I have never been good at beginning things. Introductions aren't my thing, really.
This summer has come rather silently. Like in my previous blog post, I said that this summer is different. I have been "laying low." I have been doing a lot of the same thing everyday, I have spent a lot of time alone, and I have struggled through different waves of sadness and anxiety.
Being the extrovert that I am, I have spent an uncomfortable amount of time alone this summer. I think I was partly anticipating some of my loneliness, but I was definitely not expecting the actual amount of time that I have spent in the company of yours truly. When I am alone, however, I try really hard to make myself feel not alone. I read, I email, I listen to music, I call, I text, I write letters, and I pray for other people. I love loving others. I do. Nothing makes me happier than sending mail to people I love, or even just texting them to remind them that I am interested in their lives.
I desperately try to distract myself, from myself.
I am not saying that things that I do are bad, or wrong, but I realized, that without them... I was terrified. I was terrified to be alone with myself because of all the things that I would realize that I was doing wrong, or all the things that I didn't like about myself, or all of the things that make me sad, or all of things that made me mad. I wanted to remain in the land of distraction, so I didn't have to meet myself exactly where I was.
A few weeks ago, I was in Wisconsin.
Two nights before I drove back to Arkansas and to my monotonous routine, I walked down to the lake.
This lake in particular, has always represented peace. It is a place of refuge for me, and my family. It was an "in between" in a time of chaos, it holds memories that are precious, memories that are hard, and memories that would make you laugh so hard your stomach would hurt. Of all the things that the lake has and has not been, it has always been consistent and it has always been good.
All I could think about was how much I didn't want to go back to Arkansas. I didn't know what to do with all of these thoughts and feelings. So, I walked down to the water, and I sat on the pier. The sun was setting and God was saying, "Hello, Kinsley." And the waves were moving, but just slightly, as if someone was just breathing slightly over the water.
I was alone.
I didn't talk to anyone, I didn't read a story, I didn't do anything.
I just sat. I stared at the lake as if I was searching for something. And then, my sadness, my fears, and my insecurities walked up to me, and sat right by me. And instead of rushing to find something to transport me back to the land of distraction, I greeted them like old friends. I sad I am sorry for ignoring you, and I am sorry for running from you.
But what does it mean to be sad? What does it mean to embrace it?
I don't know the answer to that question. But I do know that life is not about being happy. Emotions are fleeting and they change at any given moment. Things in our control, and things that are out of our control all contribute to the constant adjustment of our mood. It is important that we don't ignore these emotions, but it's also important that we don't let them define who we are and what we cling to.
Sometimes, we are sad. But, as a dear and wise friend reminded me,
There is a way to be sad.
and there is a way to be sad well.
So, I will be sad.
I will learn what it means to be sad well.
I will be happy.
I will be happy well.
I will be alone.
and I will not be afraid.
.... and I will let the sunset remind me of, not happiness- no, but JOY and PEACE. The kind of joy that is deep and everlasting, and the kind of Peace that transcends all understanding.