Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What Uralla taught me about myself

Us in front of Uralla's famous Thunderbolt's Rock
This is my 100th post. :o)

There is a small town in country New South Wales called Uralla. Besides maybe being the lesbian capital of Australia,* it also happens to be somewhere I spent a chunk of time growing up (physically, if not emotionally). It’s the place that helped me learn a valuable life lesson; a lesson I probably wouldn’t have needed to learn had I not spent a chunk of time growing up in a small town like Uralla.

I went to primary school there for around 3 full years, during which time I impressed everyone with my bucket-loads of amazing abilities. I won the cross-country and accumulated trophies from swimming races at the annual carnivals. In athletics, I made it to state level with 3 other girls to compete in the 100-metre relay. I sang in the choir and played a lead role in the big play and won prizes at eisteddfods. My year 6 teacher once walked me from one classroom to the next, making me read each class a story that I’d written because he thought it was wonderful. One of the boys in my class started calling me Shakespeare. Basically, I was awesome. At, like, everything.

It was surely a blessing that I went to high school in nearby Armidale or else who knows what would have happened to my self-esteem; I’d probably have ended up auditioning for Australian Idol and making a fool of myself. In high school I soon realised that I wasn’t really that good at stuff. I just wasn’t really bad at stuff and hadn’t been competing with that many people. I was actually disappointingly mediocre at, like, everything. Well, nearly everything. I have surprisingly speedy reflexes, which allow me to catch whatever’s whizzing toward my head at short notice or grab hold of my baby after I’ve accidentally let him slip off the freezer where I was dressing him, thus rescuing him from splattering on the tiled floor below (LET’S NEVER SPEAK OF THIS AGAIN). Basically I’m mediocre at everything that would be in any way helpful in leading me to discover my lifes vocation.

The problem with being mediocre at nearly everything is that I’m left with a sense of having nothing to do or to aim for or to be. I majored in the most impractical subject it’s possible to take at university (Linguistics) and have now forgotten almost everything I learned about it anyway, so I’m left with absolutely no brilliant talents (aside from my speedy speedy reflexes) and absolutely no idea of what life may look like for me in the years ahead. If I knew how to run, Sweet Virginia**, I would run. If I knew how to play, I’d play. If I knew how to teach, I’d teach, and if I knew how to not gag when confronted with blood or vomit, I’d nurse (or at least approach this whole mothering thing with far less anxiety).

But I don’t do any of these things particularly well, nor do I do them particularly badly. And I don’t even know that I want to do these things well. Frederick Buechner said, “The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.” I feel like Ive been wandering for a long time now, waiting to spot that intersection, hoping it appears before my little boy skips off to school, leaving me alone with my fears and boredom and lack of helpful abilities.

I wait for some gift that’s been lying dormant within me to spring to life and declare, “I am what you’re good at, what you should pursue!”, so that I can enrol in a course and finally be able and therefore worthy and useful. So that I have direction rather than passively being pulled wherever my husband leads and wondering, every so often, if I’m still fully me or if what’s left is just a wisp of me, floating whichever way his breeze blows.

I wait for an opportunity, a moment when God will finally whisper, “This is what I’ve prepared you for! This is where you’ll find joy and purpose in your short time on this earth!

At the moment, the wait is hard and my mediocrity feels like a heavy burden to have to carry.

Cruel, Uralla. So cruel.

My husband standing on the rock, being a tiger.
*I’ve heard rumours, but Wikipedia doesn’t mention it at all so they mustn’t be true.

**This is a shout out to an awesome Gomez song that you should listen to some time.


  1. Um I think you're amazing at many things!!

  2. I reckon you are awesome at writing :)

  3. I realise that this post comes across in a very high-schooly, "Omigosh I'm so fat!"-to-which-everyone-must-respond,-"You're totally not fat!!", "You're sooooo beautiful!",-etc.,-etc.-way, which wasn't my intention; I was just wanting to whinge.

    Thank you for your comments, though. :o)

  4. Hi Belle,

    I've been following your blog for some time now (but for some reason it hasn't been letting me comment properly til now) and I agree with the above poster - I think you have a real gift for writing and for connecting with and expressing what a lot of us are feeling or experiencing. I'm a young Christian woman about your age and I find it so encouraging to read your musings on life, God and faith. I've been recommending your blog to all my friends and just wanted to let you know that in my opinion you have a real talent and are encouraging a lot of people, even if perhaps you don't know it. Someone once told me when I was agonising about my purpose in a similar way to how you are now (and I still do every now and again) that God works in us through our passions, and I think that's true. So just keep doing what you're doing and I'm sure you'll find your way.

  5. Aw, Lou! You made me cry! THANK YOU. xo