The Ledge

I’m over the railing and my foot inches closer towards the cement ledge. I look over and down. It’s a 4 story vertical drop. I don’t even remember how I got up there, alone at the top of the parking garage.

2 hours ago I was at lunch with all the other happy people. Willa and Maurice sat down at my table and began picking at their food. More people came and they were smiling and laughing, and I was all too aware of the difference between their disposition and mine. Their happiness pointed to my inability to be present in the moment with them. I was in a bubble again.

I sat and stared at nothing. I only heard the muffled conversations of normal people around me. I was aware of two things: my guilt and my fear. I looked at Willa and Maurice, sitting quietly, both aware of my state of sadness. I was dragging them down. Miserable me always ruining the mood… I turn and see Greg, laughing and conversing with the other ten plus people at the table. I was in conflict. Because as much as I didn’t want to be a downer, I couldn’t help but feel hurt and sad that everyone else seemed so joyful. I shouldn’t feel that way. I want them to have a good time. Then I knew… I didn’t belong in this group. I’m not one of them. I saw myself as separate. Emotionally, mentally, physically, everything. I shouldn’t be there.

“I’m going to head out,” I said as I got up and walked away. But I didn’t leave. My engine started and I realized I had nowhere to go. After a minute of thinking, I turned it off. I chucked the keys to the side, frustrated that I was still stuck in the parking lot of the plaza, my sort of friends only a 10-second walk away. Why am I so selfish? I don’t want to be… I prayed.

God, please give them a joyful day. Despite how I feel or how I am, give them a day of rest and peace. May their worries escape their thoughts and may you give them the confidence and perseverance to face tomorrow, whether it’s work or school…

My heart continues to pull. I hate the fears I have about Renew. I hate overthinking about my relationship with this community. I hate thinking about how I will become too much for them. I don’t want to be scared of being thrown away anymore. The only way to stop the storm on the inside is to leave 100 percent. If I have no friends, then I have nothing to care about, nothing that can hurt me. I wouldn’t be able to want or wish. I don’t have to face disappointment. My fingers move fast. I leave every chat and Facebook group related to Renew. I LEFT. I throw my phone to the side as soon as I’m done, for fear that I may see the emptiness of my page and regret it all.

I’m crying. The pamphlet I picked up at Pastor Tori’s funeral the previous day sits in the seat next to me. I’ve been reading it over and over. He died a week and a half ago. Sudden cardiac arrest. I detached. Unlike everyone else, I didn’t cry when I heard, I didn’t cry when I saw the casket. But now it’s different.

Pastor Tori led a humble, faithful life. He used to be a Dean at Truth seminary. He loved the bible, the history, the context, the old dusty facts that many people lose patience with. And he loved the dinky little church in Covina so much that he would spend every weekend driving 200+ miles to teach them. He rejected job offers from other ministries for a little group of misfits. It didn’t matter that the members were immature and young and disorganized. It didn’t matter that in the years he was there, the population saw little growth in numbers. He was committed to his community, joyful and calm in all seasons, faithful in serving, and always devoted to the word of God.

And I left that church for Renew. Guilt. I never realized how much I learned from him. Guilt. I never thanked him for his teaching. Guilt. I told myself before the funeral that I will see him again in heaven and there will be opportunities to thank him. But my heart was wrenching and I wanted to forgo everything. Guilt. He was so faithful to his little community. Me? I just ran away from mine… Guilt! Guilt! GUILT! 

Meridian Parking Garage. I left Renew, yet I found no place to go but the parking place in front of the building Renew rents for their services. I got out of the car and walked over to the concrete clearing on the side of the parking garage. The railings of the 4th floor overlooked this area. I wasn’t sure why I was there. My legs moved on their own. I looked up and tried to measure how many Me’s it would take to measure up to the top. It didn’t look like a very far drop from where I stood on the ground. My legs moved again. They ignored the stairs. Instead, they circled around and around, passing the empty parking spots until I was finally at the top, completely exposed to the open sky. I think they were stalling for time. I’m not sure. I reached the rails. I climbed over. My knee, the only thing guarding me from the fall.

We’re caught up now. For a moment, no thoughts cross my mind. I feel empty. The wind blows around me. I inhale and my lungs intake so much air like they’re afraid they won’t ever breathe again. A new emotion swarms me. I can’t do it. I climb back over, slide to the floor, hold my head and scream. I scream so hard and loud, my throat hurts. Now, I really have nowhere to go. NO ESCAPE. The only route I could take, I didn’t have the guts to do it.

TRUTH AND LIES. Truth and lies. Truth and lies… Everything blurs. God is silent. God is good. God is always present. God is working. There is redemption. There’s no relief. God messed up when he created me. God is working all things for his glory. I still have faith. I’m too broken to be saved. I hate the world. I love people. Jesus died for me. Jesus loves me. He pursues me. He left me…

How real is heaven…

Wait. Wait. Wait. WHY. WHY. WHY.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer – Romans 12:12

My story wasn’t meant to end today.

2016: The Bad, The Good, and The Waiting

2016 was a year of changes. We’ll not THAT much. I’m still at the same admin job, I’m still 5 foot 3, and I still like the color blue (if that matters at all). But, 2016 is also the year I started writing, the year I dyed my hair blonde, and the year I put away my demons and danced again. I also hiked at Yosemite for the first time, went kayaking in San Diego, and I jumped off a big rock in Hawaii. Check, check, check off my bucket list.

Not to mention, it’s the year I graduated and became an adult. And I’m not going to lie, it was scary. I was supposed have spent the last four years preparing for adulthood. But, like a soldier who just got out of bootcamp and was expected to be equipped for the blood and trauma of the war zone, reality hit me with a bang. I spent the better half of 2016 scrolling thru job sites hoping to move up somewhere. I threw myself into the battlefield of applications and interviews, and like the newbie who just had his reality shattered and shifted, I came back from the battlefield with ringing in my ears and the weight of despair hanging off my shoulders.

Am I being overly dramatic? Probably. But, I’m a scared millennial, who’s been told her entire life that if she stuck to the status quo, did the grind, finish school, go to college, get good grades, and have multiple internships and jobs by the time she gets out, then everything will be fine and stable and comfortable. That there would be little to worry about… That I would make it… WHAT TOTAL B.S (excuse the language). And we’ve all heard it from our older friends that post-grad life is depressing and nobody has any direction in their twenties. Still, I was not prepared for this. I braced myself for the reality shock and yet, I couldn’t deal. Maybe, I just really need to accept this fact: I’m a number. Even to my current employer, whether my manager is nice or not, I’m a number. To all the industries out there posting job listings all over the internet, I’m a number. Just a number with the same qualifications as the other millions of numbers out there.

Knowing this, all I want to do is lie there for the rest of 2017, and maybe the rest of my life. Again, I’m being dramatic. I know, I know. And maybe 2016 crumbled down on me because I kept this unrealistic exception to be at a certain place in my life by the end of the year, and I just didn’t meet the standards I had set for myself. And I never thought about what to do if all of my plans, my backup plans, my back up for my backup plans fall apart.

Life Lesson: Sometimes life throws you a storm you can’t avoid. You can’t plan for disasters. Be as prepared as you can, and sometimes it won’t be enough. But it’s okay because the goal isn’t to conquer the storm. It’s to survive it. And that’s all the human race has ever done. Survive. That should be victory enough.

On a better note, 2016 was also the year I changed my perspective on relationships. I used lone-wolf everything. I wanted to handle my own problems, share very little, and I viewed my friends as people who only wanted to pry into my life. I didn’t see them as a support group and I didn’t want to depend on anyone. And of course this was all from some trauma of being hurt by people. But 2016, was the year I wanted to mend some of my broken relationships. The result is another Life Lesson: Some relationship are meant to last and some should be let go (case may vary).

But, even if some friendships don’t out, it doesn’t mean that there is room for new people to come into your life and lift you up. I look at all the people I’ve met in the last year, and all of them have touched my life in some way or another. We may not be close or have known each other very long, but history isn’t always the defining factor for who you consider a CLOSE FRIEND.

I’ve been so hung up on my present problems that I forget that every day brings new opportunities and new people. Change is always happening. Some good. Some bad. But, sometimes I’m not always aware of that.

My last Life Lesson is this: Everything is a waiting game, and sometimes you have to be patience.