What’s it All About?

Hey, there, dear friends. More stops on the midlife crisis express. Buckle up. 🙂

The above is the last page from my memoir. Can’t believe I actually dug it out after all this time, opened it up, and actually gave you a glimpse. But, it’s kind of significant to this present circumstance, so…

Anyway…

I wrote that bit about 5 years ago. Ok. Probably closer to 6 or so, when you add the year of shuffling my ambitious thoughts one publisher to the next.

I read it now and it’s just…wow. There was a nice little pocket of hope back there. I forgot I had it in me.

Like this:

Greater things have yet to come. Greater things are still to be done. This is only the beginning.”

And:

“Be well and be blessed right where you are for who you are.

Oh, pithy phrases, yes. Somewhere within is still a touch of delight in the flow of the words, honestly.

And, really, it’s nothing I don’t still believe, deep down.

Yet…I look at them now and, frankly, feel a little foolish for all I have to admit I was dreaming then versus where I now sit…

Which is on a secondhand couch with a cover that doesn’t fit quite right in a house yet unfinished.😏

Countless heartaches yet unfinished.

A life…yet…unfinished.

There was a lot more I wanted to be doing now, if I am being honest.

I wanted to be that polished, well-heeled author/speaker, going from one place to the next sharing all the knowledge He’d given me.

Advocating for my autistic beauties.

Reminding others of His truth, His grace, His providence.

(Not to be crass, but seeking a chunk of that providence and, perhaps, even that oft-elusive thing called financial security through fees and sells.)

I had been on the stage for years, after all. I could kind of, sort of public speak.

I’d played everything from a busybody mom (Father of the Bride) to an early 1900’s murderess (A Rose for Emily).

I even got our high school’s version of an Oscar ( coined the Larrys) for supporting actress once.

It was exhilirating and freeing to be up there playing pretend, particularly for one whose confidence had been so diminished over the years by abuse.

( And, yes, part of me wishes I had pictures to show you, too. But, there are a lot of things on the road to divorce from your high school sweetheart/acting partner- one of which is the disposal of artifacts related to your time together. )

At any rate, with that resume, I could potentially sell myself accomplished, right?

Even if, even if…I didn’t feel it all the time?

Or, really, hardly ever? 😏

Ummm…it turns out, no.

For, I discovered the hard way, as most things with me have had to be discovered, that playing a little old lady exposed for poisoning her lover’s lemonade and exposing my own vulnerabilities are much, much different.

For one is a performance and the other is just…not.

The other is life.

My life.

A life, granted, I can call redeemed in Jesus.

Hallelujah for that!

But, still a life I felt protective over.

Still feel protective over.

With kids and events and hurts and joys I felt and still feel protective over.

Things….not for sale.

I quickly found I just could not get up there and share it with anybody.

Nor could I sit smiling behind a tower of fresh books and “hawk my wares”.

Literal agony!

So, as is my tendency when faced with agony, I shut down and dashed away, flinging aside any regrets for the sake of safety.

There weren’t a ton of offers, or something, but I did beg off some opportunities and sure didn’t go pursuing any new ones after I realized how out of my wheelhouse it all was.

It was not long till the faint buzz calmed in this little town and beyond.

And not much after that that it went silent altogether.

So…now, 5 years later, here I am.

Still facing down the same pack of insecurities, if not more.

I have my things I do, my cookies I bake, my youth I talk with and counsel a bit.

Yet, overall, I find myself in further retreat than ever.

And maybe, just maybe, nursing some regrets that got imbedded in spite of my cross-country run away from expectations.

I hate to pull out the word “failure”.

It gives me such an unpleasant, sour feeling in the pit of my stomach.

And people invariably chide me for using it.

But, for all intents and purposes, according to a lot of standards, that is the word that suits me just now.

For, I ventured out in something big, picturing one thing, and it did not, in fact, become that at all.

It failed.

I failed.

Oh, it’s all right. I need no comfort as I put those words out there.

It’s just an unfortunate necessity as I ponder my life.

Where it’s been, where He wants to take it.

And, in all this midlife crisisy mumbo jumbo I have been serving up so often lately, I have to keep asking myself one key question:

“What’s it all about?”

Writing, sharing, life….

It’s a weighty question, but a worthy one.

For, if my end aim is only to make myself feel good for a while about myself, then it’s all for naught.

A flash-in-the-pan sensation at best.

Such a feeling will never satisfy. Not even worth messing with.

But, if this pursuit is truly about honoring Him with what He has given me alone to honor Him with, then…. it’s invaluable.

For, despite how I let the world and my own massive doubts rail against me some days-too many days,

It really, truly matters not what others think of my offering or what becomes of it.

After all, no deficiencies-real or imagined- can remain where one gives purely of one’s heart to the Father.

The past cannot truly define, the present cannot truly disappoint, and the future cannot truly discourage where His truth exists…

Now, I have to chuckle at myself a bit here as I just looked back on that page once more.

A few sentences above the other quotes I shared, I also said this:

“For the message isn’t how to be a success way down the road or how to be a success at all.”

And a few phrases down, just before the “be blessed” bit:

“Don’t look too far back and don’t strain too far ahead”.

Ahem. Well, then, Lord. Using my own words to set me right, huh?

He has a real way with that….🙂

You know, all this, and I still have not a notion really what He has for me next, but I am learning, with His patient reminders, not to fret on it.

Ok. So, thanks for riding along with me a ways, dear friends. I pray wherever you find yourselves at, you are feeling His presence guiding you into all He has for you. Blessings! ❤

Reconnections

I have had some interesting conversations on here lately about my differing comfort levels with people online versus in person. (Hi, Eclectic Contrarian, my fellow introvert! 😊) So…for the following to have happened to me is kind of a wow thing…

Something interesting occurred recently.

We were at a live Nativity someone in our community puts on every year.

It was the first time we have been able to make it. In the past, weather has been a concern for some of us with major cold sensitivities!

It still wasn’t warm by my tastes, but, it was doable. 😏

Besides, our intrepid 15-year-old son was going to be Joseph leading a heavily pregnant Mary to shelter.

On a live donkey, no less. ( Which he wryly called Eddie Murphy in tribute to the Shrek character. Love my boy. 😁)

He’d never done that before, so, being the excited sort of parents we are, we had to see him in action.

He didn’t dissapoint.☺

But, that was nothing compared to what else the Lord had in store for me.

I was in the barn where people congregated for the tour when I heard a voice call my name. A familiar one, yet I couldn’t quite identify it.

It was like a call from the past, a description which made sense once I turned around.

Because I found myself face to face with someone I’d not seen since shortly after high school-one of the few from those days I really did not mind encountering again!

She’d been a year behind me, an up–and-comer in drama class as I was winding up my time on the stage.

In a time I was especially uncertain of every move, yet longing to be pleasing to the Lord, this girl became a dear and kindred spirit in many ways, a kind of younger sister to encourage and teach.

There were few who professed a Christian faith in that circle, so it was so nice to know at least one I could interact with on that level as well as in theater.

After graduation, I remember going back to see her play the lead in “Once Upon a Mattress”. What a joy to see how her talent had blossomed!

I remember telling her something to that effect and the way her face lit up, like it really meant something to her.

I think she was at my first wedding later that spring, she wished us well, and, then, that was pretty much it.

She went off to college to study, I played at the married lady, and contact fell away, as it will.

And, then, about a lifetime later, there we were again.

I apparently was still recognizable, right down to my ever-present beret. A comfort to one feeling her age and then some! 😉

She definitely was recognizable, down to that same effusive glow. Time had scarcely etched but a few lines around her youthful eyes.

I learned she’d become a missionary, as she often wished for, married a Spanish pastor, and had three beautiful brown-eyed boys, all of whom were in tow.

It was fascinating to listen to her translate me to her brood with such skill!

To think she was once sort of under my wing…

So…we did that for a bit, and then, we found opportunity to get off to ourselves for deeper conversation.

The part I feared would be tougher was my side of things. In addition to my natural reticence, there was the fact she had also known my first husband quite well. We’d all shared a stage and student-led Bible study. She’d witnessed our oh-so-young, wholly untried promises to each other.

Yet, there was still that something of a friend in her expression.

So…in I plunged, hoping not to scare her off.

I tumbled through the high (and low) lights of my long journey from potential youth minister’s wife to struggling single mom of three, two diagnosed autistic, wrangling a class of toddlers and a dark depression alike.

And, then, to the better part-my God-given second chance at love and marriage, complete with my bonus boy.

I didn’t delve into the many adventures of restoring an ancient, Green Acres-style house or the roller coaster ride of assisting my husband in running a business.

I was a little breathless by then and conscious of possibly dominating the whole shebang!

So…I just aw,shucksed my way through the fact I was a published author if she was interested in the full breakdown of said journey.

Talk about your awkward salesperson. Shades of one I remember from Andy Griffith who “didn’t want to be pushy”. 😏

She was so sweet and enthusiastic about that fact, though, insisting on how to find and purchase my memoir, refusing one of my several free copies I had back home collecting dust…😊

But, it really wasn’t the unexpected possible sale that marvelled me.

Sales are done and gone in my ambitions. People are not about sales, after all.

No…rather, it was her utter kindness and warmth, the genuinely glad-to-see-me manner, the deep understanding of the road I wound up on and the shared joy in the way God redeemed my life.

Apparently, she had even been thinking about me recently after a chance sighting of my ex-mother-in-law at the church I attended in my teen years.

She was wondering where I was, hoping, praying to see me somehow somewhere.

And, she had this readiness that God would move as a result that I admire a great deal. I have had spurts of such in my life, but, honestly, it’s grown a bit…rusty.

I could really do with a resurgence of that eager expectation!

In the end, we hugged and reiterated how wonderful it was to see each other again, how awesome God is, exchanging phone numbers and the hopes to find time for future visits.

It was a blessed reconnecting of sisterhood I had not been anticipating or even realizing would be nourishment to this shy little soul.

Or that seeing me could be such to someone else.

Yet, obviously, God knew, as He always does, being the unparalleled composer behind the scenes that He is.

I don’t know yet what else He has in store for this reconnection, but I pray I can have that quality of readiness.

May we all find room for such in our hearts! Blessings and prayers, my friends!