More from the Journal

I’m marrying off my best friend this Saturday at 10:00 am. We are all full of love and anticipation. The preparations have left me little time to write, but standing on my soap box for vulnerability, I share yesterday’s journal entry with you…

Today has been full of myriad thoughts – thoughts beating myself up for being 23. For being selfish and not having it all figured out. For wanting more. For needing to better understand my purpose – if there is meaningful work for me in this world, in this life, today. People always told me I was mature, my mom keeps calling me wise. But all I know, is how very little I know. And instead of embracing that great mystery – I let it eat me with fear and anxiety. Munching on my soul, on my joy, anything that might crack a smile.

I am lost.

Not in the way of faith, not in relationship. But in concept. The concept of myself has never rightly formed and suddenly I feel so behind on the game board, like everyone else rolled a six and I stuck a one. Funny to think everyone else has such solid, sound self-concepts, crusted in gold and shimmering. They don’t and I know it somewhere. But it doesn’t look like that really. The parts I see blaze, and I squint against them with an arm across my forehead. Yeah, with enough reflection, I can justify to myself that we’re all untethered – helpless to the plans of God and Universe – but if I give my doubt an inch, it’ll beat me. I start so easily to believe this everyday is the only one I’ll ever know. This 6:45 wake-up and desk job. This rushing-around, restless-busyness. This burden obligation, the shoulds and have-tos I can’t shake. Man, that tired-but-I-slept-and-still-crave-a-break.

But not more money and not more easy-button things. Not more popularity or security or esteem. Not even more friends. Not just more love.

More meaning. More teaching. More learning and growth and thinking. More stretch and change. Much more challenge, even more pain. I’m talking about purpose and work and legacy – the things we give that make them cry or laugh or drop a jaw in wonder. It was tucked inside of us with the tip of a knitting needle, long before first breath. Then came good intentions and child rearing, hurt feelings, disappointment, self-consciousness and shame. Then came screw-ups and first love, maybe drugs. Maybe sex. Expectations. Parental pressure. Shoddy doctrine. The sorry advice of friends. Abuse. Tragedy. Loneliness. Loss. I don’t know what it was, but man, it ripped you up. Now I just got a pile of scars walling in my heart, keeping in or keeping out the magic planted there once.

And it’s really got me down.

I fought with Andrew when I got home today. Mostly because I just wanted his time and attention. But also because I’d spent all afternoon glassy-eyed in the stories of women I want to be. Packing my brain with every notion of how or where or what I should be by now. Cornering the specific ways I’ve failed and lamenting the very real impossibility of reading all the books that will help me write better. Like Didion’s The White Album and Terry Tempest Williams’ When Women Were Birds.

On the road home I admonished myself for being self-absorbed, recognizing nearly all 180 minutes of the last three hours were a sloppy existential examination of me, my plight, my broken down perspective. I pointed at the immense, looming storm clouds over the soybean field and said, self, “Why can’t you think about these for just one instant? Are they not remarkable?”

When I told it all to Andrew through my tears, he asked if maybe I wasn’t thinking about it enough? Perhaps, he suggested, it’s only so overwhelming and fear-laden because you keep trying to bury the thoughts. If you’d just think about it, if you’d just allow yourself the space to work through it and extend grace to the lostness… perhaps you’d progress.

Hope your weekend brims with rest and love and maybe a little reflection.





  1. Pingback: Good Blogs: part 2 « One Stop Light

  2. Oh wow, Jane. I can’t really say enough to you — about how glad I am to read this, about how at home I feel in what you’re expressing, at how full this club already is. We who know that we don’t know welcome you in, hand you a t-shirt, and share in our unknowing. Someday we’ll wake up and realize that all of our unknowing has dissolved…without our knowing it. Won’t that be a funny day.

  3. This reminds me very much of a quote I was introduced to somewhere along the road a couple years ago, which stills my heart each time I get a bit to far ahead of myself.

    “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” -Rainer Maria Rilke

    Having doubts, fearing failure (past, current, future), knowing there is more but not knowing what it is… these make you humble and very human. I have no doubt that your questioning and searching will lead you exactly where you need to be. But, the stretching of growth can be quite painful at times. I’m sending you thoughts of strength and calm.

  4. You have described exactly what I meant by falling back to square one. Thanks for doubting and longing openly. I too desire more meaning–I think that’s a gift from the Creator. We believe and try to practice finding purpose and meaning in the day, in the minute, but so often we long to see the “so much more” that we know is out there. I can’t help but wonder if the day to day mundane desk job kinds of tasks and experiences are the lynchpins to the kingdom.

    Glad to be on this journey with someone so transparent and hungry.

  5. Lindsea

    Beautiful, Jane. Thank you for sharing this. You are full of pure wonder and grace. The light that shines from the inside-out of you, crusted in gold and shimmering, has us all squinting in astonishment. Your days of doubt make you that much more real.

    “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
    ― Denis Waitley

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