I do not normally come to this blog to talk about my "trying to conceive" (ttc) issues. I write about them over here though, and if you're ever interested in our progress, you can check it out! I only wanted to bring attention to National Infertility Awareness Week, and I'm glad so many people were able to hear a fraction of my story. I received lots of emails and Facebook messages aside from the comments on my last post, and I just want to thank everyone for your kind, encouraging, loving messages. I am blessed to have you all in my life.
As you may have noticed, Onceuponacline.com has recently undergone a makeover! Beth from I Should Be Folding Laundry and RubyandRoja was lovely to work with, and her vision for my bloggy and twitter makeover was more than I could have imagined.
It was funny, though, how a blog design could make me reflect on the past, and think about the present. Yes, "Once Upon A Cline" is an obvious play on "Once Upon A Time". But as I was thinking about the similarities, I was forced to accept the fact that my life, and my marriage, are not perfect. If you've been around my blogs (here and here) for a few years, you may recall a post about my desire for perfection (of course, I would like to link it, and I can't find it). But the general idea of that post went like this:
As I sat in the Student Union with my Bible Study leader Laura, I told her I just couldn't do it all anymore. I was a full-time student with a part-time job, I sang on the worship team for our weekly Campus Crusade meeting, I lead worship for a Friday afternoon gathering of students, I sang on the worship team at my church, I had 3 different rehearsal nights a week, I was committed to a Bible Study, and two different dicipleships - the one I was being discipled in, and the one where I was discipling. I had a boyfriend and a roommate and a sorority, and I just couldn't do it anymore. And as I cried over my Iced Tea, I told her I never thought I would get there.
"Get where, Natalie?" she asked me gently.
"I don't think I'll ever be perfect".
And with tears streaming down both our faces, she grabbed my hands from across the table, and kindly assured me that I would, in fact, NEVER attain perfection. If I was perfect, I wouldn't need a Saviour.
Five years after that conversation, my manager at work took me out for lunch for my employee evaluation and told me I was doing so well, and that she was really proud of me for how much I'd learned in the past few months. Her only suggestion was to be more willing to accept my mistakes, and to learn from them. She said I was too hard on myself, and I needed to let people help me fix my mistakes, and I needed to be teachable. And right there in the middle of that restaurant, the tears streamed down my face again. She looked shocked, and apologized if she'd said something that upset me, and I told her the story above. And I realized that I hadn't accepted what Laura told me back in 2003; I was still striving for perfection, for that unattainable goal.
Today, I am content with being less than perfect. My marriage is far from perfect. I say things to my husband that I am ashamed of, I yell. There is laundry to be done. My car is messy, and my work desk looks like a tornado blew through the building. I can't cook, I'm a terrible housekeeper, I gossip. I don't do my hair most days, I don't spend time picking out my clothes, and you're lucky to catch me with matching socks.
So my "Once Upon A Cline" is not a story of a perfect fairy tale, where the prince rides in to rescue the princess, kissing her to awaken her from a deep sleep, whilst she dreamed of mice and carriages, and glass slippers. I think I got that wrong. Anyhow...
My "Once Upon A Cline" is my far-from-perfect tale, pool guy rides in to save HR Manager, shaking her to awaken from a deep sleep in which she talks of non-sense and occasionally snores, whilst dreaming of flip-flops, carry out pizza, and someone to mop the floor. A step-sister, if you will. And usually, the princess in this story is drooling on the pillow.
And it's the Fairy Tale I've been waiting for all along.