packing light

#14 I’m just like everyone else

Ingrid told me this last night at Slat’s. She left her keys in my car so I drove to Belleview at 1045 last night to meet her at the pub across from her work and trade keys for food. We talked until almost 1am, when she was yawning and everyone else but the bartender had cleared out. He refilled waters and asked if we needed more sliders or fries. Last call, he said. But I think for Ingrid, there is no last call at Slat’s.

She asked about boys. She asked, more specifically, how I am doing with boys. I just laughed, shrugged and stuffed my mouth with fries dipped in BBQ sauce. How am I with the boys at Adullam? Fine, actually. Probably because this time next month I plan to be in another country. Probably because they own up to junk and so it’s impossible to put them on pedestals. Probably because I am so opposite of them. Probably because I don’t know what I’m doing with my life and I want to figure my own ish out before I join it up with anyone else’s.

I was going on about getting my masters. I was proposing teaching college or high school. I was talking about the exotic life I have wanted for years: living in Central Asia, speaking three languages, raising kids who are neither here nor there and running a restaurant from my third world kitchen. But then I was also saying that a part of me wants to stay. I want to be here, in the city or in the country. I want to raise kids who know America inside and out. I want to have a husband with a normal 9 to 5. I want to stay at home and bake for the neighbours. It’s a bit of a dichotomy, a convulsive war that is going to be sorted while I’m overseas. I think I must have sped up half way through the monologue when Ingrid reached over and put her hand on mine–frozen as it had reached for fries when I first began this talk.

“Honey. Stop.”

I stared at her, a little startled to be interrupted.

“Are you worried? Do you think you have to figure this all out? Do you think it’s bad that you don’t have it figured out? Do you feel under pressure to figure it out?”

I sort of nodded.

“Well, stop. None of us has this figured out. You have junk and questions and shit just like the rest of us. That’s what Jesus is all about. Live today, right now. Learn about who you are and trust God with the rest. You are just like the rest of us. Do you think there’s something wrong with you? That you aren’t on the same page because you’re still confused about some kind of life plan?”

I nodded again.

“Yeah, you aren’t different. You’re just like the rest of us.”

“Really?”

“Really. So quit worrying. And yeah, you’ve got baggage, of course you do, because no one is perfect. It’s a blessing you’re single. Here’s what you do, someone once told me: work through your junk. Get it sorted. We all have a big bag, but you’ve got to unpack it and get rid of it. Pack light for marriage. Let it all go and pack for an overnight but jump in like it’s the rest of your life. That’s the only way to do it. And stop stressing so much.”

 

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