My Makeshift Life: A Confession

 

As a writer, words come so naturally to me. They fly off my tongue and my fingers. They’re so malleable and I know just what to do with them. They’re friendly.

Numbers, on the other hand, terrify me. I look at a math textbook and read sentences like this:

“The length of each cathetus of a right triangle with equal catheti is equal to the square root of half of the square of the length of the hypotenuse.”

It’s like a foreign language to me. Until recently, my life has been a lot like living in a math textbook: strange, uncomfortable, and mostly incomprehensible.

When I moved back in with my parents in December so I could finish school, it was rather sudden like most of my major life choices. I keep doing that! I’m consistently making sudden choices, changing directions. As a result, I have a tense relationship with the present because I always expect it to change.

Confession: I’m still living out of my suitcase after 9 months because I’m afraid to unpack. Aren’t I just going to up and move again?

Until a few weeks ago, I worked a job that was not physically demanding but required me to work long hours overnight. I would start my shift on a Friday night at 5:00 PM and leave on Saturday at 4 AM. Go home, sleep for a few hours, try to get some homework done, pack a meal, and then do it again. It was just until I finished school, I told myself. It wasn’t permanent, just makeshift.

For a little awhile, the house I was living in was under construction, so some nights the air mattress would be in one room and the next it would be in another. My mom would text me when I left work so I knew where to crash when I got home. It wasn’t permanent, just makeshift.

I have a different job now with more normal hours, but there are still things about my life that are far from settled. Still in-between, still makeshift. And as I am trying to have a somewhat normal routine with all of these moving pieces, I recognize that I’m setting patterns that will likely continue into rest of my life. Chaotic. Messy. And I think to myself: this isn’t the kind of legacy I want to leave behind. This isn’t how I want to be known. 

I’m afraid to unpack my suitcase. Yes, I can pack up and move my life across the country without batting an eye, but ask me to stay and my heart freezes the same way my brain does when I open up that math textbook. I never readily commit. I like the option of leaving.

Any guy I go out with I will be sure to mention, at least once, “I’m not in the area permanently.” But what if I wanted to stay, for awhile, at least? I’m so used to going nonstop that I don’t recognize myself when I’m still.

Who am I if I’m not the girl who leaves? Maybe I could become the girl who stays.

Do I plan on staying in Nashville? Not really. I plan on moving away for grad school and  then who knows where I’ll end up.  But maybe, for now, I could live like I’m staying in Nashville forever. Put down roots. Take risks in relationships and make commitments.

Being hard on myself by saying things like “This isn’t how I want to be known” will never take me to the right place. How desire to be known is the most insignificant thing in the world. Frankly, who cares?

“How can I make Him known?” is a much more important question. All of this frantic wishing and worrying is proof of my own self-absorption. Where in Scripture is anyone who is following God’s will obsessed with their own desires? Instead, where is the “Thy will be done” attitude of my own heart?

In a way, my life is meant to be makeshift. I should not become too comfortable with this life because it is fleeting compared eternity. So, as I plod along on my little journey of life, fretting whether I ought or ought not to “unpack my  suitcase”, God is probably smiling gently and saying to the angel next to him, “don’t they know it’s all makeshift?”

I give so much credence to my own problems, but they aren’t really even problems.  How relaxed I should be when I know that tomorrow and the next day don’t belong to me. Today does, though, and all I have to do is show up. I can commit to that. The rest will fall into place.

 


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