Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Fine Line

Yesterday, I did an interview with a friend for his podcast. Much of what we talked about was change, how you know you need a change in your life, and how to get the ball rolling on that change once the need has been established. We talked about feeling that itch that your life simply isn't going where it should be, and how to respond.

Since then, I've been thinking about it even more (which is, of course, the way you can tell that a conversation was awesome, productive, and meaningful), and realized that one thing we didn't discuss was that before you can move on, there has to be a sort of blessing of the place in which you currently find yourself. You can't get to a place of being emotionally healthy about letting the current situation go until you are at least at peace with it (even if you aren't exactly happy with it). Even if you find yourself free of the old situation (job, relationship, city), it still will follow you, heavy on your hearts, until you make peace with it. Wouldn't it feel better to make that peace before the transition, starting your new situation with a clean slate and a freed heart?

When we first moved to South Carolina, there was a deep restlessness about the move. We love being near my family, and enjoyed being back up in the Carolinas, but knew that we were not where we should be. We fought it, tooth and nail, thinking of ourselves as outsiders-- travelers passing through, for at least the first two years. And somehow during that time, in spite of all our frustrations and determination to get out of the small town, two years after moving into small town South Carolina, we found ourselves moving not to a larger city, but to an even smaller neighboring small town with a population of 2000. Our drive to get out at any costs had led us even farther into small town South, leaving us a bit bewildered.

Realizing we weren't going to be going anywhere any time soon, we began to make efforts to see the good in where we were. We developed a closer relationship with my father and his family, began to make friends with a few families in the natural living underground of our community, even though their views differed from our own, finding the common ground wherever it presented itself. We began to embrace small town life, realizing that whatever our plans, God's plan was obviously for us to be there, for that time. We learned to garden and grew much of our own food. I learned to can, to pickle, to cook, to sew, and we all boned up on our carpentry skills. I threw out our crayola kids paints and filled the craft closet with pastels, oil paint, acrylics, charcoal, beads, wool yarn, quill pens and india ink. We put tiki torches in the backyard and hosted cookouts for friends, enjoyed our telescope in the backyard (since the town was pitch-black at night and the sky was crystal clear and beautiful), and ate the occasional hotdog at the town's only oil and lube shop, which also claimed to have the best hot dogs in the country (??). We began to love and bless where we were, even though it wasn't where we knew we wanted to be, and after a while, it grew on us.

This is where the challenge presents itself: Somewhere in the process of loving and blessing where we were, which I believe strongly is a necessary part of change, we began to take our focus from where we were going. In the mix of everyday life, there is a fine line between loving and blessing where you are, and muddying your focus. This is where I think we got off course, at least for a little while. I do believe, very strongly, that blessing where you are (working hard and with integrity at that job you can't stand, or making the most out of a temporary illness) is a necessary step before you can fully move on, at least without carrying the baggage and negativity with you into your next experience. Yes, see where you're going, envision it, imagine what it will feel like, and know you are moving in that direction. But also, enjoy where you are now, bless the space, feel it, love it, grow in it.

And somehow in the midst of living in the moment, blessing where we are, we are supposed to remember that it is not where we're going, that it isn't our final destination.

How do you remember to do one, while not forgetting the other? This is a fine line, and one which I'm exploring more in my life, as I currently realize that as blessed as my life is at the moment, this is still not the finish line, not my final destination. I am now (and will likely always be) in process, an unfinished but ever-growing work, breathing in the possibilities. I think I'm okay with that.

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