Welcome to the Next Chapter

I’ll be honest, I didn’t run today. In fact, I haven’t run in over a week. But I can still ramble like nobody’s business. Now, I don’t know if there’s still an audience out there, but RRG is willing to talk to anyone who is willing to listen.
If you’ve been on this journey with me since the beginning 5+ years ago, or even if you joined the ride somewhere along the way, you know that this has been a sounding board for my struggles. And of those there have been many.
It’s funny, isn’t it, how when you are in the midst of a trial and you can’t see the way out, you definitely can’t see the purpose for the struggle. You might remind yourself of Kanye’s lyrics occasionally, “N-now th-that that don’t kill me, can only make me stronger…” and you might even convince yourself those words are true, but you certainly don’t know what the “stronger” is going to look like or why it’s necessary.
As I was driving home today after work, it occurred to me that tonight is the last night I will be alone in my house. My beau has been gradually moving his stuff in here, but he’s back in Shrewsbury for one more week. Tomorrow night the kids come back from their dad’s. On Wednesday, my brother, sister in law, niece and nephew, and my mom, will arrive for the weekend festivities. On Friday, my nieces fly in and the Kirksville crew will make the drive down. As of Saturday, this will be an even fuller version of “our house”.
So, what does one do on their last night of solitude? Well, I stopped at the library to drop off some books, I went into Barnes and Noble to pick up a birthday present for my almost teenager, I hit up Gold’s Gym for a workout and I went to counseling. Exciting stuff, right? And now, here I sit, with the remnants of my organic frozen pizza and the last of the bottle of wine I was working on over the weekend and I’m contemplating the events of the last 7-ish years.
As I prepare to turn the page on this chapter, I think about all that I accomplished. I learned how to be a home owner, I learned to be a single parent, I became an Ironman, I went back to school, graduated with honors and became a nurse, with a real job. But tonight when I pulled into the garage, it was obvious to me that those major life events that I’ve tackled, pale by comparison to the things that don’t really have a label.
When I was a newly single home-owning parent, there were nights I would pull into the garage and sit in the car, sometimes for an hour or more, because I couldn’t bear the thought of going into an empty house. Tonight it was clear, I’m not afraid of the empty house anymore. I haven’t been afraid in a long time, but when did that transition take place? When we’re in it, we don’t see it happening, but then one day, it’s right in front of us and we realize that we made it.
When I got home, I was ready to jump out of the car and get the oven going for my pizza, but there was a song on the radio, and because I am a weirdo, I sometimes sit in the car to listen to a song to completion. This was the chorus, “I have won, and I have lost, I got it right sometimes, but sometimes I did not. Life’s been a journey, I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret. Oh and you have been my god through all of it.”
All of those nights that I was afraid of going into an empty, lonely house…I was never really alone. He was always there with me. And while this chapter is closing, and I’m about to embark on a new chapter, that will hold it’s own set of challenges, and struggles, and trials, but also so much joy, not only do I know that I will never be alone, I know that I can look back on these past struggles and I can say I’m ready for it. I made it. This is what the stronger looks like. I persevered through the hard part. Through all the hard parts. I did it. And even more importantly than that, I did it well.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4


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