In the last two months my life has taken a drastic turn in direction. I thought I knew exactly where I was headed, and now, I have no idea where I will end up or what condition I will be in when I get there. My pastor spoke this Sunday about Jesus' time in the wilderness - a time that was full of difficult trials and pain. He then spoke about how we - like Jesus - sometimes find ourselves in the wilderness. My pastor went on to speak about how when we are in the wilderness we find that our priorities in life can be drastically rearranged for us. I found so much truth in his statement that I was nearly reduced to tears right there.
You see, I am in the wilderness right now. Some of my priorities have been reordered for me regardless of whether or not I like it, while some of them I have been forced to take a serious look at and rearrange myself. It has been a very trying time for me and for my family as I sort through and adjust to all of the changes that are smacking me in the face right now.
I have faced a lot of scrutiny and criticism. Some of it I have been very deserving of, and I will take it and use it to grow. As I have had time to mull over some of the other comments shot in my direction I have realized that they are not entirely true.
It has been pointed out to me on a few occasions by a few different people now that maybe since being married and becoming a mother that I have ceased to be an individual and that I have completely defined myself by my roles in my home. At first glance it was very easy for me to see the validity in that statement; it was easy for me to accept it as fact. After all, many of the things I used to do before marraige and motherhood are things I no longer do very often. For instance, I no longer play in a concert band and I no longer spend much time going out with friends. For awhile after each of my children was born I also quit reading for fun and scrapbooking. On the surface my life looks like this: I work, I take care of my children, I take care of our home, I support my husband while he works through school, and I spend time with my husband. Wash, rinse, and repeat.
But in the last couple of weeks I have begun to second guess my initial thought that yes, I have ceased to be an individual. As I have spent time with my children making "cakes" in the sandbox, dancing to the radio, wrestling, and watching them splash in the bathtub at night I have realized that I am still very much an individual. This life I have chosen, the one that looks very bland on the surface, is actually a very full and rich life. You see, I realized something - this moment in my life is only temporary.
It is temporary.
My children will only be small for so long. They will only want me to play with them, read to them, snuggle them, kiss them, and tuck them into bed for so long. They will only need me in the way that they do right at this moment for so long, and then it will be all over. They will grow up, spend time with friends, graduate, get jobs, maybe get married and have children, and this moment in time will be gone forever. Sure, I will always be their mother, they will always (hopefully) need me in some way, but it will never be in the same way they need me now.
These moments are temporary.
So, yes, maybe I have put some of my own individual interests on hold for awhile. That's okay, because all those things - my clarinet, friends, books, scrapbooks, photography - will still be waiting for me someday. I know that my life right now is only temporary.
This day, this moment in time right now, is for my children, and that makes it so worth putting so many things on hold for now. I have not ceased to be an individual. I'm living the exact life I have chosen for myself; I'm living in the moment.
And you know what else? This wilderness I'm living in right now, these hard times, they are only temporary too. My pastor concluded his sermon with the comment that times of trial are almost always followed by times of great personal growth, and I must say, I can feel every centimeter of painful growth. It is hard, but I'm really starting to believe that I can come out of this trial a better person, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and even teacher.
For now, I will remind myself of the person I am today everyday. I will no longer believe the lie that I am no longer an individual. I will embrace each moment in time and live in all of those moments as fully as I can. I will not feel guilty for choosing my children - my family - over other pursuits, because I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now.
My life is only temporary, and I will live it as fully as I can from now on. I will live in and cherish each of these moments.