October 23, 2010

It Is What It Is . . . Or Not

We are in the car driving. On the way home from spending time with some people who are close to us. We haven’t been with them in a long while. For a variety of reasons.

One of which involves the conversation we always have when we leave. The one where I care. Joey doesn’t understand why I care. Because as he likes to say, “It is what it is.”

For the love of God, what does that even mean!

Once upon a time, I didn’t care at all. Well at least not much. My parents somehow managed to raise a strong-willed, passionate child who was amazingly free. And they did all of that in a pretty crazy, legalistic world.

The problem came when I started working for companies with bosses. No longer was it okay for me to do what I wanted, the way that I wanted.  As I was trying to figure that out, I married into a family that could not be more different than the family I grew up in. My frankness wasn’t appreciated; it was castigated. And more than once I found myself wondering why God chose me to be in that family.

In the beginning I tried not caring. Then I tried harder to get along. Then I faced one of the toughest times of my life when several of the people I thought loved me the most listed for me what they thought were my worst attributes. And I was crushed. I just shut down. I didn’t know how to continue on with any of them.

So I yelled at God some. I didn’t ask for this. I don’t want this. What’s so different about me?

And that was a bunch of freaking dead ends. It is what it is.

And even my husband who I lean on, who I don’t keep secrets from . . . even he doesn’t get it. I try to explain. I try different ways. They always end up with frustration and frequently, anger, on his part. He wants to fix it, and he can’t.

My latest response has been to shift. Maybe, at times, I am the crappy daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, friend, employee that some seem to view me as . . . let’s work on that. What can I do differently? Am I being the person God wants me to be or am I allowing the situation I am in to make me into something different?

What I’ve found is that shifting has alleviated conflict. It has made being with the family more agreeable. But it has not taken away the hurt. It has not taken away the desire for things to be different. It has not made me able to explain all of this to my husband.

But God has been telling me some things lately. In a much quieter voice than the one I previously used to speak to Him. If you listen hard, I bet you can hear His words too . . .

There is only One whose opinion matters. Truly.

That, my precious friends, is an incredible truth. A truth that can set you free. A truth that defines who I am. A truth that embraces me.

For when I am about my Father’s business, I am doing just what I was made to do. When I do things the way He asks me to, the opinions of others are irrelevant.

You know, in the end, it’s not all that different from my childhood. My Father is working to raise a  strong-willed, passionate child who is amazingly free.