i've been having a crisis as of late. not quarter-life. i already passed that one, with vagaries of life leading me to my current situation in arizona. now i'm having (was having) just an i'm-not-sure-who-i-am-anymore crisis. and let me tell you this: when you look for truth (read: pray for truth), be ready for the answers to accost you from all sides, no matter how contumaciously you fight to be independent, and individual. turns out you can still be independent and individual, and ask for help.
i was finding myself wondering who i was. it seems quite silly to talk about it in past tense, when this past tense was really recent--like two weeks ago. ANYWAY, why was i going down a path that had suddenly taken it's own life? why wasn't i doing the things that i loved to do anymore? i realized i hadn't: danced, played field hockey, learned a new non-church piano piece, read a fun book, painted or drawn, or really created anything in years! at one point in time, all of these things had once been part of my identity.(does anybody watch new girl? you know a few episodes ago when Winston's like...every decision in my life was made for me! they gave me a basketball when i was born! well, i was kind of feeling like that all of a sudden).
suddenly, serious anxiety took over my consciousness, and earnest prayer was the only way i knew how to find answers when the following series of events changed my life forever:
.5 this only gets a half bullet point because it doesn't really count, but was sort of the moment my wheels started turning. so, i watched the notebook and bawled my face off. i mean, i had liquids running from all over my face. but you know she discovers that she doesn't paint anymore, and then decides to go with noah? well it got me thinking about the list i created above. i didn't do the things that i loved anymore, the things that got my heart pumping! i mean, don't get me wrong, i love going to school and learning, but it's just not the same. okay, read on.
1. i read this discourse on resolutions and regrets for a discussion group. it reminded me that we are majestic, that we have godly heritage, and that we "arrive in this world...'trailing clouds of glory' from the premortal sphere." digest that for a second. the talk also reminded me that "we are capable of so much more. for that, good intentions are not enough. we must do."
1.5 i stumbled across the picture above. another small seemingly insignificant event.
2. i then attended an inspired conference for thousands of individuals. in the opening remarks, sheri dew (a woman i esteem and admire), was very raw and honest with us. her plenary guided us through some key events in her life where she was either lost, put in a difficult and stressful situation, or is still experiencing painful things outside of her control. and yet, with power and wisdom, she told us this: "when you know who you are, it changes you. figure out who you are, and it'll change your behavior. it'll change what you do, what you wear, who you date, who you're friends with, the way you treat your family, and the way you treat yourself."
3. the next day in the same conference, i had the opportunity to listen to stephanie nielson. heartbreak oozed out of her quivering voice as she told us a first-hand account of a tragic and painful plane crash she experienced. most shockingly to me, however, were the feelings of despair and depression she shared with us. her most intimate feelings when waking up from a 3.5 month coma after burning 85% of her body, were those of wanting to once again fulfill the measure of her role as a mother and wife. she longed to put baby carrots in her children's school lunches. she missed the fact that her dog would dig through the trash and eat up dirty diapers--and subsequently she would have to bend over, and clean it all up. she missed being able to care for her husband, and the dexterity and usefulness of her extremities. she told us that everything that was once her identity was completely stripped from her, even her physical appearance. it took her months to have the desire to live again. it took until she finally felt she knew who she was again--a mother, a wife, and a beautiful daughter of God.
4. alex boye (link to his hilarious music video), the biggest ball of energy you will ever get the privilege of knowing, also gave a stirring break-out session in which at the very end he exclaimed, "DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHO YOU ARE?!" i thought to myself, what do i really know about myself? the rest of the day was quite a blur as i continued to write in a stream of consciousness the things that i knew to be true about brook dorff. it's a great exercise in gratitude, self-awareness, and potential!
5. i learned about the principle of belongingness (i've linked the oh-so-scientific source of wikipedia, but it's basic and will get the gist across. if you want to know more, ask me. i'll send you oodles of long, intense, and incredibly interesting articles). but the boiled down version is this: humans need to belong, and they need to know they are part of something greater. this creates motivation--motivation to be better, to not let others and ourselves down, and overall true joy and happiness.
and that was the moment for me. you know when you forget about your eggs boiling on the stove? it's been about an hour and you've been a multi-tasking fiend when all of a sudden you hear a giant inexplicable explosion and you take cover because you think someone is shooting at you? and almost at the same instant you duck, the lightbulb goes off: it's the egg you started to boil about an hour ago...
by the time i read about belongingness, discouragement and unproductive emotions that lead to confusion and anxiety had basically all boiled away. i popped (like the boiling egg), and realized the giant thread in this all. that life's vicissitudes will not necessarily disappear entirely, but become much less daunting when we know: where we came from, that we belong, have individual purpose, and a unique set of gifts.
so there you have it. the longest blog post you'll read in a long time.
game on, life.
xoxo, with purpose,