The in-between

I knew it had been awhile, but I was still surprised to see that the last time I wrote anything here was in August. August. Sheesh.

Waylon and I are doing well and trying to stay warm during this unusually cold and snowy winter. She gets to stay home all day while I trudge out in the freezing temperatures for work and errands, but I get to wear boots and am not required to pee outside so I’m calling it a draw. She’s such a loyal and loving pup, who at some point this month will turn six years old. Looking back on everything that has transpired since she became part of my life, it’s difficult to believe that it’s been such a short span. She and I have been through a lot together, and I firmly believe that God sent her to me because he knew I’d need her companionship during the rough days that were ahead.

Those days have since passed, and she and I have settled into quite a nice little life in our quiet river town. The past two years were filled with change; nearly everything about my life is different, and I’m pleased to say that in every circumstance it’s been an improvement. I am safe. I am loved. I am happy.

I am also restless.

I’ve always lived my life as if there was an imaginary checklist that would lead to fulfillment. Childhood, adulthood, college, job, marriage, children, working years, retirement, death. And though I had no idea how that came to be the ideal, I was content to — and successful with — following that path up until somewhere in the middle of that list my clipboard  shattered. It’s the most painful thing I’ve ever endured, but I can tell you that God met me there, in the midst of all that mess. He gave me rest, and time to grieve the loss of that life, of that particular dream and the people who were in it.

And now, it feels like this period of rest has reached its end. It’s time to decide whether to glue those clipboard pieces back together, or arrange them into a new mosaic. I’ve been struggling lately to identify my purpose. Why am I here? What is thy will, Lord? What will be my legacy?

Those seem like heavy questions, especially since I’m still pretty young. And while I have no idea yet what God has in mind, I’m not looking to make any drastic changes. I love my job. I love where I live. And while I’m fascinated and inspired by stories of others selling everything they own and moving to the foreign mission field, I don’t think that will ever be my story. I have to explore ways to make a difference right here where I am. I want to live a life that matters.

I’m not sure what that means for me. Not yet, anyway. I’m still holding on to some of those old dreams. I’ve wanted to be a wife and mother ever since I was a young girl, and there are some desires that you can’t bury no matter how deeply you dig. I’ve tried, and at this point I’ve got a hole halfway to China and a pile of broken shovels. Those are things that may not happen for me. It’s a sobering thought, but at this point in my life I have to be honest with myself. I have to be open, too, to new ideas, new paths, and new thinking. I think I need to become more comfortable with the notion that my life may become something I’ve never imagined — and that it’s ok if it does. If I am able to completely trust in God, it’s going to be so much better than I ever could have designed it on my own. Why is that so hard to remember?

My life is not and will not be defined by my relationship status. I know this, and I think it’s one of the reasons I feel that I need to find a purpose — and some focus. I have become passionate about helping people, and I think I have some opportunities through my job, church, and social circle to have a positive affect on people and my community. I think if people are able to spread love, they invite love into their own lives — and that love comes in many forms. We’re in this together, and I want to do my part.

Maybe this stage of life is my “meantime.” Maybe it’s the start of a new direction. Whatever it is, I don’t want this time to be wasted. There’s work to be done.