Monday, June 16, 2014

Finding Contentment in the Heartland.

My beautiful cousin Christi and I. 
My cousin's youngest Madeline and Ginger
I have been periodically going for walks with a friend of mine who I will identify as my "Spiritual Leader."  He might shy away from such a title, but I think it fits him.  He has been helping me to find God again.  Not necessarily in a way that my traditional Catholic ways encouraged, but more in the way I needed.  A way that led to me praying with more flourish and trust.  Isn't that what God wants of us?  To trust him with the issues and people closest to our hearts and heaviest on our minds?  I believe so. 

My baby driving me around for the first time!
My sweet Tameca.
Today my SL (Spiritual Leader)  used the analogy of a pounding surf and either allowing the problems and stresses of our life to slowly erode away our shore, or stand strong and hold our position.  To become Rocks in a Jetty of sorts.  I took to the analogy.  Anything to do with the sea and the magic of the boundary between land and water, the edge of the earth, the end of a journey or the beginning, speaks to me.  I have loved this blog, now over three years old.  I respect it and the freedom of speech that I am entitled to.   I want to be honest and sometimes that's scary and I would rather stay silent then to write empty paragraphs.

My brother Matt and sister Colleen
Lately I have been feeling the effects of the heaviness of life. I have been unable at times to shake the exhaustion that comes from carrying too much for too long.  For trying too hard to fix everything, defend my actions, make right the world.  I have to hand over the responsibility to others.   An analogy my SL gave me was how often times others will throw their anger, nastiness, issues, hatred and negativity at you like a ball in hopes you will catch it and maybe even throw it back bringing you down to their level.  I have to learn to allow the ball to drop.  Sometimes it's okay to just let the ball fall and walk away.  One of my husband's favorite sayings is, "Just because they say it, doesn't make it true."  Just because they throw it at you, doesn't mean you have to catch it, carry it or keep it.  Just let it drop.

Loving on my niece Alannah.

Sam and his Uncle Jed.
Love at first sight.

I went back to Indiana a few weeks ago to see my two oldest babies.  (I know they are no longer "babies" but I use that term of endearment because I like what it means to me.) 
            There I go defending... I even do it in my writing.  That's another thing that I wish I could free everyone from, the need to defend themselves.  It's a trap I fall into, the need to explain, defend, instead of letting the ball drop.  Getting to see my babies meant seeing my Ex, driving with him the few miles to surprise my Savannah at school.  We proved we could be civil for more than a moment for the sake of our beautiful children.  It was worth every ounce of anxiety that I previously felt to see the look on her face when she realized I was the one in the passenger seat.  To watch her drop her back pack and run screaming and crying into my arms.  It was a perfect moment.
Later I was even able to sit across from him when we went to lunch with Savannah and her friend.  I wish we could have extended the civility to the drop off, but we still have a long way to go in the healing process.  And unfortunately sometimes the situation just is what it is.
Loving on Grandma. My Angel in My Life.

Love is giving your friend a much needed pedicure!
While I was in Indiana, I had this moment of pure contentment.  My girlfriend Leslie decided I needed a pedicure and with the help of her two oldest (who were doll babies and even gave Savannah, Sam and I their rooms for two nights), set it up right there on her back patio.  Sam was there with a grin and Savannah too, as well as another one of my dearest friends and I was just happy.  The anxiousness of traveling, flying to Chicago, driving to Indy and the stress of the unknown with my Ex just melted away.  I was surrounded by love and friendship.  I allowed myself to be happy.  I absorbed all the love I received from that trip, from my cousin in Chicago, my siblings, my family, my grandma, my beloved friends and their children and from my sweet babies and allowed myself to let go.  Take the best and leave the rest. 

A whole bunch of littles and even missing three!
I also realized yet again how incredibly blessed I am to have people envelope me in their arms, no matter how long its been.  One example is my friend Tameca.  We hadn't seen one another in years, but it may as well have been only a moment.  The love and friendship still there, still strong and she literally stood arm and arm with me as my Ex pulled up.  That feeling of solidarity that never left no matter the length of time that had passed.  Each and every hug I received, from my Best Friend Leslie's husband's famous bear hugs to my delicate embrace with my Grandma reminded me that no matter what you can count on love.  Moments such as holding my beautiful new baby niece for the first time and a middle of the night giggle fest with Savannah as we enjoyed a priceless slumber party at Leslie's, prompted me to enjoy the simple moments of contentment.  They are not something you can buy or even plan, they just happen.

My loves... Leslie, Lauri and Jen
It's ironic, as I type this the rain comes and goes, as does the sunshine and for a few moments I am able to enjoy them both.  I say this because I have learned to embrace the rain, the clouds, the storms along with the sun.  I appreciate the sound of the rain on the trees, the shade of the clouds and the way the trees sound in a storm.  These are not things to curse, but to embrace.  The rain cleans my soul and the stale air that sometimes surrounds us.  It's funny because earlier today after my SL and I said our good-byes the rain really started to fall.  I initially ran, trying to beat the drops.  But then I stopped, walked and as the rain poured over me, I prayed for the it to wash away my worries.  I have felt better since.  

Leslie's Littles!
Lauri's Littles with mine!
My wonderful Cara!  She drove with me 27 hours to help move me to Washington!
My Sam!
My tendency is to feel anxiety, to worry, to feel fearful and count on the worst.  This is what a person's past can do to them.  However, my pledge to myself is to give all that to God.  I can't foresee the future, but I have to trust that I am on the right path.  If I am, then I have to have faith that God will help me along it.  To me that is my secret to contentment, knowing in my heart that I am right where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing and trusting God with the rest.  I guess I should take a lesson from my first real driving experience with my daughter Savannah, as terrifying as it is, sometimes you just have to let go and just trust someone else to take the wheel.