Well, I almost made it through "No Blog August", but you can all thank my sister for her reminders that things are quiet and that that is simply unacceptable. I'm back with a piece I wrote back on August 13th. Enjoy...
We were at a kick off party for a brand new theatre last night when I looked down at my watch and realized that my birthday is exactly one month away. In that moment I left my place in the crowd of strangers and friends to let the realization sink in.
I've been thinking a lot about how I'm the only one in my family who hasn't jumped up and made a new life for myself in this town. I've tried. But, the thing is, doing the same old same old is just a lot easier. It doesn't get in the way. It doesn't put anyone out. And it's safe. When we moved here, I knew it was for all of us, but that it was mostly for my brother and sister. Letting it be for them and helping them settle in and make the most of it was enough. And most days, it still is. But sometimes - like last night and this afternoon - it gets me in a panic.
They're all doing things and making names and starting over and I'm basically missing everything that moving here required of me.
This summer, I've spent a lot of time at home alone with God and with our animals. I thought I was going to get a lot of reading and writing in, but mostly I filled my days with errands and cleaning and gardening and laundry. I put on Pandora's Early Jazz or Cross Movement radio because long periods of absolute silence make me crazy. I did A LOT of thinking while my hands were doing whatever it was they found to do. I didn't get a single thing ready for submission or even come up with a list of places to submit my writing to. I didn't finish planning the literature class I was building. I didn't add any extra books to my summer reading list.
Now 26 is a month away and I'm doing my yearly inspection of where I am and who I am and what I'm doing. This year, I'm really proud of myself. I've learned to be okay with being alone. I've been flexible and spontaneous and a lot less worried. I've gone through the cycle of being super excited to meet new people, to being ready to crawl into a cave, to being willing to put myself out there again. I've started and kept a garden even though I had no idea how long it would be here for me to tend. I've seen things I am totally disturbed by without letting my pride grant me the right or the responsibility to handle them.
And then there are things I want to work on. I want to work on the weaknesses of my temperament. My personality comes with a tendency towards irritability. That's one of my least favorite things about myself and Packer's book showed me that I don't have to give into it. I want to be thankful. I want my mouth to be a fountain of living water and now I have a real hope that it CAN be. I want to care a lot less about what people think. The older I get, the easier this is, but I'm having a hard time with this where my decisions are concerned.
26 is one month away and I'm feeling like Dorothy at the end of the movie just before the hot air balloon takes off without her. Chances are, I'll wake up on September 12 feeling just like I did on September 11 and August 13. I'll be 26 instead of 25, but that will be the only real difference. I'm trusting that the work of trusting God and keeping my commitments will be just as rewarding and beautiful and fruitful as it always has been.
The most important things about life never do change. Wherever I find myself this time next year, I'll look back grateful for the lessons 25 taught me. I just know it.