Isolation is an interesting thing. It is, on the one hand, the space in which one can think, rest, recover and gather strength and on the other, it is the place where that peace can be destroyed, where thoughts can destroy the opportunity for rest and strength is sapped by the feelings of emptiness and loss.
This past year, the pandemic has put nearly all of us in places where we have yearned for some semblance of normality to return only to be bombarded by one piece of negative news upon another. It has begun to feel as though who we are as individuals and as a country has been slowly eroded away like the face of a statue on the shoreline, the never-ending spray of sea and salt washing away the individual features that made us each unique and wonderful.
I am sure that I’m not alone in feeling like that constant battering of sand against my face has worn me down to nothing. Not only has the comfort of normality been removed from our daily lives, but I personally have felt beaten down by the circumstances I have been in. A little less than a year ago, I began a new job hoping that by moving back to something I had been successful at before, I would gain a stronger sense of success and worth; that by going back down a road I had been on before, I would be able to relocate the me that I feel like I lost along the way but whoever that was, she is no longer there and I am here, lost and alone in the middle of a path I no longer recognize.
Perhaps I feel this way because I have been alone for so long, waiting and longing for that to change but unable to find another person with whom I connected well (or at all, honestly, because let’s be real – dating after 50 is challenging at best). Maybe I feel this way because at the time in my life that I would have been focused on figuring out what I wanted to be when I grew up, I was more focused on digging myself out of the rubble of abuse and finding a way to create a “me” that looked more like the warrior I knew I was instead of the victim I was told I should be.
Despite what you may think, I am truly proud of the things I have overcome and the person that I have become as a result. I have strength that I know others do not, insights I couldn’t have gathered any way other than being where I’ve been, and skills I’ve obtained through sheer necessity. If I could stand outside of myself and see who I am with a critical eye, I think I might be impressed by who stood in front of me. But as it is, I see failure after failure; brokenness and insecurity where strength and self-worth should be. I am fearful to take that next step forward for fear of another failure but also know that there is no going back.
So where does that leave me?
I honestly don’t know.
What I do know is I am here for a reason. I know there is a God that has placed me here at this time in this situation and that because He is a God of love and omnipotence, that the end is a place of goodness. And I know that, as I’ve said over and over throughout the years, me being here at this time is not really about me but about a greater good which I in my humanity am completely unable to comprehend.
Despite all of this knowledge that God does and will prevail, I am tired. I yearn for a time to feel I am right where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I was created to be doing, and able to share these things with others – maybe even one specific “other”. Maybe that time is just around the corner. Maybe the winds will cease, the erosion will end, and the One who created me will show me that even the formless nothing I have become has meaning and purpose…
…or maybe I’ll just be that eroded lump of rock you step around next time you’re at the shore.