I wrote this after talking to a dear friend of mine with three kids who has been married for a long time. It has been a hard road for her. She started crying and said “Kate, you don’t know how much I envy your life.” At first I bristled. I envy other people’s lives so much, how could anyone envy mine? But it got me thinking. I do have a beautiful life, and I do have things in my life I could never have without a family, no matter how much I don’t want to admit it. I have been more positive about my life ever since then, and am trying to walk on a journey towards “home.” Hope you enjoy it.
For many years, I spent my life on the shore, watching, waiting.
Like a million stories told through a hundred generations, I was searching the horizon, looking for someone to come home to me. A companion to walk with. A witness to my life.
I imagined that we would meet on the shore in a glorious homecoming. He would run towards me and spin me around, making me dizzy with his love. That would be the moment that all the minutes before had led up to, the moment that all the minutes after would never forget.
We would walk hand in hand down the road marked out for us. And when we reached our destination, we would build up our love story around us like a warm shelter.
But years passed. No matter how hard I looked, no matter how fervently I prayed, I did not see that ship coming in. I clenched my cold hands and continued watching on the waterfront, dreaming of the beautiful phantom life that was not mine.
I stood shivering on the shore for a long time. I began to realize that the ship, the parallel existence that I had hoped to start living long ago, was a ghost ship. It was perfect, but only because it was elusive. It was beautiful, but only because it was not really there.
I am cold now. I am ready to go somewhere that will hide me from the storm. And so I have a choice-to stay here and watch or to step away from the waiting. Perhaps for a little while, perhaps for the rest of my life. I have a choice turn my head from the sea and take a slow walk towards a home that I can build for myself right now, today. A decision that will be a beginning and an ending all at once.
The road will be unspeakably beautiful and deeply painful, just like the journey I would have walked in my parallel life. It will be full of love and full of loneliness, just as it would have been on the sister ship that I never got to ride.
In the end, the path I walk on might not lead me to a home with the arms of a husband or the laughter of children, a reality that may always be difficult for me.
But I can still put flowers in a vase so I can remember small, beautiful things. I can still bake bread and hear laughter around the table. I can still build a fire and press my face against the window pane, welcoming the lonely traveler home.
I can wait for that ghost ship forever, or I can go home and build something beautiful. It may never be easy. The longing may never go away. But perhaps God will teach me how to long and let go at the very same time.
In the end, I don’t want to live in a parallel life that will disappear if I try to touch it. I want to walk out the tangible story that God has set before me today.
Even if I never find the love story that I anticipated, I might find a love story that I didn’t expect. A different kind of love story.
A story that leads me home.
What dreams have you had that never came true?
How did you respond to those unmet desire?
Do you think you can long and let go at the same time?