Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"I don't know....."

This past year has brought me to the end of myself in many ways.

I’m looking for some new beginnings, and am praying to get whatever God may have in store for me off to the right start.

You see, one of the things that I believe is that there is a lesson God wants us to learn in every situation and circumstance. As my sister said when she was going through cancer: “Let me get whatever your wanting me to get this time Lord, I don’t want to ever have to go through this again!”

I thought perhaps a list might be in order to help me collect my thoughts about who I am, what I believe, where I stand on certain issues (irrefutable issues i.e. God DOES exist, etc. etc.) (can you put the existence of God in with the etc.’s?!) I won’t list them all here. (collective whew!)

As I explained to someone, “I’ve never heard myself say ‘I don’t know?’ so much in so many situations and circumstances as I have in the past year. My ‘don’t know’s’ far and away exceed my ‘knows’.

I realized something the other day that was somewhat of a light bulb which served to expose the empty space that is now “I don’t know.”

I was standing in a group of friends the other day, and everyone was talking, and reminiscing about raising their children. As I listened to them drop pearls of wisdom on childrearing and upbringing of kids; pearls that I too had espoused to as I raised two kids, I realized that even though I had myself thought those very statements to be true and foolproof, I could no longer state them as a fail safe formula for raising kids.

Those in the crowd commented to my sister after I left that “Andrea was really quiet.” I found myself listening to conversations that I had been raised around and taken part in all my life, that now with the frame of reference I have, I see totally different.

I feel like those war veterans who have been in the thick of battle, and come home to a culture and environment that is completely unaware of what they have been through and how it has affected them; life has continued as normal for these folks, while your acclimating back into what is now, a somewhat unfamiliar environment. I spoke with a friend of mine the other day who is on the other side of a rather messy divorce, and she understood exactly what I meant.

Some would say my confidence is simply shaken, others would say the tried and true are still the best, but let me tell you—I don’t know. I no longer ‘know’ A LOT of things. Listening made me feel bad about myself. Why wasn’t I able to get the same results they did using the same methods? Because as I heard a father of eight children say once, “there are as many different ways to raise children as there are children.”

-Looking back, and mind you hind sight is ALWAYS 20/20, I felt bad about the fact that I wasn’t strong enough long ago to go with my instincts many times and raise my kids the way my heart told me to instead of the way everyone else told me to. For example: I no longer believe that you must “buck up” when life is hard. Sometimes it is o.k. to go to bed and eat a quart of ice cream, and sometimes it is o.k. to come home with your tail between your legs licking your wounds. Because sometimes it is necessary to take time to heal and regroup, so you’re stronger to go back into the battle.

-I have experienced that as much as you might think you know what you would do in a certain situation, when it happens, what you wind up doing may surprise you—and be the best thing after all.

-I will never again say to someone “I know how you feel”; because I don’t. Until you have walked in someone else’s shoes, you can’t even begin to imagine how they feel. And because of that, I can’t possibly begin to give anyone advice or suggestions as to how their situation should be handled and I certainly am in no position to criticize.

-Even as adults we never grow out of needing other people to come along side us and just love us, and offer a helping hand, and not say a word.

-Sometimes in the Christian community our expectations of others often mirror society and its expectations of us more than we realize. And that sometimes the Christian community can inflict wounds that hurt far worse than the worlds.

-I would rather laugh than cry, a really good laugh that massages the insides and leaves you breathless, and stops you in your tracks. I am making it a point to look for more of those all the time.

Because of some of these things and many others that I’ve experienced firsthand, I find myself moving very slowly these days. I feel like I’m starting all over in so many areas of my life that if I hurry like I did when I was 25, I’ll mess it up, or miss it altogether.

Perhaps that is why I have slowed down. I know when I am sick, sick enough to wind up in bed with a fever and sick as a dog, things being done around the house or in the office, or out in the yard, or at church, or anywhere else for that matter—simply don’t matter; and they are always there when I feel better. They wait for you.

You may be reading this and thinking, “I can’t believe she didn’t know that?” But let me say, there is a vast difference in “knowing” (or thinking you know) something, and experiencing it firsthand. Now when I hear the phrase, “There but for the Grace of God go I”, I feel it in my gut.

I still don’t know so many things, and I’m pretty sure that I never will know as much as I should, so the best thing I am learning is that when I don’t know, and I’m at the end of myself I do remember that God loves me. THAT I do know!

Artwork by Mike at One at a Time Products