“When I study and understand my life story, I can then join God as a coauthor. I don’t have to settle for merely being a reader of my life; God calls me to be a writer of my future.” – Dan. B Allender, To Be Told
I’m spending my summer in the south! … Well, technically I’m in North Carolina for the month of July, but “Summer in the South” sounds more exciting, doesn’t it?
So far, I’ve managed to survive the crazy humidity, Carolina thunderstorms, and slow-paced living, but what I’m most excited about are fireflies!
My childhood story begins in Nebraska. When I was a kid, we spent sticky summer nights at Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Yorktown, Iowa. The 4th of July meant corn on the cob and shooting fireworks with my cousins in the front yard of the country house Mom grew up in. We’d drink Coca-Cola from glass bottles and chased fireflies in the dark, hoping to catch one in an old mason jar with holes punctured in the lid. Fireflies were always my favorite.
I was reminded of these blissful summer nights tonight as I was walking alone through the neighborhood. I came across a bend in the road at the end of a field and I saw the tiniest, faintest blinking lights.
As I flashbacked to Iowan summers, I wished my nieces were with me, mason jars in hand. I wished my friends from Arizona were with me, especially those who had never seen fireflies before. I wished my people in Seattle were with me.
The sudden realization of my alone-ness crept up on me and my heart began to ache. I literally felt an aching in my chest. My natural instinct was to repress, close up my emotions, and continue my walk down the road. However, this past year has taught me a lot of things, one of which is self care. So, I slowly pulled my hands over my chest. I breathed. I held my aching heart. I allowed myself to feel.
I felt alone. I felt sadness. I felt grief and a little bit of shame. I felt anger. I felt joy. I felt a myriad emotions welling up inside of me, and I began to cry. As I watched the fireflies dance across the grassy landscape, tears rolled down my cheeks and I wept.
I wanted someone there. I wanted someone to share this moment with me. I wanted someone special, someone who knew the deepest parts of my soul. Someone who’s seen me at my best and my worst, but has chosen to stick around and fight. I wanted to breathe in this moment with a soul that was linked to mine.
But…I was alone.
So, I cried.
I cried for my alone-ness. I cried for my aching heart. I cried over unmet desire. I cried over past mistakes and failures. I cried over an unresolved mess I left in Seattle — a broken relationship, a lost friend.
In that beautiful moment of grief, I felt the world, but I realized how much of my life’s story I have yet to write. By allowing myself to feel, to mourn, to experience intense emotion as fireflies swirled around me, I am rewriting and editing my tale.
Instead of reliving the same story over and over, repeating the same patterns of my youth, I get to rewrite my narrative.
I get to tell a new story…one that includes the magic of fireflies.
“Listen to your stories. They reveal a pattern of roles that you’ve played throughout your life.” – Dan B. Allender, To Be Told