This was written in April – prior to the snow melting. Lots has gone on in my head since then, but as I was in TREK debrief today, I thought – this still might be worth sharing – both for me to write down my thoughts and for others, maybe, to not feel alone. (NOT to commiserate together – but to work together.)
The snow, the sleet, the slush is falling and covering the very dry ground. I watch the snow melt as it hits the window, and it drips down to the sill. The uncloaked trees are bending to and fro as the spring winter wind funnels its way through them. As I look out at this swirling, whirling day I find a peaceful reprieve. Moment of calm. What is that they say about the calm before the storm?
When weather like this occurs, it can wreak havoc on power lines and trees. The heavy slushy snow weighs down on those thin black lines and when there is enough snow sitting on the line, the lines buckle. Or the snow sits heavy on tree branches until they snap – some falling onto roads, houses and those same power lines. I’ve been in situations like this where the power lines snap, and all goes dark.
I recall times of darkness where you need to fumble around to find candles or flashlights and matches. You feel for the familiar walls – you switch on a light to go into a closet or basement – even though you still are aware the power is off – this is just part of the routine! You laugh at yourself when the lights don’t go on and you push forward looking for a source of light. I’m not a fan of the dark when you have to snoop around even darker spaces – but it is not the dark I am afraid of – it is what lies in the dark that bothers me. As I make my way into a basement to look for those light sources, it is inevitable that I will run into at least one cobweb. The feel of it on your face shocks you and you rebel against it by quickly backing up. But the cobweb sticks with you – to you and you have to bat it away with your hands and even feet in some cases! You manage to brush most of the web away only to walk into another one – this one is thicker and stickier, and you wipe, and wipe and it is stuck to your eyelashes and even going up your nose. You can almost taste the frustration at this point. As you walk the web seems to morph and grow and all you can feel now is its sinewy arms reaching around you and grabbing hold.
At this point you are past caring about light – you just want to get out of the tangles you feel caught in. You turn and run back up the stairs – wiping and pulling and trying to get the web to release you. It is still dark. You have no light. You are full of cobwebs that you can’t see and can’t get rid of.
The word, cobweb, came to me this morning as I was listening to a group of friends talking about decisions they had to make. The word, cobweb, came to me after an evening of personal frustration and self-doubting. The word, cobweb, might have come from God – but why that word? It doesn’t harbour positive images to me. However, it helped me, perhaps, put down in words what I can’t speak out loud.
My head feels like it is full of cobwebs. My thoughts sometimes feel like cobwebs – a pile of them that stick here and there and some get stretched, some break, some wipe away but they all create this tangle of thoughts and ideas, hopes and dreams, hurts and failures. And it is messy.
My pastor encouraged us in an email earlier today: “Our inclination is to show our Lord only what we feel comfortable with. But the more we dare to reveal our whole trembling self to him, the more we will be able to sense that his love, which is perfect love, casts out all our fears.”
My heart and my mind tremble – so here is my confession.
If you can relate to this – great – if not, that is ok too. This is not a cry for affirmations or quick fix – this is just my lament.
Here I am, 52… almost 53 years old and I don’t know what I want to be or do when I grow up. AND… here is the worst part about it – this has been my anthem cry since I was 22.. almost 23. My mind sometimes feels like it is just constantly moving and dreaming and thinking and analyzing and moving in circles. People ask me with the sincerest of interest – ‘well, what do you really want to do/be/go (you fill it in)?’ And with that question the cobwebs seem to get stickier, and the answers can’t be found. I don’t know how to explain it and I don’t know how to cut through it.
And in this process, I know that I am hurting/confusing and/or pushing away those around me. So then, the cycle of unknown, confusion, self-doubt keeps turning.
If I look closely – and honestly – at the cobwebs that wrap their way around my hopes, dreams, desires – I can pick out what some of them are. Self-doubt. Pride. Jealousy. Laziness. Fear. Intimidation. Self-pity. Faithlessness. How do these affect my thoughts?
I don’t have the answers – if I did, I wouldn’t be in this dilemma – I’d grab a broom, brush away those webs and move forth. However, I need to find a way to explain why I think or do or don’t do what I do.
It seems to me that when someone asks me, ‘what do you love to do?’ I can answer that pretty easily; I love to be creative. I love to plan events that bring joy to people. I love to design and redesign. I love looking at the interior of a house that needs updating and update it. I love to write. I love to try new things in cooking, in craft, in life. I enjoy making people smile.
When people ask me, ‘so what is your dream? What would you like to do (as in a job/career)? That’s where the cobwebs start to stick. And maybe, in my head, it goes something like this (a few examples): (THESE do get dark and ugly – again, I am not looking for affirmation – just need to pen it down to, maybe, help me figure it out – and maybe, someone out there can relate and I don’t want to commiserate with you – but maybe we can journey together and sweep away these lies – I know these cobwebs are lies.)
I would love to open up a bookstore with a coffee shop and a place to sell local hand-made products. (cobweb: Need start-up finances. I wouldn’t know how to start. Books are a thing of the past. Who would even come? Do I want to do retail? I’ll just get mad after a bit. I won’t want to be there all the time. I can’t afford to hire people. Well, may as well dump that one.)
I would enjoy starting up a bed and breakfast. (cobweb: Start-up costs. I don’t know how to get started – yes, I can look it up – but do you want to go to that work not knowing if this will ever happen? I don’t have a location that is good enough to have one. I’m too lazy. I wouldn’t want to have strangers living beside me all the time. You are not an extrovert – what are you thinking? Idiot.)
I would like to write a book. (cobweb: who in the world will ever read a book you write? You are not a professional writer. You have no training. Your grammar sucks!! No one ever asks you to write or talk or speak – so why would you think you can do this? Your husband likes your writing and some family members – not enough to put anything out there. Also – some things you might like to write about – you can’t – it would open up wounds and hurts and things that you can’t share!! Don’t be stupid to think this is possible.) (COBWEBS can be ugly.)
I would like to start up an art studio – a place people can come and do art when they don’t have room in their own space. A place where classes can be taught. People can gather and just explore their passions. Coffee would be available. A place for them to sell their creations. (cobweb: I hate to be a spinning wheel on this – but still, need start up! You don’t have a place to do this from. How would I even know where to start? What if it doesn’t make money then you can’t afford to keep doing it. You are not enough of an artist to start something like this for others.)
I would like to sell things I create. (cobweb: who the he$$! Will buy your stuff? You are not a professional. No one asks for your things regularly, so why do you think people would want to buy your crap. You don’t have enough to make a living on so why bother starting. If it becomes a job, you’ll hate it. You change your mind about the craft/art form you enjoy doing so you never stick with anything – you are always jumping around like a bat out of he$$! You don’t know how to adhere to one or two things so this is a mute task. - again, cobwebs are mean little buggers!)
I’d like to move to a yard by the water so I can enjoy the peace and quiet of that – maybe start up a B&B (oh right, nixed that already earlier!) enjoy kayaking and having family come visit. (cobweb: You don’t even know how to kayak – so you don’t know if you’d do it or like it. (**side note, since I wrote this I have gone kayaking and LOVED IT!) Kids are not travelling to visit you if you are out of the way. Friends won’t come to visit you. Grandkids won’t see you. You probably won’t kayak because you get cold too easy – you are lazy and don’t want to do anything physical. Your husband is going to freak on you because you will probably be discontent there too. You can’t sit still – you can’t make guarantees that this is the answer.)
I’d like a yard so we can host people and I can have a pet. (cobweb: Your just an indecisive idiot. You have no idea what you want. Wants a yard, doesn’t want a yard, wants a yard, doesn’t want a yard. Your husband doesn’t want a pet. You will probably get another pet that hates you – so why bother. A Dog is too much work. A cat is a pain. You don’t deserve a pet because you work full-time and when do you care for it. It prevents your holiday plans. It is just dumb all around. You don’t want to be in debt at this point in your life – you guys are too old for that – get over it and use your balcony and just deal that you can’t host larger groups.)
I love interior design/renovating. (cobweb: give it up – you had your chance to go to school – you screwed it up – get over it.)
Real Estate interests me: (cobweb: you are too dumb for that. There are laws and things you would never remember and probably screw up the sale of places for people. You would probably do something illegal and wrong and get sued. You are too old and dumb to try and take those courses. And you would never make enough money at it anyway.)
Media…. (cobweb: don’t even start. No education. You are too old to keep up with social media. Just don’t.)
COBWEB: In general – I don’t care what you say you want to do – what your dreams are or what you think would be the answer – I will find a way for you to get stuck in it and tangled and confused. There are no answers. There is no solution. This is just the way you are created – to dream all these dreams but to spin in them as well. You don’t have the stamina/work ethic/strength/endurance/attitude/ability to do any of them. So stick with what you know you are good at – even if you don’t love it. Because you can’t release the cobwebs – this is maybe where you are supposed to be right now and forevermore. STOP dreaming. It is useless. Just STOP.
I sit here, in what feels like the dark, trying to brush away the cobwebs. I’m not depressed. I am just a little unhappy. My mind swirls full-time and I don’t know how to make it stop.
I talk to God. But I am not sure we are in the best relationship. I know where he is – but I think he is having trouble finding me. Do I want to be found? Maybe not. Maybe I don’t want the cobwebs to be cleared because then I may find out that I am where I am supposed to be – and I don’t know if I will like that answer. OR he will ask me to really step out and I am afraid of that too. Maybe I am hiding? Maybe I am too exposed?
God is good – all the time. My dad was really good at sharing that with us. God is good – all the time. I know he is. I know that God has plans for me. Maybe they are just not the plans I want? Then the question I have is: Why did you make me this way? Why did you make me with this massive imagination that doesn’t know how to turn off or to be made practical? Why put these desires and dreams in my head/heart when there is no way for them to be fulfilled. Why can’t I ease my restless spirit and find peace?
I am restless. I am in a dark room with cobwebs everywhere and I don’t know how to get through them. And at the same time, I am restless, I am lazy. I am jealous. I am not worthy of help because I don’t spend enough time in prayer/Bible reading/talking. I don’t get buoyed by prayer times or worship times. What is wrong with me? Why am I not a good servant of God?
Agh. God – please – release the cobwebs that bind me. Please – give someone the broom that can help me clear them away. Please, I want to find the light switch.
*As I indicated, this was written when it was still cold out - we can't hang with family and friends - we are restricted by COVID. It was a really hard moment for me and this is what came of it. I STILL have cobwebs - i am still trying to brush them away - but I am, for now, a little more at peace. NOT because I found a solution, but because the sun is out - the flowers are blooming - the trees are turning green and though those things are not a solution, they help me see through the cobwebs just a little bit better.
** Want to talk? PM me and let's chat. Who knows - we might know answers that we can share with each other. (IT IS SOOOO MUCH EASIER to give advice than to receive it!!
God is Good.