Midnight Ramblings of the Raccoon

19 01 2010

I feel like either a raccoon or a zombie.

As I have little experience with either one (barring the time Tyler and I visited the most run-down alligator farm you’ve ever seen in your life and discovered, upon entering the lobby to pay, that three baby raccoons wereAt Jungle Adventures with my little raccoon buddy loose in the building—which was really vastly more interesting than the hundreds of lethargic alligators lurking under the water), I guess I don’t have to make the call as to which one I’m more like.

I’d probably prefer comparing myself to a raccoon, I guess.

It’s 2:55 in the morning, and I can’t sleep. Since everyone knows the best cure for insomnia is to get up and do something, I decided to join my furry guard dog in the living room for some bonding time. He bailed out and immediately fell asleep next to me, so I’m on my own.

To fill my insomniac hours tonight, I’ve been thinking about how much has changed in the last six years of my life. Six years ago, I was eighteen.

Often, I echo the immortal words of Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With The Wind” and think that I’m looking back “unmoved” on a totally different person.

Six years ago, I was burning the candle at hyper-speed on both ends: cross country and track captain, drama, Arts Club, Student Ambassadors president, newspaper head editor, senior class newspaper editor, writer for the school’s newsmagazine, concert band section leader, pep band, marching band….add about twenty more things to that list, not to mention single-handedly running a giant underground newspaper for the student body. Art exhibitions on the weekends, Student Ambassador events on Saturdays, and a jam-packed social calendar that took up pretty much every other waking moment. I actually don’t remember ever getting more than a few hours of sleep until I was about 22. Well, and tonight. Darn.

Six years ago, I was juggling not only all of these heavy obligations, but also boys, school, and the excitement of college in a far-off state. I had more friends than I knew what to do with, I had a closet full of clothes I didn’t spend a dime of my own money on, and I was a household name around my high school community.

Remembering back to that incredibly hectic time of my life, the pace of life I’m living now seems far less busy. Yet, I still feel like I’m burning that candle way too quickly. It’s like an uncomplicated, slow-paced life is the carrot dangling on the stick in front of me—I never quite reach it, but I never stop trying.

Now, I’m busy all the time—but my focus has narrowed. Instead of scores of friends, I have three faithful buddies I spend every weekend with. I adore my confirmation small group of girls, I get excited about going out to ice cream with my youth, and the highlight of my night is watching a single episode of “Criminal Minds”. Adventures don’t mean going out on a friend’s yacht and spending the entire day cruising—they now mean taking the dogs to the dog park and meeting the other dog owners there.

Great memories don’t come from parties or Prom–they come from simply hanging out with some co-workers at a Mexican restaurant after the staff party or playing a board game with friends.

You wouldn’t catch me paying to get my nails done, or paying for expensive coffee every day like I used to six years ago. No longer do I give a hoot what anyone in my graduating class is doing.

Six years ago, I loved being single. I loved doing crazy things. And, I was just starting to put together the fact that I loved people, theology, creativity, and education—and hey, wouldn’t that be a great combination for a career?

In these last six years, I’ve experienced plenty of heartbreak, frustration, and lots of setbacks. I’ve had best friends betray me, math teachers ruin my otherwise perfect GPA, and developed a total intolerance of cilantro.

But, in the last six years, I worked as a resident assistant and learned more in that role than in any class I took in college. I discovered that I absolutely adore learning and spending time in school. I fell in love and got married. I moved all around the country and met a whole slew of amazing people. I landed a job and a career that I love, and figured out a whole lot of things about myself—including the important realization that I very much dislike being submerged underwater. (Unfortunately, that was a costly lesson—one that I didn’t learn until after I bought the top-of-the-line scuba equipment for that class in college).

Most importantly, I’ve seen God work in undeniable, tangible ways in these last six years. I’ve experienced Him orchestrating the smallest details in my life and weaving them into an amazing tapestry.

God has carefully prepared me for every step of my journey in ways I never would’ve guessed, and never would’ve planned for myself. I’ve been stretched more than any of those stupid toys everyone secretly wants to destroy. God has worked through people I’ve encountered and provided financially and physically in ways that still cause me to shake my head in wonder.

Sometimes it feels like a century ago that I was in high school, even though it really wasn’t that long ago. And sometimes it feels like I learned about a century’s worth of lessons in just these last six years.

No doubt I’ll look back in a few more years and laugh at how mature I thought I was at 24—but I’m really looking forward to the additions and insights that will be coming then.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t include habitual insomnia.

Raccoon, signing off.

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