Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lovin' Life, Lovin' You - 24/7

** This is for you...hang in there...

A couple of nights ago, I was looking for some paper and picked up an old journal someone gave me years ago I thought I had never used. I opened it to tear a sheet out and saw that I had written in it. Once. Three years ago in September.

2005 was the worst year of my life. And maybe the best because I learned so much. (I always have to add in the optimism, don’t I?) It was a painful, painful year. I probably cried more in that year than I have cried in my entire adult life.

Let’s see…in six short months...I got cheated on and my poor heart broken. My sweet grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer (on my birthday no less...and you wonder why I hate my birthday). My grandmother had a bad car accident with a lot of legal drama. I had an unhealthy relationship with someone who hurt me over and over again because I let him. I could have left. And eventually I did, thank God or I’d never be able to forgive myself. Finally in late August, I was laid off from the horrible job I hated and thus could get out of my lease and leave Atlanta if I just had somewhere to go. Someone I knew had a cousin that needed a roommate in DC. I said yes. Without meeting her or seeing the apartment. Or having a job. I just had to get away. And you know, I even turned down a job offer that would have let me stay. I am a real free faller.

It wasn’t scary to me that I was moving to a new city, living with strangers in an apartment I knew nothing about or even that I was unemployed. I was so thankful to have an opportunity to escape. I was unhappy and needed a reason to take a chance on me. I was there for my family through those rough months, and I needed to be there for me too. It’s hard to explain really what I was thinking or feeling. I felt free and easy...but nervous at the same time.

I saw the movie Elizabethtown during this transition and connected with it instantly. It’s definitely one of my all-time favorites. It makes me laugh and cry and think. I love all the characters. They’re so well-defined, even the smallest ones you understand. Like Chuck and Cindy, who the title of this post comes from. I think it’s a magical movie with close-ups on the full range of human emotion and the human spirit. But to me, the movie is all about hope – in fact, it’s the most hopeful movie I’ve ever seen. It’s not just about how you survive, but it’s about how you can do it while keeping your chin up and a smile on your face. It’s a crazy thing to have your whole world crashing in on you, but still feel fine. Still have hope.

A good friend of mine talked to me last night about hope. She said hers was struggling lately.

The Bible ranks it right up there with faith and love – it’s just as powerful and important. But can be so hard to hold onto. We need hope. We get out of bed every day hoping it’ll be a good one or that we’ll at least make it through. We take vitamins hoping we won’t get sick. We go on dates hoping it’ll be worth it in the end. And we spend time with our loved ones hoping we’ll all be together again soon. We need it, yes, but what keeps it alive is desire.

I’m just a girl. And a simple one at that. I don’t know how we hold onto hope, but I think I know why. It’s all we have. We have to hold onto hope because sometimes it’s the only thing that will keep us going. Even prisoners in concentration camps found a miraculous way to hold onto their hope.

There’s a beautiful verse in the Bible that says, Hope is an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Another says that God has plans to give us a hope and a future. So that makes me think that hope comes from God. That He gives it to us for a reason. Even if it is hope that is not fulfilled, it serves a purpose of some kind. Maybe to move us from Atlanta to DC. Maybe to make us more aware of every minute we have with someone. Maybe to get us out of bed. Maybe to change our life.

It was hard, but beautiful reading the words I wrote three years ago. It’s like they were written by a stranger. I was so sad. So much had happened, and even though I wasn’t really scared, I was worried that I might never find all the scattered pieces of me. I was worried that in all the chaos and calamity, I didn't know myself. And I was worried that the downpour of tragedy would continue. Once everything goes wrong, you start looking for the next shoe to drop. But even in the midst of all that, I had hope.

And it worked out. I did change, but for the better. I know myself so well now. I am stronger because I know how strong I can be. I know what my vessel holds and who I have with me in rough and still patches. Going through all that tells me that the next time the sky falls, I’ll be alright. I have faith in that. So maybe hope builds faith. And it builds love because those that saw me through those dark days, I put my hope in them, I leaned on them, and our friendships are so much stronger now than ever before. And my hope is stronger too.

So the most painful year of my life was the most wonderful year of my life. Good things do come to those who wait.

No true fiasco ever began as a quest for mere adequacy. A motto of the British Special Air Force is: 'Those who risk, win.' A single green vine shoot is able to grow through cement. The Pacific Northwestern salmon beats itself bloody on its quest to travel hundreds of miles upstream against the current, with a single purpose – sex, of course – but


*M* said...

I recently found an old journal and them proceeded to tack it up on a dartboard with his picture over it and throw darts at it.

Made me feel tons better.

Oh and I'm around here somewhere.

Looky here:

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