My good friend once told me that everyone views his/her life in two parts: Before and After. There is always a crucial experience or a crisis moment that a person goes back to as the dividing line that changed his/her life. We were in college at the time, and at 19 years old, my friend’s dividing line was when her dad passed away, which happened when she was 12. Back then, I thought of my life as Before Thailand and After Thailand. I lived in the States (Arkansas, Texas, Missouri) for the first 11 years of my life and in Bangkok, Thailand from age 11-18.
Now I might say Before Will’s (my brother’s) Death and After Will’s Death, or Before Getting Married and After Getting Married, or Before Having Kids and After Having Kids, or Before Orthodoxy and After Orthodoxy. My brother’s death changed my family – and my beliefs – in huge ways, many of which most people don’t even know about. The family that I grew up with is completely different now. Fractured. But not utterly broken. Slowly healing. I still deal with doubt on almost a daily basis, wondering if prayer really matters, hoping it does. Having my own family, of course, has brought many changes – sometimes stressful, sometimes wonderful, always shaping me. Orthodoxy has brought me to a new level of faith and understanding of God, time, worship, the world.
I think that as we get older, our dividing line changes. We continually re-evaluate our lives as we look in the rear-view window. Time brings paradigm shifts to our life definitions. Always we are challenged to see these events as gateways rather than fractures and fissures.
What is your dividing line? Your Before and After moment?
I guess that there is not just one turning point. As you noticed, there are lots of befores and afters. Because life is in motion. And so are we.
The current Before and After I live under is Before August and After August. Before August (2010) I honestly believed that I could be a positive force in the lives of others. I believed that I was as important to others as they were to me. I believed that I MATTERED.
In a few brief moments last August all of that came crashing down around me, and I realized that, in all reality, outside of my immediate family I am not that important. That I should not try to be a part of another person’s life, because I will end up an annoyance and probably lose the friendship. That I should not open up ever again, ever try to be more than the superficial, because I might be torn apart, and I may not survive another time.
You are going to have to tell me the whole story sometime . . . obviously someone was very very hurtful. I hope that you continue to heal and work through all this because you MATTER to me!!!!
You made me cry- thank you.