Author’s note: Post started on 11/12 and finished on 11/14…
The past few weeks have been a flurry of activity, book-ended by mornings that start long before the sun comes up and end hours after it’s already set (which here in the Pacific northwest is at about 4:30pm right now!) During these busy times, I’ve learned a few lessons that I’ve been reflecting on today, which happens to be not only a day when I’m stuck at home with bronchitis while a wind storm rages outside my door, but also my 36th birthday.
First, I’ve come to realize that I can’t escape my problems. I knew this, in theory, but I had hoped that my reality could defy the old adage. My brother and his wife’s ceaseless pursuit of living a life of crime, to drain my parents of resources and mental health at every turn, and to willfully disregard anyone but themselves and their immediate wants continues and, even over two thousand miles away, I am unable to escape it. I know now that the thought I’d had that I’d be able to put some distance between myself and the ridiculous strain and stress they’ve put on the family by moving so far away was misguided. Thanks to modern technology, there’s no escaping stupidity, unless we move even farther northwest and head into the wilderness of Alaska. I firmly believe that cell and wifi signal is probably pretty weak in, oh, say… Whittier, Alaska?
Next, I don’t remember growing up. I feel like I should have had to take a test or fill out a survey before the box next to my name was marked “adult.” I don’t remember asking to become the advice-giver or life coach for my family, but that’s where things are now. I don’t remember ever taking the steps into maturity that make me a functioning adult, yet here I am. Now, don’t think that I’m wanting to return to my teenaged years even for a second. I’d rather be forced to listen to Taylor Swift live than relive high school, but maybe a few years of my earlier childhood, like when I was seven or eight, wouldn’t be so bad to experience again. Riding my bike up and down the driveway. Collecting My Little Ponies. Enjoying all that 1980s television (and no cable) had to offer. Adulthood is kind of a joke sometimes. Trying to be the voice of reason is often hard, and now that I’m so far away, I think it’s even harder.
The third thing I’ve (re)learned is that social media will suck your soul out right through your eyes if you let it. I spend far too much time reading the thoughts of celebs on Twitter, looking at pictures of micropigs in clothes on Instagram, ogling my favorite celebrities on Tumblr, and being preached at by self-righteous people on Facebook. If I see one more post espousing supposed Christian values (I say supposed because my Jesus hates a lot less people than theirs supposedly does) while preaching hate against another segment of society, I will scream and punch my computer. I love WordPress (although I haven’t been on here much) and it’s the one site that doesn’t stress me out, so I’m limiting my experience to just this site for a while. We’ll see if my blood pressure responds accordingly!
Finally, I’ve realized that it’s okay to let parts of my past go, even those parts that I cherish. I keep looking at different church websites to try to decide where we should go and I haven’t settled on much yet. Tim has two requirements: sound preaching and nothing but hymns for music (no contemporary Christian music for him!) I find myself listening to different sermons from different churches and, inevitably, comparing them to the amazing pastors that helped change my life at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. I owe so much to them and I keep holding on to their style, their way of delivering a message, and then comparing it to everyone new I encounter, and I know that’s not okay. I know I can’t recreate those people in others and I firmly believe that I’ll never replace St. Luke’s, but I keep trying. I have to stop that. Why do we hold on to things when we know that the inability to let them go will only cause us pain?
And this isn’t really anything profound, but why did nobody warn me about fall Pacific northwest windstorms? Those things are incredible! Clear skies, sunny days, and howling winds. The sun glinting off Mount Rainier in the background while the trees are practically bent in half due to 70 mile per hour gales. We lost electricity at 9pm on Tuesday and didn’t get it back until noon the next day. It was a long, dark night with only the sound of my wheezing to break up the silence!
Alas, it is Friday, and this weekend is filled with delicious omelettes that take 40 minutes to make at a fantastic restaurant in Maple Valley, and time with my husband and a friend. I’ll be on WordPress, but the rest of social media needs to just go away for a while!