12. Your proudest accomplishment?
My answer to this question does not make me proud so much as it makes me humble. Yes, I know that sounds anything but humble because here I am waxing poetic about it through social media and I just pointed out my own humility, which is usually a sign of some intense narcissistic pride. I promise, though, that this is real humble.
My proudest accomplishment is that I made it out alive. My childhood was a mix of strained silence and chaos, barely cloaked as normal. We moved a lot. My parents tried hard with what they had, but they didn’t have much. Adulthood hit hard and fast at age 14 in ways even I have not yet found words to fully express. High school was a blur of being a woman/child and never fitting in because of it, but masking it well. My dad was a cool suddenly single dad who did the best he could. My brother was my best friend through those years. My early 20s were streaked up one side and down the other with heartache and loss. And then I sailed away on a sailboat with a handful of fellow travelers and wound up in a hostel in Venezuela and came back up for air and real life 6 months later, all broken at last, as I should have always been. Some say that you can only keep up a ruse for 3 months. I managed to do so for more than 23 years. And so I returned home that summer to rebuild my life and my relationship with my dad and stepmom and I went to college finally and I did well. Then I found myself moving to Northwest Arkansas to finish school, and then I had to decide between seminary or work, and I chose the latter, and I am still not sure if I made the right decision. (It remains my only regret to date.) Along the way, I got super serious about not dying from obesity and I busted my tail and dropped a whole person in poundage and I still have a long way to go, but the doctor laughs when he sees my perfect lab reports and rejoices with me. And every morning I push through the bad, creaky knees and the early hour and I hit the pavement because I will not go down without a fight. It’s been 3 years since I started fighting – I will quit when I’m dead, I’ve decided.
So here I am, living quietly on the outside, but burning burning burning on the inside, serving college students and laughing in ways that I could not have laughed if I hadn’t sailed away all those years ago. And I am plotting new adventures all the while. I have the privilege of loving others as I have been loved by the One who loves best. And I think the people in my life are gifts I do not deserve. My life should have/could have/would have gone very differently than it did. It blows up every few years and I pick up the pieces and keep on moving because I don’t know anything but love and survival these days. I take no pride in how I’ve lived or not lived – what a waste of my time that would be.
When I think on the whole of my life through these 30+ years, I drop to my knees. It humbles me that I am here, that I have my past adventures and that more are to come. I am grateful for all of it, every little thing. The good, the bad, and the ugly brought me to HERE. All the failures, which are far more numerous than my successes, just feed the fire to keep going. I hurt deeply those I love, and still they forgive me, much to my amazement.
I am little. I am small. I am insignificant. But I am alive. That’s something.