So, yesterday marked exactly three weeks. Three weeks since my parents and two of my younger siblings headed to Southern Indiana to teach at EBI, thus leaving my brother Dallas and I at home to hold down the Neuschwander fort amid rain, sleet, snow, and blizzard! (literally) It’s kind of ironic how these three weeks began and ended the same way. Snow day!
I’ve been back home in the Shire for about 8 months now, which is incredibly hard to believe! I came home from Europe and school having goals and knowing there were things that I needed to do, learn, and work through before heading off into the great wide world…and some of those goals have been accomplished and things have definitely been learned., but far too many things have not, and I’m realizing that my time here is winding down…quickly.
I wanted to come home and rest- needed to come home and rest. Easier said than done. I quickly realized that I didn’t know how. Life has continued to be crazy and I came to the end of 2013 realizing some scary things. I think one of the scariest things that I realized was that if someone would ask me what I enjoy doing, I wouldn’t really know what to say. A lot of the things that I do, I have done so I could get to a place where I feel like I’m competent enough to actually use them in real life, but much of it has been the rushing drudgery of the practice of it all. And I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. So what do I enjoy doing? So much of my time I have literally spent rushing through life, having my moments consumed with what I feel like I need to get done, while during the doing my mind would constantly be engaged with planning my next to-do list. Pathetic, I know.
I also realized how incredibly selfish I’ve been with my life. I am an introvert. I love being by myself. Interactions with people can be stressful and taxing, and I have to make myself be proactive about interacting with people or I could very easily become a hermit. Or a crazy cat lady…minus the cat. I’m really more of a goldfish person…but then I digress. Anyways, I realized that some things needed to change. School was always the perfect excuse to not have to go to events or be around people. “I’m so busy…I have to practice…paper to write…rehearsal to go to…test to study for.” All legitimate excuses, but now that’s changing.
Let me preface the rest of this writing by saying that I LOVE my family and am blessed beyond measure to have them in my life, and this is in no way saying anything contrary to that! But we aren’t a small family, and for those of you who know us, we aren’t a quiet family either! J So the three weeks they were gone was something that I really think my introvert soul needed.
The first day they were gone was the first Sunday of the winter that we got royally snowed in, and the next day the café was closed, so I got TWO WHOLE days where I didn’t have to go anywhere, and other than Dallas, I didn’t have to talk to anyone! I spent a lot of time reading…just reading. It was FUN! I actually sat down and read a book just for FUN. I could. It wasn’t a text-book, it wasn’t deep and theological, it was just a fun Agatha Christie mystery. I played piano. I didn’t practice piano. I played. I finally felt like I had the time to figure out just what it is that I actually enjoy doing, because I’ve been finding out that I really don’t know. ..
It was lovely just to have time to ponder things about life, to realize that even though I have to force myself to do things sometimes (like writing on this blog) I really am happier when I do them. Being able to create something and expose it instead of keeping it locked up in a jumbled blur of my own mind is so much more fulfilling than just locking myself and my thoughts away. Being alone has also made me realize that, even though I enjoy it, it CANNOT be the purpose of my life. I want to make a difference, I want to make an impact, and that can only be done through some sort of contact with the outside world. Some sort of relationship. Some sort of giving out of what I have obtained. We were created for this, and unless I’m willing to step out and at some point start taking the training I’ve had and using the things I have learned, all the practice and study that I have done in private will have been completely useless.
So Dad, mom, Maria and Ethan came back last night and the house is once again filled with people and, yes, noise, but it’s good. Because if I can’t take all the things that I have learned in these past few weeks and flesh it out in real relationships with real people, than there was no point, and it will have all been wasted. I can’t let that happen, I don’t want to let that happen. I don’t want to live a selfish life where I refuse to invest in relationships because I have to put forth effort when I would rather be at home by myself. That is not what any of us were created for. I’m learning a lot about true freedom, joy, and how to actually live life, not just survive until the next thing. Because life is made up of moments that each need to be lived individually and I look back with regret at how many moments I’ve wasted just planning other moments. There comes a point when you actually have to BE what you are trying to become.
Anyways, for anyone who is actually taking the time to read this, I would implore you to keep me accountable to what I’ve said! Don’t let me lock myself away from relationships or shy away from doing hard things. Remind me that life isn’t about me, and slap me up alongside the head if I start to forget it!
Happy last week of January 2014, everyone! And may you truly consume every iota of joy from every moment this week!