Where I’ve Been, and Where I’ll Go From Here

It is hard to believe sometimes, looking back at my photos from childhood, that the kid in those pictures was me.  It is hard to look at them today, with an adult perspective and understand what things must’ve been like for me then.  My perspectives on things were a lot more simple, even if the experiences themselves were not.  See, times have changed.  My life has changed.  I understand far more about myself than I ever did when those photos were taken.  I cannot look at them now, without the intense desire to nurture the little girl staring back at me.  The same goes for photographs of my sister.  A psychologist now, I often wonder how much of her experience of childhood has become convoluted by an academic understanding of how the mind works.  Whether it is sad, or just something that simply is, those times can only be glanced at, much like we glance at the photos themselves.  Those moments in our lives are over, and all we can really do is make sense of what we went through, so that the same mistakes are not made as we move forward in our lives.  

I think the same can be said for photos from other moments in my life.  I could look back at pictures from a little more than a year ago, and realize that I was suicidal when they were taken.  Or that recovery had not quite taken hold in my life.  Or that I had completely given up on the God that I now know and love so very dearly.  

It is alarming and confusing to consider that I was the person in those photos.  I was that person, drinking recklessly and taking pictures to remember things that alcohol would blur.  I was that person, the beautiful young woman, seductively staring at the lens.  I hadn’t eaten in days, and the last time I had eaten, I didn’t keep it down.  The operative word in those snapshots being “was.”  It is important to always consider how a few simple turns can take me to that place, and that I’m no better than anyone else struggling with those things right this minute.  I am also, however, no longer the person I used to be.  I am a new person.  Time, work, experience, honesty, love, care, and most importantly, God, have all made me into a new being.  And as easy as it would be for me to become the person I was, I know that I don’t have to.  I have so many supportive loved ones to reach out to.  I have communities, families, and supports who pour into me spiritually.  I guess you could say, I have connections.  I know people.  I know people who know people.  🙂

I wish I could convey how God has changed my life, but again and again, I find myself at a loss for words as far as that goes.  

Sunday was Easter.  The service at the church I went to had me in tears.  They posed the question, “What difference does it make?”  Throughout the service, people walked up with posters with a word on it, conveying who they used to be.  After holding it up for a moment, they flipped it over and showed who they had become because of God.  I started to think about all the things my poster could say.  

Silenced… Empowered.  

Suicidal… Thriving.  

Inconsistent… Unwavering.  

Self-centered… Compassionate.  

Bitter… Forgiving.

Combative… Serene.

Stagnant… Taking Off!

Apathetic… Hopeful.

Here’s the one I actually made a picture for.  It makes me smile.:

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People from my church will get that one.  Or people from the south in general.

So, I’ll be making my transition soon.  I’m taking another step down in care.  I’ll have a little more freedom, and I’ll basically be starting my life over.  Like… completely over.  I’m thrilled.  And excited.  And hopeful.  And terrified.  And willing.  My heart is open.  My mind has transformed.  My spirit has blossomed.  My faith has strengthened.  If I didn’t trust God completely, I wouldn’t be doing this at all.  I’d venture to guess that if I somehow had the opportunity anyway, I’d still be far too frightened to do it.  

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