"And itís hard to explain how I feel
It wonít go in words but I know that itís real
I can be moving or I can be still
But still is still moviní to me,
Still is still moviní to me."
This house makes 35 - Count Ďem Ė 35 houses - that I have lived in so far in my lifetime. And I am not yet 35 years old.
I do not say that to be dramatic, although I definitely realize that number must carry some shock factor with it. It is just a fact of my life Ė a fact that I hope I am able to make something good from.
When I tell people that I have moved around a lot, they always ask me, ďOh was your family in the military?" And at first I would just say no, but then they wanted the story and I donít like to tell that one. Plus these were usually acquaintances just asking that age old, ďso whereya from?Ē question. I would never know what to say. So for a while, I would say ďNo, my mom just got married a lot.Ē They would usually laugh awkwardly and then change the subject and leave it alone. Like when people ask me why my husband and I donít have any children and claim that we donít want anyÖ I just say, ďWe donít like childrenĒ and that usually shuts them up. :)
The truth is that we DO like children and my mom didnít really get married all THAT many times. But how to tell someone you met 10 minutes ago that you spent your whole life running to or from something? How do you explain that to someone whose last name you canít even remember?
So I stick with the joke, but now I feel bad when I say it. Because I know my mom probably always did the best she could and didnít like all that moving any more than I did.
And some of the houses have been great Ė some of them have even been very safe, especially here in the last 8 years or so. But some were pretty scary and some were very lonely. Some were more empty than anything else -like just a shell. Kind of like some of the people I have known and have even lived in those houses with.
It seems to me that a house can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. I sell them for a living, so it never ceases to amaze me how people look at houses so differently from one another. To some, it is just a place with no significant emotional meaning or value while to others, it is the single most important thing they will ever own.
To me, a house means a lot right now. There a lot of things like that in my life these days that didnít get to mean a lot to me before so now they mean so very much.
Furniture for instance.
Not that we didnít have any or anything. But there was a time when I lived on a couch or on a mattress on a floor or the laundry room was my bedroom. So now, having a space of my own is pretty cool.
I have lived in apartments, condos, townhouses, old houses, brand new houses, pink houses, Alamo looking houses, one stories, 2 stories, (I donít think any 3-stories,) barns, farms, in the cityÖI have tried them all.
And in a way, it was kind of awesome to live in all those houses; to change all the time. I feel like I found a different piece of me in each of those houses Ė found out who I was a little more every time I packed what I had and moved on. But I also felt like I left a little piece of me in each one too.
The best thing was that when you move as much as we did, you do get to recreate yourself over and over again. I could find out that people think my laugh is really annoying, and then teach myself a new laugh and try it out at the new school and be a better laugher. The problem with that is that if you do that in enough categories, you run the risk of becoming what I call, ďa performer.Ē Instead of being who you really are, you be who you think all those towns told you to be so that maybe people will actually like you. Then when you finally do have a level of acceptance, it dawns on you that those people donít even know who you are. You are nothing more than a performing monkey, which is not really a good way to live life.
Now I donít have to move unless I want toÖ. And that is strange and wonderful all the same time. We are actually NOT in the process of moving right now. That doesnít mean that we wonít be soon, since 2 years is about my max in any given house (old habits die hard.)But I am still recreating.
See, it took me a really long time to decide that I didnít want to be anyoneís little performing monkey anymore. For one, it is exhausting trying to keep up a front for everyone all the time like that. I finally just got really tired one day. And the other thing was that once I became a Christian, I started to discover that the real me was quite possibly just fine after all. God told me so himself.
I really wanted to have real relationships with people, and that meant that I would have to be real with them to see if they were the real thing too. And this was by far, the scariest part. What if they didnít like my laugh? Or my sense of humor? Or the fact that I am a giant hypochondriac? What if they didnít like me? Well, that was just going to have to be okay I guess. And as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Venturing out of the bubble was a little hard. I created that safe little happy place where people saw what I wanted them to see and then I could feel what I wanted to feel. But what I really feltÖ was lonely. So I slowly crawled out and laughed my real laugh (which can include a snort on occasion.) And God bless the people who made the outside of the bubble a safe place for me to be. There were of course, plenty that did not, but many who actually liked ME better than the monkey. And for the first time in my life, I felt free. Free to be who I was, and to find out who I really wanted to become.
So in a way, I am still moving and still recreating myself. But now it is a choice and now I feel like I am finally moving in the right direction.
Having been so many people over the years, it has been a difficult journey finding out who I really am. As it turns out, that real me, is not defined by me, or others, or even my laugh. It is defined by the Most High God who knit me together in my motherís womb and skillfully and wonderfully made me (that is not my opinion, that is the word of God.)
You are the same way. Everything about who we are and even more so Ė who we are becoming - is defined and designed by the Creator himself. So we donít need to move to a hundred different towns to finally find out who we should be. We need to be still.
Be still and know that He is God. Be still before the Lord and be covered by His blood and His word and His grace.
Who we are isÖ. HIS. And when I am still before him, he tells me that he loves me and he shows me who I am becoming and he promises that one day I will be with him and be flawed no more.
So even in this stillness, I am moving. I am moving towards being a little more like him every day, or at least a little closer to him.
I hope all those old Christines - the pieces of me that I have left behind all over Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee, New Jersey and all over the great state of Texas- all come together and find themselves covered and comforted in Him. For our real identity is not found in the world, but found in the word.
Willie said it best : "And itís hard to explain how I feel. It wonít go in words but I know that itís real. I can be moving or I can be still, but still is still moviní to me."