Don’t get me wrong. It’s not baby showers per se. It’s special events in general. Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries. Nice when they’re about other people. Not so nice if it’s me.
Special events were ok when I was younger, (apart from Valentine’s Day which is always miserable). Not so much now. There’s pain there. And it’s the kind of pain it doesn’t feel ok to express -especially at a barn dance.
Part of it is expectation. You’re married, but it’s not what you thought. You’re single, but it’s not like on ‘Friends’. You’re 40 and you feel like 13.
Part of it is comparison. You’re single but everyone else is paired off. You’re in a job you hate, and your mates are running empires. You can’t afford the presents your friends buy their kids.
Then there’s the ‘oughts’: You ought to have a party, but you’re watching a dvd. You ought to have your neighbours round for Christmas. But you’re knackered and your parents have insisted. You ought to be someone completely different to yourself. But you’re you and that’s the bottom line.
I’m not at the place I thought I’d be.
I’m not feeling what I think I ought to.
This does not look like the parties/romantic dinners/girl’s nights I see on TV.
I don’t want to get old. I don’t want to look at what I’ve done with my life.
I feel guilty that people are here, for me.
My smile is cracking and so am I.
But let’s change the picture. Take away the expectations. Take away the comparisons and then take away the oughts.
What if you didn’t feel the need to prove yourself or defend your choices? What if you could look in the mirror and smile at what you see? What if you were comfortable in your own skin; sharing life with friends or just relaxing by yourself? What if you knew you were in the right place, at exactly the right time – and that everything was fundamentally ok?
I’m never going to enjoy Valentine’s Day. And at 12 midnight on New Year’s Eve, I will probably always long for my bed. But where I am is where God has placed me. He has given me these years and these experiences and these lines. He declares me a success: and He rejoices over me – not because I throw a good party or I’m good at what I do or even because I try. He has set His love on me: Just because.
Nothing to prove.
Nothing to compare.
A gift worth celebrating: every day.