frances in the city

June 5, 2009, 2:03 am
Filed under: ponderings

I acknowledge that nearly all of you are reading this as you wait for my three (3) promised posts, sometimes the weight of my heart is more pressing than the items on my to-do lists. So I apologize for extending your wait and commend you for your patience, but consider this a status update of my insides rather than the events of my external world.

. . .

Apparently John Donne was the first to decide that no man is an island. Most days I agree–fellowship is vital–but it seems that there are phases in life that are experienced entire of ourselves when circumstances dictate that we face the bulk of an issue or issues without interaction or assistance from other people. I feel like I’m just beginning a second summer of island-ness where I float between things. Last summer was tricky, maybe more tricky than right now. I’d just graduated and was preparing to leave the only home I’d ever known, and I was ready for that. I was preparing myself mentally for a life independent from all that had become my identity, and that development made it difficult to continue building relationships with people I knew I’d be leaving. I was stuck in between who I was and who I’d become 700 miles away, and that is an awfully island-like place to be.

This summer, I’ve found myself in a slightly easier but still very similar place. I’ve returned from a year in a place I now call home, and although I’ve changed in small and possibly large ways, I’m still in the same city where the whole of my previous identity was created. It get’s confusing to explain here, but I’ve come back from my far-away school to a world that’s stayed largely the same, proceeded without me, even flourished. It’s been difficult to identify my niche in this world in the past few weeks. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, and I expected change, even so, I hate change and had nearly made up my mind that I could keep it all the same. I realize no one really likes change, but some enjoy the anticipation of variety. I find what makes me comfortable and try to cling to it until I’m forced by a calendar or the Lord (always) knowing what’s best for me. I don’t get excited about making major adjustments without fully recognizing the drawbacks. I loathe transitional phases. They’re awkward. And here I am, awkwardly floating. The friends that stayed in Wichita for whatever reason have continued life without me. The hole I left has been filled in. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just a fact. The same has happened for my life in Chicago with substitutions and modifications, but here I am in Wichita. It’s a place I used to feel so comfortable, and now I keep feeling as though I’m floating, like I don’t fit the way I used to. I’ve become a square peg, I suppose.

It’s just such a peculiar feeling to realize that the city name I’ve clung to and stated with pride isn’t everything to me now that it was. It’s the place my dear and beautiful parents call home, and it will always be where I started and maybe where I returned, but it’s not all that I am anymore. I’m so excited by the opportunities I’m facing to expand and grow and become myself, but at the same time I’m mourning the loss of the person I was before this year. The person who saw her parents daily and felt restless and took family dinner and time with her sisters for granted. The girl who drove to high school and had her set friend group and complained about tiny little things. The person whose life experiences could be summarized by a single address and dining room table. The child in me, I suppose. Can you blame me for dragging my feet in coming to this reality?

No one tells you how to deal with this sort of thing, or what to expect. They don’t immediately tell you about the reality of the hard stuff and the internal processing. They can challenge you or comfort you or tell you that it really does get better, but ultimately, all that’s left at the end of the day is you and your adult self handling your life in a way only you can, and I feel like I’m floating all island-like out here without any human assistance. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God knows the plans He has for us, to prosper us and not to harm us, plans that will give us a hope and a future ultimately in Him. I don’t know where I got the idea that this would be easy, or that God would make this progression a romp in the park, but it’s definitely caused me some trouble. Yes, I feel awkward in my hometown. And yes, it’s difficult to realize exactly how I’m changing. But I find hope in His perfect plan. Change happens because there’s something better. Eventually, at the very least.

patterns colors002

So that’s what I’m dealing with internally. Maybe we can talk about fun external experiences soon. When I get on it.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This is really some tough stuff that you seem to be dealing with. When the people and things that have shaped you and made you all that you are do not seem to fit as well as they once did because you have grown in new an unexpected ways.

I think that is why I spend so much time when I return to Runamuc just wandering around an looking at the way things are. That early stuff is crucial and enormously important in shaping who you are that you want to hold on. You want to be back there and feel the same thing, and BE that child who was so secure and free from worry.

But God did not give our life a rewind button. We move forward. We cannot unlearn, ungrow, or unexperience anything.

So you will move forward and God will give you a hope and future. Remember that Jerimiah was written to a people in exile. They were not in the Land God had given to them, but they were from there. Some of them did not see the fruition of that promise of prosperity. But they had a hope and a future.

And so do you.

You are loved.

Comment by Uncle Kenneth

Hi Frances,

I just wanted to stop by to thank you for your extremely kind email re: Petunia Face. Honestly, it made my day/my week. It made everything. I think I write for myself until I hear support like that and then I realize I do love writing for others, too. Thank you.

And it looks like you’re onto something here with your blog. It’s honest and real and wonderful. Keep it up!


Comment by Susannah

I guess that I am going through some of the same things you are. In many ways I have lost my identity. I’m different from who I was. It is a different world for me now and I’m struggling to find my way. God is my guide and I trust Him to guide me. This blog has given me a great deal to think about and ponder in my heart. I love you so much.

Comment by Grandma

As you said, this is somewhat difficult to explain in a blog…but I think you did it just perfectly. I have felt the way you feel MANY times and I always come back to the same conclusion: life doesn’t ever stay the way it was and this is good thing. God does this on purpose, so that we never become too comfortable here on earth. After all, heaven is our true home. Now being married, living on my own, paying my own bills, and hopefully continuing to grow my own family in the not-too-distant future, I still find myself at times longing for my childhood days when I lived at my parents’ house without a care in the world (at least not one worth worrying about). But don’t EVER let go of that time; don’t EVER let go of the “inner child” that longs for those days at home. Life may change, circumstances may change, people in your life will come and go. But you will never be without your memories. And these experiences are the ones that all add up to make you who you are today. So they’re never really gone…they’re in you. Thanks for writing 🙂

Comment by Mel Kreuser

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