Monday, May 05, 2014

"Oh, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?"

I'm generally an up-beat, positive person overall, but, like most people, I definitely have my moments of angst, and that whiny quote from Romeo tends to pop into my head often when I'm feeling frustrated about life, along with Juliet's reply, "What satisfaction canst thou have tonight?" Their balcony exchange is all about romantic declarations and frustrated passion, but could easily (at least to my odd-ball brain that makes these weird, out-of-context connections: I was thinking about links between the "Lord of the Rings" and "Star Wars" trilogies last night) be inserted into any conversation I have with God about why my life doesn't seem to be moving like I want it to. Only in those dialogs, I'm woe-is-me Romeo, and God is Juliet, basically telling me to be patient.

Oh, my brain! :)

Anyway, the other morning, while getting ready for work, I was talking on the phone to my best friend, Sarah, who was herself in the middle of her hour-long morning commute to the Georgia college where she's a science professor. We do this now -- have morning conversations -- because things are often too busy for her after work between the kid's soccer practice and dinner prep, my work schedule is sometimes unpredictable even in the evenings, or she, not one to stay up late like night-owl me, often falls into bed before 10, her energy sapped by both her daily responsibilities and the human she is currently growing.

In large part, our conversation centered around the fact that she and her husband had just found out their third child, due in September, is the hoped-for girl (yay!) and possible name choices for said daughter. Their sons, 5 and 3 (the youngest one of my godsons) were also excited about the prospect of a sister. But I was also having a whiny morning and needed to vent.

At 36, I'm at an advanced age (I write ironically) which used to connote mid-life but doesn't necessarily anymore. I was thinking about all the things I'm "supposed to" have accomplished by now: fabulous job, wonderful house, a passport filled with stamps, an amazingly romantic husband, kids, etc... and I am nowhere near that point in life. I have been able to do some traveling, largely through the beneficence of others (the whole trip to Scotland next month? Mom's paying for it, a gift I can never repay. The airfare alone is more than I make in a month), yet on my own I can't even afford the cost of a hotel for a weekend getaway, and sometimes (stupidly) I feel ashamed by that, that despite all my time spent working, it still yields so little, and that I am somehow less because of it. Then, I feel guilty because, in comparison to so many others, I AM well off. I have a job, no debt (a gift in its own right!), own my own car and a roof over my head. But, like so many, I live paycheck-to-paycheck, and I wish I knew when things would stop being a struggle. Job applications I send out, hoping for something new, something that pays better, yield nary a whisper in reply.

Like Romeo, I'm selfish and get so caught up in wanting, wanting, wanting.

So, back to the phone conversation the other morning: Sarah's driving, I'm trying and failing to pick out a shirt that suits my mood for the day, and she says, "I just want to be settled. Shouldn't that have happened by now?"

It's a feeling I am so familiar with. And, just like that, the bubble of my own selfishness popped.

One of the many, many things I love about my friend is that by trusting me with her own trials, she reminds me, even after you unlock certain life levels -- marriage, children, career -- there will always be worries and things will still continue, in a way, to be unsatisfactory. She's attained all those things, and loves her life and family, but still stresses about choosing the right school for her boys, the need for finding a mini-van they can afford before the new baby comes, having enough space in their current house and whether they should stay where they are or move and, if so, when? She questions how she'll juggle teaching with three children.

As I heard myself reply "It's life. I don't know that we'll ever be 'settled,'" I thought, almost simultaneously, "Do you hear the words coming out of your own mouth, woman?!" And, thankfully brought out of myself, I laughed.

There is a whole other life waiting for us, one that is not here, and that is what we yearn for -- for God. The sometimes (who am I kidding? the ALWAYS) hard part is to not be caught up in the wanting of things, the near-constant worrying this life -- the push to achieve, to win, for Manifest Destiny -- inspires. We live in the world, but can't let its worries and wants consume us. My Dad, though he fought it, tended to be caught up in the negatives so often, it practically became his default setting, and I don't want  --  and cannot allow -- that for myself. As St. John Vianney said "You either belong wholly to the world or wholly to God."

Lord, help me live in the world, but belong wholly to you!

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