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The Heartache that Doesn’t Fade

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Heartache doesn’t soften over time.

The pain grows roots.

It takes residence in the soul.

We journey forward, learning as we go.

The heartache gives us perspective and deeper understanding.

It becomes part of who we are.

In that open, vulnerable space is where our love resides.

Love never fully understood in a space that will never fade. Dogwood Blossoms

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Welcome, Acceptance

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A menagerie is growing. It is peeping and squeaking and soon to be quacking.

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Seven little ducklings have taken up residence in our basement.

DSCF3061 And on occasion, the bathtub.

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Watching these creatures stirred something deep within myself.

Wonder,

excitement,

and a little giggle

of a five-year-old girl.

The same five year old girl that used to chase sparrows around the McDonald’s playground in hopes of catching one,

just to feel what feathers were like.

The same five year old girl that would take her grandpa’s hand and say, “Let’s go look at the garden!”

The same five year old girl that dug up the roots of an apple tree, certain that she had found a dinosaur bone.

That little girl, is me. She arrived yesterday.

A day after the ducklings.

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She wanted to call her daddy to tell him about the excitement of holding these little fluff-balls.

I had to be gentle with her, “Your daddy died last year, sweetheart.”

“Oh, that’s right. I’m sad about that…

But, we know what feathers feel like now, right?”

“Yes, we do. We get to hold birds everyday, if we want.”

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“And we have a garden now, right?”

“Yes, but it’s too cold to work in it. But someday soon the green onions and garlic will start sprouting.”

“And we have apple trees too, right?”

“Yes, we do. Dad helped the boys plant them two years ago.”

“Oh good. So we’re happy and life is good, right?”

“Yes, my girl. You are right. As difficult as things feel sometimes, we are happy. And life is good.”

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~

What an amazing sense of arrival, to know what is truly important to the core of my being.

And to know that through all the struggles,

through all the discontented and quieted bits of my inner self,

that the young child,

the one with the quietest voice,

is the most accepting,

the most appreciative,

and remains close to the ones gone from this world.

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Patience and Perfection

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Patience and Perfection

Patience. Patience. Patience.

I’m trying to learn it. I’m sitting here, waiting for what’s next: spring, warmth, sunshine, planting seeds, harvesting greens, evening trips to the greenhouse, wearing slip-on shoes, walking the dog, feeling the earth come alive.

Not yet. It was -11 this morning. Wait…. Wait…. Wait….

But waiting is a good thing (really!)

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Sometimes waiting forces us to listen. In this time, we can learn to understand. We can learn to accept.

This whole process I’ve been working through (and blogging about) has been exactly that—learning to accept.

As a teenager, I spent some time in a treatment facility. Everyday we would start the day with a portion of the Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

But, now I have learned that was only the beginning. There is more to the prayer. Maybe the administrators at the facility assumed suicidal teenagers wouldn’t care about the rest of it. Maybe I didn’t care about the rest of it. Maybe I didn’t listen. Maybe I don’t remember.

Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

If I had, perhaps learning to live one day at a time wouldn’t have felt so much like a foreign concept. But, when everything falls apart, the moment we have is all we have. During the grieving process I learned that in day-to-day living there is no room for compulsive behaviors. No room for people pleasing. No room for perfection.

 

I am guilty of being a perfectionist. For those of you who may have witnessed my perfectionism at play, let me just apologize and say, “If you thought I was a perfectionist, you should have heard the voice in my head.” In my mind, I was never good enough. That kind of obsessive chronic self-criticism leaves little room for the appreciation of each beautiful moment. Something had to give.

As I struggled to learn the idea of living in the moment, the realization hit me that everything in this world is finite. With the exception of energy. After all, energy cannot be created or destroyed. Only transferred. We are infinite beings experiencing the finite. No wonder it is so difficult and confusing to be a human!

But that too, I feel like I’ve learned how to be human. I’m not perfect. There’s no sense in trying to act like someone expects me to be. I’ve accepted my faults. I’m disorganized and cluttered. I try to take charge sometimes. I don’t do well in the mornings. I get a little shy sometimes. I’m clumsy. I’m needy sometimes. I forget to brush my teeth before bed. I curse. I’m easily distracted if I’m multitasking. I think too much. There’s more, I’m sure. (But you don’t have to tell me.)

The point is, that accepting myself has resulted in a new understanding of others– people who can be completely different than me, but have the same feelings. They have feelings of happiness, love, pain, grief, anger, sadness, fear, disgust, guilt, and surprise.

The more people I meet and connect with, the more I see I am not alone. Many others are trying to juggle responsibility and self-interest. Many others are in the middle of life transitions such as relocating, getting married, having children, new jobs, and so on. And others still are adjusting to loss in their life—loss of a home, a loved one, or their own health. I have found the ability to empathize to understand what it is like to be grateful for each day, to be happy to make it through day-by-day.

It really does change the definition of a term we so often strive for— success.

My successes for the day:

  • Waking up.
  • Feeding myself, the animals, and the kids.
  • Having the brilliant idea to wear my cute hat rather than losing time by doing my hair.
  • Getting the kids to school and daycare.
  • Making it to work.
  • Working while at work.
  • Connecting with an a local artist in such a way that I was deeply compelled to give her a hug when we said our good-byes.
  • Leaving work.
  • Getting my children home.
  • Paying attention to my body and taking time to rest.
  • Reflecting on all that was swimming in my head.
  • Writing this blog entry and sharing it with other humans. (Since few other beings can read!)

Please enjoy your day and all the more to come. 

 

 

the smallest steps take us the furthest

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Each of us is on a path. Sometimes we stray from it and we must remember it is never too late to turn around.

But what about when turning around means breaking down? We find ourselves at the bottom. Shards of glass scattered around us. We are spent and exhausted, knowing that we must get up and move. Move on.

Today, I look back at that place within myself and see how far I’ve come. The sun came out today, just for me. The wind is calm today, just for me. The snow glistens today, just for me. My heart listens today, just for me.

The world doesn’t seem so dark. It is as though I conquered something inside. I am standing tall. But I still remember.

I remember that fear and pain. I remember the sadness and grief. I remember the guilt and confusion. I remember feeling paralyzed. I knew that if I got up and ran, those shards of glass would find their way into my flesh.

Before I could even get up, I had to look at the pieces scattered around. I didn’t understand how it all fit together to begin with. I didn’t understand how it all fell apart. The idea of picking up the pieces was completely overwhelming.

I started with baby steps. When infants learn to walk they are excited and cautious. The bump into things. They fall down and cry. They try again. They squeal with delight. So did I.

I had to learn to walk again. Not so much in a physical sense, but emotionally, mentally, socially, and spiritually. I had to learn to breath again. I had to find my balance again. I had to care for my soul again. I had to find my path again.

Now that I feel like I am on my path again, I realize I am not alone. I am alive, just the same as you. I am human, just the same as you. I look back and expect to see the mess I left behind. Instead I see a story of strength, endurance, beauty, and triumph. A story I am glad to have overcome. A journey I am glad to be able share. Now I know just how far baby steps can truly take us.

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