Sunday, June 12, 2016

Living in the In-Between

By the time most of us are fairly young I think we've realized that we crave belonging.  We belong in our mother's arms.  We belong in our family.  We belong with our siblings.  We belong in our church.  We belong in many places, and it helps us to find security and meaning when things are all too often muddled.

When we marry, we finally breathe a sigh of deep relief that we have found a permanent place of belonging.  An avowed home for our hearts.  A place where we can be weak and broken and scared and happy and on and on and on and on.

But what happens when that belonging is ripped from our grasping hands?  What happens when the person with whom you believed you would always belong becomes worse than a stranger?  When he becomes the opposite of a safe place?  Where do you rest your head?  Who do you confide in?  Who will stick with you through all of the trauma and ugliness and messiness and grief?

Suddenly you find yourself living in the in-between.

Let me define the in-between for you.

You aren't a part of a couple anymore, but you don't really fit in with your single friends either.

You aren't really a "true" single parent- you sometimes have help- but you aren't really part of a team anymore either.

You aren't really able to get out with friends anymore, but you're dying from loneliness and isolation and space.  Just space all around you.

You're never alone, but you're always alone.

You just don't fit anywhere you used to so neatly fit before.

Square peg, suddenly trying to jam herself into a round whole.

I'd like you to take a minute here, and I'd like you to imagine what life would feel like if one morning you woke up in your normal state of belonging, and went to bed that same night suddenly adrift and unsure that you belong anywhere anymore.  You don't know who you can confide in because, dear God it's all so heavy.  People want to listen at first, and you dump it all out like the niagra falls of emotional trauma and confusion.  Then they start to erode.

You're still their friend, and you know they still love you, but you're too much.  You are the in-between.  You're the bad dream.  Your life encompasses the fear shoved roughly into the tiniest mental drawer and locked away.  You are a constant, heavy reminder of what could be.  At first there are calls and texts and friends showing up to ease the burden of newly-single-parenthood as you fall quickly and mercilessly apart.  You know these sweet friends simply can't suddenly become that all-important heart where you used to belong, but you try desperately to find some semblance of what you had because
But you're also too much.  You know you are too much as the hurt spills out of you day in and day out, and you see the burden on the faces of the people you love, and that love you.  You see the weight you've become.  You used to be the lifter of weights.  You used to be the funny, vibrant, shining fun.  And soon even your heart feels like it's stuck squarely in the in-between.  In between the first stabs of trauma, in between the sweet release of healing.  You're the bouncing back and forth bringer of melancholy, and you know it.  And you try to let that fall off of you and be happy again like everyone hopes for you, but you can't sustain the effort.  Not yet.

Oh, God.  It is the loneliest place I've ever drifted through.  I feel like I am who I was, but not.  I am a new woman, but not.  I am strong, but not.

I'm contradiction given face and breath and life.

I don't pray that God would take me up out of this place.  I know He won't answer me the way I would like Him to because there's a lot of shaping that still has to happen in my heart.  This is a defining life event, and I know it.  Someday it will give birth to something healing and powerful and full of the love of God.  But I pray that he brings me someone to stand in the gap of this miserable desert I'm calling the in-between.  Not to take away what I'm going through.  Not to make it all better, because it's simply not time yet for the better to come.  There's rebirth happening here, and birth is a long and painful process.  It pushes you until you think you cannot take another breath, and that maybe you will die here.  But when you finally come out of the other side, having given breath to new and pure and beautiful life, you know that all the pain just made it that much more precious.  So I'm not asking Him to skip me through these hard chapters, even though there are days when I'd really really like Him to.

For now, I'd just like someone to stand next to me in this no-mans-land and hold my hand.  Even when it feels heavy and burdensome and unrewarding.  I know it's a lot to ask.  I'm rough right now.  Sharp.  Full of spiny edges and heavy words.  But this is just the in-between.  I am just an in-between.  It's a brutal and confusing and sometimes beautiful place to be.  It's just a difficult place to stand in, especially if you're don't really have to.

I don't really know what God is trying to teach me right now.  How He is shaping my heart and bringing rebirth.  I know He is, and I know it will be worth it in the end.  But I do pray that it gets a little less lonely here soon.  Because if I've learned one thing about myself in all of this, it's that I crave a safe place to puddle into weakness on occasion.  A place where I belong enough to welcome that kind of melting.

I hope it's out there.  I hope I find myself in a place where God is that melting place and that it is enough for me.  But again, right now I'm in neither.

Another in-between.

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