I should be sleeping. I don’t get enough of that these days – haven’t in years really. But, for whatever reason my mind won’t shut down tonight after the 1 am wake up call by my youngest. It usually does, but not tonight. Tonight it runs in the circles I find familiar, though a little dusty.
I find myself reminiscing about my life. I’m not really sure why I’ve been doing that recently, and I haven’t really liked what I’ve found. Looking back, I wasn’t the girl I thought I was in college. And I wish I had pursued the friendships offered to me rather than the ones I desired. I think I lost a lot of time and heart those four years. I did not treasure what I should have.
I left college and went to teach overseas for what ended up being a year. I was crushed in many ways, which I needed. I needed to see the world differently than when I was handed that college diploma. I needed to be reminded of who God was and who I was to Him. And God knows I listen best in crushing times. But I came home from that time overseas with wide eyes and dreams. I wanted to write (even now the race of my fingertips across the clicking keys trying to keep up with my thoughts is so satisfying); I wanted to write a book that would change life for the teenage girls in the self-focused American church. I wanted to reach out to women hurt by Christian institutions like I have been (and, spoiler – would continue to be – No, I’m definitely NOT talking about my current position; I’ve never been in such a healthy, Christian workplace. I’m talking about my history, and my parents, and places that continue to hurt those who are loyal. But that’s beside the point.) I wanted to be a voice for the voiceless (though I don’t think I would have known enough to be able to use that terminology at that point) – or maybe I simply wanted a voice myself. I wanted to start a women’s ministry that wasn’t all pink and crafty and Proverbs 31-y. I wanted to be BIG, like speaking-to-stadiums-of-women big. Really. I wanted that.
So I wrote the book (still unpublished, which might be a good thing. I haven’t read it in 10 years and who knows what’s in it.) And I dreamed. And I started working with the youth group at my church. And then I went to seminary, all the while sitting on Facebook. And walking into bookstores.
And began to hear the legion of other voices screaming into the digital void, demanding to be heard, demanding to be recognized, demanding to be unaccountable for the fallout of their words, demanding to be right, demanding to be BIG. And years of that can stifle a woman – or at least this woman. Or at least change her dreams – my dreams.
I realize this is a bit…ironic? (I never use that word correctly) since I’m writing this in a public blog – my first in what? Five and a half years? But more voices yelling into the digital void doesn’t feel like what this world needs. More people telling women how to be women or how to be healthy women doesn’t feel like what my little world needs. Another voice telling the Christian Machine that it’s wrong, and hurting others, obviously isn’t what this world needs. Another voice putting words in God’s mouth doesn’t feel like what those around me need. And so I’ve been silent, and probably will continue to do so except for when my brain won’t shut off at 1:30 am after nursing my youngest back to sleep.
It’s been an interesting journey – this life. And I have no idea what’s ahead, obviously. And I am a very different woman than when I started this blog an eternity ago. But, I guess I wanted to yell into the void* that I’m here, silent, listening for those that need to talk. And I’ll do my best not to interrupt, or tell you a story about how I can relate to your suffering, or tell you what I think you should do (oh how I love to tell people that one!).
I’m just here. Trying to live out the life God has given me, as faithfully as I can. Trying to learn from my mistakes, and move on. Trying to listen better. Trying to be a better friend, a better wife, better mother, daughter, sister.
I’m just here.
*(yes, I realize I’m stealing that line from “You’ve Got Mail”, and I’m realizing it’s been years since I’ve watched that movie)