If I were my friend, I would look at the laundry list of things from the past year and say, "Oh honey. You've been through so much. You are amazing. I'm here for you. Hang in there." So I am trying to be that friend. To be there for myself no matter what. To rally other friends around on hard days and to raucously celebrate the good ones.
My husband was given the opportunity to leave his job this past week. By that, I mean he is burnt out after 13 years with the same company and was essentially asked to "plan an exit strategy". We had just bought a car the day before, and despite the assurance that our Out of Pocket Maximum has been met, the medical bills have kept coming. I feel that considering all that has happened in the past year, I would be justified in throwing a big fat tantrum. I should be panicking, right? The moment I heard of his meeting at work, I hit my knees. I didn't pray for magical solutions. I didn't curse God or ask why. I have learned that life is going to go on happening, and most of the time the only big beautiful miracle is that you get through the tough times, and you get to keep on living. I simply prayed for Peace. I prayed for the strength to handle whatever this new challenge would bring. That was an easy prayer for God to answer, since all of that peace and strength lives inside me. He introduces me to new depths of it every day. From the moment my knees touched the carpet, I have felt it. The panic and anxiety surge at times, but the Peace soothes over them like a calming balm. I think the only other pervasive feeling has been a sadness at watching my strong and fearless mountain man struggle. He is so brave. I pray for his peace and his courage. I cannot give him mine.
After a difficult year of roller coaster drama, permeating sadness, anxiety, anger, and confusion, the feeling of Peace is somewhat strange. It comes with the understanding that this is change that we begged for, hoped for, cried many tears for. It is time to move from our mucked in little stuck spot. It is harder than expected, but this is us, heading in the right direction.
Sunday, July 5, 2015
It makes me wonder how many times in a day we skirt death unknowingly. How many of my loved ones did I almost lose today? How much longer would I hold them if I knew? I'm pretty sure there would be a lot more "Breath Hugs". You know, where you hug someone and then settle in for a full 'breathe together' moment that makes you just let go and be for a sec. Yeah. Those are my favorite kind. Never had one? Try it. It's better than melty chocolate. It's just that good.
What else? More thoughtful moments. More spontaneous 'yes' acts. More checking in just for the sake of checking in. More fending off sharp thoughts before they became sharp words that we regret later. More kindness.
Ever wonder what it's like to walk into somewhere like church or yoga class after you've not died? For the most part, nothing changes... except you. People are still living their stories, and rightly so. Not many people look at you and think, "Man, she was like millimeters from sepsis and sudden horrible death not so long ago. She had to get cut open to save her life! Glad she's still around! Break out the balloons!"
Surprisingly, to me my story matters a little less, while everyone else's story matters a little more. I think a lot more about what others have been through, and I think about how I make people feel. It's not a new concept. Our girl Maya Angelou has been talking about it for decades.
|Still a fave. Thanks Maya.|
My Mama is the best example of this. She is a beautiful woman with a bright, wide smile and soft blue eyes. She has followed my daddy around the world, often not knowing the native language of the people she is connecting with, but never failing to connect. Never failing to draw a sweet child into her lap simply by exuding love. Children know. They know when your arms are a safe place and when the door to your heart has so long ago lost its hinges that it sits wide open to them. This is my Mama. I can see now that someday life's blows will wear me down, break me up, and only serve to make me soft like her. Those many moments when the temptation arises to clam up and turn hard against the pain, to cut myself off and slowly wither, I think of my Mama. I think of the life sustaining love that is salve to my soul, and I can't. I just can't. When the question comes, "Can I give up yet?" This is my answer. My mama, and all of those many who have made me feel. Loved, important, inspired, beautiful, powerful, strong, soft, shiny, amazing, real, happy. All of those people to whom I might return the favor- who are encouraged by my courage. You are my answer.
More often than not, I have questioned what it is that I believe.
Know this: I believe that there is a God in Heaven who grants us miracles, and I believe without a doubt that WE are those miracles for each other. WE are the tools in His hands. And even as we are receiving the miracle of someone else's love and encouragement, we are creating miracles for others just by continuing to live and love.
So keep living and keep loving, my friends. You did not die today. You can be a force for good.