Sunday, February 26, 2017

A New Chapter

Have you ever been in the middle of your life and it just hits you that you're in a new chapter?  I don't mean that it gradually comes up on you and you're like "oh, hey, this must be a new point in my life" kinda thing.  I mean like "a semi-truck just hit you and you're left standing there not knowing how it happened, but you know that you're at a time in your life that will never be the same as long as you live and you don't really know if you like this point in your life" kinda thing.  I'm there.  And it's been hard to come to the realization that I'm here.

It all started when we moved from Ohio to Kentucky.  We've all been there (not the moving, but where I'm going with this)...where we have to make new friends.  I don't really like to make new friends...mostly because I'm very guarded cuz I don't like to get hurt, I don't like to be judged, and let's face it, friendships are hard and take a lot of time and energy and growing.  I'm an extrovert by nature...and I know lots of people...but to let them in my inner circle, well, that takes a lot of walls being torn down and I'll be honest, I like my walls.

When we came here, I immediately met some fabulous people.  I wasn't gonna let them in, but they were fabulous.  In fact, I really was shocked when we decided to host a life group and God put these people in our group.  It took time to let them in...first I let them in my house.  Then I let them in talking to me during the week instead of just life group.  Then I let them in my life.  Yeah, they just tore down those walls and walked right on in...and never have I once regretted it.

So we've been friends with these people for a decade (that makes it seem more dramatic). We've done life with these people.  We've shared secrets.  We've been in our children's lives.  We've lived life together.  And let me tell you, if you've never been in a life group or aren't in one now, you're missing out.  I could not be where I am today with these family.  It's the most amazing...and scariest...feeling in the world to trust people that you love.  When I talk about our life group, I talk about my family...cuz they truly are family and we go through the good, bad, and ugly together...and STILL love each other in the end.

Anyhoo, I'm at a music conference this month and I get a text from Hubby that my friend's mom died.  Now...before I go on, I will tell you that my friend knows that I hate the words "passed away".  It seems ridiculous to me.  I remember my grandfather's funeral and how everybody said that he "passed away" and I was like "passed away to what...didn't he die".  I know it's PC to say "pass away", but, shockingly, I'm not much PC when it comes to this.  Call it what it is, my grandfather died.  Don't sugar coat it.  I know he's in Heaven.  I know he's with God...but he didn't "pass away" to get there...he just died.

Okay, so my friend's mom has died.  I am sitting in the den of my hotel room watching HGTV and eating soup and I literally started sobbing.  Why in the world am I sobbing?  I kept thinking "it's not my mom, it's not my family member, why can't I get it together".  I can't even talk to Hubby when he calls.  I cannot get my act together.  I don't mean a few tears.  I'm talking an ugly, disgusting cry.  Don't get me wrong, I have met this woman numerous times throughout the time of knowing my friend.  Such a sweet woman...loved her family...was such a special part in the lives of her grandchildren...a remarkable lady that I am so glad that I got to know and spend time with her...but I knew her daughter.  I did life with her daughter.

As I sat in bed that night, I kept crying.  At this point, someone might think something is seriously wrong with me...and then it hit me...a cold, hard, ugly truth...I'm at the point in my life where my friend's parents are dying.  And then a whirlwind of emotions came running through my head...but the one that wouldn't go away was...I am at the point of my life where our parents are getting older and they will eventually die.


And they do.  I've talked with a few people about this that have said "yes...I've thought about this and it scares me".  Well, congratulations cuz it scares me too.  I've had friends and family die around me all my life.  I've never been sheltered from that kind of stuff, but now that I'm older, it hits harder.  I still cry about my grandfather's death and Hubby's grandparents death.  These are people that I love dearly and they died.  And now people that I love dearly have people that they love dearly that are dying.

I get the circle of life.  I understand that people are born and people die.  I get that it's a happy occasion when people that have a relationship with God die and they are going to live in heaven in a much better life than we could ever fathom here on earth.  But it still hurts.

And then another emotion hit...I have feelings...and have feelings for my friends that have become family.  I was upset because I knew that my friend was hurting.  It was something that I was very confused about.  I knew this sweet lady that had died, but I didn't know the ins and outs about her.  I know her family because they are my family.  I was hurting because her family was hurting.  It was weird...almost like a revelation.  Am I getting soft in my old age or are these emotions going to start pouring out my heart and eyes at the drop of a hat?

So for two weeks, anytime I thought about my friend, I've had tears in my eyes.  Tonight, as I type this, I have tears in my eyes for a friend who's dad isn't doing well.  I feel like "new" me is an emotional basket case.  I feel so weak.  Yes, I said it, I feel weak.  I've always been one to act (see how I know it was an act) strong because that's what everybody needed me to do and I felt like I needed to do it for me.  And being a pastor's wife sure hasn't helped.  I hear the pain in people's voices and see the pain in their eyes sometimes before they even tell me anything.  I've cried with people as we sit in silence about things that I never thought I'd show any emotion about...and I can't tell you that I've never left a conversation thinking "what in the world is wrong with me...get your act together Kelley".

So friends, there it is...I'll be 40 years old in August...I've got a loving and fabulous Hubby...I've got three boys that I love dearly that keep me on my toes...I've let people in my life while I'm kicking and screaming to build those walls back up...and my new chapter is that I am allowing myself to show emotion...or God is just saying that He's tearing down a few more walls in my life.

And I've also learned that I love my life group apparently more than my mind let on.  I don't know what I'd do without this group of people.  I know that they have been with us through some of the hardest times in my entire life...we have cried together...laughed together...held each other accountable...been frustrated together...gotten/given advice to each other...been real together...and I can honestly say that I'm honored to do life with them...and completely happy that they tore down the walls in my life whether I was expecting it or wanting it and now they are all a part of Our Life By Numbers!

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Grace and Peace,