The Waiting

It has been quite a week…

Friday morning I got an email with news that I have been waiting for for about 15-17 years.

Now, truth be told the first 6-8 years was me waiting to turn 18 so that I could actually graduate from high school, attend college, and then start this dream.  But I still count those years because I knew back then that this is what I was meant to do.

The next 5 years or so I spent working through the educational requirements necessary to get to this point.

But then I was ready and there were no jobs, and no one could give me a chance, and I couldn’t find a way to demonstrate that this is where I’m supposed to be.  I started to second guess myself.

I wondered how I could have been so wrong for so many years about my purpose in life.

I wondered how I could have completely misread every sign or direction indicating the path that God had for me.

I wondered why God had given me such a strong passion for this field if this wasn’t where I was supposed to be.

I prayed that if this wasn’t the course God had for me that he would make it obvious.  That he would take away my desire for this course.  That I would discover something else I was passionate about, that I was also good at.

When none of that came, I doubted myself.  I doubted my faith.  I doubted my belief in God.

What kind of God lets you pursue something passionately with seemingly great success until the final moment and then rips it all away from you, leaving you with no purpose?

Why wouldn’t God reveal a new purpose for my life and give me something to be passionate about when I begged for it?

I asked myself those questions a lot, and since I was unemployed and essentially homeless except for my parents generosity I had a lot of time to sit and ponder those questions.  I couldn’t find an answer.  And then my 16-year-old cousin died in a horrible horrible tragic accident.

I still feel myself go numb when I think about how he died.  My hands and forearms tingle and I can hear the blood rushing in my head and I can’t bring myself to think about it beyond that point.

My cousin was a phenomenal athlete, he was passionate about going into medicine, he was funny, he was kind, and everyone in the tiny town he lived in knew that he loved Jesus.

I wondered how in the world I could be alive when I clearly had been wrong about the purpose of my life for so long and I didn’t know where God wanted me.  I didn’t feel useful and my sweet cousin who was only 16 and loved Jesus and was a shining example was lying in the ground.

As I’ve moved forward from all of that I’ve found myself feeling ambivalent about God.  I’m scared to turn away, but I’m scared to trust and I’ve been in limbo for a long time.

I have been trying hard over the last year to reformulate goals for my life without the main one I have always had.  I realized that I have been a sort of one-dimensional person and that I planned to use that path to fulfill everything.  I’ve focused a lot on what kind of person I want to be if that door is never opened.

I think the hardest part for me has been that as I’ve formulated  a plan for how I will serve and who I will reach and what I will do, I haven’t been able to move past the desire for the path that I’ve always wanted.

I’ve prayed hard for God to take that desire from me.  If that’s not his will then he should just take that desire.

But he hasn’t, and I’ve continued to struggle over the last year with that voice in the back of my head that reminds me of another course.

In December a door opened for the path I have always wanted to pursue.  In January, when my supervisor died, I found myself torn between thinking that I should stay where I am and that I was forging ahead trying to force something to happen and wondering what Frank would have done differently if he had known he was going to die the day after his 53 birthday.

Even as I’ve waited, and submitted forms, and waited some more I have been praying that if this isn’t God’s plan that he would prepare me for that, and that he would take away this desire.

I cried on the phone with my mom because I wanted to be able to get the news that this door was closed forever and say “It is well with my soul.”  But I couldn’t.  I knew if I got the news that this door was closed, I was still after all this waiting going to be absolutely crushed.

Then on Friday while I ran on the elliptical I got the word.

The answer was yes.

I jumped off the elliptical and literally ran through the lobby of my building so that I could call Homie to tell him the news.  I was pacing in circles in my tank top and shorts in front of the building and it was much too cold for those clothes, but I didn’t notice.

I cried in the shower wondering how I can even begin to thank God when I had stopped believing that he had a plan for me.

I wondered throughout the day if I would get some word that actually there was some sort of error or problem and that I actually didn’t get this position.  And maybe the moral of the story wouldn’t end with after waiting and struggling to trust these last 3 years it all paid off, but that actually the story would be that after waiting and struggling I got a yes but then some mistake had been made and I actually got a no.  Maybe my story would be how I responded to that last bit of devastation.

I sound paranoid.  Clearly Doubting Thomas has nothin on me.

Those thoughts ran through my head though.

I think it has just started over the last day or two to sink in that this is for real.  This is happening.  This is the course I will take.

In 11 days it will all be completely official.  In 17 days I leave for almost four months of training.

The whole entire wait is almost over.

Thoughts On Where We Are

*A stream of consciousness on our relationship and where things are right now.

I don’t like how we fight.

I don’t like how it feels like we aren’t working towards the same goals.

I don’t like how distant I feel from him and I feel like his parents, the unknowns, and what could happen with them are a wedge in our relationship.

I don’t like feeling like I never know if something I’m going to say is going to be unacceptable.

I don’t like feeling like we aren’t on the same page.  I don’t like not knowing how much is going to be asked of me.  I don’t like feeling scared to move forward.  I don’t like being hesitant to make a move.  I don’t like feeling like we don’t have shared goals.  I don’t like feeling afraid of what it will mean to move forward.  I don’t like not knowing what he is going to want.  I don’t like feeling uncertain.  I don’t like feeling like we are co-existing.  I don’t like that the situation with his parents bothers me and that we can’t talk about it.

I don’t like the uncertainty.  This all feels like an emergency and at the same time it feels like a long drawn out serious of conversations we need to have.

It feels like it needs forethought and planning and yet it feels like too much time has already passed without talking about these things and I’m scared.  And I’m scared not to have these conversations and I’m simultaneously scared to have these conversations.

My hands are shaking at the prospects.

It bothers me that he has been bothered by his parents lack of communication and yet he didn’t tell me.  That’s what I mean by the issues with them come between us.  And I feel like we are not a united front.  And I feel like for a good long while we were.  And I feel like we aren’t now.  And I feel like I get blamed and judged for my gut reaction, not my actions.

Why don’t my actions count for more than my emotions?

I feel like we need guidance or counseling or something and at the same time I’m afraid to admit how much I’m struggling.  Like saying it out loud will make in real in a new way.  And yet I want help.

I want someone to tell me this is normal and everyone goes through this and this is no biggie and it doesn’t mean I am deeply and fundamentally flawed.

I just wanted to be normal and better than normal.  And I want us to be on the same page.  And I want to move forward and I want to develop a plan and blast through this challenge.

I just want to know what questions to ask and how to address these things.  But what if I make it worse?  What if we can’t agree and we fight and we damage this?

What if we can’t solve these issues and is drives us apart and instead of stitching our life maps together every conversation becomes a knife tearing and shredding and we can never put the pieces back together again and my fear was right?

Identity Crisis

The last two years have been a bit of an identity crisis for me.  I spent the latter half of 2013 drowning in failure.  Then the first half of 2014 afraid to hope, certain that everything that seemed to be improving was going to fall out from under me.

It was only as 2014 came to a close that I was able to look back at the last year and a half critically and identify why some specific failures were so devastating.  Why not getting hired for the position I wanted completely derailed my confidence and made me feel like a total and utter failure.

Long story short, I realized that I have wrapped my identity up in my career.  Everything about me, my goals, my purposes in life has been tied to one thing.

When that one thing began to crumble and seemed to be slipping from my grasp it made me wonder who I am.

What is my purpose?

What the heck am I doing?

Where am I going?

What am I good at?

How do I move forward?

Who am I if not this person I have been working to be for 15 years now?

 

Ernest Gets It Right

I’m not an Ernest Hemingway fan. I’m trying to like him. I really am. I read The Sun Also Rises in college and hated it. And that might be an understatement.

The characters in that book are all douche bags. And then I read a couple of biographies about Ella and F. Scott Fitzgerald and came to the conclusion that Hemingway might have been as much of a douche as his characters.

But I love American novelists. And I want to support the American literary tradition. So I made myself choose another Hemingway book to read. I chose Islands in the Stream. So far, I love it. The only problem? Hemingway didn’t do the final edits and cuts. He died while the book was still in manuscript form. His wife Mary published the book posthumously based on his manuscript. She and his editor made spelling and grammar corrections and a few cuts but left it largely untouched. That makes me wonder had Hemingway actually finished the book to his liking would I like it?

But all of that aside, I came to a passage that really struck me last week. Friday the 26th was the one year anniversary of my cousin’s death. That’s a story for another time, but I came across this quote last week and it’s so true I almost like Hemingway just for this quote:

He thought that on the ship he could come to some terms with his sorrow, not knowing, yet, that there are no terms to be made with sorrow. It can be cured by death and it can be blunted or anesthetized by various things. Time is supposed to cure it, too. But if it can be cured by anything less than death, the chances are that it was not true sorrow.

Ernest Hemingway – Islands in the Stream p. 195

Some Days

Some days I hate myself.

Some days I hate my life.

Some days I wonder how the heck I got here.

Some days I just want to give up.

Some days I just don’t give a fuck.

Some days I don’t even know what I believe.

Some days I have hope.

Some days I’m optimistic.

Some days I feel like I’m crawling under the weight of the burdens I’m carrying.

Failure

I have felt like a failure perpetually since September. That burden gets heavy man.

I feel like I have failed in everything. I achieved my goals for my education, but the job that was supposed to come after that point I haven’t managed to attain.

And I haven’t been able to find any kind of career position in the almost 2 years that I have been looking.

I had a couple of potential opportunities and they just slipped through my fingers.

I feel like a failure.

I failed at my biggest goal ever.

I am failing to fully support myself financially.

I am failing at planning for my future.

I am failing at friendships.

I am failing as a wife.

I am failing to be the person I want to be.

I am failing at my faith.

I just feel weary of carrying this burden of failure around.

Where Is Here?

Here is:

In my parents basement

Legally homeless

Living without all of my belongings except my clothes, everything else in a storage unit

Working a job that I could have gotten straight out of high school

Unable to find a single place to live because I don’t make the minimum income requirement

Unable to get a job in the field I intended to work in, despite having about 10 promising leads back in July

Stuck.