Sunday, October 24, 2010
Like most things, though, I think I got to a point where those traits became less something I wanted or needed to keep in check, and more something I just subconsciously learned not to do in public. (Which is good, and is why I haven't been arrested for road rage -- or worse.)
In the past year, I have learned a lot of lessons. Like, more than I have in some whole decades.
Throughout 12 months, I have learned that things are not always what they seem, and people are rarely ever what they seem.
I have realized, several times over, that life is entirely too short to always give and never receive.
I have been harshly shown the old adage that I must look out for myself, because everyone else is doing the same for themselves, and sometimes, no one else will be there to offer the hand I've tried to give so many times.
I've literally watched precious friends and family members die.
I've lived through the shattering of corporate and personal promises to me that I never thought would be broken.
I said goodbye to my favorite furry friend.
I've learned that in spite of the song my youth choir beat like a dead horse, friends are not always friends forever.
And I've had to learn that while I'm definitely not perfect, the origin of a lot of these lessons have not been my fault. In fact, nothing has been 100% my fault. This has really taken some learning, and wise counsel, and serious prayer for me to come to grips with. (I'm not sure why. I was never labeled remedial, but, who knows. It was the 80s & 90s.)
The lessons I've learned do include maintaining the kindness and meekness that I constantly need to remember the importance of by nature, but the ones that have dug their ways into my soul have been about reclaiming boldness and courage (for good, not evil -- or mischief).
For 33 years, I have laughed in the face of "me time." I've inwardly shuddered at the thought of "always lookin' out for number one." And I have perceived that my friendships were pure enough, and true enough, and real enough to survive anything.
And I was wrong about all those things.
I need to take care of Rebekah, or no one else will want to be around her.
I have to look out for myself, because Lord knows that a) putting that pressure on people who want to is unrealistic, and b) not everyone follows through.
And somehow, after three decades of being able to comprehend and relate to others, I've just come to realize in the past few months that friends can't be friends forever on their strength and love alone. We're human. We err. We bow up. And we crumble.
Some people (maybe including my family...?) may not like this, but I and several friends have referred to 33 as our "Jesus year."
This stems from having always associating 33 with the year Jesus was crucified, and certainly does not mean I think I'm Jesus. Or perfect. At all.
It just means that about 6 months in, it hit me that this was a really hard one so far. And that I was trying to do the right thing in a lot of areas, and praying that God's will be done, yet the hits just kept on comin.' And when I mentioned it to a couple of friends, they agreed that it had been the same for them during that year, and the same thought had occurred to them, too.
For those reasons, I am happy to bid 33 farewell.
Do I think 34 will be perfect? Um, no. (Have you met me? I still skin my knees. As children are calling me "ma'am." I'm pretty aware that my life will never be a walk down Wisteria Lane.)
But have I felt a new wind blowing in the past few months? Yes. Am I more hopeful about life in general than I was last fall? Definitely. Am I more at home -- in a hundred ways -- than I can ever remember being? Absolutely.
For more than a year now, when it's come to all decisions, great or small, I've taken the same approach. I've prayed quietly, then more steadily, and now with an amazing confidence, "Thy will be done."
So while I don't expect to be spared the daily grind, or the broken promises, or the humanity of life and death that will surely come with this 34th year of life, I will boldly approach God with my request for it all to be for His honor and glory.