life among the middle parts

it was a two-minute conversation with an innocent five-year old that got me thinking.
“miss elena, are you a mom?”
“nope; i’m just your teacher.”
“but you don’t have kids? are you even married?
“no, i’m not married either.”
(long pause; i could see the wheels turning as this little one tried to process what i’d just said.)
“well, i think you should just get married. and then you can be a mom.”

yeah, kid; join the club.

because a lot of people think that, really; i get it all the time. “you’re so sweet/loving/smart/beautiful.” “it’s only a matter of time until the right guy comes along.” “you are going to be such a great mother one day.” which is all well and good, and thankyouverymuch, sincerely. except what if maybe that’s not going to be my story? 

because let’s be real here. right now, today, my story looks like this: i’m 30. i’m divorced. i’m childless. i’m nowhere near financially secure. i don’t have a retirement plan; heck, i don’t even have a five-year plan. i spend my life being split between two countries and, as a result, i have no idea where i even fit anymore. i struggle with depression and ptsd, and some days i feel on top of the world, and other days i just shut down because i can’t. even. deal, y’all. i spend a lot of time feeling like i’m simply stumbling through this whole life thing, and i have no clue what i’m doing but maybe i might be able to figure it out eventually. these days seem messy, unraveled; it feels like i’m coming apart at the seams, spilling out and spilling over, and i think how in the world did i get here?; how did this, all this, become my story?

Image[Photo by Aaron Escobar, Creative Commons]

but here’s what i know: this, all this, it matters. every single moment of it. even the parts i sometimes wish i could skip over, the parts i want to hide away from the rest of the world. my story matters. and so does yours. and there is life–and life abundant–that springs forth from amongst the middle parts.

i think we so often have grandiose ideas about what our lives should look like. and we hold on to those plans much too tightly, balling them in our fists while we close ourselves off to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, God might be doing a new thing. we have our plans and our timelines, our dreams and our desires, and we clutch them close, so close, terrified that we might be asked to lay them down. the letting go is scary, to be sure, but the promise of something new and better is more than worth it.

and the middle part, where maybe you’re stumbling around as i am, unsure where this is all headed? it’s really not so bad. there are sweet gifts even in this in-between place; you just have to know where to look for them.

(true confession: this post originally began as a tongue-in-cheek rant against valentine’s day and all the well-meaning people who have attempted to console me over the years with “it’s okay, honey; Jesus is your husband.” like, NOJesus is simply enough. but maybe i’ll save that post for another day…)

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2 thoughts on “life among the middle parts

  1. Dear Elena,

    My goodness! I’m pretty sure 95% of this post echoes my own life and I found a little peace in knowing I’m not completely alone out here. The bad days, I tend to refer to them as my “Lugubrious Days,” are lessening for me and I hope that begins to happen for you.

    A big part of that was due to finding the simple, beautiful moments in my day: the person who genuinely smiled at you; the beautiful ray of sunshine coming through a few buildings in just the right way; a really good cup of coffee. My problem was tending to overlook those good moments and only focusing on the bad. But, like you said, it all matters.

    This really was a beautiful post, Elena, and I look forward to reading more from your blog later on.

    Enjoy all of life’s moments,
    Olivia

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