I am reminded, this morning, that not too long ago, perhaps a year, maybe less, my whole life was about Vietnam Veterans, horses, addiction counseling and grief. Those things shaped my identity, dictated who I was or thought myself to be, and determined my actions on a daily basis. Not one of those things remains part of my life today. Today my world is filled with aging parents, family, home maintenance, and the opportunity to love and be loved again. Retirement has become a reality. All attempts to recreate my work here in Michigan and to return to school and pursue a master’s degree fell off my sense of purpose and identity like pieces of stone chiseled off a sculpture’s block. There is some other hand at work shaping and molding my life today. I do not resist. There is some fear of letting go so completely, of losing control, but obscurity feels like a welcome state– no demands, no obligations, and no deadlines – a restful time. A time to re-assess what is important and valued, to connect more frequently with loved ones, to begin new disciplines that enhance life rather than burn it up, (I have always been a “burn it up” type of person); to love again, one last time. I feel a little lost in this “new skin”. It is still a bit large for me. I haven’t quite filled it yet. But, today, it is not mine to fill. Today, there is more awareness that God has that job and mine is to be true to and accepting of His Will. When I remember this there is no more fear, just time to experience what is.
It is interesting though, how the past is really in the past. I have no nostalgia for any part of it, really. It was great or not but it is gone, like a dream fades upon waking. This seems strange to me. I would have thought that the pain of losing Archie would continue, that the desire for things past would linger, that those things I had been attached to would remain obsessions to me. But they are all gone. I don’t have the passion for the horses that once shaped my life from childhood through my 60’s. How can something that was such a large part of my identity no longer be something I relate to at all anymore? As I look back upon all of the patterns and processes that my life has moved through, it is apparent to me that I never had one big epiphany, but rather many small trim tabs to my spiritual growth that only Divine Intervention could have inspired. I realize now that the Holy Spirit has been a constant companion and that Christ has held me up for the entire trip. It is hard, even now to acknowledge that, because the old illusion was that I needed to do it all by myself to prove my worth, deserve-ability, love-ability, etc. No, it’s sicker than that! It is PRIDE that makes it hard to acknowledge that God did for me what I could not do for myself! But God forgives me that sin and carries me anyway.
As I approach the third anniversary of my husband’s death I am feeling a little less like I’m suspended between two worlds; the world formed in the past and the world that the present is creating. Melding those two worlds has been surreal but it is getting clearer now. In the present I am still not sure who I am. I can’t identify myself with the past – which is gone, nor can I identify with the future which is unknown. Everything is transitory and fluid. I am all of it; the past, the present, the future. I move among everyone as a “presence” not a personality. I have lost the self-centered need to know who I am. I am all of it. This, the gift of the last hundred miles.