~~~~~~~~~ "We are here for only a moment, wanderers and sojourners in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace." I Chron. 29:15 NLT

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Reality of Wandering and Wondering

Ecclesiastes 8:1  "How wonderful to be wise, to analyze and interpret things.  Wisdom lights up a person's face, softening its harshness."  NLT Bible

Hello, blogger friends.  You may be a returning visitor wondering where I've been all these months--again.  Or you're a new visitor who may stop by only once and decide you don't like what you read and see here.  That's okay.  I have my favorite blogs and I've visited blogs that I have bookmarked in hopes of returning because I really liked what I saw, even without knowing the blogger.  But I can't keep visiting all the myriad of blogs I have enjoyed--way too many leaving no time for me to write on my own.

Some bloggers have over a couple hundred followers, sometimes including me.  I don't know if I could handle 400-500 followers.  Not that I need to be concerned about that anyway.  Sometimes, however, I do dream of being the Susan Boyle of bloggers, ha, ha.  Now, that lady has the patience of an angel.  She sang well for years before she appeared on British or American Idol when she finally met her fame.

Ah, well.  I don't seem to have anything that distinctive to crow about.  Music has always been an important part of my life, first of all singing as a child with my brothers and sisters gathered around the old upright piano.  After lunch on Sunday we'd sit or stand in that tiny farmhouse room for a couple of hours and sing our favorite old hymns and some of the newer gospel songs.  My oldest brother would strum along on the guitar as best he could.  My parent's voices would blend in from the living room while they rested contentedly in their easy chairs.

My oldest sister was proficient on the piano because she was the most faithful practicing  her lessons.  She still plays for the church she attends in Paola, Kansas.  My other sister, who is now singing with the angels, could play the piano by "ear."  She was mostly self-taught on all the instruments she played: piano, accordion, auto-harp, banjo, and Dobro guitar.

I was so envious of Mary Jane's ability to play a song in one key and then change to a different key that suited our abilities more that, when I was in middle school, I taught myself how to play by "ear" too.  I was never as good as she was, but it was more fun than stumbling through a song trying to read all the notes in the hymnbook.

Being the youngest of five, two boys and three girls, I had more competition than I could handle trying to find a place to not only fit in, but to excell.  I was always the "baby" of the family until I demanded everyone put a stop to that when I had my own babies.  I guess it wasn't as endearing as they thought it was.

My oldest brother had difficulty in school, but he taught himself mechanical engineering in a course through the mail, and spent most of his adult life being able to fix any manner of cars and farm machinery.  He helped start the Goessel, Kansas Threshing Days and no matter how hot it was, or how lousy he felt from the cancer he fought for over 10 years, he was there operating a steam engine.  One of his most enjoyable accomplishments was building a working, miniature, model steam engine from scratch.  His hands were permanently stained with oil and grease.

My oldest sister was salutatorian of her class.  Our middle brother was valedictorian of his class, and my sister next to me in age had all that musical talent which helped her team up with another musician who played guitar.  They taught their children to sing and play instruments and formed a family bluegrass band, receiving recognition all over Kansas.  Later, I did get to play the upright bass with them.  Teaching myself to play by "ear" paid up big time for me in the fifteen years I sang and played with them.  Our jam and practice sessions on Friday night were the highlight of my week.

Sometimes I feel like that life on the farm was all a dream.  Maybe because I was somewhat dependent on this older bunch of siblings for my identity.  Slowly, one by one, they left and went to college, got a job, and married.  They never came back home to live and relieve the loneliness I felt after they were gone.  I looked forward to their visits and especially to the holidays when we were a family again with love and laughter filling the old home place.

Eventually, I left home too, after my parents and me moved from the farm to retire in Hillsboro. I went to live in Salina and attended Brown Mackie Business School for nine months, but only after I had spent one semester at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas where I started dating my future husband.

I wanted to major in music, but my music-professor counselor talked me out of it.  I felt so foolish that I had thought I was talented enough to make it in music. He told me that if I didn't want to teach I may as well forget the music major. It was a rude awakening after all the accolades I had  received through high school.  My middle school music teacher had worked so very hard to pull and shape what musical talent I had out of the shy, introverted school girl I was.  The fact that I loved playing the borrowed French Horn in the band and wind quintet didn't matter now that I was in the real world.

Feeling completely out of my element, away from the protection of the farm where I had loved growing up, I left the four-year liberal arts college and ended up in business school.  There, I could focus on one realm of studies and move through the classes at my own pace without the pressure of difficult biology and algebra assignments hanging over my head.  The business education gave me the ability to work as a receptionist and secretary for about ten years until I stayed home to raise our son and daughter.

Through the years, I developed an interest in writing and took creative writing classes.  Most of the instructors told me I had talent as a writer.  But I didn't have enough confidence to keep working at writing.  Something else always got in the way:  babies, family, our businesses, teenagers, keeping a home going, scrap-booking, illnesses, enjoying working at the college library, all the minutia of everyday life which kept me from settling down to the one thing that was always in the back of  my mind, and still is!

Why am I spending all this time wandering around in my past?  Because I've been wondering why I've carried a perpetual sense of failure around with me all these years.  I'm trying to understand why many of the people in my life seem to slap me up against the wall when I have a good sense of who I am and what I want to do.  And, most importantly, why do I let them?

So, I'm going to write this blog to wander through my wondering to see who I really am, or want to be.  It's time, and hopefully not too late.  I want to be honest and real.  It's never too late, right?

I'm thinking this blog will be my quiet time.  My time to think about the past, the future, the present and how I live in the present and future from what I've learned from the past. I don't want to keep repeating the same mistakes.  This blog is my time to think about what God wants for me.  And if something I share awakens something in a reader's heart and soul, then let God be glorified!

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting my life to change."  ~chortle~

More wisdom from Ecclesiastes:  6:10  "Don't long for 'the good old days.'  This is not wise."   ~I don't long for them, I want to learn from them~

6:13a:  "Accept the way God does things,...";  

6:14b:  "Remember that nothing is certain in this life."


Rebecca said...

The Susan Boyle of blogging, huh? (You DO have writing talent, Jan! And a great sense of humor.)

Funny, Monday I had a conversation on a similar vein as your "wandering", and yesterday I wrote a response to another blogger who seemed to be asking herself the same questions.

At age 63, I, too, ask myself these questions periodically. Could it be that EVERYONE does and we only THINK there's something "wrong" or "strange/unique" about ourselves?

Could it be we're asking ourselves the wrong question and postponing life in the "now" as we look for SOMEthing undefined "out there"?

Is this the "God-shaped" vacuum intended to be filled with Him--really filled--and we're wasting our vacuum?

Maybe it has nothing to do with our birth order (I was a first-born).

Jan, even as I write, I'm formulating an increased understanding of my own (and our natural) desire for significance. In fact, remember? Someone wrote a book called "Search for Significance!"

The words of I Corinthians 7:20-24 are rushing through my brain right now. I'm going to go study them further!

Let us "remain with God" (vs. 24) in the now, Jan.

Allen and Debby Graber said...

You ARE a great writer! Maybe you ought to think about writing a book? Fiction or even a biography to pass down to your children/grandchildren! I have always wished my parents would write down their stories for me. I also recall when I was a child that we would gather around the piano; mom would play and we would sing. She taught us how to sing parts. I can't sing worth a lick, but what fond memories you stirred up. I also went to business school but at Adela Hale in Hutch.

Allen and Debby Graber said...

Meant to add the following: Isaiah 46:3,4 Listen to Me (good advice!), you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Diana said...

This may be more common than you think Blu-Eyed-Blonde. Of coarse I can only speak for myself but as my last child gets close to leaving home, I often wonder if I couldn't have accomplished more with my life.'Then I realize how much I have accomplished raising three and now a fourth unexpected child (Teen).
Plus we have all of that time after our families are grown to do more things. I would like to do more in my church.
I think you were lucky to come from a large family. I've always wanted more brothers and sisters. You have found memories from it.
I follow many blogs, spend most of my time reading and commenting than posting but it's always nice when you visit! Love Di ♥

Blu-I'd-Blonde said...

Rebecca: You always give me so much food for thought. I'll take some time to share my thoughts on your comments in a future post. I'm so thankful God led you into my life.

Debby: You reminded me that we did sing harmony as a family, and that's why singing gospel and bluegrass harmony is so natural for me now. You always find so many positive things to say, and I cherish your encouragement.

Diana: You are so sweet. Yes, we are all more alike than different, aren't we? After all, the same God created us all. Thanks for reminding me that being a mother is the highest calling and accomplishment we can and do achieve. "Her children stand up and call her blessed."