The Spiritual Closet

As a military wife, it’s important for me to believe that each part of our military family journey happens for a reason. It is important for me to think and believe and know way down in my soul that each posting, each promotion, each change (for the better or not), happens because we are meant to learn something from it. This concept didn’t come to me for a while. In fact, only in the past few years have I felt this way. Before that, and without this understanding, our lives felt so random. It felt that we were moved around and that things were changed willy-nilly; without purpose, without reason. It felt that no one was watching out for us. That the military, even the nation (in so far as the military is concerned), was first and foremost always first. That we were an afterthought. That THE greater good always and forever outweighed OUR greater good. Feeling this way made me feel neglected. Forgotten. Unimportant to the universe at large, really.

But now things have changed. Well, I should say that I have changed. I believe we are always where we are most meant to be. I believe that we move when and where we do so that we may cross paths with specific people at specific times so that either they or we (or both) can benefit from each other’s personalities, experiences, knowledge, and spirits.

I’ve become a different version of myself in the last 12 months. Mel 2.0? 3.0? How many versions of ourselves do we evolve through as we age and mature? I’m still me: still optimistic and family-oriented and cheerful and sarcastic and highly emotional. But…and here is the grand announcement so to speak…I’ve become…spiritual.

I attended church on a regular basis as a little girl. We were married under the church and both of our children are baptized. I taught at a Catholic school in Small Town. But truth be told (and really, you shouldn’t expect anything different from me) I wasn’t sure exactly where I stood on the religion topic. So much of it made perfect sense to me. So much of it didn’t.

I still don’t attend Church. Not in the traditional sense of the word anyway. I still have more questions than answers and there are still many things that I’m not sure I can get on board with.  But I have discovered that this world may not be exactly the spherical blue and green mass I thought it was: not quite so black and white either. Not quite just one way or the other. It is big. It is expansive. It is mystical and magical and beautiful and full of surprises.

Metaphorically, I am standing at the doorway, feet just over the threshold, of the biggest, most fantastic house I could have ever dreamed of. There are corridors upon corridors and rooms upon rooms. More floors than I could ever begin to explore. But I am in awe and so very pleasantly surprised.

It is this awakening, this new curiosity, that has allowed me to arrive at this place I stand today. Or sit, if we’re being literal. Now, at this very moment, I am sitting on my deck. Our pool (no longer green but still rather cloudy) is sparkling, the trees rustling in the wind. I hear it and the birds chirping and sound of my dog’s claws, scratching gently upon the deck as he dreams in his sleep (the only time he can run at full tilt these days). I feel peaceful. Content. Blessed. Grateful.

As little as a few months ago I would have felt differently. I would have felt lonely, isolated, resentful to the military in this never-ending cycle of hurrying up just to wait. I felt that I needed other people. Needed their company, their validation (oh how I needed their validation). I needed certainty and knowledge.

Now I know it to be true that we will also be where we are most meant to be. I am able to find joy in what is here, in front of and all around me. I am better able to switch off my iPhone and switch on my senses and be truly present.

I am better able to enjoy my own company. I enjoy the presence of others but no longer need it and while I still feel confused and a little hurt if I suspect someone doesn’t necessarily champion for Team Mel, I care a lot less about the thoughts and opinions of people who don’t really mean a whole lot to me anyway.

There are still some things that remain the same. I am still all of the things I was before that made me how I was and who I am. Only now I am also more at peace, more relaxed, better able to connect with all sorts of wondrous and beautiful things in the world. I am still emotional and I still have moments and days that I would rather know what lies ahead and perhaps even dare to dream of certainty and permanency. I still get grouchy (I’m still me after all, a highly sensitive and emotional human). I still have moments where I feel bitter and annoyed and frustrated. But the difference is now I catch myself. I give myself compassion to feel but I more easily bounce back.

This is all new to me so I ask that you don’t judge me for these discoveries, especially if they differ from your own beliefs and opinions. I’ve been sitting on the idea of this blog post for months because I wasn’t sure how to say it all and I worried that the people in my life, both on the inner circle and the periphery, might be surprised at “the new me” and think of me differently.

But this morning I had a conversation with an old friend I knew in Small Town. I didn’t know her well or for very long, but we have each other on Social Media just the same. And this morning she took time out of her busy day to tell me that she has always admired me, ever since we met, and that I have inspired her to work from home and now to even try her hand at writing. I was astounded. Me, l’il ole’ me, just doing my thang, inspiring someone else. And it struck me then, as it never had quite so succinctly before, how important it is to be true to yourself and to be honest about yourself (both to yourself and to others) and so she in turn inspired me to ‘come out” with all of….this. Thank you for that, Miss M.

So here it is. And in the words of a song from “The Greatest Showman” (which I still have not seen):

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Take care of yourself,
🙂 Mel

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