In a couple of weeks I begin my last semester of lay ministry classes, in November I will be done with the academic work. A year and a half ago, with trembling hands and a conflicted heart I picked up the phone to enroll. A restless, uncomfortable churning had been working inside me at a soul level which I could not explain, and I found it disquieting and a bit amusing to even think of myself in such a role.
I still do.
Here I am, a semester away from completion and I have no firmer grasp on why I felt called to do this nor how it will be used, than I did that day a year and a half ago when I took that first step. I am struggling almost daily with seeing myself in new roles, searching to discover who I am these days, for who I was no longer remains, and who I am becoming is still unclear. I find myself quite boring at the moment (not that I have ever been all that charming or captivating in the past), and a new sort of restlessness exists. I am not at all unhappy, quite the opposite, but I am confused and trying my best to retain the essence of Cindy while being willing to open my arms to the new parts of me that are emerging.
A couple of comments left this week have served to nudge me, sort of like the sharp spurred heel of a cowboy boot planted firmly in the flank of an unwilling mare. I have spent 10+ years writing on the internet, nothing of any real consequence but responses to posts on Yahoo groups, private emails, and in the past 3 years a few hundred blog posts. I am not a writer, and I have never taken a writing class even in high school. I am a middle aged housewife and mom who tends to be a little opinionated, I guess, and have been willing to offer those opinions to others who I am certain 95% of the time wish I would just shut my mouth and mind my own business.
I have also received probably more than 100 comments over the years saying I should write a book. I don't see that at all, but it is a theme that has been repeated over and over so often that about 2 years ago I began to wonder if God was trying to talk to me and I was ignoring it because "I don't wanna!".
One morning, after a late night similar to this one that was spent trying to push aside thoughts of two then-little girls who were alone halfway around the world, I read yet another email with a similar comment. God and I had a long chat while I showered, which is where we usually talk the most, and I made a commitment. If I were indeed meant to write something more substantive than an email or a blog post, then I would do so after the girls came home and got settled in. It wasn't really a bargain, because I wasn't saying "If You do this, then I'll do this...", it was more of a delay tactic, or maybe me saying "I need to hear you more clearly on this one, as it seems quite preposterous to me, so if the girls actually make it home then I guess I'll know that is what you want."
There are a few problems with this though. One being that I am not a writer. Two is that whatever I would have to say would never sell and I am not an expert on anything. Three is I am not at all certain what our "story" really is or what it is that God wants me to share. Of course there are four, five and six following that but those are the biggies.
If truth be told, this whole topic feels very similar to the heel dragging I felt compelled to do when applying to the lay ministry program. That same discomfort is settling in around me, and the same questions of "What? Me? Are you kidding me?" are being asked. There is also the parallel factor of not knowing why I would be doing it if I were to begin, as it makes no sense to me for either ministry or writing something.
Interestingly, as I examine what it is I am feeling about all of this there is this common denominator tied to both topics. The word that comes to mind is not accurate but it is "arrogance". As in "What makes you think you would be good at ministry? You are totally not a 'minister' type!" or "You? Write something? Like you have anything to say of value! You ARE arrogant, aren't you?". It's not exactly well worded, but it is part of the inner dialogue going on right now.
In late night quiet contemplation, I wonder to myself, what really IS our story? It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that it is about adoption and the journey, but my gut says that is too obvious, and our collective lives have never been about what is on the surface. Is it about healing and wholeness? About soul journeys? About love without labels? Grace? Love conquering darkness? It all sounds so canned and formulaic when written even in this paragraph. I also see how the passing of time, even a mere 4 months home with the girls, lessens the emotional potency for me, and I have normalized the past 11 years of our lives because this is just how we do it, this IS normal for us and I sometimes forget it really isn't for everyone else.
There is also the excuse of lack of time. But one that I am not so ready to cop to is that I am not certain I even want to revisit some of the emotional heartache that came along with the joy. Some of it has been expressed here on the blog, but there were 7 years prior that were some of the most painful and difficult to articulate. Josh's RAD was a time of being in a very dark place of the soul, for all of us. The fear and doubts proceeding Matthew's adoption were also difficult.
There was, and once in awhile continues to be, so much alone-ness. Like at 2:00 am when you are worried about every move you make with your children and you realize that you have half as much time to parent them...and for them to forget all your mistakes.
Would some other parent find comfort in any words I might share? I wonder...
So, I guess I continue to listen for the Spirit's enlightenment in so many areas of my life. Seems I never know what I ought to be doing these days, but somehow the feet keep shuffling forward on faith, trusting that someday the pieces will fall into place and the big picture will be revealed.