I guess the first step in writing about a personal journey is to establish a baseline -- a line in the sand to document where I am now -- which will serve the additional purpose of bringing former readers up to speed on the past few years while the blog has been inactive.
My path to this point has been laid out for a long time so I won't rehash all of that. Here are the updates that are pertinent to the scope of this blog.
- Life stuff: The ex has remarried (to the guy mentioned in the archive post) and moved to the west coast. She started in northern California but that didn’t last and I honestly don’t know where she ended up now. The Things -- my daughters, Thing 1 and Thing 2 -- are now grown, 21 and 20 respectively. I've said it before and likely will again. Without them, I never would have survived the past five years. Thing 1 went out west with her mother and is now living in Oregon. I miss her terribly. I’m glad she has grabbed the chance to spread her wings and enjoy that brief period of freedom when you have no major responsibilities and can just pick up and do something new. But I was just starting to get to know her as her own person and not as my daughter and now have to settle for occasional phone calls. Thing 2 still lives with me and is looking for a job. She alternates between frustrating me to no end with her seeming lack of ambition and then amazing me with how maturely she approaches some issues in her life. She is truly a miniature version of me and is an absolute riot. Phrases like “Shampoo solo!” and “Prepare the noodle sacrifice” are commonplace around our house.
- Christianity: I can’t imagine being in a better church than the one I found at the beginning of this year. I’ve said for a long time that the Church (universal) is the one organization that exists for the sole benefit of those who are not part of it. My church gets that in spades. That’s not to say they believe that you’re on your own for your own development and growth. There is also a strong reinforcement of being in relationship with each other to help point each other to Christ, helping each other where needed. There is wonderful value in corporate worship and teaching on Sunday mornings but we know that that’s only a tiny part of Christianity. In that context, I have found myself almost back at the beginning in my journey with God. I can fill a whole post on that and I’ll write more about it in the coming days. For now, suffice it to say that before The Great Unraveling (as I have come to call the events of the past few years) I was doing pretty well for myself. And therein lies the problem. It was all about what I had done. There was a lot of lip service given to God but I didn’t let Him have any sort of — much less total — control of my life. That’s changing now. It won’t happen overnight but I know that I’m in the right church to walk with me as I grow.
- Matters of the heart: When my marriage fell apart, I swore to myself and others that I was never going to go through that sort of pain again. To that end, I erected some pretty heavy duty emotional walls around myself that didn’t let anyone in. I kept my friends at arm’s length and didn’t reach out to anyone when I really needed their emotional support. Whenever anyone started getting too close, I stepped back and dismissed them with a joke, my defense mechanism of choice. And I most certainly didn’t open myself up to dating anyone. Don’t let them in and they can’t hurt you, right? And yes, it worked. But it was also the most miserable time of my life. I was lonely pretty much all of the time even when I was in a crowd. Enter someone who doesn’t need to get past the walls because she’s already inside and the picture begins to change. That, however, also deserves a full post all to itself so stay tuned for that in the coming days.
So here I am. My life and job are pretty stable although there are days when I really dislike what my job is turning into. God is gently bringing me to a fuller understanding of His love and grace and what it looks like to live that out with the people in my workplace, my community and my world. I’m trying to let go of my stubborn hold on things and let Him have control. It’s hard. The emotional walls are coming down and I’m trying to connect with people again. Relationship is a messy business though and it takes time to get to know someone enough to be willing not only to be real and honest with them but also to let them be real and honest with you, which is often harder.
And so it begins. As a friend of mine recently mentioned in another context, it’s Day One of the rest of my life.