life, My Faith

Every year…

Sitting here in the cool, crisp morning air, I’m reminded of how seasons change. The last time I was here was a couple of weeks ago and it was warm, almost hot, before that it was stifling. But seasons change. The moments come and go and we continue on.

But like all seasons, they are cyclical. They come back in some form. Summer will always come, sometimes with blistering heat and tornados in this part of the country. Sometimes it comes in a more mild fashion and the delay of heat makes us wonder if summer has in fact passed us by. The same with fall. Just when we’ve given up on the relief from the heat beating down on us, fall’s cool breeze blows in. But yet we sometimes are not content in that season. When fall comes, we wish for the heat of summer. When summer is here, we wish for the cool of winter. It always feels like it could be better somewhere else.

That’s life. In its crazy cycles, we long for an ending to the lesson we’re learning or the struggle we’re facing. We long for the next thing, not remembering that the next thing brings with it more challenges of a different variety.

Here, today, October 21, a day that is filled with pain from 37 years ago that just carries forward every year, I sit. Today, I sit here in it and appreciate what it is. I embrace the pain that it brings (and even the tears if we must). I let the waves wash over me as I see all the things it’s not and all the things it is. It’s a reminder of how life could have been different. It’s a reminder of struggle. It’s a reminder of blessings too. And so to sit here in this season and soak up all it has to offer, the good and the bad, is important to appreciating what it is and to embracing what it has to offer. To do this is to know full well that the season ends. That tomorrow brings new hope and new memories. But for today, we remember what was.

I get frustrated sometimes because I don’t understand how an event from so long ago, decades, can trip me up still in the present, but it does. This year I’m learning to embrace that. To give myself the grace I need to get through this day and look to tomorrow. I sit in the still, cool, quiet, outside at my favorite place while I write this. I sit here with my headphones reminding me truth (and my shirt letting the world know I’m only talking to Jesus today). And I give myself permission to feel, to process, to continue the healing journey that may take a lifetime.

This morning I went to therapy. It was probably a good start to this day this year because I am working on me and part of working on me is working past some of these things. I said, I can’t believe these things are still tripping me up. I feel like I should be past them. She said, “says who?” Ah. Yes. My answer came and I said it because I know it’s true. Says the bully that lives in my head. The bully that says I should be different or better than I am. The bully that says that’s enough feeling for a lifetime. Be strong, be brave, get over it. The bully that says we should not embrace messy imperfection, but strive for better in all things. But maybe every day to silence that bully is to finally have the upper hand on him. To continually remind myself that I deserve grace. To remind myself that through it all, I am a work in progress. Some things still trip me up, but ultimately to run away from feelings hasn’t worked for all these years, so why go back there?

Ah, such tender reminders. The tough love I need to give myself tempered with the grace my soul so desperately needs. That God doesn’t expect me to be anything I’m not. That He created me with big ideas, big questions, and big emotions. To realize that there’s a difference between acknowledging the feelings and letting them have free reign. By trying to beat them down and ignore them, I’ve given them free reign for too long. But I cannot ignore the feelings either. I have to acknowledge, give them space , and then choose. I have to choose what to do with them after that.

Life is so much more than what has been done to us. Bad things happen. Some are catastrophic, some only feel such. What we do now is what matters. I cannot control anything really. I can’t control what happens to me a lot of times. I definitely can’t control the past. I cannot control other people’s thoughts or reactions. What I can control is my own response. I choose how it will affect me. I choose my response. That’s where the power lies.
So today I choose to feel. To honor a memory by remembering, even when it hurts. To be a little tender today. But I choose to remember the good, to honor the person I’ve become in spite of all the things. To let my soul thank the people who have guided my tender heart, the God who embraces me and wants me to be His beloved daughter. And a father who would probably be proud of the person I’ve become and the person I’m working to become. And the seasons continue.

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