My friend Kayla, posted this picture this morning on face book, and the tears started flowing. Not sad tears, but rather those tears that often come when you feel like the very heart of God has sent you a message; a reply to the thousands of hours of prayers and questioning.There have been other seasons in my life when I felt……….alone. The last time was about four years ago, I was in a deep hole, wondering how in the world I would ever find my way out. Then on my way to California I had a similar moment, to this one. I was driving down the high way, in literally the middle of nowhere surrounded by lakes of alkaline, when I noticed that there were wildflowers growing IN THE ALKALINE. As I pulled the jeep over, my tears began to gush from my eyes. There in the middle of nowhere, God chose to remind me that beauty can crop out of the most barren of circumstances. With tears and snot running down my face, I hopped from my jeep, walked out into the the chalky ground and laid myself in it, right next to the wildflower, starred up into the sky and thanked God for the visual. I recall being “struck” by the realization that these flowers were just surviving there.. they seemed “happy”, certainly they made me stop and take note, nope not survivors, but thrivers.
I am not much of a crowd runner. If anything, I tend to run from pack thinkers. I don’t find it healthy. I know that there are those that feel that I would somehow be happier if I could just “go with the flow”, stop questioning the things that I questions and just take it for what it is.. after-all “someone” has thought it through and determined it was so… right? I just believe that there are some things that TRUE and will never change, so they don’t need pack thinking… and there are other things that may be true for you, that were never meant to be true for me. I don’t believe that we were all created to run the same race. The things that you were meant to do and be, were not necessarily the things that were meant for me, but we are all running life’s race white knuckled wanting the approval or validation of one another, instead of being okay with running our own journey. I am just as guilty. Boy, have I learned that lesson the hardest of ways. Ways, that I am convinced that God wont let completely heal over, as so that I wont forget the lessons.
I have been going through a “thing” of late, well truthfully, this whole last year,which is why this photo spoke so much to me, a thing that I am sure is complicated by my health issues as well… but a “thing” all the same. Where if I had to visualize it, I would paint a picture of being in a hallway surrounded by doors. Behind me are the doors that have been closed, either by my own failings, or by God. In front of me are hundreds of doors some open, some not. Yet, there I stand. Frozen; recalling all the times that I walked boldly through a door, just to be hurt, or disappointed by people that I loved and trusted. Perhaps this year has been the first time I just stood frozen in time, afraid to walk through another door even with knowing full well that perhaps this time,if I choose correctly, and guard myself with all the lessons learned, success could just be over the threshold, and this little post that my friend Kayla posted, feels like a gentle nudge to get on with it.
After I starred at the post for sometime, I wrote on Kayla’s post that it depends on the crowd, and I believe that. I have been in the crowd who wanted to see me fail, It made them feel better about themselves somehow. I have felt the judgmental pain that comes when “friends” applaud your success publicly, but do all they can to tear you down, in secret. Yet as I stand there in the hallway, I am reminded of the women that I have in my crowd now… they are all trailblazers… we come together a couple times of the year and laugh, share our stories, but mostly we are all fearlessly, independently blazing our own trails…… and in someways my retreat has failed them.
I have in “dropped the ball” this year….tired, taking refuge in mundane while my friends blaze on Perhaps it is just that season in my life where it has been important to sit down and take stock of what matters and what doesn’t. Pay homage to all those that have come into, and exited my life, finding things to be grateful in the comings and the goings; as they have both brought freedom. It has given me time to really ask myself, “what do I want, ” and to rid myself of the expectations of others, as well as their pesky little voices that have been trapped in my inner belfy. I have written two books that may, or may not make it to the light of day, I have yet to determine whether they were meant for large consumption or just for self clarity.. time too will tell…. I have killed and buried the past (not like before when I buried much of the past while it was still alive), so of course it has to be exhumed, mourned, put out of it’s misery and then given proper burial. I have sat with my many failings and asked for forgiveness from the highest critic… myself, and come out the other side with more compassion. I have learned to sit still in the presence of God almighty, and just let peace fill me. I have sat with the questions of who am I really? who do I want to be? and developed a plan on what it will take to get there.
So while there has been very little outward blazing going on, the inward trails have been blazed. All in all my year of reflection has been a good one..
Hey, look at the door, that looks like a place I have never been before.