on regrets and being present

Between bites of salty chips and our favorite Cajun-inspired Mexican food, we talked about moving details and  building a new budget and our inability to wrap our minds around the fact that we'll no longer have a zip code that begins with the number seven. Instead it's a new five-digit number that I have yet to memorize. And while watching the sunset over the Mighty Mississippi, we talked about what changes we were ready for and which ones we couldn't bare to face. D had spent his last evening working with his group and turned in his report and notebook, his last engineering undergrad assignments ever. I think I asked him three or four times what it feels like to never have to study on campus again in the hopes that he might attach words to the feeling swirling inside my head and my heart. He couldn't. But there was certainly a rumbling excitement underneath that conversation's surface. And a small but expected heart pang.

Being honest, this is the time that I have been waiting for. The time when I proudly watch D walk across that graduation stage and when we get to begin spending time together in the evenings and when I end my job which I'm very thankful for but also sure it is not what I was created to do forever and ever. And I have certainly been waiting for it. Stubbornly. With frustration and an unsatisfied heart.

You see, I had originally intended to write about my regrets. Regret for not having everyone we wanted to over for dinner. Regret for not exercising more or being a better coupon-er. Regret for not being able to meet with Rebecca weekly as we had hoped and planned. Regret for how little time we spent with our neighbors. With a whole lot of "poor pitiful me's" and "guess I'll just have to move on's" thrown in. But I've been taught and reminded, by a loving and pursuant God, two very important things:

1) God gave us late nights and early mornings and impossible schedules because He has a sovereign purpose woven in and out of every hour, minute, and second of our lives.

2) The only regret I should take away from this year is how I responded to those impossible schedules. Again - stubborn, frustrated, unsatisfied.

When I think about my attitude throughout most of this year, I picture myself sitting on our hand-me-down couch, arms and legs crossed, staring blankly, lips tight. Choosing not to accept what this day to day life has turned out to be. Choosing not to talk to my Father about it. Choosing to stick it out, bad attitude and all, until we can move on. Though it becomes a perfect personification of my heart, the truth is that I wasn't just sitting. I was working late and waiting up for D and crying because I was weary of being alone until eleven at night. Or sometimes five in the morning. It is also true that this wasn't an every day situation. There were plenty of exciting and funny and encouraging moments. Probably more so than not. But all the while I felt my heart slipping into that stubborn, waiting attitude. Even if I didn't show it.

As I think on it and talk to God about it, that blinding sense of regret seems to deflate while the memorable lessons sink their way deeper into my heart and mind. This is one of those moments when I am overwhelmed by the grace that He gives by His ceaseless teaching and by His power to overtake my ugly attitude. If I were Him [and let us all take a moment to offer up a few Hallelujahs that I am not], I'd feel as though  I was an exhausting waste of time. Yet, in His presence and through His eyes, I am His beloved. What a staggering fact.

Moving forward [which is simply what grace allows you to do], I'll hope to do a few things differently. I'll be better at time management instead of letting these new work schedules spin my college-freedom-lover of a self into clamoring ball of exhaustion. And with that time I will not neglect spending time in the God's Word and talking to Him and, most importantly, listening. You would think I would have grasped this one by now. But I am thankful to have experienced the starvation that comes from separation from my Bread of Life. It is not something I want to relive. And a constant, positive attitude and outlook is not something to be conjured.

I'll also, because of God's grace-filled lessons, be better at living in the present. A present filled with life and energy and dimension whether its spent at home with my husband [who I love so much more than when we married that it doesn't even seem possible] or at dinner with friends or in a grey cubicle. I think that will have a lot to do with a satisfied heart. A heart filled with the Spirit because of time purposefully spent with Him. A heart very opposite of my depleted version from this past year. A heart that doesn't depend on an earthly situation. I also think loosening my grip on the overly premature to-do lists will help while purposefully keeping this crazy brain of mine focused on today. Because today is good, and today is a gift.

1 comment:

  1. Love it, Meg! Beautiful. Way to let Jesus speak to and through you. And, way to look with anticipation toward responding to His wooing you in deeper. Love that deep surrendered heart of yours.