  But that would be a whole ‘nother post to delve into all that.  The point is, nothing I’ve ever planned or wanted for my life is any part of my life right now.  I’ve tried to convince myself that I’m right where I am supposed to be and doing what God wants me to do, and I know that that’s true….to a point.  I want to believe that wholeheartedly and be whole, but part of me has to wonder…

Are you following God’s will, or did you just check out and let life happen to you?  As a Christian, are you even allowed to think like that?

There’s the crux of the matter.  That’s the seamy underbelly of what I’ve been afraid to even turn the light on never mind give thought to.  Has all of my life been fake?  A façade?  A pretty store front for everyone to look at and approve of?  If so, how do I step out of that façade store front and be real and present?  How do I say, “Yes.  That hurt me,” but still move on?  Move on for real and have a real life?  How do I really live life and not just survive it?

How do I even pray about that?

Yesterday I was having dinner with my sister who is fourteen years younger than I, and she said that I was an inspiration to her.  On one hand, it touched me deeply because she had never said that to me before, and I don’t usually think of myself in those terms.  I’m just me; not trying to be an inspiration to anyone; not believing that there is anything that they’d want to aspire to.  But on the other, I knew how I’d been feeling.  I know how I feel about my life, and all I could think was, “I don’t deserve that.  She has no idea how much I’m questioning myself.”  I made one resolution for this year right then and there:

To figure this out.  To figure out how to be real, how to have a real life instead of coasting through and waiting for…whatever it is to happen at the end, I guess.

Jesus, you’ll have to help me.  I’ve been hiding from this for so long.  I’ve been hiding from you.  It’s obvious that I can’t do this on my own.  Keep me present.  Keep me leaning on you, and teach me what I need.  ~ Amen.