Friday, March 21, 2008

Missing It

I've realized something about myself lately... More often than not, I posess a complete lack of skill when it comes to recognizing what's perfect for me. As I look back on my life thusfar, and think about gifts and blessings bestowed on me that truly mattered-- things that really make my heart sing-- they weren't things I even liked at first.

When I was very young-- probably four or five-- I came home from playing at the playground with my dad one day to find a three-story dollhouse sitting smack-dab in the middle of my little girl's bedroom with a Barbie bride propped up against the fading floral of my bedskirt. I was shocked-- Mommy had only just let me start playing with Barbies, and I had been wanting a Barbie house and Ken doll to make my domestic doll dreams complete. As I dashed toward the cardboard house (that wasn't actually a Barbie house, but some other sort of doll domicile), and fingered my new Barbie's frothy white wedding dress, the following words tumbled out of my mouth... The same words that still make my heart ache with selfishness and regret to this day...

"But where's the Ken doll? I wanted a Ken doll!"


Needless to say, my pre-preschooled mind didn't care to comprehend the fact that my mother had spent the afternoon out seeking a way to bless me, and wanted to truly blow my mind when she saw the big beautiful house sitting in Goodwill that afternoon. Despite our family's near financial destitution, she sacrificed somehow, because she hoped my heart would be delighted by this wonderful new toy. The off-brand Barbie sitting in a box of toys nearby seemed to be the perfect accompaniment, so she bought that too-- she just wanted to knock my socks off, and saw a way to do it. But none of this entered my mind as I squatted my chubby little legs and peered into the rooms of this new toy-- all I could think was, But it's not all I wanted. It's not complete!

I remember my momma being hurt and leaving the room after a while, as I sat and tried to make do with my seemingly incomplete blessing. But as the years wore on, that dollhouse traveled with us to a newer, bigger home, and that formidable structure-- probably three and a half feet tall with big white plastic pillars to hold up each level-- became one of my favorite toys and the focal point of my bedroom. Whenever friends came over, they always asked to play with it, and marvelled at how big and spacious it was compared to their own cramped, pink plastic Barbie pleasure-domes. It really wasn't until I was fully entrenched in pre-teen angst many years later that it made its exit to the garage play area (where visiting friends still continued to ask to play with it).

I missed it. I had my heart so set on wanting the complete package-- Barbie, Ken, house (is there a psychiatrist in the house?)-- that when something different showed up, I missed it completely. It wasn't until I gave up my preconceived hopes for what I thought would make me happy and started to interact with what had been given to me-- this huge, special, unique house that none of my friends had and that was way better than anything Mattel could ever manufacture and came straight from my momma's desire to delight me and nothing more-- that I realized this was what satisfied my heart.

It's happened over and over again since then, with more gifts, people, ideas, relationships... It seems like in every facet of my life I get blinded by what I think I want, when the blessing that will make my joy complete often gets placed, unnoticed, right in my lap. But here's the thing, I don't think I'm alone in this. Think of how many times you forgot to return that lame Christmas gift, only to realize how much it came in handy a few months later... Or how many times you turned down a prospective date, only to finally acquiesce and have a truly great time! What about when you didn't get that job or promotion or get into that school you reeeeaaally wanted, and discovered your true passion in the puddle of anguish you bathed yourself in?

I think the key is to stop looking up, and start looking here. I know for me it seems like my gaze can be so set in one direction, waiting impatiently and self-righteously for something to come along that meets my standards of happiness, that when something does come down the road and isn't what I had in mind, I push it aside and wait for my "real" blessing to show up. Joy doesn't always look the way we think it should. And thank God for that! I'm realizing that my Father loves me too much to give me what I think I want... And he knows I love surprises too much to let me have what I want, when and how I want it! He gives me what I need, what I truly long for. He made my heart, so only he knows how best to delight it-- and he does, if only I'll open my eyes and let him.

All of a sudden the world opens up... What joy is there hiding for me in my life as I know it? What unrivaled, perfect blessing is waiting for me in my everyday rhythms? What treasures lay in the shallow recesses of my existence, just waiting to be mined?

It's time for a new focus.


Elle said...

Jessica, I know we've all done that to someone that loved us--they were trying to make us happy, and we just didn't know at the time how much we needed and would eventually love the gift they were giving.

I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. I think we are given choices and paths in life, and what we have to remember is to make the best of them, and be happy knowing that we are where we're supposed to be at that moment.

It's not always easy to do, is it? It's a struggle for me sometimes, to put it all in His hands, but it does get easier with time and patience.

Take care!

emoss said...

JD! This is SO stinking true it's scary. It's just the Lord constantly saying "I'm in control...I'm in control" in the subtlest of ways (and sometimes in not-so-subtle ways!) Just like we were saying on that awesome blanket bed yesterday...God KNOWS the desires of our heart. And sometimes those AREN'T the desires of His heart FOR us. I'm constantly delighted when the Lord takes me down a path I didn't even know existed...

Dre said...

Oh, Jessica... beautifully said and I can TOTALLY RELATE. Ugh.

BTW, I was not your 'anonymous' comment on your 'sickly' blog. Did you do some detective work and figure it out?

Avalon said...

Hey chickie!! It's so good to hear from you! I can't wait to read your blog! (I wish I could say I'm reading it right now, but I have SO MUCH work to do before I go to work tomorrow---bleeeegh!).

Sorry to leave one of those comments that has NOTHING to do with what you wrote, but I wanted to say YO!