Big Ball O’ Confusion

Along this path of being reborn, I’m finally seeing the pattern. I take a few steps, God holds my hand until my legs grow steady on the new ground, He smiles at His little toddler son, points to a new place on the path and we start again.
At this point, just starting to see this pattern, I say to myself, “duh.” Yeah, I should have recognized this a while ago, since it’s pretty much the pattern of life, of growth and of change. Like I never heard the phrase “two steps forward, one step back” before. A phrase I have heard a time or two before comes to mind here: “Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.”
I could add a few more – “not the brightest color in the box”; “three fries short of a Happy Meal”; “dumber than a box of rocks” (or a bag of hammers, according to my friend Donnie); and one that I believe I myself was the first to add on to – “not only doesn’t have both oars in the water, but lives 5 miles away from the lake.”
If I wasn’t the first one to add that, don’t tell me. I’ve got enough to sort through today. Thanks.
Now, where was I? Oh yeah – the pattern, or as it’s becoming known around here (at least for the next 5 minutes or so), Cal’s DUH moment or three.
Here’s where the pattern differs a little bit from the usual… I am a toddler with the mind and life experiences of a 52 year old. That’s one HECK of a big baby… So the acceptance of one lesson at a time, one new thing to learn, one thing to get down before taking the next wobbling step? It’s a little hard when your adult mind not only sees the baby steps, but the next 15 or so that have to follow this one in order to make any sort of progress.
The child mind takes delight in the one little step. (granted, those little steps are often mixed in with hyperactivity and come at the speed of light, but there is delight, on some level, for however brief a moment it is…) One thing done, one thing learned, one lesson that will have to be repeated to make it stick, but one more step on the path. And sometimes, if you’re very fortunate, you get a cookie.
The adult mind tends to have the progress meter engaged at all times – Where have I come from, and where am I going? How am I getting there, and does this next step move me toward or away from that goal? And at the end, you don’t get a cookie – just more butt kicking.
And the child mind, in a rare show of unity with the adult mind, cries out, “Why can’t I have a cookie? Oh, the injustice of it all!”
Sorry – that just slipped out.
So, are you seein’ the conflict here? ‘lemmie ‘splain…
To understand this, realize what a total, devastating, wonderful, amazing, horrifying, beautiful, overwhelming ride this past year has been for my body and mind. I’ve been saying all along that I think this journey has been 95% mental, and I’m sticking with that number.
(truth be told, to change that number now would only confuse me. I don’t get along well with numbers)
So you have 52 years of life experience buried in a body that bears very little resemblance to what it was a year and a half ago, and a mind that sometimes doesn’t recognize myself in the mirror. Some confusion is allowed here, I should think.
The biggest result of this seems to be that I get overwhelmed with multiple choices. And by multiple choices, I of course mean, “more than one.”
If you see my beloved Vicki today, give her an extra hug. She needs it.
She’ll ask me, “what would you like to do today – this or this?” Two choices. One, two. And in response, she gets Bambi in the headlights. *uh….*
So, say that I actually man up and make a choice? A couple minutes later, I’ll still be making the decision that I already made, doubting the outcome AND throwing in a few other possibilities that weren’t mentioned before, just in case those sound more appealing to Vicki, who doesn’t really care one way or the other, and just wants me to MAKE UP MY MIND!
But she does that last with sweetness and patience, just to be clear.
(and yes, I know the use of the phrase “man up” previously could imply a) bad self image; b) lack of confidence in my masculine person; c) impatience with my own lack of steely-eyed will and determination; or d) acknowledgement of my permanent GirlyMan status. See what I mean by confusion?)
This, by the way, is why I do so much better with externally-applied structure, instead of internally-applied structure. Knowing that I have to show up at a certain place at a certain time because I am expected to be there, with consequences if I am not, makes me actually move along. If I’m the one cracking the whip, I’ll tell myself where to put the whip and go do some knitting. I’m a lousy manager.
Now, back to our original program, already in progress…
I need to remember what my journey is these days – one step, a little new ground underfoot. Hold my Father’s hand until my legs get steady on this different surface. Repeat the lesson a few hundred times until I can do it on my own. Repeat ad infinitum. Ad nauseum. World without end, amen.
The current lesson, for those who are interested: Take variables out of the equation. Make a plan the night before, get up the next day, do the morning routine (those things that must happen first thing upon starting my day), then get the plan going and executed. That night, sit down, look at the plan for today, move over stuff that didn’t happen, make tomorrow’s plan… Repeat and serve. Cold. With a little umbrella.
When I write it out like that, it makes such perfect sense. Simple, nice, easy. (sort of, depending on what the plan for that day is…) But my wobbly legs aren’t quite steady on this piece of ground. My head isn’t in sync with these uncertain steps. I’ve got a few barks on my shins, some rough patches on my knees where I’ve hit them hard, and although I keep asking, Vicki doesn’t buy me the cool bandages with pretty things on them, so I all I get are the plain fleshie colored thingies.
Alright, that last bit was just a little humor. If I really wanted the cool bandages, Vicki would probably let me buy them. She’s kind like that. And if not, our doctor certainly would. In fact, she’s given me a Barney bandage before. She’s also kind like that.
My Father is teaching me that all I need for today is what He will give me today. My adult mind and experiences have to get set aside on the shelf. Not gotten rid of – the wisdom gained and the lessons learned have and will continue to serve me well. To paraphrase and shamelessly rip off a thought from Cars 2, “the dents remind me of things I don’t want to forget.” My adult mind brings the patience and perspective that my child mind needs, lest the wide-eyed toddler turn into the defiant demon-child.
I’ve got to go through this – I simply have no choice. The more I try to speed up the process or work around it, the further behind I get. The process has to move at God’s pace, since He’s the one doing the rebuilding. He is the contractor, the architect, the owner of the building, and the keeper and sustainer of it all.
Father, when confusion would blind my eyes and shackle my mind, remind me of what You’ve told me all along… “my chains are gone, I’ve been set free.” Grant patience for the process, help my wobbly legs to find their place, give me a little more solid footing each day and teach me how to navigate in my new life. Help me to eliminate the variables, make the plan, execute the plan, but also to recognize that the plan is Yours, not mine. Keep me in step with You, as we walk the path together.
Oh, and give Vicki some extra hugs today. As I said, she really needs ’em. Thanks.
Amen.

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