Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Letter To a Friend: And Many Random Thoughts

There is a younger version of myself out there.  She is driven, enthusiastic, dedicated, maybe a little competitive, and extremely desirous to do something in the world.  This younger version may take herself very seriously.  There may be people who were turned off by her because the drive was not tempered by engaging enthusiasm.  This woman has had a career, supported her husband and had children.  There are days she wonders if it's worth it.  There are days she wonders where her identity went.  There are days she tries to make the home life like her corporate life and fails.  This younger version of myself is a dreamer.  There are things she wants to accomplish and goals she seeks to conquer.  Somewhere in all that, she's trying to figure out how to raise perfect children so they are a part of this dream as well.  There were days where this version of myself thought I had to teach my two year old everything he needed to know in the first two years of life instead of looking at the expanse of educational opportunities over the course of 18 years together. 

This younger version of myself was So. Afraid. To. Screw. Up. 

There is a younger version of myself out there that is wondering where God is in the midst of this crazy life.  She questions whether God really had a call and a purpose for her.  Surely there is a mountain top with my name on it.  She is constantly seeking it.  With joy.  With hunger.  With faith.  This version of myself is a yo-yo between steadfast devotion and questioning faith.  She gets "God" but some of the other trappings of faith leave her questioning church versus the world, the difference between faith and belief and where her place is the spaghetti of Christianity. 

There is a younger version of myself that is trying so hard. (Well, this hasn't changed.  I am still trying very hard.) 

There are so many things I wish I could have said to myself.  I'm pretty sure my mother said some of them to me, I am sure there will be someone ahead of me that has things to say and sees in myself now that she recognizes in her own self.  I am pretty sure that in ten years, I will have a new list of things I wish I had known. 

Because there is one great lesson I have learned (yeah!  Fist Pump!  Lightbulb moment!) and there is one lesson when I see the younger version of myself that I wish I could say out loud:  Time passes.  The events of your life that seem so significant, that seem like they will never end, and you will never get through, do pass.  These moments that fill you with anguish, anxiety, bitterness, frustration, sleeplessness, misgivings, and anger--they will pass.  There will be other significant events. You have not had every significant thing happen to you already.  Significance happens over the course of a lifetime and if we are focusing on what we don't have, then we might miss some really significant moments.  The things you wish for with such fervor at one point in your life will still be there if they are really that important, and if they are not, you will have something new to focus your time. 
 
You DON'T have to be perfect.  You DON'T have to create perfect little kids in the first two years of their life.  They will grow, they will learn and they will begin to absorb your lessons if you love them, are consistent with them and give them the opportunity to learn them and use them.  Unbend a little on the expectations of your children, family, and self a little.  Now is not forever. 

I wish I had told myself that I didn't have to try so hard. Perfection is a self-defeating principle.  Just imagine if you attained perfection?  What then?  You think you will be satisfied?  No, you wouldn't have anything to work towards.  Everything would be done, because it would be perfect then right? Perfect is not forever either. 
 
Just being and enjoying the moment has great value.  What I may not have time for today, does not mean that we will not have time for it in the future.  If we live every day as though it were our last, we fail sometimes to enjoy the moment of what we have because we are thinking of everything we don’t' have RIGHT NOW.  RIGHT NOW is not forever. RIGHT NOW passes.  It goes, it's gone.  RIGHT NOW life might suck.  But that does not mean it will suck forever.  Embrace the suck, learn from it and it will pass eventually.  If you calculate percentages of your life, those moments that you think will never end, and you will never get through pass like a very small percentage of the overall denominator of your life.
 
I thought potty training would never end.  I thought I would have pee and poo all over my house FOREVER.  Folks, in the grand scope of things, my children will not go to college in diapers.  Potty training is not forever.  Sleeping (or not) sleeping through the night is not forever.  Breastfeeding is not forever.  The terrible twos, threes, fours and fives are not forever.  I assume the teenage years will not be forever. 

I look at this other woman, who is so much like me, and I want to say you know, the drive, the enthusiasm, the career, the desires and dreams don't go away.  They may change and be altered by events, you may have to be creative in how you satisfy your inner identity, but you can still do it.  You aren't screwing up because the path you have taken is different from the one in your head.  The road to the mountain top is different for everyone. 

My younger self seems to understand that the mountain top experience of God is awesome.  But if we hang out on the mountain top, we don't get the opportunity to share the mountain top with others.  Where there is a hill up to the mountain, there will always be a downhill path that we must take to go back to our life.  The older me yearns for that mountain top experience.  It is unlike anything else.  But having tasted the mountain top, I will always look for opportunities to nurture it and shape it and bring it into everyday life.  God will be a part of my everyday experience whether I intensely FEEL it or not.  

To this woman, I want to say, success comes in many shapes.  Don't discount successful moments because they don't come with a plaque and a gold coin. 

To this woman, I want to say, "Chill out!  Relax!  Enjoy the moment!  They pass.  Don't try so hard!  Don't overwhelm others with your anxieties and fears and drive.  Just be yourself." 

Having had this moment of looking back and wincing and wishing I HAD KNOWN.  I now look forward to those that have pass through the moments I am in and I am now eager to hear those messages they want to share.  Life is a bunch of stages.  I am sure that I will look back on what I have written now and in several years, have new things to say.  I will have no regrets though, because now, I am comfortable in knowing that each day, I am just trying my best and this is good enough.
#christwalk #TBT #moms