A New Narrative Takes Time and Reflection
Two things tucked away made their way to me recently, and are catalysts to this new narrative I speak of in the title.
One I discovered in the back of my grandmother’s bible–a letter from one of my girls. How it made its way there, I do not know. I brought this bible home last year from Michigan, after going through boxes at my mom’s house with my siblings, in an attempt to turn chaos into order at the unexpected death of my mom.
The letter is dated, 2017. Apparently written to me the day after my birthday in September of that year. It makes sense I don’t remember as that was a tumultuous year, and most things from that timeframe are covered in a layer of dust, not at all like fairy dust, as these specks are a dull gray and cover and suffocate, and hardly inspire.
I won’t go into the details, but one thing she says stands out,
“Instead of running into the sunrise, run to the sunset. Realize that endings are just as beautiful as beginnings.”
The other happened upon me yesterday in an attempt to create order through a pile of cards and letters from Bill given to me over the years.
It was my own handwriting. This too I hardly remember as it is not dated, yet am not entirely clueless as I’ve completed all on the bucket list, and well, the goal list may be one that goes on forever at this point in life.
Complete writing a book.
Be a speaker that is paid.
Run a marathon.
What stirs the insides though is I have a version of each item on a new bucket list, hoping to complete.
It’s like my bucket list has a hole.
Don’t get me wrong, these items are important and continue to be a part of my journey. But what keeps me from placing new items in the proverbial bucket, before I kick the bucket?
Yesterday I sat in the early morning drained somewhat at the onset, likely because I knew I’d travel deep, away from the surface, to what’s keeping me from feeling whole.
In the end, after a couple pages of reflection, I noticed my outward drive is based on a deep-seated inner feeling that I am not needed, and/or valued.
What I am realizing is this: my value and need is not based on what I do, but who I am.
I contemplate whether to share how I arrive at such conclusions, and just provide the end result, but in doing so, I wonder if I cheat you and me of the process of reflection in the messy middle.
Reflection at its best helps one discover a new narrative.
Journal entry, January 22, 2020:
I was thinking, actually thinking a lot about our life together–what did it look like? I mean, there are seasons that were counted by running children here and there, splitting up to tackle–usually missing out on one because it’s scheduled the same time as the other one. Tired at the end of each day spent on the needs of others: homework, school, meals, etc.
But that time ended when they reached adulthood.
What about the daily/weekly before he became ill? Since there was more time on the finishing-end of parenting, what did we do?
We moved to another home. We loved the new start. We worked hard inside and out, making the space special.
We had shows we watched together, went out to nice restaurants, shared wine under the trees, daydreamed of years in the future when we’d travel to exotic places. Sex as always was wonderful–effortless.
I enjoyed his travel. It gave us time away to come together as newlyweds.
Our life was pretty mundane on the surface. What made it special was the connection–we truly loved being together.
I remember though, not being completely satisfied. Not with us, but with me.
Unsatisfied with my accomplishments. I remember when I thrived at work, challenged by more, loving the rhythm of too much to do. Loved to create programs, write curriculum–challenged to do things outside my comfort zone.
Then, the shift. I spoke to a group of ladies for the first time, and an inner-compelling caused me to leave all to enter there. A wrestle accompanied me, like teaching others caused turmoil to rise to the surface desiring to be healed.
Then the running away, fearing something was out to get me–only realizing I was running from myself. My past. My pain.
Until I came to a place I couldn’t run away–the beginning of wellbeing began a year or so before his diagnosis.
Yet when he became sick, it was sidelined for another time.
All this to say: I feel…I feel I miss being needed, as if being needed creates value in my existence, and without this need, I have little value. The tears in my eyes at this confession confirm its accuracy.
I feel I am not needed.
Yes, I can write until the cows come home, whatever that means. But no one needs me.
Bill did, even before his illness. But he is gone.
The girls have grown–their needs are complex, but not consistent.
I miss this.
What can this look like?
Let’s go there.
I am not satisfied. I know I need to sit here awhile and allow it to rise up to a deeper understanding. I will not run away. I will not try to fill with something until I know it is out of overflow, and not to fill the gaping hole of insecurity.
Until then, I will take Aubrey’s advice, and face the sunset of endings, and see the beauty they provide.