This week I got home from a two week vacation in Hawaii. It was glorious. My husband’s family lives there (I know right? I picked a good one). It was a beautiful mix of beaches and happy hour and family dinners that went late into the evenings. I, of course, also got lots of time to read. On the beach, on the patio, in bed, on the couch, at the pool (you get it). It was the perfect soul food after a semester of textbooks.
Now, being home I am also realizing it was the perfect escape. Sort of how I feel about summer. Music turned up, cold beverages in hand and all of life’s complications just seem to fade away. Awesome.
Except its foggy here, so no patio, and its cold so no cold drinks…only tea and tea makes me think… and I still don’t have a job, and well its real life again. Awesome. Not.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I have a cozy apartment, a fantastic husband, amazing friends, a big book shelf, and the west coast is a pretty wicked place to live. Sometimes real life just feels heavy and right now I feel like a ton of bricks. Ouch.
This past year was a million things for me – joyous, exciting, painful, confusing, adventurous – but it was not easy. It was how I imagine the Iron Man Triathlon to be. Or at least how I think I would feel doing do it – Excited, nervous, adrenalin, nausea, about to give up, hope, about to give up again, numb, power surge, death like, and then this slow motion space at the end where everything is foggy but you hold on because you know around a corner soon you will have made it…at least to the next check point.
NOTE: I don’t think I will ever do the Iron man. “about to give up” would become “gave up. Dead. Lying on the corner. Or drown.”
But, that’s what it has been like. I have made some big life changing decisions. God has opened some doors for me to explore. But he has also closed a lot. A LOT. The numerous closed doors, I think, has been the hardest the hardest part of the year. Both the rejection from it and the confusion of what it means for my life. On vacation I didn’t have to think about those closed doors and I didn’t have to try and pull through to the finish line. It was like I was allowed an extended break. A place to rest my tired feet…my tired soul.
But here I am again. Standing in a hallway of closed doors. Screaming at the top of my lungs for one to open and exhausting myself to the point where I can’t scream anymore…so whimper. I whimper at God “you said Knock and you would answer. You said all I had to do was knock.”
But, I know. I know deep down he is there. He is always there. He’ll open the door when I knock on the right one. I have been knocking on every door except his. Trying to turn my career into my purpose, rather than simply a tool.
I think, maybe, because as hard as it is to face rejection and confusion – to have so many of my insecurities rise to surface – it is harder still to make my way towards God. It is a grueling job. One which will peal back all the layers of myself so He can rebuild better ones.
But, bone must be broken to be made stronger.
In this horribly beautiful realization of what must happen I opened one of my favourite poems to remind I am not alone in this. God has gifted me others to journey along with, even if it is only through words on a page. I have fellow travelers. Stories to share – to help me not give up – to keep looking for His door – for Him.
“Rowing” by Anne Sexton
But I grew, I grew,
and God was there like an island I had not rowed to,
still ignorant of Him, my arms and my legs worked,
and I grew, I grew…
I am rowing, I am rowing
though the oarlocks stick and are rusty
and the sea blinks and rolls
like a worried eyeball,
but I am rowing, I am rowing,
though the wind pushes me back
and I know that that island will not be perfect,
it will have the flaws of life,
the absurdities of the dinner tables,
but there will be a door
and I will open it
and I will get rid of the rat inside of me,
the gnawing pestilential rat.
God will take it with his two hands and embrace it.
Today this is my prayer:
To Ask with my mouth, seek with my eyes, knock with my fists,
so that You would be the words on my lips, the visions in my head and the workings of my limbs.
Oh Father You are the door I must come to to be answered.
Though the others may close I will fear not for have saved a room for me.
Amen, Amen, Amen.