I like definitive beginnings and endings. Clean slates. New calendar years. Crisp, empty planners waiting for entries. A grandiose finale at the end of a musical piece like Nessun Dorma or the Hallelujah Chorus. I want my loose ends tied up, my mental and emotional shelves neatly organized, and clarity on where I stand in every relationship.
But it's the in-between, messy, unfinished tension where I reside and live most of my life.
October and now November have been unseasonably warm, even for us. We are still in shorts and flip-flops and our air conditioners are humming away. It seems we are stuck in some awful in-between season where it's not really summer, but it's not anything else but humid, sticky, warm and miserable. There are no beautiful autumn colors to wonder at, no crisp fresh air that breathes new life into a new season. It's a weather purgatory and it's reminding me of all of the other places in my life where I feel stuck in a season of life that doesn't seem to end. I find myself craving some sense of finality on things ending and some new thing to begin, but I feel as if I've been composed into a melody that seems to be playing in a minor key and the dissonance is getting to me.
My body is healthier and stronger than it's ever been, but still so far to go at the same time. I eat so differently and exercise five times a week, and I even own "skinny" jeans. Trying to find kindness in my maintenance of what I've lost, the progress I've made is easier on some days than others. Even with the 85 pounds of weight that's no longer on my body, I struggle with who I see in the mirror and I don't often speak kind things to her.
Motherhood. My threenager takes all that I have and I keep wondering if anything with Jacob will ease up. I'm tired and weary and I just want a break from the screaming and fit-throwing. Even as I write this, there is screaming and I want to lose my mind. I'm ready for him to be four. Or 18. I can't decide.
Oh, how I miss our church so, so much. I miss what it was two years ago when our community was rich and deep, our lives so full of ministry, fellowship and this wonderful feeling of really belonging - when we had a group we called as "framily." I think of the people I've hurt and walked away from, and those who did the same to us, and I am filled with sorrow. Most every Sunday at the new church we've been attending, I stand there during worship and cry. It makes me wonder if I'll ever be able to stand on stage and lead worship for a church again. I don't know if I can even trust church people, if I'll ever let myself be vulnerable enough to dig into it again. I want to safeguard my heart and yet I miss deep connection with those who share my faith. I'm stuck in a place of needing to forgive those who hurt me, and to ask others for forgiveness too.
I'm trying to survive my long, lonely days in a season where I am figuring out where I am supposed to be or who I'm supposed to be because nothing fits anymore - literally. Church. My clothes. Politics. Friendships. Nothing fits like it used to and I've become acutely aware how much this year has changed me inside and out.
As I sit in the reality that I'm in the last several weeks of the year and the holidays are approaching, I am feeling myself ready to wind up the year and welcome in that familiar clean slate. I want to wish 2016 good riddance! As if January 1st will change my body and Jacob's challenging behavior or the new year will suddenly usher in new and perfect friendships and take away all the emotional aches I bear.
Maybe the fresh start of a new year is only an illusion. If anything it gives us a starting point to measure our successes and failures, but it's really just another day of wrestling through life and struggling through the darkness inside of us.
Perhaps there are no clear definitive beginnings or endings when it comes to our lives. Just breathing and going and doing and seasons folding in and on top of each other.