Harried, exhausted and searching for signs

I’m just so tired.

I never thought I’d be so tired at 22.

I just don’t even know who to be anymore.
— Jules, "St. Elmo's Fire"

It was 1985 and I was 15.

Somehow "St. Elmo's Fire" became my favorite movie — and looking back I have to wonder if that was the beginning of my desire to slow down. The beginning of the dichotomy between pursuing my purpose and making sure important moments don't pass right by, unnoticed.

You can take the girl out of the 1980s, but you can't take the '80s out of the girl. "St. Elmo's Fire" is still one of my favorite movies — and I will never tire of "Gone With the Wind."

I must have a penchant for drama — in the movies.

In the real world, I'd prefer to avoid it. At the same time, I often have the urge to speak up. There's no denying the two are often simply incompatible.

I'm constantly weighing and considering.

For years I thought the trick was figuring out when it would matter, but I've come to believe it's more about doing right than doing what matters.

The trick is knowing which is which — and what to do if you're wrong.

The 15-year-old me — and even the 21-year-old me — lived every day as if it were a battle. I always spoke accordingly. In youthful exuberance I was unafraid.

Many days were, and still are, battles. But everything doesn't need to be drama-driven. These days I'm more likely to weigh options. And remind myself the desire to avoid confrontation is no reason to remain sidelined.

I've learned that soft-spoken words and thoughtful answers are as much a part of my toolbox as a stern turn of phrase. Not all wrongs deserve a rant about why I'm right. Yet some arguments can not be avoided.

I'd love to report that I've eliminated reactive from my repertoire, but I am a work in progress.

I'm often harried and exhausted — and searching for signs.

Studying Exodus helps me consider wandering, goals, purpose, commitment — and signs from G_d.

Signs can be grandiose events and particularly well-timed happenings. They can also be found in my family gathered around the table for dinner, my 5-year-old's spark of maturity, my 16-year-old's laugh, my son's phone call from half way across the country — and my husband's dedication and heart for our family.

I see them in the kindness of friends and in my conversations with strangers. In the still of the night and the bright bustle of the day.

I don't always catch them all — or act accordingly — but I'm on my way.