The Absurd and Amazing Adventures of Cafe Girl: Feelings

April 8, 2009

Feelings

On a rare, cool Spring Friday evening in Los Angeles, I find myself wandering the Century City Mall. It's an outdoor mall, an entity I could never understand while I lived in wintry Chicago. But an outdoor mall in Los Angeles makes perfect sense, especially on an evening like this, when the sun takes its time going down, the breeze is cool and gentle, and evening symbolizes not the end of the day, but a promise of the night to come.

The first time I was at this mall was July almost two years ago. It was an evening as well -- but it was summer, and the sun stayed out a little longer, the weather was a little warmer. I had just signed the lease on my Los Angeles apartment. I sat in the open air food court staring up into a clear, blue summer sky and realized that this city was going to be home.

A feeling swept over me then, a feeling I wanted to articulate, but couldn't find anyone to articulate to. The best I could manage was a crackly, disjointed phone call back to Chicago. I tried to share, wanted to say everything that was on my heart -- my excitement, my fear, my hope. Something held me back. Perhaps it was my hesitancy, perhaps I sensed the hesitancy on the other side of the line. Whatever it was, I hung up on the call feeling incredibly lonely and, even though I didn't admit to it at the time, incredibly disappointed.

Walking along the mall at twilight this evening that same feeling from so very long ago swept over me. Why am I even feeling this I wondered. Life today is good. It is full of laughter and filled with hope. I love and am loved by the people in my life. God has been moving me -- where to, I'm not so sure -- but nonetheless His hand is on me, of this I am confident. And yet, as I wandered the mall, it was as if I was back at that summer of two years ago, and loneliness and disappointment came over me again.

I'm never quite sure what to do when old feelings resurface like this. Is it a sign of issues I haven't dealt with? Am I still "holding on"? Should I devote more time to pray over this, journal about it, mourn, cry?

And then I remember something I've learnt over the many years I spent in therapy. Feelings are just that -- feelings. They are not necessarily real. They are not necessarily the truth. They are just perceptions. How many times do the Dr. Phils of the world counsel that we shouldn't just react based on how we feel? That mature adults learn to weigh their feelings, control but not suppress them, know that feelings sometimes can not be trusted.

So I did something that would have made my former therapist proud. I stayed in the moment. I felt. Then I took a deep breath and looked at the truth of my life.

Life today is good. It is full of laughter and filled with hope. I love and am loved by the people in my life. God has been moving me -- where to, I'm not so sure -- but nonetheless His hand is on me.

Of this, I am confident.

2 comments:

Julie said...

Nice, Janice! I love it. And I really needed to hear this!!!

David said...

Nice work Janice! I'm proud of you. :)