Taking Stock (but not the kind that’s currently suicidal)

Tonight I’ve been reflecting on my life and the direction it’s trying to take. Not many people know this, but I’m literally living my childhood fantasy. I met Casey around age 8 or 9 and from that time, I begged God to let me marry him. All I dreamed about was him and me together living life. And that’s what we’re doing. Nothing is at all like I planned, and plenty is better than expected.
After the removal of some suffocating influences, I’m back to being me – rather than the ghost of me. I no longer have to apologize for my opinions and the things I like because for one arbitrary reason or another they didn’t line up with other people’s opinions of acceptableness. I’m back to reading – anything I like and want, not the unbearably tepid church-sanctioned fodder – and suddenly my brain is teeming with life and ideas.
I am in school and doing quite well. Made Deans List last term and received an invitation to guest lecture in a previous professor’s class this term. I was recommended and entered (on Monday) an essay contest with a paper I wrote about Jane Austen, Feminism, Romanticism, and Realism using Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice.
I’m writing again because I can. With a little distance from a situation, statements like, “God has nothing for you there,” are revealed as truly idiotic and way off base. If I win this essay contest, I will get money. So it seems there could in fact be something there for me. Even if I don’t win, the process of preparing the paper for evaluation by a panel of six judges who are professionals in English and Literature was stimulating and nerve-wracking. But through that process I wrote a great paper on something I love and OTHER PEOPLE WILL READ IT. I’m proud of that.
Also, I am pretty good at drawing and have known this for some time, but in my past life, pursuing personal talents was strongly discouraged unless the success of that pursuit could be appropriated by the small-minded leadership and used for their personal gain. Since clearly no one could make money from my pencil sketches, “God had nothing for me there,” and I had to abandon it. It’s sad because now drawing is something I love and value as a creative outlet, and I can’t help but think about all these abandoned joys languishing in a barren land of wasted time.
So it’s interesting trying to see what’s around the bend, and actually being excited to get there because it’s bound to be worth the bumps along the way. That outlook is a relatively recent development. For several years, the other side of the bend only brought more of the same stagnation. But now, who knows? No one has locked me into a prescribed destiny or destination, and my future is completely open for however I want to fill it. This kind of liberty is like nothing I’ve ever felt before.
And that brings me to why I was thinking about all this in the first place. It can be too easy to complain and wallow and huff about all the annoying, tiresome, and irrelevant daily crap…fill in the blank, I mean, you know what I’m talking about. For example, everyday, I could be like, “Shit my life is hard. I have mountains of school work, three kids along with their school work, a husband and family obligations, household chores, friends and family to keep in touch with, Super-Mom criteria to fulfill; I need to bathe at least often enough that people in the checkout line don’t stand at awkward distances from me; I have a neighborhood reputation to uphold for Awesomest Halloween House Ever; I have stories to write, pictures to draw, millions to earn, and a toddler to potty-train.” And on the really hard days, when other people say to me – because they often do – “How do you do it all?” I shrug my shoulders and quip, “Poorly. I can do it all because I accomplish my life poorly.”
But the truth is that none of that aggravation matters when I remember that I am in charge of my life. (Don’t come back at me with something about God being in charge because that’s a given. I’m talking about in the land of flesh and blood.) I am no longer succumbing to someone else’s misguided prescription for how to live. It’s refreshing and comforting when I honestly evaluate my situation in life and realize I’m living smack in the middle of exactly what I pleaded with God for for so many years.
I like where my life is. I’m married to my favorite person in the world; my kids are healthy and happy with all their activities. Casey and I talk about our dreams and our goals and regularly help each other along the journey of executing them. We’ll get to where we’re going in life, because we’ll go together.

5 thoughts on “Taking Stock (but not the kind that’s currently suicidal)

  1. Yes, I know exactly how you feel. I have a husband & best friend that I love to death that treats me like a princess. I have a really cool house with a lot of potential for a future business or incredible income. I live in a state filled with opportunities and lots of beauty. I am active (and respected) in my community. I work at a job that I love making more than three times what I did back there(plus i don’t have to work 60 hours a week just to get that meager pay). I can afford to buy whatever I want – whenever I want. I have the ability to support missionaries all over the world and give to those in need in my own community. I go to a great church that is thriving and you can actually stop in and have a conversation with the pastor at any time. I am considered a person of value – I have been interviewed by the paper four times now, been on local tv twice. I have the ability to travel anywhere I want. I have the support of a wonderful man. And, the list goes on.
    And for those of you who looked down on my children because their’s were so much better, I have a good, HEALTHY relationship with them both. I have two wonderful grandchildren, my kids are both working and my son is in college.
    When I look back at my life, all this seems pretty staggering. Years ago my Pastor made a remark to another Pastor. “I wonder what Mary does down there in East Vandergrift when she’s not working”. (I guess they thought I was up to no good) Well, the answer to that question is..I was praying, I was talking to God, I was reading my Bible, I was crying out to him for understanding, I was crying out to him to change the horrible things that were taking place around me, I was begging to be removed from it.
    So, God heard me and He came to my rescue. I was taken from that abusive, oppressive situation and set free.
    The reason that I am here today, the reason that my life is soooo good is because of GOD.
    When other people were following after their own lusts and greed, I was forced to follow afer God. I guess I owe them a great deal of thanks!

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  2. Rock on, girlfriend. And all that.
    We want to come over some night maybe next weekend – the 16 or 17th (thursday or friday – Saturdays no longer work for us) and discuss story stuff.

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