So I woke up this morning with a sore throat and full schedule and thought, “Well, welcome 32. It’s great to be single, childless, and sick.” :: note sarcasm::
I like that God can still bless me even when I’m being a brat, and he allowed the day to be redeemed; my sore throat cleared up for the most part, and the sweet people in my life blessed me in numerous acts of kindness. One of the tutors in the writing center insisted on treating me to a bagel lunch; one of my co-workers made sure it did not go unnoticed that is was my birthday while I was in my administrative meeting this afternoon, which gained me a rousing rendition of happy birthday; one of my other co-workers made a special trip to the school in gym clothes to deliver a beautiful scarf; another friend called and left the sweetest birthday voicemail because her little girl repeated every line after her, and another friend fed me dinner and chocolate and peanut butter whoopie pies. Earlier this week, my parents gave me a new sewing machine for my quilting endeavors, and my sister chipped in three new quilt patterns. I’ve got to do some lesson planning tonight, but I sure would rather be taking that new sewing machine out of the box!
So, 31 is a done deal. I can say 100% for sure that I would never voluntarily live that year of life over again unless I could change many things about it and the months leading up to it; it was a honestly a year of heartbreak, struggle, spiritual wrestling, and discontent. But, as hard as it is to not be able to change it, not to get to erase the pages and try to rewrite that chapter again with a different ending, I do have 32 ahead of me. And, when I see the godly mature people around me, I have to admit that the most mature and beautiful of them are that way because they took the soil of heartbreak, struggle, spiritual wrestling, and discontent, and they planted seeds in that soil. They planted relationships that are more precious because of a new awareness of the irreplaceable gift that good relationships are. They saw fruits of perseverance and trust and patience spring forth from the branches of struggle. They emerged from wrestling with God to be more fully surrendered to him, having settled the fact that if ever they were going to try to leave him it would have been then but there was nothing better to move towards, no higher purpose to pursue, and no better relationship to embrace. And, they realized that discontent is often a stirring to something else.
Those seeds haven’t grown; it’s like they are in the little greenhouse of my heart trying to pop above the soil. And 32 is ahead of me. So what do I hope to see this year:
- Clarity for the future; it’d be great to get a little glimpse of what lies ahead. PhD or no PhD? more than one date for the year (maybe with someone who even pays for dinner this time)? an idea of where it would be best to invest the majority of my time and attention in the next 2-3 years of my life. I’m not expecting to get a full 10 year plan, but I’d sure like to know what the next baby step is supposed to be.
- Creativity – I want to spend more time quilting (and hopefully selling them), and I have some lamps in the basement that I plan to make dazzling as well. I’m excited about some business plans that I have in mind and the way that I might be able to use them to make a little money but to also draw attention to social justice and to give gifts to others who need them.
- A closer walk with God – I want to exit this period of struggle and anger and suspicion, so I can start to move back towards more trusting surrender where I don’t just need God to be there, but I want to be hearing from him in amazing ways.
It’s going to need to be a year of intentionally tending the tender seeds that have been planted in the roughly tilled soil of my heart over the past year. It’s kind of weird to be watering them because I feel like I saw the picture on some of the seed packets and know what should be springing forth, but some of the seeds feel like a mystery grab bag. I’ve more and more begun to think that God has something else, something new, but I can see any pictures. I’m just going to have to water, pull weeds, and wait for a blooming.