Monday, December 29, 2014
Closing the Distance
Distance is a strange thing. It doesn't just apply in a physical sense, it can apply also in an intangible sense too. Right now, tangibly and intangibly, I've got quite a bit of distance between me and my goals, but not as much as where I was nearly three months ago.
If you recall, I was sent packing, tail between my legs, from my preferred location in Northern Virginia back to Alabama. It wasn't a pleasing experience on multiple levels -- the leaving, the turning in of my house key (I still miss the jingle), the tire blow out in Tennessee (and subsequent unscheduled overnight stay), the repairs to my car ... the list goes on. Circumstances dictated my exit, circumstances out of my control and out of control of those around me.
I ended up back in the Catholic deadzone that is the South and I was certain I would follow the same path everyone follows when they end up back here: stuck. Central Alabama has a way of doing that to people, though why I'm not sure.
But I'm not stuck and yesterday at work, after doing a bit of math, I realized I had secured the minimum seed money I needed to get out of the South. I had done it in two months time (as opposed to the three I estimated). I had done that while diving into the Catechism, while making a few more repairs to my car, and while not stressing out of my mind.
I've managed that and, over the past two days, I've been reminded that there are people waiting for me back in Northern VA. Family and friends who haven't forgotten my existence (and even a few children whom I was sure wouldn't miss me all but they remember me, too).
It doesn't seem so far as I sit here today. It seemed like a chasm was between me and my goals when I got back here in October, a chasm that just couldn't be crossed -- my car was limping around, my pride was wounded, and my bank account was hurting. Now, I can see the other side.
And, as I look at the other side, I have to question a few assumptions I made when this journey started (and my journey is infinitely more exciting than the Hobbit's, I'm sorry to say -- Peter Jackson, take a break from Middle-Earth).
1. I'll make a good Catholic.
Diving into the Catechism as I have has shed some light on things that I do that simply shouldn't be done when I become a Catholic. Quite frankly, I commit a lot of mortal sins on a daily basis and I'm only aware of a few of them. I question whether or not there is such a thing as a "good" but I definitely don't qualify as it stands right now.
For one, I'm poor at remembering all the Holy Days of Obligation -- I should have gone to Mass on Christmas but I was focused on just getting to the celebration my family was having in Florida (and the three hour drive to get there). I tend to forget to do some of the things in Mass (like kneeling before getting into the pew or the thing you do when the priest reads the gospel).
That's not to say I won't get better at it -- I will. I will absolutely get better at it because I'm better at it than I was when I started this over two years ago (good gracious it's been a long time) but I don't know if I'd make a "good" Catholic. I think my starting point is decent and I should work my way up from there.
2. That I'm not clueless about relationships.
I am totally and completely clueless. It's a fact. I had a brief, awesome week where I was involved with a great girl that showed how clueless I was. No amount of research or observation could have prepared me for how good (and right) that week felt.
This was probably an assumption I should have junked as soon as possible, but I thought I could do decently based on everything I'd researched and observed over the years. Not true.
Still, it was a learning experience (I hate to just call it that but it was, at the minimum, that) and I picked up some things that I hope should be applicable during my next relationship.
3. That I'm a lost cause.
I'm not, actually, and you're probably just as surprised as I am. I set forth goals and they were ambitious to say the least. I wanted to get back to Northern VA, I wanted to stay there, I wanted to be Catholic, and I wanted all that done by Easter. It's a pretty steep list of things when you consider how I failed to stay in Northern VA despite being there on three separate occasions, how I've missed being confirmed last Easter, how I keep missing opportunities in general.
But here I am, within sight of the goals set forth. It doesn't mean I'll accomplish them by the date given, life can throw a curveball my way and wreck all this -- I still need to find a place to live up there and still need to find a job up there, both things that will be challenging to do (especially during the early part of this upcoming year, where jobs that were around for the holiday season disappear in a puff of smoke).
Even more than that, I was lucky enough to have a pretty girl by my side for a week in November (and she liked me for being ... me!) and I proved that I can be in a relationship and not completely fail at it (even if the sample size was for only a week).
So, I'm not a lost cause. It's refreshing to know for once.
4. That I'm forgotten.
It's easy to feel forgotten, even in this digital age we live in where I can call/text/Facebook/Email anytime I want. But distance is distance, even with the Internet bridging the gap, and the people I care for in Northern VA feel worlds away from me some days. But over the last two, I've been reminded that I exist to them.
I like to exist. As much as I don't like the spotlight, it's still nice to know that I'm remembered and people are thinking about me, even if it's only a mention here and there. No one wants to be forgotten and it's especially difficult to feel not forgotten during the holiday season.
In conclusion, I'm not far away from getting back to where I want to be. I'm coming back. The dreaded fourthquel is approaching but, like Star Trek IV, I'll blow expectations out of the water (come on, let's be serious, who thought a movie about whales and without an Enterprise would really do that well?).
I'm studying. I'm preparing. I'm working at it.
It's all I can do right now and that's just fine.