Friday, May 2, 2008

moving on . . .

transitions have never led to my finest moments.
for whatever reason, which years of counseling and deep introspection have helped reveal but not fully drawn the curtain on, i don't like change. some people are energized by it, crave it, need it. me, i hide from it.

i missed my eighth grade graduation ceremony to take a trip to europe with my family. part of me still regrets the goodbyes i never got to say - how melodramatic is that - to the friends i had who were headed to rolling meadows high school, while i and a small cohort of classmates moved on to william fremd. some people hated junior high - the braces, the sweaty dances in converted cafeterias, the steady formation of cliques. i loved junior high. i had good friends, great teachers. i was in love with a boy in my section, but only always from afar.
the moment that everyone in my class was receiving their diplomas, i was riding the chunnel from london to paris with my dad and sister. i teared up a bit, thinking of them and this great moment of sanctified tradition, honoring those eighth-graders who had gone before us and ushering us into a new era of life. i kid you not, this is what i was thinking about on the damn chunnel.

four years later, high school has come and gone. i am a bit more comfortable in my own skin, have got great life experiences under my belt, lots of firsts, and still nowhere near ready to be done. i had this group of friends who were just magical - still are - to me. we spent countless hours together in high school, especially towards the end, in our parent's basements and downtown chicago and around bonfires, and leaving them behind for the wide world of college was more than i could bear. on top of this, my family was moving - as my counselor so aptly put it, i was a little ship out at sea, and my dock was my home. now, not only was this little ship moving to california, so was her dock (i think otis redding is in there somewhere). for someone so change-resistant, it was about as hard as it gets. i knew God was in all of this somewhere, somehow, but didn't sense him very closely at all. now i know that i didn't really try.
we had a going-away party in my old illinois house - all the furniture moved out, the smell of new paint and carpet-cleaning fluid wafting throughout. we sat on the roof, one of our favorite summer activities - my windows afforded us easy access - and didn't leave it for hours. i didn't want to, because leaving the roof was as much a symbolic act as it was a physical one. we reminisced, breathed in the late illinois summer air heavy with moisture and late-blooming lilac, and watched my siblings and their friends on the ground below. my friend emily mentioned that it was so interesting to see one group of friends (the younger ones) that had just begun to form, and to have another just about to leave each other after several years.
earlier in the summer, on highschool graduation day, we had all somehow gotten the memo about wearing black-and-white floral dresses. i remember the moment we realized that and started to laugh as a good one. we were all so different. but we were together.

went on to college in santa barbara, and loved it all. all four years. i was so anxious at the beginning, i could have powered the whole campus with my nervous energy. but God helped me to settle in and i made great friends, and new friends every year. europe semester, spring sing, living in a house with some of the best friends i could ask for, my relationship with zack, santa barbara - four years of unexpected gifts and hardships that have made me into who i am today.
i woke up late on the morning of graduation. shit. i only had time for a quick shower and then took off like a madwoman, air-drying my hair out the window of my car. which explains why i still hate to look at pictures from that day. i broke every posted speed limit to get there on time, only to stand around on the lawn for 45 minutes before taking an all-class picture.
it was during a hard period in my life - so much had changed or was just about to, and i didn't know where i was going. it was awful. it was the most uncertain transition of all for me. me, who delights in certainty and grits my teeth through change, who insists on knowing and having clarity . . .
i hurt some people in the process of learning that clarity is not sacrosanct. i pushed people away who only wanted to love me or help me. i drew into myself and became more and more self-centered and less attuned to the humanity of those around me.

and now, it's been a year since that touchstone of change. i never would have guessed that i would be where i am now. i would have been shocked. because i forget that God is with me ALL THE TIME. i think that i should have control over everything - when what i really want, what i really need, is resurrection from the dead. (thanks to m.m. and g.s. for that one).
because that is what really matters. life is full of change - it is a series of changes. God knows that, and that's why his presence in my anxiety can redeem everything. i can't stop these changes from happening - or if i could, i don't think that's what i really want.
thank goodness that i don't have to decide what is best for me - because i would still be in eighth grade.


*corinne said...

i'm always so thankful that i'm not the One who ultimately decides what's best for me. i've thought that over and over as the years and the changes come and go. i've learned that change always brings good things, but i still have a really hard time with anything ending.

even after we graduate, it seems "graduation time" still prompts these introspective thoughts.

Lisa said...

I too am glad you're not in 8th grade anymore. Fun post to read