Titles don’t normally intimidate me. Therefore, I somewhat blame this on the Claritin D. But I was a bumbling mess this week…at a meeting…over coffee….with my pastor. Yes, MY PASTOR!
The conversation went well, overall. The nature of our meeting just lent itself to talk about whatever. And so I did. But I would begin a thought and about ¾ of the way through it would simply fall flat. Suddenly, I forgot where I was going with it. And all I could hear is my small, tiny voice screaming, “abort! Abort!” I think I may have heard the high-pitched whistle of a plane falling swiftly out of the sky. I am pretty sure I tugged on my scarf a little, subconsciously willing it a parachute string.
I was on fire. And I don’t mean the Alicia Keys way. I was literally on fire. Burning myself up. But the company was gracious and friendly and forgiving. And when I would lose sight of a word, he would kindly help fill in the blanks.
He was touching on points that were making me ponder. Quizzing me about what I’m doing with my life, what my aspirations are, where I hope this leisure blogging pursuit is going to take me. And I wasn’t at all prepared for those types of questions. In fact, I have been, more often than not, praying for clarity in those same specific arenas. And I’ve sorta taken a backseat, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the answers to appear.
I had never been the woo-woo let’s-explore-our-feelings type. For most of my adult life, I was more into burying feelings under a comforting layer of junk food, you know? (For the purpose of emotional blunting, and for the sake of non-vodka coping mechanisms, I find that mint chocolate chip ice cream really does a bang-up job.) But changes have indeed taken place. I sat in the presence of my pastor, a roller coaster of emotions, and said things aloud that I wouldn’t have even considered discussing 5 years ago.
On the drive home, I reflected on an assignment I once had, in one of those career-building classes your employer hopes will benefit
them you. One of the assignments involved putting a message out into the world. I chose the baby section of a grocery store where I hoped it would be discovered by a frazzled new mom who might appreciate a random note from the universe, and it read, “This is the beginning, not the end.”
My favorite assignment, though, was to ‘create a clearing.’ Create a wide open empty space in your life that is ready for something new or amazing to emerge. It could be as simple as cleaning out a closet or a regularly unscheduled Saturday. Or to the extreme of dissolving a not-so-healthy relationship or going to bed early two days in a row. Saying no to a nagging friend or saying yes to a forbidden treat. A clearing can be recycling that piece of furniture you never really liked.
However you choose to create your clearing, the point is that you release something in your life that has no purpose anymore, drains your energy, or draws your attention in a direction that leaves you feeling more burdened than free.
Man, that one really spoke to me. I was an accounting manager then, frustrated and unhappy and feeling trapped in a bad situation I couldn’t seem to improve. So my interpretation of the assignment was to clear the living crap out of my office. I cleaned all the clutter and junk—every drawer, every shelf. I recycled things I no longer needed. I dusted. I took home every knick-knack and keepsake. I removed every single photo, everything about the room that made it mine, because I wanted all my energy to be focused on me leaving that place.
Three months later, I did. And three months after that, I broke it off with my [then] boyfriend. I pulled a lot of weeds that following year. The sun started shining a little brighter, I noticed.
I think about that assignment a lot. I mean, I’m not saying the simple act of tidying up my office made a difference … but who knows. Maybe it did. Maybe that was the start of a brand new path, one that eventually led me to the place I am now. If I was still tied to that job, I wouldn’t have met my husband. We wouldn’t be living in our beautiful home alongside our extraordinary
neighbors friends. My kids may not have the experiences and opportunities and adventures they’re having now. I wouldn’t be spending my days doing wildly exciting tasks that are teeth-grindingly tedious and please-let-me-remember-this-forever pleasant. I feel settled, but not stagnant. I feel like after years of trying to turn things around and fix what’s off-kilter and chafing, the pieces have mostly clicked together in a satisfying, smooth way. Fact of the matter, I’m happier than I’ve ever been and more confident in my skin than ever before.
I don’t necessarily have an impressive list of worthy personal achievements this past year. I did virtually nothing in the way of ticking off list boxes or furthering my career. And yet I want more of the same. The grasping sense of wanting to be somewhere else is gone. I want more of this unassuming life. I want more messes, screeching voices, and floors strewn with foot-stabbing toys. More laughter, eye-rolls, and ridiculous jokes. More wrestling matches, more inside-out socks, and more we-have-to-be-at-two-places-at-once scenarios. This is all good enough. This is more than I could ever ask for.
But. BUT! There exists a ‘clearing’ that if God so chooses to fill it with something new and/or amazing, I’m open to it.
A friend of mine posted this on Facebook, and it seems rather appropriate for my life…