Today I sat across from a friend who was exploding with joy about dreams coming to reality. It was tangible, and her joy leaked into my heart. I felt that spark, that electricity of passion expanding, and waking up.
Why does it feel like passionate joy just woke up in me? Why does it feel like he’s standing up from a pile of leaves and shaking off the cobwebs like Rip Van Winkle after a slumber?
How the hell did I let passion fall asleep in the back seat with mundane at the wheel?
And how didn’t I notice? Even writing this now feels almost like too much. I feel overwhelmed trying to work through why this happened, and my instinct is to push it back down where it came from. To put Rip back to sleep for another couple hundred years because it’s just too much right now.
After my friend left I thought about all the ways I’ve been feeling lately and all the old habits I have fallen back into. I’m barely writing, I’m over-rationalizing, I can’t (or won’t) connect fully with people.
Another of our friends always says be careful what you pray for. Because you’re gonna get it. And I got it.
For a long time I was praying to get some of my old self back. To be able to relax the way I used to and be more careless again.
Think before you pray my friends.
I got my old self back. Including coming home and doing nothing and relaxing on a Tuesday night; but also shutting people out, pushing feelings down, over rationalizing the events and feelings of others, and feeling distant from everything and everyone that are most important in my life.
I think you probably already know what I learned. Old me is in the past for a reason. I didn’t like many of the ways I was, and that’s why I left them there. I think God has a sense of humor, and I also think he is a good parent. He picks us up when we fall and scrape our knee, but he gives us a chance to cry it out first. He presents us with the knowledge and sits back as he asks the question, “do you still think that’s a wise decision?”
I am tutoring a child who is really just working on setting his moral compass. He is very compassionate, but also very curious. The other day he decided he wanted to flood an ant colony to see what would happen.
Knowing how compassionate he is, I thought I would use it as a learning opportunity. So I taught him about community. I told him flooding the colony would kill some of the ants, I told him that ants are social, they rely on each other for everything and for every ant that dies another one has to pick up the slack. I gave him all the information I thought he could handle, and then I said, “do you still think it’s a wise decision to do that?”
He simply answered, “yes.”
And being a calm, professional educator, I said, “what the shit kid?? Did you hear a single thing I just said!? Do you have cloth ears?!”
Just kidding. What I really did say (calmly) was this: “If that’s the choice you want to make, then it’s your decision.”
So, he took his bucket and emptied its contents into the crack in his porch cement, fully submersing the colony of ants. Guess what? There were dead ants. That he subsequently attempted to save, to no avail.
Here’s the point. I think sometimes we ask for things that we think we want, that we have all the information for and so we really truly know what’s going to happen, but we ignore it. I knew what old me looked like, I knew I didn’t like some of the things I left behind, but guess what I still prayed for? Old me. And God watched as I tipped that bucket over into that crack, and waited to see me scurry around attempting to rewind my decision and bring my passion and positive changes back to life.
My friends keep saying that God likes to give good gifts. I think letting us learn from mistakes and bad experiences are good gifts if you let them be. In order to do that you have to accept your fault, determine how to fix it, and then grow. See that it is a good gift, say thank you, and move on.