July 12, 2008

One Eye on the Rear-View Mirror

Ever find yourself driving down the road with one eye on the road and the other on the rearview mirror? Ever look back and realize you’d come much farther than you thought? Or are you like me—pedal to the metal, straight ahead, never looking back?

The road for me is endless. And though I keep my eye focused on the horizon, I don’t think I’ll ever reach my destination.

I am not an Olympic Gold Medalist Christian, Wife, Mom, Employee, Friend, Musician, Biker, Artist, Teacher, Blogger or Writer. I’m not silver or bronze, either. I’m not even a fairly good . . . any of those. Do I expect myself to be?

YOU BETCHA. Why? NOT A STINKIN CLUE.

So, on the heels of looking for permission to be where I am for now, and seeking patience and active contentment, I am reminded of another compounding issue: how easy it is to forget how far I’ve come.

I received a very touching e-mail from my sister on Mother’s Day last year. It made me cry, which in turn made me want to beat her up. Her email told me how proud she is of me and of how far I’ve come in life in spite of my background, and proud of the kind of person I’d become. Whoa. This was coming from a person who I never thought had much use for me and who I certainly never thought had any respect for the things I was trying to accomplish in my life. We have always had different perspectives, and we didn’t exactly get off on the best foot best as sisters.

When my mom and her dad got married, she was 16, I was 17 and between us, we’d experienced far more than any trusting, emotionally needy girl ought to, ever. By then neither of us had any trust in or expectations of anyone. At all. Probably not even of our selves.

So when I read her note, I was first shocked, then worried that we needed to get her meds checked. She’s not one to give approval lightly, at ALL, so to me, her words carried weight. Not that I don’t value compliments from others . . . I just don’t believe a word of it. But as I sat there trying to focus on the blurry screen through tears (well, I couldn’t see, so maybe she really said “p-o’ed” instead of “proud”) it occurred to me that I had forgotten how far I’d come. Here I am constantly dissatisfied with my current progress as Christian, wife, mom, writer, etc, etc, but forgetting that by the grace of God there has been so much healing, growth and progress in my life up to this point that some would think it a miracle, and me ungrateful. And I guess it would be true.

God had Joshua and his people haul boulders out of the Jordan River and make a memorial, something tangible so they would never forget how God had delivered them.

How could they forget, those ungrateful dolts.

So, to my desire for patience and active contentment, I would like to add a healthy amount of memory. Not too much, but not wiped so clean that I forget where I came from.

And most of all, gratitude.

Thank you, Jesus. It’s only by your sweet grace and endless patience that I am even HERE.

9 comments:

carla stewart said...

Wow, Camille, you said a mouthful. I'm sure you're better at all those things than you realize, and you certainly have an introspection most people never attain. Perhaps that is why you are so gifted at expressing yourself through the written word. I truly believe the most beautiful writing comes from that of raw experience. Isn't is amazing how God can take rough stones and hew them into the most dazzling diamonds? May your words carry His sparkle.

Camille Eide said...

Yes, Carla, it is amazing what God can do with a jagged old rock. And isn't it funny that he leaves just enough rough edges on some of us to give others a reason to grow in grace? *grin*

Thanks for the kind comments. I look forward to reading your sparkling words in print very soon. :)

Anonymous said...

Hm. What a lot to think about. I am not sure I'm comfortable looking back. What if I am not as far as I should be? What if there are too many mistakes back there? You're right. I don't look back in that way very often. My pedal is to the metal and I'm focused on that finish line! ;-)

However, it's good to look back and reassess what's behind to see if you missed a turn or could travel better. Thanks for the reminder.

AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!

Deltaoperator17 said...

Very touching communication between my two sisters.

Any time we receive approval and praise it feels great. I love the fact that you give praise and thanks to our lord for all things.

And yea, maybe she needs her meds changed, have you talked to Dad about that?

Rock on Little Sister!

Camille Eide said...

Thanks Karla. I should have been more clear (duh, writers are supposed to be communicators) about the phrase "how far I've come." I didn't mean to imply my own accomplishments or improvements, but rather where I am in my life as opposed to the direction I was heading earlier in life.

It's in total humility and awe that I look back. If it were not for the love and grace of Christ, then instead of married to an awesome, wise Christian man for 25 years and raising 3 fabulously fun, witty, intelligent, cool, conscientous kids and having the job and friends I do, and pursuing my dream of writing, I think I'd be in jail, running from being in jail, on the streets or most likely dead.

As a sadly messed-up 16 year old kid with a dark history, I never would have imagined living this long (just turned 45) and living this life. But Jesus changed the direction of my life in one night.

How far I've come is entirely by the grace of God and I just thought it was time to haul some boulders out of my Jordan river, make a memorial to look as so that I never forget where I was headed before Christ rescued me.

THAT's what I should have said in that post.

Like you, Karla, I think looking back can also give us the chance to reassess what choices we've made, but that only depresses me because it reminds me of how much FURTHER I could be by now had I made better choices along the way.

Thanks for pointing that out.

Camille Eide said...

Woops - just missed ya there, Deltaoperator17. Nice to see ya, man... although there's no handsome photo to go with that mysterious profile, bro.

You and I have much to thank the Lord for, don't we? The list is endless.

Way to go on the climb, Mountain Man! Keep it up!

Deltaoperator17 said...

There you go, picture and my mountain website.

Gwen Stewart said...

Camille,

You are one awesomely funny, yet amazingly honest Christian lady. I have to tell you that I laughed out loud at your suggestion for a writing tome, "God Told Me to Write This Book" by Mr. (or Ms.?) Rock on Rachelle's blog today.

And I was touched by this post as well. I am looking back and writing from a hurting place in my past right now. Since I never addressed the hurt, guess what? It still hurts. And God is dealing with me about that through my writing.

I enjoyed reading your blog and as I said, always enjoy your responses on Rachelle's blog. I'll stop back to read about your neat take on the Christian life!

Avily Jerome said...

Wow, thanks for that!
I always think about the Israelites, and how as soon as they were in a sticky spot they started whining and complaining, completely forgetting all the miracles and everything else God did for them.
So this week I realized that, despite how God has proven Himself in the past, I have turned into a big whiner, ignoring the ways He has worked in my life up until now and complaining that I'm in a sticky spot.
Check out my blog posting on Red Sea Rules- http://avilyjerome.blogspot.com
Thanks again for helping to make this lesson hit home!

ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF. . . .

RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME:

I've published five novels and 2 novellas (more about those on my website.) I've been writing all my life, but decided in 2007 to get serious about being published.

I love action movies and Jane Austen. (she’s dead, I know. I found that out when I tried to get her to endorse my novel)

They let me play Bass guitar and sing in a worship band.

I can produce 4 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls in a flash for a crowd of drooling young adults. Or publishing house editors.

I used to have a Harley. Now we have six (going on seven) grandkiddos. Decent trade, really.

I am a proud Grammy. Don't even think about taking candy from my babies.

I hate shopping (Yes, I'm aware that I'm a girl)

MY ROOTS:
I've lived in Oregon all my life, spent time in Eugene (Go DUCKS!), Springfield, Reedsport, and Smith River. Which is not really a town, but a river, about 70 miles long, a tributary of the Umpqua River in southwest Oregon.

Although it's not a town, it is a community with a strong sense of pioneer history. It's cool to say you've lived there, especially if you lived there during the days when you had to take a boat to school. No joke! The old farmhouse my grandfather and my mother grew up in still stands, nestled into a narrow, pasture carpeted valley, complete with a swimmin' hole and its own 'crick'. It may turn up in one of my novels.

There's a rumor that my ancestors had a connection with the Mafia back in Sicily. I used to fantasize as a kid about a big black limo with tinted windows pulling up and whisking me away from school. Ahhh. So THAT'S why I'm having so much trouble conjugating my dangling participles now.

NOT RANDOM: I am challenged by the truth and amazed by the grace of God. And it's either in spite of or because of that grace that I hold a PhD in Learning Stuff the Hard Way.