With this past hurricane coming to town and blowing against my window, it got me thinking, as rain always does. I thought about a variety of things, like all the Doris Day songs I still haven't listened to and who first thought to make lemonade, but mostly (and more importantly) it got me thinking about the things in life we can't change, the things we cannot control, like the storm pounding against my house or the future threatening to break doors down. It got me thinking about how in those instances, when we find ourselves with no hand in the game, no say in the matter, no part in the act, all we can really do is sit and wait it out.
Now let me tell you something I've been learning about myself (and I'll narrow it to one thing because I've been learning a lot, too much to fit into this article). Apparently, I hate sitting. And I don't mean sitting through a movie or with a good book, I could do that all day, every day. I mean sitting when I'm clueless, I mean sitting by, I mean knowing I'm meant for something and sitting anyways. I can't stand it (no pun intended). Sitting through the storm, sitting behind a desk in Science class, sitting in a waiting room. These are the times I groan, these are the times I frown, these are the times my purpose is lost on me. It is when I feel helpless and unworthy and powerless that I am left to sit.
If you have been wondering where I've been or how I've been, I'll tell you in a small little sentence. I have been sitting somewhere and I have not been all that great. And I know exactly why. It is because I'm clueless and I can't control it.
All my life I've known what I wanted. And I've been proud of that. When I was little, I wanted to be a detective like Nancy Drew, and then when I grew up, I wanted to be a writer, like Jane Austen. Call me crazy or be annoyed with me, but for as long as I can remember, I've had an answer at the ready and I've never been ashamed of it. Perhaps it was my fault, for taking my assurance for granted, but I've always known what I wanted. From the man I wanted to marry to my plans for the next ten years. It's how I work. I'm a planner. It wasn't until recently that that all changed. Suddenly, that self assured, ready for the world, excited for the future girl vanished. That knowledge of what I want out of life and who I should be was stripped from underneath me and I stumbled. I've fallen into a pile on the floor and now I'm sitting.
And let me tell you, it hurts me to be so lost. It hurts me to sit when I don't want to. It hurts me to have no answers. And I've been having a horrible time, sitting here.
I think the danger comes when we spend our lives following others, inspired by who they are and what they've done, determined to be just like them. Eventually, when it's our turn to show who we are, we're left clueless. Because we are just bits of other people. The truth is, the little you that you know best, the person that's been there from the beginning, gets lost in the mix of aspirations and dreams and wants. You're left a giant shrug. Or at least, that's where I am.
It's like I'm in a waiting room, tapping my foot, waiting for my name to be called. Like I'm sitting in a chair, tapping my pencil, waiting for the day to end. Like I'm sitting in the car, tapping my knee, waiting for the ride to be over. And the time just keeps going, the day elongating, the ride stretching on forever. So much so, I'm afraid I'll never stand again. At the same time though, I'm thankful my name is never called, the sun never sets, and the car never parks because if it did, I'd have to answer to someone, I'd have to know something, and that I don't.
Truth is, I don't know anything. I don't have any answers. I don't have a plan. And for me, that's terrifying. For me, that's a hard, tiring, dreadful obstacle. But it's where I am.
But maybe it's okay. When I look back at all the other times in my life that I was thrown a curve ball and left thoroughly confused, it all worked out, I ended up safe, I continued to survive. Maybe this clueless time should be considered rest instead of a test. Who knows?
Because when you're lost or confused or hurting, at the end of the day, all you really have left is hope. All you have left is the belief that after continuing to search, despite that voice in your head telling you it's pointless, to give up, that you're an idiot for getting lost in the first place, despite all your circumstances and how lost you may be, one day you'll see the passage way, you'll see the sign, you'll learn your purpose, and you'll get up. You won't be lost anymore. You'll be asked to stand and run. You'll know where to go. But for now, we're clueless. For now, there is no clear path, no clear destination. For now, all we know is that one day, we won't be lost anymore.
So if you can't seem to see the big picture, if all you have is a tiny blurry one, if you can't find what makes any of it worth the pain or the patience, well, me too, you are not alone. I think all we can really do is continue. All we can do is get up, work hard, be kind, and trust that somehow, some way, it'll all work out. Sometimes, the hardest thing to do in life is to trust the system, to simply enjoy where you are, to be present even in the unfortunate, confusing, messy maze of self and future doubt. At least that's where I find struggle, the last thing I do when stressed is rest. But maybe that's the next step, maybe that's the lesson to learn when lost, to somehow find rest out of the journey, somehow find enjoyment in the chaos, peace is the clutter, acceptance in the uncertainty.
Maybe next time someone asks you how you are doing or what you plan to do with your life, smile instead of grimace, and honestly answer that you have no clue. Because it's true. Maybe we'll learn to celebrate the truth in that, maybe we'll learn love that little fact about us, maybe we'll look back and smile on the memories of sitting and being so utterly lost. I'm not saying give up, I'm saying have hope. I'm not saying sit on your butt forever, I'm saying take a moment of quiet reflection to accept who you are this very second. I'm not saying this is my attitude on the matter or that this plan is fully successful or easy at all, but I am saying I'm willing to give it a shot. I hope you do so too. We can be lost together.
"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10