I’ve been missing it.
The grind-in-your-core kind of missing. The watch-all-of-the-old-videos and flip-through-every-photo-of-what-used-to-be kind of missing. The curl-up-in-a-blanket-and-have-a-good-cry kind of missing.
Are you missing anything right now?
I pull out my shoes and I hold them in my hands. Caressing the worn-down satin. Twirling the ribbons around in my fingers.
It’s painful even to slip my feet into them.
Painful because of the CRPS that surges through my nerves. Painful because of how much I wish I could be sliding into them to demonstrate pique arabesques to my students and exercise with them at the barre.
I’ve been missing what was. I’ve been missing what I thought today would have been.
That wise bearded hipster I married added some fantastic insight into how I’ve been feeling.
He said, “Sometimes, I think back on what single life looked like. Life before I was a husband and a dad and before life was so constant. It’s ok to think about it. But, I have a choice to make. I can focus on what’s behind me and get depressed. Or, I can look at God and be impressed by what is yet to come.”
The well-loved Jeremiah 29:11 says, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'" Beth Moore, in her book The Beloved Disciple, points out that the Hebrew word for 'future' in this verse means after, later, behind, following. She notes about this that "the Hebrew way of thinking has been compared to a man rowing a boat; he backs into the future while looking toward where he has been," (p. 91).
God uses our pasts. He is a skilled redeemer of stories. He is incredible at shaping us for tomorrow with what happened yesterday and with what is (and isn't) happening today.
It’s how we think about what’s behind us that matters.
Will it be a springboard for the future? Or will it keep our feet tied to the place we used to be?
“The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place,” (Deuteronomy 1:30-31).
There’s a blank page waiting for me. A blank page waiting for me to ask God to give me strength to be faithful in what’s still yet to come. A blank page waiting for the story of what’s next in my life to dance all over it.
There’s freedom in looking at God for what can be written on a blank page.
And I’ve been missing it.
Missing that blank page right in front of me.
Maybe someday, I’ll wrap the smooth ribbons of those pointe shoes around my ankles again. Maybe someday, I’ll find myself doing painless chaines across the floor. Maybe someday, I’ll even get in one more grande jete.
But today, I’m going to ask God what belongs on this blank page.
How about you? What are you missing today? Who are you missing today?
And as you miss whatever or whomever it might be, ask yourself this: Am I missing the hope that comes from new seasons and new dreams? Am I missing the freedom that comes from blank pages and from the story of what could be?