Snapshot of 31 and running from bitterness

photo copy 5 This weekend I went about the business of turning 31, a pretty unremarkable age in theory.

30 felt like a reason to celebrate, but 31?  Just…. I guess, another year in the life.

My birthday was the epitome of low key, Kel installed a new radio in my car and a we enjoyed a dinner out just the two of us, a little chicken, a little salmon, a little wine.

After dinner we snuggled on the same side of the booth and stared across the gauzy glow of the dining room.  We chatted here and there but for the most part we just enjoyed the peace of the moment, ordering second drinks and banana pudding, running out of reasons to stay but not quite ready to leave.

There were no big promises or raucous laughter, it was mellow and quiet.  We joked we should skip dinner and take naps.

The next day Kel came down with a nasty cold and I ran Caedmon to his specialist appointment at OU Children’s and found out that he truly is obsessed with Lightening McQueen and will need to have surgery, next week in fact.

As I drove home I saw my life as a snapshot, just a doctors appointment, another round of groceries, another birthday.  Another 30 something mom in another mini van.

None of it remarkable in the least but all of it the essential building blocks of life.

31 has to happen, as do the doctors appointments and groceries, for this snapshot is the stuff of sustaining life.

When you scale back the ordinary seems extraordinary in its fleeting shortness, so temporary and delicate.

I won’t drive Caedmon to the doctor forever and my van windows won’t always be covered with Noelle’s applesauce handprints.

My mind flashed back to the prayer of Teilhard de Chardin,

We should like to skip the intermediate steps…

As though you could be today what time will make of you tomorrow…

And the day wore on it all seemed to come back to my word for the year, Trust.

A few days ago I talked about having to untangle the knots that have created this heart of cynicism and doubt, this woman who struggles to trust across the board.

I was so flippant about these knots, this untangling process.  I thought it take simply the fervent work of prayers and words, time and reflection to restore my ability to trust.

I now suspect that this untangling will involve some trips into my past and far more tears than I suspected.

This slow work of God may very well involve unearthing old wounds that healed funny, digging up fossilized lies and conforming them to the truth.

But you know what happens to those that refuse to learn to trust?  Those who go through the years hiding behind their pain, using it as a reason to distrust everything and everyone?

They become bitter people constantly equipped with a list of all that they never had or all that was taken from them.

photo copy 6 When I looked into the mirror and saw the potential of becoming bitter I shook with fear, because no… no thank I will not become a bitter old woman.  Or a bitter young woman for that matter.

So 31, be gentle, or don’t, whatever gets the job done I suppose.

Here is another year of life and all that it will bring and all that I hope to leave here, forever freer for the slow work of God.

Thank you for allowing me to be vulnerable here.  Are you too suspecting that your word will come with painful unlearning?  

  • Angie

    Happy 31st Birthday.

  • Annette Skarin (@carinskarin)

    Wow, I’m twice your age and you’re two years younger than my pastor and six years younger than my youngest daughter and fifteen years older than my grandson. My oldest daughter just celebrated her forty-third birthday three days ago.
    My new word for this year is WHEW!
    I’m thankful for all my hardships and sufferings because they have established my roots in the riverbank of life, deeply and securely. Even though my trunk is bent, it is made stronger because of the winds of adversity.
    God became a speck like me so he could see me through the magnifying glass of Jesus love.
    Did I just get all metaphorical on you?
    I see the grace that permeates your lovely family and i feel encouraged because of that.
    I love David the King because he would cry in bitterness one moment and praise and dance in the next. He was honest and God counted his faith as righteousness. He forgot to count his mistakes though.