Tuesday, February 2, 2010

…where did I go?

Before I had this blog, I had another one (okay, before that one I had
another one…that first blog is the one I’m talking about). My first blog was, for me, a life saver. Somehow, I discovered who I was by writing on it. I started the blog when I was 21 and kept it until the spring of ’08 (I was 24). Was I young and naïve? At times. But there is so much in there that surprises even the 26 year old version of myself (you know, the older and much wiser version of the melancholic young adult that started writing in the first place). I was reading through some of the old posts just now and I found myself asking that question: …where did I go? Where is the girl that saw monuments in details and then wrote about them? Where is the girl that writes the words God gives her, to point others to him?

The interesting thing about being a writer is that my life has documentation. Sure, not all of it is entirely interesting or even entirely personal. But my days have been documented, nonetheless – and by me. You would think that since I am the writer, I would remember the writing – but in actuality, God gave me writing abilities to make up for my disabled memory function…which is why I can go back and read my old blog and be surprised by the things that I wrote.

So if I loved writing then and found it healing, why did I stop?

2008 brought a shift in my spirit that I am still recovering from, to be entirely honest. The things I thought I knew and the answers I had decided to run with vanished completely, suddenly and without warning. They all chose, at the same time, to leap off a tall building onto jagged rocks and leave me standing on the precipice going "what the hell?!?" In short – I no longer knew anything about anything about anything…and with that I was forced to start entirely from scratch. The fast turn around of my ideals left me reeling in wonder and pain, and struggling to maintain my well practiced art of self-preservation. I lost the ability to recognize a friend when I saw one, just as I lost the ability to let go of the friends who had hurt me. I couldn’t see my gifts anymore, but it didn’t matter: I no longer wanted to use them, and silently begged God not to make me. This is the time I stopped writing on that blog, among other things.

2009 was the year I floundered. Picture this: me (all gangly knees and elbows), some water wings, and the shallow end of a kiddie pool. Not to say that God didn’t speak, not to say that I didn’t learn anything or grow at all, but rather: I no longer remembered how to swim and refused to try, and there was nothing God could say to convince me otherwise. He started to catch on to my defiance though, because he began to carry me from place to place instead of making me walk there. He started draining the water out of my lungs. He put a little space heater in my chest, to bring my frozen heart back to life. And, he always ensured my water wings were well inflated and well in place; when they weren’t, he would offer me a pool noodle or a dingy, instead.

But despite the gentle care and constant provision of a lifeline, I still couldn’t get a grip on the confidence of spirit I had before I lost my footing in 08. My momentum was gone.

At the start of 2010, I saw myself most clearly: as a soggy, withering mess. It was like I’d been given a brand new mirror. I looked, reluctantly, and all I saw were the puncture wounds I had tried so hard to ignore. The feeble attempts I had made at patching myself up had all expired, apparently. But the longer I stared, the more I began to see the things reflecting from around me: people, close at hand. Sure, they could see the same faltered girl that I could, but they stayed beside me anyway. It was then I saw most clearly: these people are my life line. 2009 may have been calm, but it was clearly strategic. God was setting up his pieces underneath, so that when I needed it most, I wouldn’t fall over.

 So where did I go? I can see very clearly where I went. But the most amazing thing about all of this is not necessarily that I went on that journey in the first place, but rather, that I had Hope as a constant companion when I should have had no hope at all; I had peace when I should not have had peace; I had friends when I should not have had friends. As often as I felt dropped I felt carried.

When people ask me why I love Jesus, I say it is because I have to. I literally do not know how I would survive without him. When people ask me why I write, I say it is because I have to. I want to be 80 and remembering that wherever I went, He went also.


alisha said...

Ash, I LOVE this. Thanks for your honesty and 'relate-ability'. You're a gem, both as a writer and as a human being. I think it's your contrite heart (you know, the Psalms kind?) that makes you shiny and beautiful and bright. Much love, sister!

Ryan André said...

Wow, just this morning, I was searching for something in an old hotmail account and was rummaging through emails from 2003/4 and was like "man, times have changed" - my best friend wasn't even married then and we were doing wedding planning (since then they have had a TON happen to them, had a special needs son and lost him, which has adversely affected me), I was slaving 80 hours a week in Vancouver getting burnt out and trying to get into film, but now I'm a pastor (lol, that's really ironic for me) ... yes, times, they change.

It is truly amazing what God walks us through and how he is constantly helping us re-define ourselves. There are a few points I look back on and wonder if I was even a Christian then... Baptism is one of them... But that is the beauty of our faith. A new start can be had every day.

Thank God for his grace.

Great post!

Mama said...

I can't believe you're mine. Praise God from whom all blessings fall.