Friday, December 9, 2011

Feeling Disconnected by Life Altering Change

 A note of being homesick, feeling disconnected, and memories of the homes built across the country.

Its 3:00 a.m. and I simply can’t sleep. I am overwhelmed with a feeling of disconnect and change.  It’s more than just being homesick. I feel like I have left pieces of myself behind and I am loosing the essence of what I once was in my younger days.  

I miss “home” which could be Indiana or Colorado depending on how you look at it. Indiana will always be “home” but now there are “stomping grounds” strategically placed by God’s hand throughout our country.  I don’t know if I will ever truly call Colorado or Maryland home but it’s where I live and now a new stomping ground becoming more familiar. 

Below is a list of memories of moments that I miss and thoughts that overwhelm my subconscious. The life changing circumstances and adventures laid before your feet leave a mark on your soul. The constant building and tearing down of life is part of being an adult and sometimes it makes me miss the people who have impacted my life in a positive way. 

I miss the farm and the simplicity of the cycle of life, the feeling of the creek water in between my toes, and the freedom of riding on a quarter horse going full steam ahead. I miss the open fields, the fresh air, and playing in the old barn at Grandma’s house. I miss the smell of Grandma’s kitchen, the cow bells hanging on the door, and home cooking the way only Grandma Barker could do it. I miss riding my red wagon down the old side walk past the wood working barn to the persimmon tree at the end of the lane. I miss picking veggies and de-weeding the garden with Grandma as the evening crickets came out to play. I have such fond memories of swinging on the tire swing hanging  from the big maple tree outside the kitchen listening to chicken being fried and looking forward to the peach cobbler in the oven.  I can almost taste it now. Many nights were spent playing by the old swing in front of the family garden where Grandma would sit and watch me collect lightning bugs with a cage that Grandpa Long had made for me.  I feel the memories of a simple life without the worry, responsibility and burden that seem to overwhelm me today. 

I miss the days of high school when I was young and na├»ve, a time when love hadn’t left its eternal scars on my heart. The carefree days of life before the weight of deciding my future were laid at my feet. The reckless abandonment of youth was setting in and feeling like I really could do anything.

I miss IUPUI and InterVarsity.  I miss the days of college when hope and ambition ran through my veins like fire. Anyone who met me could feel the ambition and leadership in my eyes and in my actions. My friends at InterVarsity changed my life. My minister, John Crowder, had a profound influence on my life truly taking me on as a disciple. I miss the feeling of Urbana 06 when my passion for Christ seemed to be at the largest mountain peak my heart could possibly handle. I left Urbana with a raw passion and courage of conviction, no longer ashamed of going to extreme levels in faith. New Years Eve in St. Louis that year is still to date one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I will never forget worshiping God in 10 different languages with 20,000 students from across the globe.  I miss those days. 

I miss Center Grove Presbyterian Church and my internship with them. The students taught me so much about myself and about the reality of ministry. My hope is that I was able to impact lives or at least plant a few seeds that will grow. None the less I miss the heart of that congregation, Pastor Steve Oglesbee and his family.

I miss CYA and my friends at the Second Reformed Presbyterian Church. They had an eternal effect on my heart and soul. They inspire me to be more than myself  embracing the life that Christ has given me and to continue to press forward in faith. Their devotion as a church helped me to see the world in a different light and that life can be different. That there is hope that I can feel complete in Christ and that he isn’t finished with me. 

I miss Grace Assembly of God. There really is no church on Earth like it. They pulled me out of the mud and called me family. I miss the charismatic passion, the generosity of the people, and the limitless ambition to reach the globe.  I have yet to experience something as fun and life changing as the Honor our Heroes and the Singing Christmas Tree. Pastor Wayne is irreplaceable. I miss his teachings and being in the sanctuary, feeling his passion for Christ. 

I miss Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs. The people there in the Timothy Project and the friends that Michael and I made have left me changed. I miss them all so much and I feel so disconnected from them now. It is so hard to be so far away from a life that you started building and you want to be a part of it but physical boundaries make it impossible.  I want to be able to be a part of their lives again. The physical distance makes it so difficult. All of the social networking in the world can’t possibly do what a conversation over coffee can achieve. I miss waking up to Pikes Peak in the morning. I miss the sunshine.  I miss the view from 14,000 feet. I miss my friends from Bible Study Fellowship and the ability to commute 20 minutes to the study rather than an hour.  Someday Michael and I will make it back there, God willing.

I suppose that I made that long list of the things I miss to not forget these memories in the chaos of life. These are the people and places that have left me changed. I don’t want to become lost in forgetting who I am, how far I have come, and the important people that impacted my life.  So many of these important people have simply moved on with their lives, growing and changing as life circumstances and lessons learned alter the way they look at the world. 

Now I am here in Maryland outside of D.C. not a part of their lives, spiritual growth spurts, and life changing circumstances. I have missed out on wedding showers, weddings, baby showers, babies being born, birthdays and more. It brings me pain in my soul to be so disconnected with my friends and family. Although I am building a new life here in D.C. it doesn’t dismiss the pain of separation between who I was and who I am growing to be as an adult. 

I have never really been one to have such severe issues with missing parts of my life until I left Indiana and started building pieces of my life all over the country. Marriage changes you. Suddenly you have to think like a unit rather than thinking like an individual. Your wants and needs have to match up with your husband’s wants or needs in order for them to happen. Anything you want has to benefit him as well in order to keep the peace. The pure definition of want, need, and urgency has been severely altered in the context of my life. This has been the hardest thing for me to grasp and deal with as a newlywed. It is no longer about what is fair. It’s about what is the best thing for our marriage and our future. Any desire to fulfill an immediate want must be thrown aside. It must become a need that benefits both parties of the unit before placed into consideration. 

Another hard lesson that had to be learned was that I could no longer just make a decision off of my own judgment. All of my decisions affect Michael in some way and therefore I can’t make a decision that somehow affects him without discussing things with him first. This is exhausting.   Only in very minor situations can I do something on my own.  In an effort to keep my sanity I have had to die to myself and my independence.  

This death has caused many bad side effects.  My spontaneous spirit that probably made Michael fall in love with me is continually squashed and put in a box. The fire of ambition and hope that once ran through my veins is now barely heat. Every decision must be weighed before my husband and decided in a joint decision.  Since we are different people with different backgrounds with different upbringings we naturally go about things differently.  In order to keep the peace, if it’s not worth fighting for then I just let him have his way.  There are moments when he feels the same way to keep the peace. If it is something that I consider a need then I will fight to the death for it. 

This death to my independence has also caused many positive effects. Michael has brought stability to my life that I would not have had otherwise. This death challenges me to respect my husband’s decisions even when I completely and whole heartedly disagree with them. When my family doesn’t understand why Michael does what he does, I may agree with them but I have to stand by my husband and whatever call he makes. My only hope is that he will be gracious enough to listen to me and at least take my perspective into consideration, which he does most of the time. 

I have to remember that Michael has had to die to his independence as well. I have been following him all over the country, completely dependent on him. That vulnerability has been hard on both of us. He has had to adjust to having the responsibility of a wife and all that she brings to the table. Lord knows I am not perfect and can be hard to live with. He has had to be patient with me, compassionate, and generous as I have sacrificed my home to build a new life with him. 

Michael has been good to me. He takes care of me and makes sure that I have what I need. With the best of intentions he tries to do what is best for both of us. He has been faithful to always worship the Lord with me and welcomes studies and books that better our marriage and relationship. 

Life has brought such extreme change in 2011. I can honestly say that I am exhausted and I am looking forward to 2012. Hopefully the dust settles and our marriage can find more balance. More than likely God will throw a couple of monkey wrenches in the mix just to keep us on our toes and depending on him for our survival.  I just wish that I could somehow close the gap in the disconnected feeling between my friends and family all over the country and find peace in where God has me in the present. 

I am grateful for Seneca Creek Community Church for welcoming us into their family. Our new friends have been so instrumental for us. We are grateful for their love and support.  As more change and growth happen, I know that our family here in D.C. will be there for us. 

With that said…I finally got it all off of my chest. I think I can sleep now.  Until the next sleepless night….

Keep the faith, Love Others, Challenge Yourself,

Alison