Tuesday, February 27, 2007

jumping off the cliff, a second time

Andrea checking in again. Well, sorry all for being so incommunicado for the past three months. I left off here, telling you all about how I was trying to reintegrate myself into a normal life again. I was living in Flint, staying with my parents working a temporary holiday job. I wish I could tell you everything went well while I was there, but that would not be entirely true. This past couple of months has brought on a lot of emotional turmoil and concepts for contemplation. To be brief, I have been struggling with a lot of issues of self identity.

I have come to realize I define myself largely by what I "do". I wasn't doing much while in Flint. Don't get me wrong, I really like Flint, I think it is an awesome town. I just wasn't in a position of doing much, only working part time. I started to get depressed and started doing even less then before. Living with your parents after a long time away from home is difficult. I truly wanted to be a good citizen but slowly started to fade into old patterns of lazing around the house and not helping out because I didn't absolutly have to. I realize, I need a structured life to keep me feeling positive. I need to move forward not dangle in some temporary thing. I value work, and I value supporting yourself. I wasn't really doing this while in Michigan and it took it's toll.

I knew embarking on this adventure, there would be hard times. I like being comfortable, I have always liked having my spot with all my stuff. I am not zen, I can't just give up everything and be content. (that's why everything is in storage.) I was concerned I wasn't going to like the transient life, yet was surprised at how well I felt I was coping with the first part of being on the road. It was when we stopped everything came into focus. Being around others who are so settled in their lives, and not really being settled in my own life was hard. I am a control freak therefore I like to have control over my environment, and this just hasn't been possible lately. I've been feeling lost and afraid. I also have been suffering from panic attacks that leave me paralyzed with fear of "are we doing the right thing?", "should I just quit all this and go back to a regular life...will that get rid of this fear?" The fear and panic I feel seem slightly irrational when looked at from the outside. My friends say, well, you know, you are going back on the road soon, so why are you getting stressed out about it. But what if it doesn't go away, I ask. Lately the fear has been all consuming, almost to the point of making me want to quit this trip. This trip which has been my dream for so long.

I'm no quitter though. I have to move forward. It is part of how I define myself. I have been feeling lost, and quite honestly I don't know if I can make it another six months on the road without having a breakdown. But I'm not quitting without trying. The problem with saying you want to have an experience that will change your life is, it does change your life. Things change, and you have to deal with that...the good and the bad. Its not like things change, the clouds open up, God comes out and says "my child, you have been strong and brave, you will lead a very successful life with no problems from here on out." No. Things have changed but I'm not sure how. All I know is, I feel differently and I need to redefine myself. This is uncomfortable, but so necessary. I've been working on allowing the panic to move through me, but not take over. I'm working on allowing myself to feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I'm trying to deal with the concept life is out of my control and this is ok. These issues have almost been harder if not as hard as climbing a mountain pass or sleeping in a cold damp sleeping bag during a horrific rainstorm or getting dehydrated and sunburnt from riding through 100 degree weather.

That's all part of the journey. I knew it was going to be hard, I guess I just didn't know what aspects were going to be hard and how they were going to affect me. Ira and I have been talking about this blog. People who have kept reading have commented on how it hasn't been so positive lately. But this is the true experience. Its so important to see the struggle, not just the physical but emotion and psychological struggle which is so integral to this. Hard times are necessary to appriciate the good ones. I know this all may sound trite, but you know some times you have too look in the mirror and say

I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darnit people like me.

anyhow, enough psycho babble. I just felt, I couldn't move on with this blog without telling you what I've been going through. So the whole picture could be seen and understood.

Thanks for all of you who have supported us, it means everything. Tomorrow we're off to Texas to do it again. Getting ready to jump, can't think about it. Just have to get a running start and go.


boleroid said...

hey, you guys don't know me, but i just wanted to say that you seem like very cool people and the blog is awesome--a big part of the reason my gf and i went on a whopping 150mile tour last year...the first of many, i hope. anyhow, i felt kind of weird to be so psyched for round two of YOUR vacation, but here i am, very excited. good luck and godspeed!

Tom said...

Hi Andrea,

My brother Walt must have enjoyed your company because he emailed me your blog. As I read it I probably felt like a lot of people who wish they could live the adventure you two are having. Seems like we're all looking for the ultimate adventure. Just a few days ago Walt and I decided it was time for us to go white water rafting on the White Salmon River feeding into the Columbia River George. We didn't know it, but we both had that same dream for quite some time. You were in my neck of the woods on the last leg of your journey. I live in Salem and telecommute to Portland.

Your "jumping off the cliff" caption took on deeper meaning as I read down the page. You really spilled your guts in a very open, candid and sincere fashion. That's a courageous thing to do in a society that spurns admission of inadequacy or weakness or warts of any type. I'm speaking from the male perspective. I understand that females do a lot more emotion sharing than we do. But your depiction of the struggle reminds me of the first time in my life that I got the courage to open up to a friend about the disillusionment I was going through during my first years out of high school. It's probably your personality type that I can identify with. People with different personality types look at life with different perspectives. I seem to have similar struggles, so it's easy for me to identify.

I agree with your conclusion: "Things change, and you have to deal with that...the good and the bad. Its not like things change, the clouds open up, God comes out and says 'my child, you have been strong and brave, you will lead a very successful life with no problems from here on out.' "

Not in this life, anyway.

Even after walking with God for over 30 years now, I am still tempted to think tomorrow will be different and I won't have to struggle any more. Even though JESUS said " These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

The great part is that HE really does give peace, in the midst of our struggles. The hard part is following HIM when HE says "Go right", when everyone else is going left. Many times you're going it alone with HIM and most people think you're crazy. But most people aren't honest or humble enough to face their need for HIM.

He wasn't a quitter either. He endured the cross knowing it would make a way for us to reconnect with the FATHER.

One of the first things GOD showed me after I committed my life to HIM was that HE really did know exactly how I felt, and knew exactly what I was going through. I wasn't just a number to HIM. HE had time just for me.

My prayer for you is that you will hear HIS voice as you peddle through HIS creation, and will answer HIS loving call to become who HE created you to be. HE listens. HE knows your name. HE went through every struggle you go through, yet without sin. HE can truly identify with you.

It will cost you everything. HE gave HIS SON. HE gives us HIS SPIRIT to live in us when we turn to HIM. When you count the cost, we get the bargain. But only when you have an eternal perspective with Heaven at the other end. But it's the greatest adventure you'll ever have in this life, because you'll discover you're purpose for being here and have your Creator to help you through your struggles.

Thanks for listening.