>> 12.06.2014

The Christmas tree is glowing in my dark living room, I'm in sweatpants and my favorite lounging shirt, and I've got a glass of Bailey's next to me. It's my favorite time of year, and I'm doing my damndest to soak up what I can.

We've seen the lights downtown, gone to storytime and listened to "The Polar Express" (my favorite Christmas book). We decorated the tree, remembering the story behind each special ornament and collectively "awwww"-ing when we turned the lights on for the first time. We're spending time together, which is such a stark contrast from the hell that we were fighting through last year, and I'm enjoying it all, truly.

(Here it comes...)

But I still feel lost. Like I'm going through the motions and scrabbling to grab hold of something that will strike a chord deep within me and remind me of who I am and help me figure out where I went. Because I just don't know. I feel like I'm treading water while being rushed down a river and my life is whizzing by me on the shore. I can't find anything of substance to anchor myself to, and I don't have anything solid on which to plant my feet and say, "Yes. This is it. This is where I need to dig in and stay."

I remember hearing something once about how it's better to pick one thing you're good at, and work really hard at it and become excellent, rather than dabbling in a hundred things and being mediocre at all of them. And I kind of feel that way about my life, except I don't know who I am or what I'm good at to even know what to invest my time in (other than the obvious and inescapable things that I MUST do, like being a mother or a wife). I feel like my time is already so limited and rare, that I want whatever I choose to be worth it. It needs to be worth the sacrifice of all the things I WON'T do, so that I can do that one thing instead.

Is that even coherent?
(Maybe the Bailey's is kicking in.)

I look around me and I see all these women living out their talents and their gifts and achieving the dreams they talked about for so long. It digs at my heart and envy rises up in my throat before I even realize that it's there, and I start to think that maybe I should chase after their dream, when in reality all I really want is to fulfill MY purpose here. But then this leads me back to the fact that I don't even know what that is.

Do I write?
Do I take pictures?
Do I cook?
Do I take on women's ministry?
Do I lead?
Do I teach?
Do I find a "real" job?

A friend told me that I needed to start doing something just for me, something that fed my soul.
My response?
"I don't even know what that looks like anymore."

I feel like I used to know. I used to live in this space of being a "creative" person that surrounded herself with art and music and words and emotions. I used to write every day, and carry my camera everywhere I went, and wander museums, and cry and laugh and scream and run and live in this sensitive space close to my heart. Then I got older and our life changed and the worst year of our lives came upon us and I closed up that space to try and block off some of the emotional nerve-endings that just kept getting ripped apart. I began to realize that there is no guarantee that life will get better. That the definition of "long-suffering" is long, and that God is under no obligation to ever give me that idyllic life I once dreamt of that involves me being successful at whatever it is I decided to invest in.

And now the battle doesn't rage quite so loudly, and the immediate trauma is over, but I'm still left in this aftermath of a hardened heart and a pile of rubble where my soul used to be. I miss that girl. That naive, careless, stupid, emotional girl that felt everything and shied away from nothing and believed that the things that made her cry were important and worthwhile.

Where'd you go, soul-girl? And will you ever come back?

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