My life is in a little bit of transition these days. I’ve left my job which sounds both final and trite at the same time. It feels a little like the world should stop with that kind of announcement, not just because I quit a job, but because it means that season of my life has come to an end. And I keep wondering when everyone else is going to realize that time should stop, if just for a moment, to ponder the earth-shattering transition in my life.
And then I remember real world problems–hunger. aids. trafficking. death. suffering. And I think maybe I’m making too much out of this rite of passage. Just maybe.
Though I was 28 when I began my journey on The World Race, that is the place I grew up. That is the place I began to really walk in my identity. That is the place I discovered my voice and found so much life in what I did. But as is often the case when growing up, the place that fit me so well for four years is no longer the right size, and the Lord has called me on to new things.
While it’s been a difficult transition, all in all I thought I was handling it pretty well.
Then last week I mustered up all the energy I could find, changed out of my yoga pants, brushed my hair, and ventured out to the movies. It was more a desperate attempt to escape the swirl of my house than anything else, but it got me up and moving which hadn’t happened for awhile.
We decided on The Bourne Legacy. I had gift cards. Two $10 gift cards which made me feel better about spending money on popcorn and diet coke. We waited in line and everything was fine. Until I noticed that our 3:05 movie began just 5 minutes after the end of the matinee hour so we would be forced to pay full price. So after arguing with two different cashiers, requesting a complaint form, and seriously considering walking out of the theater, I gave my roommate about five seconds of warning (“I think I might cr…”) before bursting into tears.
And right there in the Mall of Georgia I realized that maybe I’m not handling this transition quite as well as I thought.
I cried my way through the previews (Anne Hathaway singing I Dreamed a Dream in the new Les Mis??? It was too much!) and well into the first 20 minutes of the movie before my breathing returned to normal and I gained some control over my emotions.
It’s a funny thing, grief. It sneaks up on you at the strangest times. It forces you to do completely irrational things. And it’s like a gas that fills up every bit of space, no matter how much you put in at once. Even a little bit can fill you to the brim.
But the worst part for me is the guilt that comes along with it. I made a choice to go in a different direction. I shouldn’t get the right to grieve. Nothing was taken from me. Nobody died. Many people I love in this community have it much worse. And so I stuff it back down a little farther, allow guilt and image and willpower to keep me from processing, and wait for it to spill out at the next inopportune place. The airport? Chick-Fil-A? A wedding? (Oh wait, that’s a story for the next blog.)
I’m realizing that for me grief isn’t so much about what was, but about what will never be. And because grief is such a personal thing, I won’t presume to assume what it’s like for you. But for me, it’s the loss of possibility. The loss of opportunities. Ultimately the loss of hope. It’s about not being able to see past the moment you’re in, and if you dare to peek into the future it looks so bleak that you quickly retreat back to the present. It’s the loss of dreams, of looking-forward-to’s, can’t waiting, and what-ifs.
And that kind of loss might be the most devastating kind.
Because I’m a hope-springs-eternal kind of girl. A glass half full, just around the river bend, cling to God’s goodness no matter what, it-all-works-out-in-the-end-so-if-it-hasn’t-worked-out-it-isn’t-the-end kind of girl. And so when grief robs me of not only what I hoped would be, but of the person I want to be–the person I know I am–then something has to change. While I know grieving is a natural process, an important process, it has to be possible to survive it without losing who you are.
I can’t promise there won’t be more tears. And I can’t even promise much warning before they well up. But just maybe I can manage to come through on the other side still looking like myself.
And if you’re interested in hearing more about what’s next or supporting me in this next season, check out the Support Me link above or contact me for more info. I’d love to share new opportunities with you! And I have several creative posts lined up for you guys as well, so don’t worry!