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Monday, August 31, 2009

Things fall apart...

Over the past twenty four hours, I have come to realize that there are a few regrets in my life that will forever gnaw at my conscience. While I am not perfect, I’m not completely imperfect. I know I’m not the most attractive or most attentive or most accomplished person in this world, but I also know that I want to be the best person that I can be. I just want to be me, imperfections and all.

I used to believe in the aphorisms that tell us to “live life to the fullest, with no regrets,” but I am realizing that these expectations do not coincide with the ways that I feel. Moreso than specific situations or actions or relationships, I find myself regretting how I have made other people feel. I regret not visiting with my grandmothers longer, I regret bringing added stress to my family and the people who care deeply about me, I regret plotting revenge before listening to the other side of the story, and perhaps mostly I regret not always being true to myself. I’ve haphazardly noticed the writing on the wall and knew that the search party was on the hunt for the Ashley that everyone “understood,” only I would not and could not appreciate the subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints until now. It’s somewhat prohibitive to assert that sometimes “now” is too late, but I do admittedly feel that way. I feel stuck, like my life is at a stagnant standstill. Today has been one of the days like I love – overcast and just barely cool outside, with light rain and the hum of the evening bugs that forgot to set their alarm clocks. I can walk through the house and feel the breeze through my open windows, listen to the cicadas and katydids, and practically smell the next afternoon shower. Everything about this day says that today is a great day, except the regrets that are gnawing holes through my conscience.

I am trying to protect the glue that holds me together, because a hysterically frantic Ashley is one that my world does not need. I find strength in knowing that some things must fall apart in order for better things to fall into place and I will always be a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Without the bumps and potholes in our lives, the boundaries of our souls are never explored. The successes that we experience create who we are and the downfalls are simply strategically interwoven learning experiences. Instead of living life with no regrets, I think I will stick to trying to make every day count. My regrets will always be a part of me, but only a tiny part, and a part that I will not allow to define who I am.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. [Ecc. 3:1-8]

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sneaky snakes...

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:3 KJV

After much procrastination and reluctance, I finally mowed my grass yesterday. It seems that lately, the opportunities I’ve had to mow have been diffused by either the inconvenience of working night shift or by the unmerciful rainstorms that seem to transpire during my “free time.” Nonetheless, I decided to bite the bullet and spend some quality time with the Bolens 5.0 Torque push mower to keep up with my neighbors’ expectations. Result: the front yard looks very nice today (except for the heaps of cut grass that should be, but won’t be raked), however the backyard shall remain lush and overgrown until further notice. I was feeling confident and encouraged remembering how nice the front yard looked, I pulled the mower backwards past the patio area and saw it. Black, vermicular, lubricious. It’s onyx scales glistened in the evening sun as every fiber of my being came unglued. I’m sure the neighbors appreciated their newfound quiet, no longer interrupted by the noxious melody of the mower, but I’m also positive that I came out on top of that deal, finding the safety of the indoors much more favorable.

The incident just made me wonder - why did this snake have to cross my path? Was this simply luck of the summertime draw or one of those things that happens for a reason? In the Bible, God curses and punishes the serpent for deceiving Eve by forcing him onto his “belly,” thus chastising the snake with defeat and utmost humiliation for his malificent intentions. I started thinking, what “snakes” have I allowed into my life? What serpents are lurking, waiting to strike me at a weak point? Allow me to clarify, these people are not completely bad. They’re often very wise, observant, and powerful because of the mysteriously intimidating reputation they carry. I found mine and red-flagged him today, and in retrospect, he measured up to all of the forementioned characteristics. Stunning and beautiful from a distance, yet dangerous and almost feared when I let him get close to me. He found me when my confidence overshadowed my weakness, and my personal life took a temporary evanescent plunge.

The intention of this post is not to shed negative light on any specific individual, but instead to emphasize that we must always be aware of the company we keep. Furthermore, we have to be true to ourselves and what we know. I recently discovered a quote from novelist James Arthur Baldwin that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind… “Experience, which destroys innocence, also leads one back to it.” My experience caused me to leave behind the simplicity that I knew, but eliminating him from my life will lead me back to what I have known and will know about myself and my life in general. The simplicity and purity of Jesus' message is one that we must continually strive for in our hearts, and just that will prevail in our relationships, without the influence of those sneaky snakes.

PS. Daddy’s coming tomorrow to help with the lawn.