Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Joy I Found in Disappointment

So lately I've been kind of a loner. Wow. That sounds depressing. Sometimes it feels that way too, but other times it is so fulfilling that I just want to hug the day and say thank you for allowing me to experience it.

Last week I was sitting at home and I was stewing in a lot of negative emotions. Something happened earlier in the week that literally made me so angry and full of hate and resentment that I could feel it rotting away at my bones. It was awful and I hated feeling those hateful feelings, but no matter what I did or how I prayed, it just wasn't going away. I was sitting in all of this and finally decided that I simply cannot stay here anymore. I don't know why but some days I just hate being inside my apartment. It's a lovely apartment, but it gets so dark and there's not a lot of windows so I just feel trapped. I could go to my balcony and sometimes I do, but it doesn't always help me clear the air.

Instead I drove to a beach I've never been to before. An area of RI that's so far south, they ask you if you're from Connecticut. It was beautiful and such an amazing experience. I will write more about what I learned there on another post.

But yesterday I went to a place in the opposite direction. It's in the woods and had a pond of some sort that kids were swimming in. It was really nice (and would have been so peaceful without the screaming children, but anyways...). It also seemed like the kind of place where you want to be on alert for any kind of creeper men who might want to kidnap you and bring you back to their cabin in the woods. Maybe I've seen too many episodes of CSI + Law and Order, but I think it's best to play it safe.

After reading for a while I started to not feel good. My IBS has really been out of whack again lately, especially on the weekends for some reason. So I packed up my things and put everything in the car so I could use the restroom. One of the downfalls of going anywhere alone is you can't really get up for a minute and then come back and trust that your stuff will still be there, which means you need to pack it up and take it with you even if you weren't ready to leave.

After that I got back in my car. It seemed weird to unpack my car and go back and sit somewhere again but I wasn't ready to leave. I pulled up the map on my GPS since I'm not familiar with this area and saw there was another park about 2 miles down the road. I didn't know anything about it but thought at the very worse I take a drive down there and discover it's not really a park and I turn around and head home.

I let my GPS, who I call Siri, though I'm not sure if it's really her... drive me to this new park. As I pulled in the lot I knew I wasn't in a park. A little frustrated but more so because there was a guy walking up the lot when I pulled in and I just hate when other people see me make wrong turns and look lost. I always try to pretend I belong and know what I'm doing, but it was clear I didn't and there was no where to go around, I had to turn around and go back through.

Before I could reverse that said guy was standing at my car asking if he could help me. UGH. Thanks a lot, Siri. So I explained to the cute park ranger who was about my age that I saw there was a park down here on my GPS so I wanted to drive over to it. Obviously realizing now, this is not really a park. Then the cute park ranger who was about my age told me where the park was, it's actually just a little ways up on the other side of the street. I thanked him and said I would head over and then he said that he'd see me down there.

Now my hopes are up. Such a typical girl, ay? I was thinking, this is it! This is my meet-cue! (If you haven't watched "The Holiday" please stop reading this right now, go watch that movie, and then come back. Thank you.) I was pretty interested to see how God was going to use this encounter. I got to the park which was another pond with lots and lots of picnic tables. I set up at a picnic table near the water but off to the side from all the screaming children (seems to be a trend) and finished reading one of my books. I waited. I thought that cute park ranger who was almost my age was going to come over and chat with me. Part of me realizes just how lonely I felt yesterday and would talk to anyone who was interested. But he never came. Eventually I saw him with some other park rangers but they were doing their thing and it was clear he wasn't coming back over. I realized that when he said he'd see me down there, he probably didn't mean he was going to come and have coffee with me, but that if he saw me he wanted to make sure I knew he wasn't following me. I don't know, I'm a little crazy, huh!? Haha... I digress.

I did feel a bit sad. Like my hope had been deflated and as if maybe i'm just not good enough. Funny how quickly those old tracks you thought you burned come back and haunt you the second something doesn't go the way you hoped. I pushed all those things aside and as I was driving I realized something that I'm so thankful for.

I'm thankful for this disappointment. I am actually happy for it! 

Let me explain.

I have hoped and dreamed that God has a plan for me, but honestly, I know I haven't been emotionally ready to even approach the idea of seeing someone new. It just feels like salt being rubbed in a wound that says "God didn't answer your prayers, so have this instead." Yuck. But yesterday I got excited about a guy potentially talking to me. I didn't feel the urge to run into the other direction, in fact, I was actually looking forward to it. This is new to me. I've never felt so open and ready before. Not even with my ex. He had to convince me to go out with him at first because I was so used to running the other way. Even from the things I wanted. But here I was hopeful and anticipating. Not just in the way where I would joke about it (like my marriages to Tom Brady + Taylor Hanson + Mat Kearney, etc). Here I was and I was actually looking forward to it, expectantly.

So even though this guy didn't end up coming over and chatting it up with me, I am happy! Because I realized that I'm finally on the edge of being ready for when that time comes. It means that even though I'm still grieving, that I'm also healing. There's hope even in the sadness and the let downs. There's hope even in the suffering and hurtful actions of others. That stuff won't hold me down forever. At one time I believed it would, even if I preached that it wouldn't. I don't think I believed it in my heart - but here I stood and I saw that I was ready to embrace new life.

I'm going to go ahead and dare to say it. I've never told a single soul this besides what I've wrote in my journal. I've had this feeling in my heart for a while that this is the year. This is the year that I meet someone and things change. I have no reason to believe that's true other than what I feel in my spirit. I've wrapped my arms around these days alone, gratefully, because I truly believe there's a day coming soon where things will be different. That's not to say that I don't think I'll have my alone time anymore... No. The best way I can describe it is that right now, all I have is hope. But truly, the future is uncertain. I want to rest in that hope and knowledge that God is good - no matter what, even in this season. I want to have that quiet time where I can reflect and ponder about the future - these days where I have no inkling of what will happen. Because once you're in a relationship, like it or not, even your alone time changes. There's this hopeful assurance that there's a future...less wondering about who and what things will look like. But right now, I don't really know what that looks like, and it's kind of exciting to wait to be surprised.

Today I am thankful for the disappointment because it points me to something much bigger. That God has done a number on my heart. All these days in between I haven't really felt it or thought it was real. But yesterday, I saw first hand that things are in fact changing. And it's so good. So, so good.

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