Just as there are season’s with this planet, there are seasons with our lives. And, as I’ve written in past posts, I do believe I’m in the spring at present. With spring, comes the ever needed ‘spring cleaning’; and cleaning I am. I’ve got a whole truck full of boxes ready to be hauled off and I’m placing my mixing bowls on their own little shelves in my cupboards. Everything will have its own nesting spot once I’m through.
I’m sitting here looking around, waiting for the hauler (who just called to tell me that he is delayed until the morning… ) and I’m smiling. Smiling at the fact that I’m finally getting back on my feet after what seemed an eternity of running on ‘auto pilot’ or laying down, immobilized by the stressors of life. It is a wonderful feeling to finally be back in the driver’s seat of success, aiming once again towards my goals. Why, even Frank Sinatra (my bird) seems to take note as he looks at me with this inquisitive look on his cute little face – as if to say, “whatcha doin’ mom?” As he calmly sits on his perch, feathers puffed and his beak crackling away. We are both very happy and centered. Additionally, I am happy to report that I’ve completed what is the first of many rough drafts of my business plan yesterday. How will this all end? I have no idea. But, after crunching the numbers, it should be very successful. (I do hope so).
These seasons of life are interesting and don’t seem to go in harmony with others as we would often like. While I’ve been on what is most assuredly an upswing, I’ve been observing my friends, and am sorry to see that some are embarking on their journeys through, what looks to be a long arduous road ahead. I lovingly watch and think back to the beginning of my recent, albeit very difficult journey… Thinking back, I had no idea of the loss I would face (my divorce, the death of my sister, the loss of my home, the fire). None of us do, in ‘foresight’ – that’s the beauty of it and the horror of it, isn’t it? And I got to thinking; you truly can survive all the trials of life – one step at a time.
When I think back to 2011, on the 18th of August, I might not have woken up – had I had my way and taken that bottle of pills the night before – I would have missed out on so much life these last two years. I would have missed out on all the wonderful friendships, the wonderful discoveries and the reunited friendships this last year. When we give up on ourselves; everyone loses.
This journey can be burdensome, yes. It can be painful – one is left feeling helpless, or worse yet, hopeless. But it is important to remember, as we face the pain, the confusion, the trauma, whatever has us ailing – that, that is also a huge part of our journey. We don’t have to have all the answers, we simply need to love our way through. And be open to the answers, by allowing them to come in whatever shape or context; because they will come (they always do).
The ‘pain’ in the journey is brought more by the struggle and the more we fear. When we relax in the knowledge that our answers will come, and relax in the knowledge that our loved ones are doing the best they can; what once was an ‘arduous’ journey (hiking that steep hillside), will give way to a doable hill, with some shade trees to give relief from the hot sun.
I do feel that I’m coming down into a meadow, beautifully lush where I can lay my head for a while. However, while some of those I love around me are meeting their struggles, I will rest in the knowledge that, though I can’t walk their footsteps, I can love them through. I can listen (as they did with me), or give them lots of hugs, and give them a soft place to land in the knowledge that this too shall pass. Reassuring them that, even in the fog, when it’s at its thickest you must keep the faith that there is a shore line ahead.
Case in point (I used this example before… and at the risk of repeating myself, I’ll use it again), Florence Chattwick’s first attempt to swim the 26 miles between Catalina Island and the California coastline. As she began, she was surrounded by small boats that watched out for sharks and were prepared to help her if she got hurt or grew tired. After about 15 hours a thick fog set in. Florence, told her mother, who was in one of the boats, that she didn’t think she could make it. She swam for another hour when she finally asked to be pulled out (she couldn’t see the coastline). As she sat in the boat, she found out she had stopped swimming just one mile away from her destination.
Two months later, Chadwick tried again. This time was different. The same thick fog set in, but she made it because she said that she kept a mental image of the shoreline in her mind while she swam.
I love this woman’s story because it reminds us of perseverance – perseverance (true); but, I like to use the word, faith. Many aren’t spiritual, that’s fine. But in my mind ‘faith’ is knowing against all odds, that your answers will come. The true trick isn’t necessarily knowing that the answers will come, it’s welcoming the answers (I mean, they could be just what we DON’T want to hear…). And it isn’t guaranteed that what we want in the form of ‘answered prayers’ will come; just that our answers will, in fact come to us. There is no guarantee that you, or your loved one is going to make it through a terrible illness. No. But you can enjoy every moment, now, with them.
They say that we are here, in this life, on this Earth to enjoy this process – I can’t really say I ‘enjoyed’ every step along the way these last ten, or so, years – but, I can tell you that there were many parts that I will cherish – Kimball’s and my talks in the mornings in her living room, our laughter watching Modern Family or one of our favorite movies like Dodge Ball, playing Trivial Pursuit at the Independent Living facility’s Memory Care unit with Mother and giving her the answer just before she would shout it out (God we loved that!), or singing with mother at the Sunday services in the Memory Care facility.
Each step, though a struggle as there were many questions and concerns/fears, was met with many tender moments; moments that will light this mind’s memory for the rest of my days. That is how it should be, perhaps I can spread that light to other’s.