Life has been strange lately. The landscape around me has seemed to change swiftly. One moment things were plodding along as I had come to expect. I went to work. I went to church. I took care of my husband and my home. Life had an expected rhythm, and while it was not everything I hoped it would be, I was grateful at least for a sense of normality. But, oh how swiftly things change. Almost overnight, things shifted. For someone who prides herself on planning and making sure that things run smoothly, I was in for a surprise. Unexpectedly, things at work changed, and I found myself no longer comfortable there. My comfort zone was obliterated. In church, while that has always been a place of peace, it became strained. I did not have the same desires I once had to be in the same church at the same times. I began to get annoyed with church as usual. Church people as usual. Me as usual in the church. With my husband and home, nothing was wrong, but I began to desire more. I wanted home to be more than just my haven, but a place where my husband and I could build a kingdom together. This translated to our finances, our relationship, and even to discussions about our future children. Different thinking. Unexpected thinking. With all of these changes, it felt almost as if I were in the middle of a place called nowhere. I could not place my finger on any particular feeling or thought. Things were not good or bad. They just were. Instead, all around me, things appeared listless and frenzied at the same time. My perfectly patterned life was no longer on track, and I struggled with that. I found myself falling into depression as I looked at my life, and I began to dissect the areas in which I had always battled. I did not live up to even my own expectations. I was not living the amazing life I had dreamed for myself. I wasn’t even close. Those dreams and goals I had set seemed to be a long time coming, and I was getting tired of the grind. I wanted to give up. But in this wilderness place, I remembered that I just can’t give up. It was not because of me, really, but it was because of those around me–those who were watching–those who told me they were inspired by my life–those who were counting on me to succeed. As much as I wanted to give up, I could not for their sake. So, while life is not perfect, and while some things are still not where I want them to be, I choose to believe again. I choose to believe in what God has told me–in what is in my heart. I will make it out of this wilderness place. I will see every dream and goal that I dared to believe. If you find yourself in this place, dare to dream again. Dust yourself off, and start walking towards that amazing place you see in your mind and feel in your heart, but just have not gotten there yet. That destined place is waiting outside of the wilderness. Don’t give up.
Emotions are running rampant. Frustration and fear, disbelief, uncertainty, and in some cases jubilation and hope–all of these emotions coming on the heels of one of the most serious rollercoaster rides in U.S. history, involving the 2016 Presidential election. I would be fabricating the truth quite a bit if I were to say that I was not disgusted by some of the low-down and dishonest things said and perpetrated by both major candidates. I would also be lying to myself if I said that I was elated at the choices I had to pick from for U.S. President. I am one that was mostly tired of the back and forth, and tired of the negativity from both sides. The hatred and ridiculous things spewed made me realize that America still has a long way to go. To be such a powerful nation, this power seems to be pushed aside to almost act like middle schoolers who have to have the last word. The end goal is forgotten in the effort to have the best for one’s self, and to make sure that no one else can have what you believe is your own. Childish tendencies for sure, but this behavior became the status quo. Now, as we soak in the fact that we have elected a President with no prior political experience, and one who is known to say and do whatever he likes, the call now is for unity. On the other side, we could have elected a President who is seemingly dishonest, and it is difficult to determine her exact motives and thoughts. Yes, indeed, we need to be a unified nation. I agree that we are stronger together than we are apart. But how do we become that unified front without first healing the wounds inflicted from all sides? This election has brought out the worst in everyone. Hurtful and distasteful commentary has flown from side-to-side, but now we are standing in the aftermath, and we have to confront the fact that the commentary did nothing but divide. What we forgot in the midst of our childish tantrums, was that we are all one people. We all bleed the same blood. We all hurt the same way. Our experiences may be different, but one thing remains regardless of the color of our skins or the distinguishing characteristics of our persona, we are all human. When will we decide to see beyond the skin, beyond different experiences, and beyond our own selfish mentality, and understand that the fate of humanity is within our own grasp? If only love would abound, and understanding would emanate from the pores of people, what could our world be like then? So, what’s next is up to us. Will we be better or stay bitter?