There were two #Reverb12 posts I never got around to completing/posting. This is one of them. This falls into the former category of lack of completion.
December 28: All grown up: What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you that thing? If not, are you working to become it, or have you chosen a completely different path?
Am I the woman I thought I’d grow up to be? I ask myself this question more often than I’d like to admit. I also wonder whether I should want to be that woman.
Years ago, someone sent me the transcript of Edward R. Murrow’s original This I Believe broadcast, and as has been the case with many, many people over the years, the bit about his beliefs being “in a state of flux” stuck with me. I thought that, at my core, I would always remain firm, but there was something charming about growth and change around that central purpose. Like the ugly duckling shedding its grey down, and the caterpillar emerging from its cocoon to become a darling butterfly, the state of flux was a means to an end — a way of becoming to get to the heart of things that always were.
The past few weeks have made me wonder about the purpose of flux; have made me question things I thought were unmoveable.
What I am trying to say is: I thought I would grow up to be a lawyer and a wife; a woman with long, blonde hair living in New York City. I knew there would be growth and change and that I would get stuff and that I would give up stuff to arrive at this place. What I didn’t expect was that I would watch really good people suffer; that I would suffer myself; that I would witness people who did awful things prosper.
I was explaining this to my mother, because, for once, I was rattled by how moved I was by The Icky Stuff.
Dad and I were watching some cold case show, she said in response, And it was about this guy who went out for a burger and came home to find his wife murdered. He was charged with the crime and he served a 16 year sentence. When he didn’t think he could bear prison any more, he called out to the Lord for help and suddenly, the State found the guy who did it, and they overturned his conviction.
I pondered that for a moment. It seemed we heard stories of redemption; prosecutorial ineptitude all the time these days.
Then the State paid him restitution to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. He paid out a third of it to his lawyer, and then he lost the rest in the stock market. And yet the guy was still perfectly content with the outcome, and he said, “I guess God wanted me to be free, but not rich.”
(I’m taking liberties in paraphrasing her recap of the show, but I think I’ve captured the heart of it.)
It seemed that the man had not been changed by the experience, he had remained who he always was: Faithful to what he had known. Rich in his freedom. The man he had always been.
What I realised, then, is that even if my beliefs about the world and myself are in a state of flux, perhaps at my core, I am still the girl I thought I’d grow up to be. I’m still that lawyer; I was still that wife; I still have long, blonde hair; I live in New York City. The change I am undergoing and that is happening around me is not making me different, it is the same as it always was. It is still just stripping away the grey babydown.
Maybe it’s better to suffer than prosper when the time is right to suffer.
Everything in its season.
I still shall not be moved.