One of the by-products of having both your parents die before you turn forty is that it puts you acutely in touch with your own mortality. Any notion that you have your whole life in order to do things gets chucked out the window immediately. On the contrary, you realize, “life is short.” You have to embrace and live it NOW. Because you never know when you won’t have that tomorrow to do what you love, love who you love and touch other’s lives.
When my dad died about five years ago, I got very serious about writing. I naively assumed I’d write books when I married and when my fantasy husband would support me while I stayed home with babies and my computer. It suddenly dawned on me – I might not marry, I may never have the luxury of not working or the privilege and challenges of raising children. And even if I did, I’d still have to juggle my time and energy to write. So I started doing double duty – working and writing – and accustomed myself to the sacrifices that went with that.
Then when my mom died last summer, my life was irrevocably changed. No longer having the burden of her mental illness to contend with created new possibilities regarding my destiny. Suddenly, chains of worry, fear and frustration I’d worn for almost a lifetime were taken off of me, ultimately freeing my time and energy. The result: my tolerance for dysfunction went way down. While my compassion for those in need and pain remains, my soul cries for a more happy, joy-filled life. Knowing how short life is and how much of mine was eclipsed by my parents’ addictions, embracing MY life becomes a matter of urgency.
Last weekend I sat in the first of three seminars for a Gospels class I’m taking. It was quite intellectually dense, focusing on the historical and literary context of the Gospels, in addition to much analysis of the Old Testament and its role in God’s story as it moves towards the resurrection. A central theme discussed was the “restoration of the Kingdom” – the complete realignment of the universe from chaos and evil into wholeness, harmony and love.
Because I’m still moving towards the learning curve in this class, I can’t yet articulate and integrate these concepts into my writing and life experience. I can however state that the class left me emotionally moved, as I realized God’s story working within me. My inner kingdom is being rebuilt; restored. I am moving out of exile. Into the land of plenty. Simply having the opportunity to be in school feels like a righting of my universe; no longer part of the Diaspora. Simply the fact that I can change career course and how I spend the rest of my life shocks me as revolutionary. That I could actually do something that fills me with joy moves me to tears. This may sound so dumb but this notion of restoration is epic. On so many levels – personal, societal, spiritual, relational. It is the STORY and stories have always been where my heart finds the most excitement and peace.
Here’s to the Grace of God.