Monday, May 31, 2010

That Elusive Moment of Clarity

The title of this blog for the past 7 years has been "Moments of Clarity and Chaos." I chose it because it describes my life all too well. Unfortunately, these past few years have been filled with more moments of chaos than there have been moments of clarity.
This past week was filled with more discouragement than I care to admit. I came very dangerously close to throwing in the towel on my new life in Arkansas. I can't go into any detail on this subject, except to say, it is not all rainbows and puppies around here.
Again, without further explanation, all I can say is I signed up for the difficult path. I knew it wasn't going to be easy to move to a new state, sight unseen, leave everything and everyone I loved behind, make a major career change, and face it all alone. I knew this and chose to do it anyway. (But then, I expected things to be a little different when I got here.)
As I said before, this week was very discouraging. There were more tears shed than I care to admit. It really didn't feel like any of my choices were worth it. In fact, it all felt like a huge mistake.
The hardest part about being here has been that I don't feel like me. The work I've been doing is a "square peg, round hole" fit. And it is strange how a few initial interactions with someone can get you off on the wrong foot, and keep you from ever truly getting the right footing. This is all to say that due to some initial encounters with certain individuals, I have not acted like myself at all. I was even told at one point to be "a little less me." But the hard part was that I wasn't being me. I was being this new uncomfortable person who has little confidence in her situation.
Have you ever been there? Do you know what that feels like? You aren't being yourself, you aren't comfortable or confident, and you just don't know how to find yourself again?
That has been me ever since stepping into Arkansas. I don't know where I went, but I didn't arrive here in my own skin.
Which is why this past weekend has been so special. (and you know I hate to describe feelings with "special.")
I had some very tough decisions to make- financial, career, personal, etc. Like I said, there were tears. A lot of tears. What is "tough" about tough decisions is generally that we know which decision is probably better for us on certain levels, but we can see a much easier option that brings us temporary and quicker happiness. I so badly wanted some happiness. Nothing has really been happy here in a long time. I needed joy in the worst possible way. I was desperate to just feel happy again.
Have you been there? Can you relate?
But I made the "tough" choice. I chose to put off immediate and temporary happiness for the longer term benefits. And then sat down and cried again, my depression and discouragement only that much worse.
That was the first half of my moment of clarity.
The second half came within an hour of drying my tears and accepting my fate. In one unexpected phone call came a generous gift. One that could save my weekend and give me a little temporary happiness. And when you are in the "depths of despair" (one of my favorite Anne of Green Gables quotes), sometimes you just need to know the following-
1. God hears and answers prayers. God loves you.
2. Even when you feel all alone, God knows how to wake up someone who loves you and get them to call you.

In just a few short minutes my weekend was saved. Enjoyable activities were on the way. A reason to smile was in front of me. I could breathe again.
Not long after that I found myself in a bookstore. I never, ever read self-help books. In fact, I mock most of them. I think you can learn all you need to know from the book jacket, and you can save yourself the $9.99 sticker price. But for some reason, a reason I like to call the Spirit holding me by the lapels and turning my head and forcing me to look at the books, I found myself looking specifically at two books. (more on the books and reviews later.) I bought them, took them home, and read them. And then the craziest thing happened. I found myself. Right there in the self-help section. I remembered who I was and what I like to do, think, and say. And in just 477 pages I suddenly knew how to be me again. I put word clouds all over my drawing board. I sketched, I imagined, I relaxed, and I loved it. I can look in the mirror and recognize the girl smiling back at me.
A pure, unadulterated moment of clarity. I'm me again.


  1. Yay clarity!!!
    Glad you're feeling better!

  2. Hi Erin- I'm sorry that things have been tough. I somewhat know what you are going through. I am LDS, 30, and also living in Northwest Arkansas. I left a comment on your blog and sent you an email while back hoping that maybe we could be friends and make your transition to Arkansas a little easier. If you'd still like to get together and grab dinner sometime, just let me know.

  3. sorry you've had such a tough time, hope it gets better. SInce you mentionned the feeling of despair at times, here is a link to a talk by Elder Holland when he was BYU Pres. This was one of the talks discussed in the recent singles institute, it talks about some of the tough times when we feel despair:
    For TImes of Trouble by Elder Holland when he was BYU President

    Hang in there, such a cliche I know. But I do hope things get brighter soon. Juanita


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