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Opening My Eyes and Realizing I’m Still Hanging On

April 21, 2009

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m living my own life. Looking back through photographs or get caught in reflections of memories gone by, I have to kick-start my brain to remember that that was and is my life.

(I hope this doesn’t sound too strange.)
(Does anyone else ever feel this way?)

I went to drop something off today for work, and as I was walking up the steps to the building I was at, I looked up to see these trees, heavy with white blossoms that were bending under the weight of the rain. Though being battered by the wind, littering the ground with their petals, those flowers still hung on. The petals were ground into the pavement by many pairs of careless feet, including mine, but yet there was still something hopeful about them. They wouldn’t be beaten. Even bruised and scattered across concrete, they were still an expression of courage.

I was looking through photos at my parents’ house the other day, and I came across my baby pictures. I was 2 1/2 months premature and barely topped two pounds when I was born. I suppose I’ve never thought about it much, being that I grew up without any health problems or disabilities (which for preemies is amazing). But looking at these Polaroids of this tiny baby, naked, unable to even fit into diapers, hooked up to tubes, it hit me. At one point in my life, I relied on machines to breathe. At one time, my parents weren’t sure if I would live through the night. In those days, it was a celebration when I topped three pounds and my mother could finally hold me without an incubator between us.

(Note: That is not me — I don’t have any scanned photos of me when I was born.)

I always joke that I looked like E.T. (and I did…I was a brown, wrinkly little thing). But when I saw how incredibly tiny my hand was on my dad’s, or how you could count every rib in my chest…it was sobering. My grandma always tells me (and tears up) that she remembers coming to see me in the hospital, and telling my parents that I would grow up to be such a pretty girl and that she was sure that God had special plans for me. She knew I would stubbornly fight through those weeks of uncertainty and come out on the other end. I suppose I’ve always shrugged that off as “grandma-talk,” because other people are meant for special things, not me. I’m just me, aren’t I? And perhaps I am. But that doesn’t mean that my life cannot be extraordinary (and really, it already is, in many ways).

I met my best friend, Sandra, for lunch/bookstore wandering time last Friday in Lansing. As we sat with coffee and talked, she talked about how she wants to see me doing something special with myself and my passions. It’s not to say that I’m doing nothing now (because she knows that I am), but that she sees potential in me that I haven’t quite caught sight of yet. I am thankful for her and her courage to push me, even when I dig in my heels and resist. I feel so very small, like that tiny, gasping baby, in the face of that “something.” I need to be reminded that living your passion isn’t just something to talk about and write about, but something to live (which is so much harder, even when you love something).

…and I’m figuring that out.

P.S. The day after I wrote this, I read this. He doesn’t need me, He loves me. And I need to just let Him.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Dave permalink
    April 21, 2009 3:46 pm

    “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:6-7

    I needed the reminder to pursue with passion my role a while back, and I received it through a series of instructive words, including these words of Paul.

    Live fully in the power of His Spirit and for His Kingdom.

  2. Amanda permalink
    April 21, 2009 3:58 pm

    This Sandra sounds amazing-and I wish I had a friend like that! She is right you have so much potential to do something speicaly, really special. I mean I know the world dosen’t need another Mother Teresa. But I think the Caroline Clunk they need and have has something big in store for us all!
    You are such an a light to me, that friend that makes me want to look at life a little differently and the friend that makes me feel more comfortable with my own little quirks! Even though some of our seems to be the same so its easy to understand right? lol

  3. Caroline permalink*
    April 21, 2009 4:25 pm

    Thanks Uncle Dave — I am just beginning to read through Romans with my House Church, and am finishing up the Gospels personally, then going on to Paul’s letters. I think it will help.

    I wish the process of figuring it all out — my passion, my living etc. — was faster and more fluid, but I am learning to deal with its inconstant nature.

  4. Caroline permalink*
    April 21, 2009 4:26 pm

    Sandra IS amazing, probably one of the more amazing people I’ve ever known. 🙂 I’m lucky to have her pushing me.

    I hope that whatever I do is as amazing as people say it will be — and I’m sure that whatever I do, when done in great love and for the glory of God, will be.

    Thanks for believing in me, dear. 🙂 It makes all the difference in the world. I’m glad I can be a light — it’s something we all can use a little more of.

  5. ratsekad permalink
    April 22, 2009 11:14 am

    When I was a baby I wasn’t doing well and my mother took me to the doctor and his diagnosis was: Failure to Thrive. I guess I was like a runt. So I suppose we have that in common =)

    I know what you mean about doing something great with your life. One of my numbered doodlings was about planning to leave this life behind, but still not being finished with my plans. And that is what it is kind of talking about. I have this ongoing plan to leave everything and live differently, but I have yet to decide in what way or how to do it, not to mention how to tell others. It takes a great amount of courage to follow your bliss. There is always that fear of letting those down who care a great deal about you. While you shouldn’t do things to satisfy others, I find myself struggling with that anyway. I don’t know. I could definitely use a nice talk about life over coffee, maybe when I come home. I haven’t had one of those in a long time.

  6. Caroline permalink*
    April 23, 2009 9:22 am

    Hurray for runts!
    We grow up pretty well, huh? 🙂

    I really hope I get to see you when you come home — I can ALWAYS use some good James time.

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