This morning I took some time to cut my hair. Yes, I do cut and color my own hair. And when I’m too tired to invest in the effort it takes to transform my brown into black and cover the albino intruders, I pluck the most prominent of the alien class to buy a little time before hitting the bottle (the dye bottle that is). Well this morning I had to invest in me a bit, as my hair was so long it had lost all opportunity for style. My husband and daughter went off for a coffee adventure (down to their local favorite spot) and I proceeded to machete my locks. For my Sunday ambiance and mood, I put Pandora Radio on to the Sister Rosetta Tharpe station–gospel music at its finest! As I was chop, chop, chopping, a song came on that was new to my ear. I have since lost the tune, but the chorus went something like this: “…anything you want, ask Jesus and he’ll give it to you.” I think it was Mahlia Jackson. Anyway, tonight as I write this, I honestly don’t remember the exact words, I just remember my response to the notion of them. My response, this morning while listening was, “I want a happy ending.” And that thought was followed by a deep sigh. A sigh because my request is unfounded.
I want a happy ending so badly. But I want “my” happy ending. Not having our son (my daughter’s brother) in our little nuclear unit has robbed me (us) of our expected output. Someone just the other day asked me a simple question, “are you happy?” Unfortunately I let the truth of my puzzlement slip off of my tongue before I could wrangle the best substitute for the job. I said, “happiness…I don’t even know what that looks like any more.” No explanation point needed, it is just a stated fact. This notion really struck me a few days ago, while I was conversing with our Creator in my think tank of prayer–my car. As I was asking for help and strength for the day awaiting me, I realized I was also simultaneously complaining about the day awaiting me. Complaining about my dissatisfaction with an obscure something. Then the spiritual lightbulb within went on–how do I even know what it is that satisfies me? The question is a very raw one because it cuts to my core. When facing the question honestly, I find I have no answer because my soul satisfaction has been tied to my happy ending notion. Without that in view, I’m still living in the obfuscated survival mode. Now can you imagine your child asking for a chocolate ice-cream cone, you fulfilling their request, and them (in-between licks) rattling off laments of an ungratified nature? Well that was me in the car. I was the child with the proverbial cone and the light bulb that shone illuminated my condition.
Now I have to say, just because I have had this new awareness provided for me, doesn’t mean I am “arrived” at a presence of integrating its message. I think this will take time for me to apply and/or learn. After all, I daily face the fact that my fairytale is more Grimm than Disney and this truth bears with it an insurmountable amount of pain. Yet somehow I get a sense that even just the small step of awareness will help inch me ever closer to healing in this area, and with healing can come an openness (perhaps) to…whatever it is that is now different than I expected it should be. Which is truly the crux of the matter. My “should be” is being cramped by my “is.” And I need to watch-it for that vantage point will disallow for satisfaction to reside, not comfortability, but satisfaction. Without satisfaction, the soul will be nomadic–ever searching, ever lost in the desert. The Bent 3 (myself included) are trying. We are doing our best to navigate our loss, but gosh it is so darned painful and everywhere we turn the unhappy ending of our story is revealed. But we are faith filled human beings, so we simultaneously realize our unhappy ending isn’t the end all and be all of the story, there is still more yet to write. Though I would be lying if I pretended this chapter had our seal of approval, it doesn’t. But at least now I know how to maneuver in my prayer life. I will stop asking for the chocolate ice cream as I swallow another bite. I will seek to recognize that my fairy tale ending–or my expectations in life really–aren’t the only link to my happiness. Even if in this moment they truly are. That is the best I can do for now.
I have come across many people who, much like myself, have had their expectations in life thwarted. Some of them have carried on with grace and purpose. Some have allowed the dissatisfaction of their condition to sour their temperament. I can say that I do see the warning in the latter…”there but for the grace of God go I.” Seeing the world through my sorrowful lens of dissatisfied results is not good measure for purposeful intent. I am thinking willingness just might be a good place to start. A small step to be sure, though when one is carrying the heavy weight of sorrow upon them, even a tiny fissure can appear to be a monumental chasm.
“Lord please give me patience for others whose own pain might be cause for a surly remark. May others be courteous with me as I process my own dissatisfied results. Amen.”