I was taking an extended walk with my dog this morning and couldn’t help but notice the gorgeous sun rising through the trees. At 6:15 a.m. the still and quiet atmosphere forced me to stand still in my own thoughts to make sense of my conversation last night.
December is my birthday month, which is part of the reason I love the Christmas season. Usually, I spend the month reflecting on everything in my life leading up to yet another year in the books.
Last night, my friend asked me how I’m feeling about turning 34. Here was my response:
Well, I’m certainly thankful to have lived to see another year. I can say that I’m very blessed: I have a great career that shows opportunity for growth, I have everything I need, and I have health in my body.
I wanted to stop there, but she could sense that I was holding back and continued to probe. Here was my second response:
I just thought my life would include a husband and children by now. Yes, I had a marriage, but it didn’t turn out the way I wanted. I almost feel like I was robbed of that experience.
The babble that I was continuing to spew turned into a full blown pity party. While I was saying the words out loud, I simply felt wrong on the inside. What in the world are you saying, Elana? Robbed – seriously?! Just stop TALKING!! (This was the simultaneous dialogue happening in my head as words flowed from my mouth.)
This conversation forced me to take a step back. I found myself playing the victim role and speaking as if someone owed me something because the fairy tale I created in my head didn’t play out that way in real life. Now that I think about it, I can see how I made that conclusion – it was the wrong conclusion, but it was a conclusion. I may not know everything, but I have learned the hard way that the way we make sense of our past should be approached with caution.
We all have experiences. Those experiences tell the full story of our lives, but it is up to us to do what we want with that narrative. Now, I could continue to tell myself that I’m at a loss because I’m divorced and without children, or I can celebrate the journey that has led to who I am today, regardless of the disappointments and pain that came with it. I choose the latter.
So what, then, is my narrative? It’s that God has given me the grace to get through all of my experiences, and along the way, He has taught me to walk in His presence by following His plan, not my own. I look forward to the days and years to come!