Saturday, April 30, 2011

a series of unFORTUNATE events

How do I even begin blogging after being absent for so long? There is so much I could say because so much has happened. Things slowly started falling apart for me. It started about the time I moved home, but January was when what I like to call "the series of unfortunate events" really began and I'm not entirely sure they have stopped yet...

It sent me spiraling into a depression and for months I couldn't really put into words how I felt so I traded my blog for dance class and my sketchbook (maybe one day I will post pages from it!). I never really understood depression before, especially how a Christian could struggle with it. I mean, you have the joy of the Lord, right? But experiencing it on my own shed some new light to the subject. If it was that easy for me to choose happiness, I would have, in a heartbeat.

I don't know exactly why or how it happened to me, but it left me feeling broken, unwanted, and alone. I wrestled with God on the purpose of my life - why was I here? What was I supposed to do? And the void of answers left Satan to fill my head with awful feelings of unworthiness. Any lies I believed from Satan were confirmed by the actions (or lack thereof) from family and friends. I cried out for help in so many different ways, but no one knew how to help me. When I couldn't find the words to describe how I felt I borrowed Virginia Woolfe's from Michael Cunningham's book, The Hours...

"My life has been stolen from me. I'm living in a town I have no wish to live in...I'm living a life I have no wish to live...How did this happen?"

And that is truly how I felt. I was growing accustomed to my new feelings of helplessness when a few fortunate events helped turn things around.

It all started on one random night at work about a week or two ago. I don't even think I was supposed to work that night and for whatever reason I picked up a shift. At the end of the night my friend Jeremy asked if I'd pick up one of his tables so I did. I served a very sweet couple and their two precious kids as my last table of the night. [Sidenote: the end of a long late shift is always better when you end the night with a good table.] I'm boxing up their food and making small talk when the lady randomly asks me if I write. How did she know? She told me that throughout dinner she had really felt like the Lord had been telling her to tell me to simply, "keep writing." You can imagine the shock on my face when she told me that. I sat down and chatted with Samantha and her husband Quinton for a while before they left that night. They encouraged me by telling me that the Lord was using me and that I was a light at my workplace. When they left and I told them to come back and see me, they simply replied with, "I don't think you will be here for long." Want to know something even crazier? That was the first time they had been in our restaurant! They normally opt for the one closer to home. That was Good Friday.

Easter came and went without much thought or consideration because I spent the majority of the day working, but when that Tuesday rolled around and I went to my Community Group we were asked what Easter meant to us. Since I had kind of forgotten the day (terrible, I know!) I didn't have much of a response. What came out of my friend Sandi's mouth, however, floored me. She compared Easter to New Year's - a fresh start. And even though Christ's forgiveness lasts throughout the year, the reminder of His sacrifice is almost refreshing. The idea of a clean slate gave me a glimpse of hope.

The next morning (after CG) I woke up to head off for my first vacay since my short trip to Boston in January - a trip to Nashville and my first half marathon! Only my excitement was quickly shattered when I awoke sick (this is not unusual, keep in mind - "series of unfortunate events"). I managed to make it to Lynchburg to meet Beth, my favorite running partner. We were packed and ready to go when terrible storms prevented us from leaving that night.

Exhibit A:

So we wake up on Thursday for round 2 of the storms, wait it out, and hit the road. We are about 3ish hours into our trip and only about a half an hour or so from the Tennessee border when we run into this...

Exhibit B:

A 9 hour traffic jam caused by an F2 tornado that decided to run right through a truck stop, dispersing semis across the road like a bunch of kid's toys. See for yourself: Tornado damage.

We are set back by what seems like 232353 hours, missed packet pick-up at the expo, and if all goes according to plan (plan B that is) will make it to Nashville in just enough time to catch a couple hours of zzzz's before awaking at 4 am to run a half marathon. We regretfully had to turn around.

On my way home I listened to my 1/2 marathon mix I had so carefully crafted for my 3 hour (just in case) run. Somewhere between Willow Smith and Katy Perry came Chris August's song "Canyons" which was really weird b/c A) I associate slow songs with slow running and therefore do not place them on my running playlists & B) I bought Chris August's CD without listening to all of the songs so I'm not sure I had even heard this song before. The first lyrics go as follows...

"Mountains and valleys, the ups and the downs I go through. I will rejoice in you Jesus no matter the view."

It was more than coincidence that his song popped up on my playlist. And I spent the last leg of my drive home worshipping God with a genuinely thankful heart.

So today I awoke at a different START then I had anticipated. While I had originally thought I would be at the start of my first big race, I'm really at the start of a new phase of life. A REstart of sorts. A fresh start. A new start.

I'm still healing, but I know the Lord is faithful to do what He says. And He will restore me. In His time.