Life Circles

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December 10, 2015 by From the Alli Files

I’ve been thinking a lot about circles lately. Hm, should I call them Life Circles?!  Circles of life maybe? Nah, that’s probably copyrighted by Disney.

So, Life Circles it is.

God keeps sending life circles, and I’m not sure if it’s for His amusement or mine.

It seems every time I tell myself/ God that I just refuse to do something, it doesn’t take too long before that little something becomes a grand and adventurous aspect (maybe even passion) in my life, bringing me right back to where I started, yet with a fresh new attitude.

Usually when I’m in the middle of trudging around these circles, still unsure of where they are headed, I go to my dad for advice. He will listen with genuine interest to my struggles, and then ask me, “So are you in the belly of the whale still, or has God spit you out in Ninevah yet?”

I get it, Dad. Jonah and I have very similar lessons to learn:

  1. I don’t make the rules
  2. I can’t run from God.
  3. He’s sending me where he’s sending me, and I can go quietly and without a fuss, or I can arrive with whale guts in my hair.

Admittedly, I’ve spent a good portion of my 25 years praying in the belly and pulling seaweed from my clothes afterwards.

Let’s review a few debunked Alli-declarations that God has brought full circle:

High school Allison: “Teaching is the last job I want to do.”

College Allison: “I will teach anywhere BUT Rankin County when I graduate.”

After a bad date at 21: “New rule, y’all. No more accountants.”

Pre-treatment Allison: “I’m way too screwed up to be a counselor.”

Post-treatment Allison: “Who would EVER live in TEXAS on PURPOSE?!”

My Lord keeps blessing me with the very things I try to avoid, and the hilarity of it all continues to remind me how truly human and not-in-control-of-things that I really am.

I remember a fairly significant flight home to Mississippi from Abeline, TX, in the summer of 2013, after my 6 weeks in a residential treatment facility.

Now, let’s review west-Texas climate and geography:

It had been so different from that of my deep south. In the red-dirt desolation of Buffalo Gap (population 463), there had been no familiar humidity to wrap around me like a constant bear hug and keep my skin radiant. Instead, it was so dry that, despite my almost-obsessive use of lotion, my hands looked like a dehydrated mango by the time I left.

The biggest trees (if you could call them trees) out there were about shoulder high (I had learned they were called “mesquite”), and I saw my first tumbleweed that wasn’t in cartoon form.

(Yes, it’s true. At the age of 22, I actually believed tumbleweeds were only for the purpose of demonstrating boredom in a western cartoon. I didn’t think they were real objects. Go ahead, just bless my heart. I need all the blessing I can get.)

It was a whole new world in west Texas–a world I was all too eager to leave behind for good.

Looking out the window to my left, with my forehead pressed against the glass, I watched the landscape grow increasingly more green as the plane progressed eastward.

My heart soared when we crossed the Mississippi River, as greenery exploded with an abruptness that I had never before cherished so greatly.

My deep-south jungle of a home was welcoming me back with its glory of a steamy early August. Tears I’d used sparingly in treatment were now rolling down the window pane of the plane.

After six weeks of rediscovering Allison and preparing to dive back into reality, I was back home. Finally. And I craved adventure elsewhere, but was never going to go back to Texas.

Ever. Do you hear me, world? Ever. I’ll move anywhere but there, God.

That plane ride was a little over two years ago, folks, and today I am curled up on my couch in a little place called Denton, basking in the 73-degree warmth of a North Texas December. I just finished my last final in my first semester of graduate school—as a counseling student. Since I have today off from my job as a mental health tech at a local treatment center, I decided it was fine time I jump back into this little blogging arena.

Tonight I’ll probably drive down to Dallas to see my sweet accountant-man when he gets off work, and he will make fun of my Rankin County accent.

Hear that, y’all? It’s the Lord laughing at me, as he kicks me out the door toward the next life circle.

I hope and pray that the next one is just as fun.


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