In the process of finding the dream, I lost me.
Soul searching words, meditations, insights - gone. Beauty and pain overlooked, shoved down, 'Save it for later, too much to do.' Nose to the grindstone.
At the same time I am pleased with our material progress. The house is coming along. We'll be painting and carpeting before we know it, moving into new bedrooms. Cassie and Caroline, so patient and kind in their tiny room, no room for most toys - up into the attic they go - clothes jammed into too small closets, too tight drawers. Soon they will have a room fit for princesses. They deserve it.
And Tom and I will have room for a chair from which to read, or knit, or sit alone in the dark and think the thoughts that have yellowed with age and nearly died over the past year.
A hard, hard lesson was learned during this year of prioritizing the temporal. Tom and I are made of tough enough stuff to be ground down to the core - for 12 months - and yet survive. We beat the stress for a change, rather than have it obliterate us with remorse and hurt. Understand this, it was hard. Bickering ensued, disagreements and pouting stamped around. There was stress. And strain. Every single day. In our exhaustion we all but lost sight of the true. But we weren't overtaken. For the most part we managed to keep our cool, our patience, and our togetherness, knowing the ordeal was temporary, but we are not.
I am surprised. Awestruck, really. If you'd asked me a year ago how I thought this process would play out in the day-to-day I would have told you that there would be dozens of screaming matches, doors slammed enough to loosen the hinges, household items hurled and smashed, and regret aplenty. Rabid turning on each other would lead to guilt which would haunt for years to come. "Why do we do this to each other?" Such has been our normal reaction to prolonged, uncontrollable stress.
This time it didn't happen that way. Why? How can it be that I am so surprised, how can we have made it this far in our growth as individuals and as partners and not have noticed? Like Christmas in my heart I understand that God has given us this wearing down process to show us what we otherwise would not have realized. We are never so lost that we can't be found. Even again and again.
"God creates everything out of nothing - and everything which God is to use He first reduces to nothing." ~~ Soren Kierkegaard
Our lesson contains a nugget: The inner man is fragile and strong. Fragile in that neglect will dim it indefinitely. Strong in that sincere concern sparks re-ignition, eyes to see, to notice the starvation. Easy to dim the light, easy to become lost, for temporal things - though lousy substitutes - are great imitators. Inattention allows the fake to deceive, to mask the real, breeding a certain discouragement, for one senses that something is amiss, ill-fitting. Eyes to see, yes, to see and know that a precious thing is shriveling. Then, a heart to fight, a strong inner heart, engaged once again in the real.
For now the testing is over. Awake at last, Tom and I begin taking in our surroundings; we shake off the disorientation, look up and around, see one another, sigh. Smile. We made it. "Hello." Reaching hands, interlocking fingers, faces relaxed, feet walking toward the smooth path, for God knows how long. We begin to find.
It feels good under my feet, this fresh but known path.
I've missed us.
I've missed me.