Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Woman's Desire

I have recently been reading a mediocre set of fantasy novels. They are not well written, in my exacting opinion, though neither are they terrible. But one topic that almost always comes up in Victorian-era female-protagonist books is the place of women in such a society, molded into a version of perfection with almost no opportunity to choose for themselves.

Strangely, reading these books follows the beginning of my own exploration of my choices, and finding that unlike they say, there really aren't as many choices as they sell you when you are part of the "rising generation." Only a few weeks ago, I realized that I no longer know what I want out of life. Once upon a time, I wanted a career as a veterinary surgeon. But when I finally graduated, I realized that what I wanted more than anything was to serve the Lord. I decided that I couldn't continue a career path that would require so much debt when I hoped to have a family.

When I was twenty-five, I married someone I thought loved the Lord. Due to circumstances beyond my control, it ended only a few long years later. In the time since, I have realized that despite the difficulty of parenting alone, I will probably not have the opportunity to marry again. Also, the need to provide for my family closes the scientific career path I had hoped to pursue. So, I am left with no more personal goals.

I have failed at the task I have been set by the Lord to be a wife, and I have failed at my own desires to be a scientist. So I don't know where to go. Though I am still young, I am at the end of my journey.

It has been hard to accept that the rest of my life may be defined almost completely by my role as a mother, though I love being a mother. My girls are more important to me than I can describe. They are bright and beautiful, and I love every minute of the limited time I have with them.

Yet, my time is limited. I can't let myself be nothing else. I have one weekend out of two where I can't be a mother. Half my holidays are spent as me, not as Mom. And I'm realizing that while "me" has been reborn from the ashes, my desires have burned away.

Perhaps some close friends could help me through that, help me again discover something to reignite my passion. While I have some friends and really great family, they have lives of their own. They can't tell me what to want out of life, especially when they have never had the type of divided life I have inherited.

Of course I have turned to the Lord many times, but without an answer. He is leaving this one entirely up to me. And I have nothing. I immerse myself in many interests, there are hundreds of things I like to do, but nothing that gives me purpose, nothing that excites me.

For the first time in my life, I just am, with no idea where to go.

The corseted women of history had a very proscribed role. They may have chafed against the mold they were expected to fill, but they knew what was expected of them. I have the opposite problem. I have found the entire world open to me, with no more expectations that I have any chance of filling. Without those expectations to squeeze me into a pleasant shape, I have no idea what to do or who to be.

Within intermittent frustration with this limbo of my life, there is light. I am learning how to be still, how to not always have to keep moving. With nowhere to go for the first time in my life, I am drifting, and soaking in what is rather than fighting for what will be.

It is not in my nature to completely enjoy this. I have no idea what I want, who I want to become, where I want to go. And it drives me CRAZY. But for that, I am also grateful.

Listen to The Paradox of Choice, it's a great start to getting the wisdom you need to be satisfied with limitations.


  1. Lovely post, SR. The penultimate paragraph is the winner for me. I kept catching myself wanting to comfort you (by giving you advice, of course) throughout the post, but that paragraph put me in my place and made me realize that while I do not share your experience, I, too, after over half a century of life, and learning to be still.

  2. "I have failed at the task I have been set by the Lord to be a wife, and I have failed at my own desires to be a scientist. So I don't know where to go. Though I am still young, I am at the end of my journey."

    I hope that you do not put all of the blame on the failure of your marriage upon yourself. In your message I detected a bit of anguish/sadness about the man who you thought loved the Lord.

    Maybe you could check out this little video on Youtube. Maybe you can get your second wind.


  3. You are not alone in your struggles. All I ever wanted to be was a wife and mother. Well I've been there and done that; our children are almost all raised and I'm wondering what I'm going to do with the rest of my life. I've had times when I've felt a failure in life because I didn't get a college degree, no career training and although I'm well educated (self) I don't have a piece of paper to prove it. What I wanted to do when I was twenty is not what I want to do today. So I muse on options and ask the Lord to open this way or that way and little direction comes. Perhaps it doesn't matter what we do as much as HOW we do it--with an eye single to the glory of God, serving his children, leading them to the Light of Christ. I don't have the answers, but just wanted you to know that the eternal work of raising righteous children will be more important in eternity than what we choose to do as a vocation during our time on earth. Press forward with steadfast faith! Keep up the good work.

  4. You're not a failure. Love may come again. You can find another career. I think that the church burdens people with a perfection they can never attain. I think sometimes we long for former days without understanding that they came with a seedy backside. Child labor was rampant. People lived in dire poverty in absolute squalor without running water in horrid tenements. When we study the movers and shakers of sciences past, we don't see that behind those people were all the average Joes. They are the unCuries, the unDarwins, the unMozarts. You're going to be fine.

  5. Again, love the post. I really can relate and appreciate your candid and honest thoughts.

  6. I can't believe I missed this post! I've got to pay better attention, or maybe reduce the blogs I follow. I don't like missing this one!

    I completely understand the difficulty of feeling rudderless, without direction. Even though I've come through a similar marriage and divorce, and am now married again, I don't get the time I'd like to be a father, and have never found an occupation that suits me. People saying that, to eat an elephant, you have to start somewhere and work your way through, does not help. The future still seems insurmountable.

    Best I can do is remind you that there are many, many who are proud of who you have become, and look forward to seeing what more you become in the future.

  7. The one quibble that I have with this post is that YOU failed as a wife. I beg to differ. But you know that already. ;)

    The concept of being still is something I haven't ever been good at, either. Even though the specifics are different, I'm feeling much of what you are talking about -- being forced to slow down and re-assess and figuring out that I don't really know what I like/want to be when I grow up.

    What if what we are to be really is simply still? That maybe as we learn to do that, we can still be what God wants us to be, even if there isn't a label for it. What if it's more dynamic and organic in the end?


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