My bookshelf came down.
Not on it’s own, thankfully. We broke it apart to finish some trim work in our bedroom. While removing my books, magazines, mementos, and journals from the shelves to the corner, I immediately started finding treasure:
My journal notes from when I first met my husband.
A letter from a “father”.
Thank you notes (Always good to have around).
Books that I still haven’t read yet.
This isn’t merely a mass of randomly collected items. They are the evidence of my desires. A little wild, unkempt, and probably unparented, my hopes and dreams are littered like Easter eggs. It doesn’t take long to see the longings living in those stacks.
My first reaction is to ignore the piles. They are too much. (Doesn’t desire always feel like that?) but I know better than to take that route. Ignoring something doesn’t make it go away. Ever.
So, in this moment I sit and take in all the contents of my disassembled bookshelf.
What do these stacks say about me?
Did you know that one of my biggest fears and one of the biggest beliefs is that I’m a nobody?
I can’t seem to shake it. I’ve prayed about it and broken agreements with it, and done wonderful things in spite of it. It always shows up right when I’m facing an example of the opposite and right now, it’s here. Full force, right beside me. Because as much as I want to describe who I see, I hear the very sincere whisper, “Oh, but don’t you know? I’m a nobody.” So, I’m going to tell myself what I see, even though it feels really hard.
I love beauty. In all kinds of ways. My longing for beauty displays itself differently but one facet of it is hair. I have three books on how to do hair. Another example are my binders: One binder is full of women/styles/designs that speak of beauty and the gorgeous woman that I hope to be one day. And, poetry. Don’t get me started. Mary Oliver brings me to my best feminine self.
Impact. I want to have impact. Think “David and Goliath” by Malcolm Gladwell. Simon Sinek makes me cry. Every time. Daniel Pink, bring it on. A decent sized section of my books are dedicated to change and how to transform what seems impossible. I believe it can happen and I want to be apart of it.
Creativity. It’s funny because I don’t always consider myself a creative person. Glitter makes me cringe. Drawing is not my strength. And, my handwriting kind of sucks (though that probably won’t stop me from picking up calligraphy). But, I love bringing things to life.
Like soap. I made it for a while and even had a small business for a time. I love to cook and my recipe binders are some of my favorite things. I even wrote a book about my daughter getting her first pair of glasses. The process of publishing wasn’t that great but I love what came out of it. That story is mine. It may not be amazing to everyone, but it’s mine.
Family. I love my people. So much. My friends are my safe place. And, while I have been significantly wounded when it comes to family, I embrace those close to me. My relationships have forged me in the fires of life and I am better because of them. Amongst the piles, there are letters, cards, life-giving words that bring me back to myself and remind me of the deep love that I get to be a part of. My people are a gift and I do not take them for granted.
And, in all of that, I feel like a failure.
I have no idea why, but I think that is what I’m really afraid of. That somewhere, in all of this goodness, I’m going to find what I’m afraid of: I’m never going to be who I want to be.
I’m not sure I’ve ever put words to it like this but, there it is.
Epictetus was right:
“Men are not afraid of things, but of how they view them.”
The only thing left to do is to dive deeper.
It’s the only way to discover the truth.
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