Saturday, June 18, 2011

my Single life

He likes talking to me.  :)  I think he'd like to just sit in the dark and talk to me all day long. 
I wrote that about my husband... on March 26, 2009.  I can't even begin to describe the complex array of emotions churning in the center of my chest right now.  It feels like... a debilitating yearning... a dark vacuum of loss (I know that doesn't really make sense...)... and just a little bit of a smile.  The smile that naturally arises from the joy that comes from being loved by another... which quickly washes away as a flood of tears brings with it another wave of internal writhing.  It's two simple sentences and an emoticon.  And yet... it brings with it a whirlwind of memories... memories I had forgotten... memories of our marriage... of the nights we shared together during those six beautiful months two years ago.  Our precious moments.

I haven't cried like this in a long time... but I did cry hardcore at work a few weeks ago right around the time I felt I was drowning.  A co-worker came by and caught me crying and immediately put her arms around me and rocked me back and forth.  She asked me why I was crying and all I could blurb out was, "I miss my husband".

She told me the next day that she was thinking about me since yesterday and what she said next stuck in my mind.  She said, "you need to get a new life."

I think I know what she means.  I think she meant that I can't live in the past... that stuff happens and you can't let it keep you down.  She doesn't know me that well but she knows the basics and she cared enough to let me know her thoughts.  I appreciate it a lot.

My new life.  I think this is my new life.  I have not ceased to live since my husband passed.  I think I had only begun to live when he was still here and now that he's gone... I have no training wheels to rely on... no husband to follow... it's just me and God.  Well me, God and you too but at the end of the day... when I'm sitting or laying in the dark... it's just me and God.  I actually do feel like God put Anderson in my life to be my training wheels... that I didn't have the courage to pedal and LIVE and embrace life without him there first.

I don't know what I was doing before Anderson.  I know I'm probably remembering incompletely but I feel like my life was dry and colorless before him.  When I laughed, I don't think I laughed with my whole heart.  I knew no passion and I had only foggy glimpses of what love was.  Man... I don't know what Anderson ever saw in me.  I don't know why out of everyone he knew and everyone he'd met his entire life... how did he choose ME to love?  How did I become the one person he'd choose to keep close to him... to share his life with... to open his heart to?  To this day I don't understand why he chose me but that doesn't mean I'd ever reject it or take it back just cuz I don't understand it.  Why question a good thing?

I had been wanting to write a blog post to all my single lady friends.  I was standing in the shower one day last week, I think... and I just wanted to tell each and every one of them that they are beautiful.  Beautiful creations.  Each one as unique as a snowflake... sparkling like diamonds in the sky.  Yeah.  That was about it.  I didn't know if I had more to write than that.  If I only feel I have enough to say as can fit in a fb status update, I didn't feel like I should dedicate a whole blog entry to it.  I just wanted to sneak it in here because it's been on my mind.

The next topic I wanted to talk about with my single lady friends is contentment.  And then I thought that contentment applies to all of us... not just the single ladies.  And it's something I need to remind myself of all the time.  So I pondered... contentment.

I don't know if I will ever fully be content until life on earth is done.  To be content... fully satisfied... does that imply not wanting any more... meaning... you've got it all already?  I dunno.  Can one be at peace with one's circumstances and still want more?  Is it some kind of paradox?

How about peace then? 

I read this thing about "rest" recently.

Two painters were once asked to paint a picture illustrating his own idea of rest. The first chose for his scene a quiet, lonely lake, nestled among mountains far away. The second, using swift broad strokes on his canvas, painted a thundering waterfall. Beneath the falls grew a fragile birch tree, bending over the foam. On its branches, nearly wet with the spray from the falls, sat a robin on its nest.
The first painting was simply a picture of stagnation and inactivity. The second, however, depicted rest.
This reading made me stop and think.  It made me remember that the good parts of life don't necessarily come when work is done, when I'm far away from home, when I'm removed from my current surroundings.  I can't just wait around for vacation time to get some rest.  I need rest right NOW and I need it the most when the waterfalls are thundering, when I'm dangling precariously on a fragile tree limb.  How often does life resemble a quiet, lonely lake?  How much more often does life resemble rampant chaos with multiple factors outside our control?

I think I'm actually sleep deprived right now... and I know for a fact that my body's weak and sick because my throat's sore and I'm having thermoregulatory issues... I might not be making much sense right now... but just like I can't wait around for vacations to have rest time... I can't wait around for Anderson or for another man to come into my life before the "new life" begins.  "rest" and "new life" need to happen right NOW because now is all I've got to work with.  I really can't live in the past and I can't live in the future either.  It doesn't mean that the past or the future aren't important... they're totally important... it's something to remember... something to look fwd to... but right now is what I've got to work with and I'd better make the most of what I've got.

And as far as making the most of what I've got... what I've got is... singleness.  Widowdom.  Which, in and of itself... has its benefits.  A few days ago, I slept 13 hours after I got home from work.  I was sick.  I normally don't sleep that much or that long but I woke up after having slept 13 hours and I thanked God that I didn't have a husband or kids that needed me during those 13 hours I spent resting my body.  What a luxury.

I also work three 12-hour shifts a week which means I get four nights off per week.  I get a chance to work on a doctoral degree while working full time.  I get a chance to run errands during the week.  I get a chance to see and visit friends.  My room is a complete and total mess.  There is no room on my bed for a husband if I had one.  Granted I've moved back to a twin-sized bed but between my blankets and the random array of stuff that somehow gets lost in them... There's barely enough room for me in there.  I really don't think I'd be able to do all of that if I weren't Single with a capital S. 

That's not to say that I'd like to be single forever.  I actually would like to be married again.  I'd like to choose a wedding gown.  I'd like to have progeny.  I'd like to buy little clothes that look like mine and have a mini-Tiff to carry around and laugh/play with.  I have absolutely no idea if that's in the grand plan for Tiff's life but I hope it is.

In the meantime, I realized today that I have a LOT to work on.

I was listening to the radio and the guy talking/preaching was telling a story about a pastor who was ministering to ppl in a concentration camp.  Day by day, he'd tell people about Jesus... including an atheist dude.  One day, during a freezing cold winter... this pastor laid his own thread-bare blanket... the only article he had to keep himself warm... on the shoulders of another freezing inmate.  The atheist dude was watching.  Sometime after that... the atheist dude asked the pastor dude, "what is Jesus like?" and the pastor dude thought about it for a while... and then he said, "Jesus is... like me."

That is what it means to be a Christian... to be Christ-like.  It's to BE like Christ.  And if I can't say it loud and proud that "Jesus is like me" then God and I have some work to do to transform me into the likeness of Christ. 

Just as an evaluation point... this is what runs through my head... and lets me know that I fall short.

Tiff... are you loving?  are you kind?  do you envy?  do you boast?  are you arrogant or rude? do you insist on your own way?  are you irritable?  resentful? do you rejoice at wrong?

Do you bear all things? Believe all things?  Hope all things?  Endure all things?

Tiff, do you fail?  Tiff does fail.  Love never does.  Would it be crazy if Tiff never failed?  OK maybe this doesn't apply to that particular line but I thought it was funny.  I also don't know why I talk to myself in the third person sometimes.

Another check on myself... is if I have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.  And this isn't even getting to Proverbs 31.

I don't know if this has been encouraging at all.  I'm about to fall over from exhaustion but I did want to end by saying that if God knows how to give good gifts to His children... if He is a God who gives exceedingly, abundantly, more than I can ask or think... if He will always provide for what I need at all times...  then maybe my great emptiness... my life's deficit right now... is not so much open hands with nothing in them... maybe my singleness is my gift right now.  Maybe my job, my homework, my committee meetings, my sore throat even... are gifts as well.  Maybe one day, I'll have another boyfriend or husband and look back at this time right now and be thankful that it didn't happen back then.  Maybe I'll end my life without another husband and be thankful that I had the time and energy to accomplish what I did.  Who knows.  All I know is that what I've got right now is exceedingly abundantly more than I need and what I don't have but still want... if I ask for it and God hasn't given it... there must be a darn good reason why and I trust that His reasons are better than mine... 100% of the time.

I've only got one life to live and if I've gotta live it being single, I'd better make the most of it.  

OK I'm exhausted.  Good night, loves.

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