My nose is familiar with the scent here. The thick, humid, salty air that wraps exposed skin in sticky warmth; even in February, it is as if summer is right on my heels. I have yet to feel the sand between my toes or see the crashing Gulf of Mexico sea on the horizon, but I remember how it feels to be here and await my return there with the morning light.
The drive down was entirely thoughtful and, as I mentally organized my goals for this journey, visions in my mind were vivid – I know exactly what I need to do.
I often long for the familiar rush of creativity coursing through my veins but it seems life and time, in normal day-to-day, doesn’t always lend itself to such a luxury as to sit and explore it – as I drove on through dusty ranch towns and veered around port cities it became clear to me: I must use this time to write.
There are several key aspects to this venture but I feel the need to be transparent as I dive in; to first explain that, if I am successful, the next several days will find me here, naked as I unearth the inner-most core of my history, my walk with God, and my desires to change the nature of my conscious thoughts from cynical to hopeful… No small feat, any of this. I come to these keys fully exposed, willingly, but it is not without trepidation, because in committing to this, I must not fear.
Fear you, dear reader. Fear forgiveness as I seek to walk in time and space with Jesus to know Him better, if for the first real time in my life. Fear that I will be too honest, and peel away too much, and in doing so, give away parts of my most personal struggles to these white blank pages, and to anyone willing to read them once I am finished. Fear to fail – that this time away will not be fruitful because I will convince myself I cannot do this – and I will leave here with my creative venture dead in vain.
Leaving my family, I cried for a good long while. It took me a while to figure out exactly why, but I realized somewhere along the way, on a long empty stretch of highway, that I have attached myself to the identity of wife and mother so strongly that I have, perhaps, forgotten how to truly be alone. I must face, more than anything else, the person I see when I look in the mirror. Here, I cannot blame a messy house on my sour mood. I cannot pick a fight with my husband over politics nor can I lump over on the couch after bedtime bemoaning my three children for how exhausted this day has been. I have nobody here, nobody else to “blame” for whatever supposed unhappiness or discontent that may arise. Just me.
In the coming days, I will write about my most personal struggles. About my mother and Tim and the thousand emotions tied into that time of my life. About having to share Layla with her father half the time, and all that pours into my guilt because of her situation. About coming to terms with what I did with my marriages, and how I have used one very meaningful avenue of my history – of love – as the ultimate reason why I have not been truly peaceful for a long time… I will attempt to dig into how I view the world, and walk through compassion, empathy, and personal awareness as I navigate what I believe, and expect fully to also deal with anger, doubt, and concern over our future as a nation – but ultimately, I hope to arrive at a place of understanding what I value most and thus may go boldly ahead, whatever that means.
I set out on this path because I needed to stop. To stop and realize that this is my life, and I am not living it the way I am meant to. I feel it in my bones. I have for a long while. I have been so good at excusing my self-induced misery and put on a brave face for the world, but the truth is, God knows I need this – and He ordained this time so that I can, indeed, get to the heart of the me He wants me to be.
I want to say thank you to my supportive and encouraging husband without whom this time here would not have come to pass. He tenderly looked into my eyes and assured me it was okay – to have these days to reflect, and know what the right next steps for my – and our life together – are. He wants me to dig deep and seek how to use each day as the gift that it is, and let me go with nothing but happiness in his heart that the woman he loves gets an amazing opportunity for growth.
If you don’t care to know my heart, or fear that my vulnerability and honesty may offend you, or know that your first instinct is not to understand what’s behind it, but instead quickly judge what I feel, when I divulge personal details about my belief systems, and point of view, or even if me talking about my first love and how I’ve spent all these years coming to terms with what happened there just makes you uncomfortable, then please, do not read my writing over the next couple of days. Do not read it, but instead, perhaps wish me well, whatever I may be doing. . .
After all, this is my journey. This is my story – nobody else, not a single earthly being, can look at this and tell me what I feel about my life is wrong – but me, and God. So, to Him, I walk, from the most core of me. Raw. Open. And ready…