Saturday, September 8, 2007

Aching for Normal

Sometimes I wonder if I should just do something easier.

It would be so nice just to move back home to be near everyone I love. It would be so nice to find some good, upright, nice guy and get married. It would be so nice to be his wife and go to all the parties my friends go to and have family dinner every week and maybe get a job at the city office if I was feeling adventurous. It would be so nice...

Sometimes my heart longs for normalcy-- for things to be steady and reliable and... safe. And every time I'm tempted to set down the load I'm carrying on this weird, craggy, lonely road I have to walk, and start to eye the wide, smooth, evenly-landscaped path that travels so near to mine, I run up against a fence. Something comes up and firmly blocks my feet from straying. When Mommy left, everything I knew about being safe left with her. As I've continued on I'm learning new definitions for the sensation of home, but the security I've had my whole life vanished with her last breath. For the rest of my life I am destined to be broken, destined for all my happiest moments to be marred by loss. How am I supposed to live with that? But even further, as I've walked on since last September, trying to open myself up enough to let this venomous pain come seeping out so new promises can fill my heart, more things have fallen.

My best friend is having a baby. I am incontrollably, shockingly, core-shakingly excited and amazed that the woman who has walked beside me all my life is going to be a mother. As we've gotten older, we've grown out of old friendships several times, and have worked hard to build new ones. I've seen her blossom with new love when she met her husband so many years ago, and the joy on her face when they became man and wife. I've seen strength build in her in the early years of their marriage, and I'm so excited to see the new woman she becomes as a mother. But with all this comes a small part of my heart that mourns... She's moving on, yet again, without me. Our paths are different, and I'm not saying I wish I were pregnant (Lord knows that's not true!), but we will never again share the bond of two young women without children. And that is something that has fallen.

The church I always knew is no more. It seems like all my life I've had two constants: family and church. Always the same family, always the same church. No more. My family, while still holding three of its original four members, is completely new. No matter what happens, it will never be the same again. And so with my church (also my family) – never the same again.

So I can't go home. Because there is no home. The easy road no longer exists, and in its place is the defeated, surrendered trail of tears. Sure I could go back and surround myself with all the "normal" I can salvage from my life before, the life I've always known. I could jump the fence and cross over to whatever's left of the path of safety... Unlike these rocks I'm picking my way through, struggling to hold my balance and wondering what on earth I’m doing, at least I know what it used to be. But I can't. I'm here in the land of the unknown, and for better or for worse I am stuck on this trail. The small light within me that believes I'm heading somewhere great is dimmer than it's been, but it has yet to be snuffed out. I've been promised good things, and all I have is staked on it.

He promised me once that my life would never be normal. My heart lept at the time. How ironic that it now aches for normalcy. But it’s not for me. This road I’m on continues, and all I can do is walk.


Chris said...

Great blog jess. They didn't teach us that walking with God was going to look like this in Sunday school... :) I wouldn't trade the walk of fatih for anything!

Alison said...

I read this one twice. Why during the entire portion about you a Catherine, did I feel like you were describing Sarah and I?? It's not easy being the 'different' one who is not doing things the normal way :) Way to go, you!