A few nights ago, I was on the phone with my mom, and she said something to me that was incredibly meaningful, that's stuck with me through the morning until now.
See, during the afternoon, during the latter part of the day, I get sad.
I get sad all the time these days, actually. I cry at the drop of a hat.
There were a few hours the other day that I thought it was just fear. But then I talked to Mom, and she said she supposed it was some sadness, too.
There's just a weight hanging about me that I can't seem to shake.
Mom reminded me that it's important to grieve when a dream shifts.
When something big about your life changes.
See, I thought I wanted to be an opera singer. I did want that.
But at the beginning of May, my dream shifted.
I don't really know where it went. But I suddenly knew that there was more I wanted to do with my life than perform. That no longer seemed like it would fulfill me.
And with that shift came a loss, a cavern, huge in my heart.
It was like the rug had been jerked out from under me. I hardly knew who to be, or how.
I know I want to live a full life, full of all the things I love, full of all my gifts, full of all the things I can do.
But I have no more direction, no more drive. I have gentleness, I have cultivation -- I am like a garden, not like a force.
And that's okay with me.
But something about me is so different now, and I am trying to move on because I feel like I have no time. This confuses me and throws my mind into a tizzy -- and all the while, I'm still grieving.
Because I'm not who I used to be. My life is not going to be what I hoped it would.
It will be better, but I don't know what that looks like yet.
Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, a thought occurred to me while I was stretching out my hamstrings (part of my nightly routine). I got up and went to my journal, one of the many notebooks littered around my desk, so I could write it down.
You see, my favorite verses in the Bible remain Isaiah 43: 18-19:
Forget the former things; do not remember the things of old. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
And the thought that occurred to me last night was: We have to grieve what was before we move on to what is next.
We have to grieve what was before we can go on to the new thing God is doing in us.
I'm not yet sure what the new thing is. I'm still kinda watching for it, and kinda looking around at the horizon that seems to have shifted.
It looks less smoggy, but also farther away -- and also closer, at the same time.
It looks open and clear and I can see for days but at the same time, I can't see past my own toes.
I'm staring down at my shoes in rich, red earth, like we have on the farm.
Because, you see, I'm grieving.
I basically canNOT stop crying these days. I cry all the time, or I'm always on the verge. Oddly, or maybe not oddly at all, I don't mind a bit. I kinda like crying -- it does a lot for me. It's release. I always know that if I cry I'll feel better.
I don't really term it as grieving. There is an unshakable sadness in my heart, and I feel confused a lot. Clarity takes time, yo. And that's what I'm learning, and that God shows up when He shows up.
He's present all the time, but I get answers when I get answers, and until then, I just have to do the next right thing and walk the path laid out before me.
The path is overgrown and rutted, but it's in the middle of a cool forest, and my feet are bare as I walk, which is the way I like to experience the outdoors. I can feel the clover seep between my toes. A strand of my hair catches on a branch as it sweeps by.
I like forests.
They aren't clear, and I can't see the horizon -- heck, I can't even see the path beyond a few steps, because there is an unexpected bend in the road, and the trees swallow it up.
But I believe that on a clear day you can see forever, and my days are clearing now. There is less smoke and fewer mirrors.
I have no idea what's coming (okay, I have SOME idea, but who knows?), but I'm okay to wander for now.
Until I'm finished grieving.
And maybe the grieving process will go on forever, but I know I cannot begin again until I have ended in my heart this other thing.
Okay, it won't go on forEVer. It just might go on for some time -- and that's okay.
The path will -- I will see it.
The trees will thin a little. I will step out onto the high hills. And on that clear day -- maybe I won't see forever, but I will have new vision, and new ideas, and new hope, and won't that be an exciting day?
Till then, I'm content to wander in the forest with my Creator Who loves me. To hold His hand. To gaze in wonder at the trees and the flowers at my feet. To sleep in beds of clover underneath the branches under His watchcare (one of my favorite Christian-ese words). To grieve in the dim light of my regular days.
It is grief mixed with joy at my own freedom.