I am sitting here staring at a picture of a family…..a broken family. I see the mom and her children and the dad….the man I know is addicted to Porn and all manner of sexual darkness. They look so perfect in the picture. Everyone looks so happy and full and real and unbroken.
That is the crux of the madness……the looking perfect but being full of sin and sexual addiction and broken sexuality…….it gnaws at my soul just now.
I saw pictures yesterday of a bride. She was beautiful! She was radiant and lovely and looked so happy. All the congratulatory comments and words of affirmation were most likely so heartwarming to her soul.
I could only stare in disbelief as my heart did somersaults and flip-flops and my brain was screaming at me…..about how difficult this was and what would five years from now look like and didn’t she see the potential pitfalls of marriage……… and what kind of man is he really?….Will he care for the children or end up hurting everyone….EVERYONE….when she becomes not enough to fill his soul and this life not enough to validate him…..and darkness becomes the only thing he really desires.
I am sitting in my bathrobe, and it is still dark outside. Learning to sit and just be with myself is a major victory for me. Just learning to travel and go through holidays and teach and clean my condo and enjoy my sense of style in my condo and in my clothes is a victory. Finding out what it is that I like and which foods that I enjoy and allowing that I make mistakes and allowing myself to suffer the consequences without moving into shame….and allowing that I can be late or forget something or worry about money that I have to earn…. or even desire to learn piano or how to re-mineralize my teeth….all of this has been a fun and painful journey. All of this has been me learning to be an adult….an individual.
But….learning to say no and to accept that I have desires and want things out of life…….learning to say no to a man with whom I just don’t feel I have a connection that will lead to more…..learning to accept that I cannot be all things to anyone……..learning that I am not even pretty to everyone……learning that some men don’t feel a connection with me…..
Learning that I am small and insignificant and barely tolerable at times…..learning that I can be petty and selfish and stubborn and prideful and vain and full of the most stupid, insipid ideas of all time……. These lessons have been important too.
It takes me by surprise every year when I read The Horse and His Boy with my fifth graders….there is a line about the war-horse that I love and hate. He is finally in Narnia and has run away from a lion instead of running back to save the others and the main character, a mere scrawny boy, was braver and ran back instead of away…….and this horse is lamenting and has decided that he should return to captivity instead of entering glorious Narnia because he is unworthy. And the wise old man comes to him and tells him that learning his lowliness is what will actually make him a real candidate for entering Narnia where some horses are much greater than he and others are just like him while still others may be less than he. It is the finding that we are ordinary and not as great as we thought ourselves to be that allows us to finally reach a place of becoming someone pretty good….pretty capable of being used by God.
I am finding that place.
I am finding ordinary pleasure again….the kind that allows you to sit in your bathrobe and enjoy that your bed has fresh clean sheets and a pretty comforter…….that your pictures still aren’t hung from the move five years ago but that you enjoy looking at them lined up on the floor……that the old computer still has the photos on it and still works, and you still need to log on and go through all those memories one more time for the next graduating girl…….that all this living is getting easier some days and more difficult on others and that is how it will always be because that is what life feels like……you just hadn’t noticed because your heart was so closed off.
Learning about myself from sitting across the table from dates and learning about myself through close friendships and learning about myself through writing……and learning about myself through soaking prayer and counseling and living and family and just being a person has been a journey……and continues to be a journey. Perhaps all the blithe stickers are right……it is not about the destination….it is about the journey.
As I prepare for a journey that quite frankly feels larger than I am able to handle……..I am seeking God’s will. How do I reach the hearts of other teachers? How do I communicate with people who do not understand me completely? How do I fly so far away? How do I trust another man with my heart? How do I open up and have a voice for all these desires inside this head?
Learning to live with an open heart and an open hand before God has been quite a journey in the last few months.
I am getting lots of practice!