Growing up, I thought that by the time I was "an adult", I would be done changing. I assumed that by the time I was "grown up"... and surely being 40 would be grown up... I would be who I was for better or for worse. Right?
Our house has been one big pile recently. Piles of paperwork, piles of plastic toys, piles of Julianna and Elizabeth's clothes because they continue to get bigger and outgrow them before I can even put up the most recent load of laundry, piles of photo albums, piles of books I bought but haven't read, piles of things that make me feel overwhelmed.
I am just now able to sort through those piles.
That was a side of grief I wasn't prepared for. The debilitating feeling of being overwhelmed. Not even seeing an end in sight- so much to do, such a constant reminder of being the only one who is going to be able to get it done.
Also in those piles of being overwhelmed- somewhere tucked in between the death of each of my parents- was the remnants of my previous faith.
I never renounced my faith.
I did, however, try to work through how my faith looked on the other side of chaos.
I never doubted the reality of Jesus.
I did, however, wonder how a sovereign God lined up with all of the pain we experienced.
I never ran away from the Lord I knew so well.
I did, however, yell at Him with all I had in me.
In all of the chaos... in all of our piles... as my new self is starting to break out of the debris... I am just now starting to deal with the crap left behind. I am just now filling bag after bag of trash, making lots of trips to Goodwill, and sorting through some precious heirlooms that I've been handed.
One of the material things we've "inherited" is a rug that was in my Mom's house. Mom didn't have air conditioning until a few years before we sold her house. (One benefit of living in the woods is that we rarely needed a/c!) We're not sure what happened during the installation, but something made the entirety of Mom's house smell like burning rubber for a while. (Comforting, right?) The smell eventually went away- except for in that rug.
It's not a smell we necessarily like, but it definitely reminds us of Mom's house.
That's how so many of the things are in our house now... and in my faith. I don't always like what I smell, or see, or feel... but I'm grateful for what it reminds me of. The places I've been. The people who have mentored me. And the faith that is evolving.
We are still nothing more than a bunch of piles in this house. There is a good chance that when you stop by, we'll have to move the laundry before you'll have a place to sit. But I'm hopeful that eventually the piles won't bring panic and pain, but will show the strength of where we've been. Even when we have a bizarre smell because of it... maybe eventually it will make us all feel a bit nostalgic.
Growing up is hard.
Maybe when I get to be an adult, it won't seem like it's been that difficult.
I'll let you know when I get there.