Sunday, December 11, 2016

Looking Back to Look Ahead

It has been months. It feels wrong to say that. I haven't written and I don't know why. I feel like routine has run my life and I have become what I hate - people that live to work and not the other way around. What I do is not something I love either. It has a purpose and I do my best to help the best way I can. I want to make a difference but in the end, the work I do can feel mundane, rote, and that I am no longer challenged any more. These feelings are what have prompted me to make a move to a new role where I can share what I learned and again learn something new with a chance to reinvent myself. I am moving to California and with that process I was able to learn something.

In my life I have found value in remembering. It is powerful to take time to meditate and reflect and learn from what you have done and experienced. I often do it days or weeks after events that have passed while they are still fresh in my mind. This is a sharp contrast from time I have spent recently going through old papers and notes that I found scattered among my belongings. Purging can have the effect of finding lost memories which was definitely the case in this situation.

As I was sorting through my things, I found notes and pictures from past relationships. I found a small envelope of pictures of my ex-fiancé and handwritten notes that she had sent me. As I looked on those pictures, I saw the face of someone I loved so much yet felt nothing as the years had passed. And all it took was reading her words to have those walls I had built to come crashing down. I had told myself many different things over those years...

"She simply fell out of love with you. Distance killed your relationship. There was nothing you could have done."
"She never really loved you the same way that you loved her. You simply were someone God put in her path to help her overcome what she was going through."
"Forgive her. Forgive yourself. Forgive and forget them all. You will heal and the scars that are left will be filled with new and happier memories."
"Each relationship is different. You won't feel that way again and that isn't a bad thing. It will simply be a different kind of love."

After rereading what she had written, I realized that I simply had told myself what I needed to hear in order to survive as time passed. I could see that she truly had loved me for a time and the experiences that we shared when we were together were real. They simply were fleeting. I then found other notes that I had gotten in the ward I had moved to shortly after going through the ordeal of breaking off my engagement. Our congregation had a habit of coming together for a group prayer each Sunday and following that, socialize for a bit and write each other "nice notes." These were short little notes you could put onto a scrap of paper that were in turn hand delivered to each apartment. Immediately after this incredibly painful experience, I had turned to God and I had thrived through filling my time with service...

"Thank you for always striving to be a happy person who makes others happy too! I love that about you! Good luck with finals and know that you are welcome anytime!"
"I will never not think you are wonderful."
"Remember when we went to Macy's that one night and I had a laugh attack in your car? Let's do that again one day. Love you SO MUCH."

Remember. When did I become a cynic? When did I lose myself along the way? Remembering does a few different things: helps you count your blessings and see the things that you have overcome and faced along the way but it also helps you see what you wanted to become and re-center yourself. I used to be a REALLY good home teacher. I was more than that - I tried to become someone's friend. I found happiness in helping people and I felt like I genuinely was helping. What happened? I had passions and discovered shortly after what I wanted to do for a career. Now I am simply doing a 8-5 in a completely different and unrelated field. Again begs the question, what happened?

And what can I do differently? Rome wasn't built in a day and there are lots of great things happening in my life but if I really want to change things, what steps can I take to begin the process without tipping the boat too much. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few months, if not in the next year! Dating? Living situation? Career? God knows but I will certainly be surprised.

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