As I began writing tonight, the first thing that I faced was my new screen image of mom and me, she in her egg yolk t-shirt and funny sun hat that now sits on my guest closet on the top shelf. Me in my summer white top and skirt, and the two of us leaning into one another like a cloud into the sun.
The image helps me connect to her as I keep writing her story, but today it is also a reminder for me that God has a sense of irony. Why? Because when I think about my recent and many prayer requests over my life, and at this age I can guarantee that I have sent up so many prayers that I have kept God busier than most people, God often uses ironic tactics to answer my prayers.
For instance, I have been praying now for years that He would give me the courage to write with transparency and in such a way that I will honor my mother’s story, yet I always wondered, “How am I qualified to do this?”, and that question made me dodge my goal to fulfill this great dream of mine. I needed time to heal losing her, but I also avoided the writing process out of fear of failure. I know that failure is just a re-direction, I don’t fear failure often, but this is my mother’s legacy I am trying to share, it is priceless to me, and sharing your own writing publicly is like introducing yourself naked to crowds of fully clothed people.
Well how would God answer this prayer that I have pleaded him to see me through for so many years? In an ironic twist of fate. Through loneliness.
I know some of friends will be surprised to learn that I could be lonely because I have a wonderful partner in life through my husband, and after all we’ve just moved back to California, the place that we’ve been pining for now for years. But even though changing geography does have an effect on us, making us feel more connected to ourselves, the geography of our heart is more mysterious. We can move from place to place, but we can’t move away from ourselves.
God knew I needed to be still and accept being lonely for a while, just sit in it instead of paddling away as fast as possible, quiet in my thoughts that are deepest and most raw, facing my vulnerabilities.
If I hadn’t been lonely these last four months, If I hadn’t had been working remotely away from an office with companions and conversations to saturate my days with, If I had friends here in our new home of Sacramento that I could schedule time with to catch up and talk about life, would I have made time to commit to my dream? Or would I have continued to make excuses out of the fear I still have over completing this book? I am certain that there was no other way for God to answer my prayer than through this lonely period.
What have I learned during these last few months? I have learned that I held onto false self-beliefs that I needed to look at and finally work through. God wanted to smooth away some of my jagged edges that I unknowingly used against myself, no one else, just me, and I am relieved He exposed them to me through self-reflection in this time. It was a blessing wrapped in a difficult time, as so often they are.
Through this new understanding of who I am, whose I am, and whose line I am from, I am more confident in myself, and in my writing. I write from my truth and my heart.
We face times that try us. We pass through seasons that test us. But knowing God’s character is always good, His faithfulness and love for us is steadfast, that He is always for us, and that He never leaves us, gives us the assurance that we will always find blessings in some remote places.
Each time that I open my laptop, the photo of mom and me will be a reminder to keep writing even when busyness tempts me away, and the ironic gift of loneliness that God blessed me with.