Myself and Nobody Else

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Gentle Reader,

Monday usually winds up being an errand day. We’re running low on milk, I need to refill a prescription, the last pair of knee-highs got a run in them. I make up a list (partially for the joy of making a list) and head out, usually at mid-morning.

Today, however, my husband had taken my car to work as his wouldn’t start. So, I was left to putter around the house, waiting until evening to do my running around. I don’t like to drive at night, as it is more difficult for me to see, but I really did have to go and get another pair of knee-highs. Having Chris drive me wasn’t an option since he’s not feeling well. List in hand, I left, determined to be quick.

Our local mega-store that shall not be named had everything I needed. Orange juice, milk, Nutella (yes, Nutella is a need) and those knee-highs. (I can’t wear the outfit I have picked out for tomorrow without them). I even picked up some of those fun Biore cleansing strips. Haven’t yanked blackheads out of my nose like that in years.

But that’s probably TMI.

Plopping my two bags into the back of the car, I spied the stack of books that needed to be returned to the library. Normally I take them with me when I go in to work, but it can be difficult to juggle purse, lunch pail, travel mug and the occasional umbrella along with a big stack. I decided to swing by and drop the books in the slot.

As I walked up to the book drop, I spied a page through the large windows that allow outsiders a view of the children’s room. She was on her knees, cart of books at her side, carefully organizing a shelf. I smiled, feeling suddenly warm and fuzzy. That was me 10 years ago.

And, as they say, it hit me.

The career path I am on is entirely suited to me. There are conflicts with coworkers, of course, and more often than not I allow myself to stress about something. It’s hard when I have to work on the “front lines” and deal with streams of people whose attitudes vary widely. But the work itself – the organizing, the alphabetizing, the straightening, the celebration of knowledge, the careful attention to detail – is satisfying. It’s important to me.

For a long time I was ashamed to work for the library. The people that I associated with thought it was strange or dorky. They tended to not use the library or to enjoy things like organizing, and so couldn’t see how what I did mattered in any way. I tried to find ways to justify it. The money was good for a part-time job. They are flexible when it comes to my health issues. I’d have to work twice as many hours at less money elsewhere.

The truth is that I like it. I work for the library because I like it.

There are other things that I am discovering. The style of decorating that appeals to me, a sort of mix of shabby chic and a casual beach house look, was mocked in very ugly terms by an acquaintance years ago. I allowed her comments to stick in my mind. Between that and trying to “keep up with the Jones’,” I have wound up decorating our home in a way that isn’t me.

The truth is that I like a crisp, clean living space done up in calming colors. I don’t like dark furniture or dark wood.

Someone once made fun of me for hanging a wreath on my front door, so I stopped doing it for a time.

The truth is that I like wreaths. Simple ones, that is. I find that they add a welcoming touch to the stoop.

I am amazed at the energy that I have spent in trying to be somebody else! Just when I think I have expunged that tendency, I discover a whole new layer.

It is no coincidence that these issues are rising to the surface given the project that I am in the midst of. Beth Moore once wrote (and I paraphrase) on her own blog that when God gives a writer a lesson to share, He makes sure she has experienced that lesson through and through. Part of this lesson is learning to be comfortable as myself and nobody else. There is, I think, a real freedom in that.

You be you and I’ll be me.

My journey to faith. (15)