Growing Pains

I’m sure we all remember growing pains. Those random aches in our joints growing up, so subtle and brief, finally resulting one day in a doctor-deemed “growth spurt.”

I wish they were only physical pains.

The aches that come with the growth of your soul, your mind, your heart – they hit so much deeper. Sometimes they’re brief, and sometimes they last for months at a time. There was a period of my life spent in depression, and now, looking back, I wonder if it was more of a powerful stage of growing pains in my heart. I came out broken and bruised, maybe not everything grew right, but I had more heart, more love, more empathy afterwards. I wonder if the things we see as so bad, so “negative,” are not sometimes just waves of growth, pushing us further upward toward the soil and the sun.

This past year has been a good one. I’ve been surrounded by the company of my dear mother, new and old friends, a new place in a new city, and our ridiculous pets. I’ve acquired a job that I’ve wanted for a long time that constantly deals with my favorite addiction: coffee. We’ve had teas, had adventures, strolled through the arboretum, taken walks. I’ve discovered so many interesting, beautiful people, I’ve gained friends and realized that I may not be as entirely hopeless in getting a date as I thought. I’ve made progress in some areas, gained knowledge, and learned more about – everything. I’ve had my prejudices challenged and diminished towards the Ever Wealthy, seen playing fields leveled and seen grace in action.

This past year has also been difficult. City life, I’ve learned, may not entirely be for me (something I would have completely disagreed with a few years ago). This job may also not be for me (something I would have certainly completely disagreed with for the past 8 years). I’ve learned that outside of community I wilt, that a job always surrounded by swarms of people and 8-minute timers sucks my soul, and that I can become so twisted from the base of who I am outside of a steady relationship with God and other people who try to have the same. I’ve remembered why I quit restaurant work and yet couldn’t bring myself to go back to assistant jobs. I feel more lost than I did a year ago, so much less sure of myself, of my life, of anything. The people that I thought would be steady strongholds undermine my confidence, say the most degrading things, cut others down with their words and laugh about it later in a show of insecurity and spite. The people I was unsure of, but looked up to, have turned out to be the most steady, kind, and sometimes misunderstood of anyone I’ve met. I’ve learned that first impressions are absolutely not everything, in fact, they’re usually nothing. And I’ve learned how good it feels to be honest, hence this post.

So, here I am, writing again for the first time in a long time, in the midst of a growth spurt.

I’m broken again, bruised again, breathing again. I’ve spent time with God, I’m figuring out life, and a spark of hope has been reignited. And I may even call up that guy and ask for another date, snide comments be blast. It’s time to live again.