Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Drawing Away

I used to blame it on being the one stuck in between everyone else, with no space to call my own, other than half the bedroom closet when you closed the doors around me. Blamed it on being one of half a dozen who entered this world so close together we almost slammed into each other. (Mama probably felt that way.) Blamed it on growing up in a constant hubbub of noise and chaos, always grabbing at the dinner table to get enough to eat, arms reaching over each other, always fighting for the front seat, or middle seat but not the last one that faced backwards and made you feel sick. Always looking for someone else's lost shoe and we'd be late for church and have to wait for a standing song when we could walk down the aisle to the front row and slide in and nobody could see over Mama's black straw hat that she'd shoved on her head because with six slammed into each other there was never time to fix her hair. Those have been the explanations, the reasonings.

Is that really what it is? Being squished too much when I was little? I wonder.

His love language is quality time, with me. Mine isn't on that known list - gifts, acts of service, edifying words and one I can never remember but it's not mine either. Mine is personal space, large space that stretches as far and wide as the western side of Texas. Space that comes as a gift every single day, not in minutes but in hours of quiet and being alone. Why? Is it genetics, or did it come to be because of the slamming together time? And when, when did I get this way? Was I always like this, or did it grow and take on a life of its own from too many events in life leaving tracks on my backside? Looking back, which is sometimes a good thing, a healthy thing, to do, I always preferred my own company, playing dolls in the washroom, or curling up in a chair with a book, or weaving necklaces out of clover on the front lawn. All by myself. Sometimes others to play with, but usually content with just me.

And what's that got to do with this constant battle, feeling on the defense, feeling shoved and pushed by those who would demand my time, sometimes gently and sometimes not so much, doing all the things not on my list of what I want to do? My list is made up of things that don't require anyone else, but rather just me. The things that make them happy, fill their days, satisfy their deep longings often feel like they are smothering mine til they almost die out or at least sit there forgotten for long pieces of time.

Why does everything in me rise up when I feel a personality coming at me, forcing, insisting that I follow this path, make this choice, bend this way, spend all my time of their choosing - when everything in me wants to go the opposite direction?

Is it rebellion? Is it left-over baggage from more than one firm hand over me? Or is it just the way I'm bent?

Jesus, I wonder sometimes in those moments when I'm feeling like a tube of squeezed out toothpaste, and looking worse for the wear, if you ever felt the way I often do? Surrounded by crowds and multitudes, and a group of motley men who could not get along much of the time, with strong opinions and suggestions and a list of 'you shoulds' - is that why you drew away to a lonely place, went to the other shore, got up early, before everyone else? I know you went to pray, but did you also, sometimes, just enjoy a little time to yourself? I so hope that was part of the reason.

It would mean you understand my need for wide open spaces, for white pages on the calendar with nothing written, and if I did all I'd write would be 'putz'.  Would you understand, if I'd been one of the group that traveled with you, if I'd snuck off now and then, just to be alone a bit. Surely there were followers who lagged behind just to have some air that hadn't already been breathed and exhaled?

I hope so. I pray so. I hang onto knowing I was knit together, crafted exactly how I am, and you understand, even when I don't. Even when they don't. Thank you for grace, in the gift of this man, my life companion, who understands too, is pleased to be with me, yet gives me wide open spaces to dwell in sometimes, when the way you made me rises up and makes demands to have some room to breath.

"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Luke 5:16

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