Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Peace is work


Oh my dear friends, it has been exactly 30 days since my last post!  Eeeeeek!

Let me tell you why.

I fell off the bandwagon.  Not just the "writing" bandwagon.  The "me" bandwagon.

Sunday in church we were discussing testimonies and sharing our stories.  I do a pretty good job of sharing my story with anyone who wants to land on this website.  The interesting part of the sermon was that Pastor Mark was talking about sharing our story (in turn, sharing God's glory) before we are even actually healed.

I'm even BETTER at that.

So I stood up and said that, yanno, like to everyone in the congregation.  Don't worry, I wasn't the only one.

I'm not healed.  I may never be "healed."  What does that even mean, exactly?  It's kind of like in the autism community when we talk about "normal."  Is there such a thing?

To say that I am "healed" is to suggest that I have nothing going on in my life that causes me strife, worry, stress, complex feelings, confusion, madness, sadness, anger, and so on. It reminds me of  a card someone sent me once.  It's still hanging up in my room, right next to my bed.


When we say, "Peace on Earth" this holiday season, I think this is what we are truly asking for.

Unless I move to a cave somewhere and give up my children and all human contact, I believe there will always, ALWAYS be noise, trouble, and hard work.

Life.
Is.
Hard.
Work.

I recently got myself into a new relationship with a boy.  My therapist says I'm a serial dater.  She might be right, but I digress.  I don't mean for these things to happen, I truly believe God places people in my life at these times for a very, very specific reason and plan.  I'm not questioning it. Back to the relationship.  JDA is a wonderful man and brings a lot of goodness to my life.  However, we live 700 miles away from each other and the sheer nature of a long distance relationship (LDR) means it is riddled with .....noise, trouble, and hard work.

Like, really hard work.

My therapist likes to question why I'm in this relationship.  For that matter I question it too.  The short answer is...


Ever.


But back to the work part. You know how relationships in the beginning are all "rainbows and unicorns?"  "The Honeymoon Phase?"  Yeah, we don't really get to have that.  Because we have these short blips of time in which we try to blast a months worth of relationship into say, 3 or 4 days.  And then, wait for it, life doesn't actually stop for us, it continues on and sometimes... shit hits the fan during our 3 or 4 days together.  WHAT!???  Where are the rainbows??? I ordered unicorns!   So I've actually found myself telling my therapist that I ......wait for it...... like that it's not a honeymoon phase, cuz guess what?  We are figuring our really quickly what we're made of.  As a couple and as individuals.

Which brings me back to falling off the bandwagon.

It's all been an adjustment.  The facetiming, the nonstop texting, the travel time, packing time, airport time, etc.  And in the whirlwind of this, combined with LIFE, and kids, and work, and holidays, I forgot about doing "the work."

On me. 

Today my therapist asked me where I see myself in this, the second half of my life.  And the image of that "peace" card popped into my head.  That's where I see myself.  At peace.  With life.  With all of life, the noise, the trouble, and the hard work.

I'll never get there.  Not truly.  I'm not saying that in a negative way, I'm saying that in an honest, real way.  I am human.  Sometimes my heart and my head and my ego will collide in a war that rages inside of me.  That's natural and that's real.  But hopefully by working toward a place of peace I can learn to find those moments and that space in which to breathe and keep things in perspective.  

That's what gratitude rituals are for,  as well as meditation, prayer, and testimonies. 

God is not done with me, nor will He ever be.  To say that I am "healed" is like saying, "that's it, I've learned absolutely everything there ever was to know.  I am no longer a student of life."  As obstacles are thrown at me continually on this journey toward healing and peace, I will continue to learn and grow.  And I thank God for that.  I thank God for every opportunity I have to dig deeper into myself and to do the work.

But I must do the work.  

This lady I've quoted once or twice on this blog said it best... I have this on my refrigerator.


Don't be lazy now.  Take a second and read it.  Again
.

As I look at that passage and try to decide which is a good part to talk about, I can't.  There is not one word of that passage that isn't vital to our very existence.  

I must never, ever become lax about maintaining it.  I must make a mighty effort.  I must participate 
relentlessly in the manifestations of my own blessings.

When I don't, when I fall off the bandwagon, I start to get lost.  I get lost in the feelings,  I lose perspective.  It's like when they say, "If you only pray when you're in trouble, then you're in trouble." The work never ends.  The participation never ends.  Striving and swimming never ends.  

Becoming lax is not an option. 

Because to become lax is to say that my own journey toward healing is not important.  And it's the most important work I'll ever do and the greatest journey I will ever be on.

The holiday season is bananas.  There's a lot of noise.  A lot of work on many different levels... so to you I say...


And also...........


Keep it in perspective y'all!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Fear, Failing, Falling, Flying


In the new age of social media we share a lot, quite often, too much about ourselves.

Writing a blog you tend to share more of yourself with, you know, anyone in the entire universe who can access the internet.  Sometimes it can be a very scary feeling.

I made the decision quite sometime ago, when I first started blogging, to share my story.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  I had this feeling that if I was able to share my struggles, it might just help someone, even ONE person get through theirs.

When I started my blog it was originally called "April walks with autism," and the sole focus of my words was to help other mama/daddy warriors on their journey through autism.  But as I started writing, and as more people began to read, I realized that what I had to say, was actually having an effect on a few people out there, and maybe I should open up and begin to talk about some of the other things I was going through, too.  It was around this time my marriage was starting to fall apart so that seemed like a swell idea.  You know, to open up and talk about that.

And yup, that thing happened.  People started to write to me and tell me that my blog helped them.  So I kept writing, albeit sporadically.  

This year I've made writing a major focus of my life.  It's not yet "the" focus, and may never be, but it is "a" focus and "a" priority.  It feels good.

In recent months I have put a lot of my personal, ugly, junk on this blog.  I have made myself extremely vulnerable for all the world to see.  I chose to share the story of my heartbreak because that is something we have all been though and something, I don't care who you are will go through at some point in your life.  I have written the story over the last several months of how I have hit rock bottom and have slowing started to rebuild my life.  I have talked about using bricks to rebuild my foundation stronger and better than ever. And today I'm going to write about one of those bricks.  But stay with me.....

Let's talk about David for a moment.  Here's the soul crushing truth about why this thing with David continues to eat me alive. I got duped.  I have egg on my face.  I feel stupid.  I'm NOT a stupid person, and up until this point I have been an outstanding judge of character.  I gave this man every atom of trust that exists in my mind, heart, and soul and he didn't deserve or earn one piece of it.  And in that trust I gave the man my life, all of me.  I worked and tried, and pushed, and cried and for two years made sacrifice upon sacrifice to make something work that as never even really there. 
I failed.  I failed myself and I failed my children (They got very close to David and had their hearts broken by him, too).  I failed yet another relationship, which stings a bit more aggressively when it's 4 seconds after your divorce which, while we are being brutally honest, I may not have even been fully recovered from that.

There's this quote from this little book I have mentioned a few times called, Eat, Pray, Love.  It's one of the most famous, shared quotes from the book and yet it has never resonated with me.




I finally get it now.

I can't be sad about what happened anymore.  Instead I must choose to have a grateful heart for the lessons that David taught me, our relationship taught me, and perhaps most importantly, what I have learned about myself during this process.

Because for as broken as I am, I am the best I have ever been.  

So about that brick......

Funny story.  My ex-husband, whose name is Jeff,  and I went to high school ttogether  We both went away to college and found each other again after 7 years and decided to get married.  It was not a very happy ending.

So I thought I would have another crack at it.

You have to laugh at the seemingly absurdness of it all.

So when I was in high school there was this other boy.......... named.............Jeff.  And in high school this Jeff and I were friends and even went out on a date.  I had absolutely zero interest in him.  I loved him dearly as a friend but was simply not attracted to his jock-like nature.   We had our milkshake at the local Big Boy and that was that.  A few months later we graduated from high school and went off to college and begin our lives.  We never spoke again. 

We both went on incredible journeys.   For 23 years.

And through the magic of that wonderful little thing called facebook and a simple message, after 23 years, this Jeff is back in my life.

23 years later, standing in the parking lot of our high school.

I simply cannot get into the details at this moment because this post will be 18 pages long if I do.  But I promise I will share the beauty of how this relationship is unfolding.  
What I want to take a moment here to discuss is vulnerability.  It's such a hot button keyword right now thanks to Oprah and Brene Brown.  It's trendy and hip and cool to say we are vulnerable and stepping into the arena.

Let me tell you something else.

It's the scariest effing thing in the world.

You see, after all of the heartache and disappointment and egg on my face and all that other fun stuff that goes with a breakup, I truly thought I may never trust again.  As a general rule I am going about the practice of trusting people with a more discerning eye.. but to even allow myself to "go there" with a man, to entertain the mere idea of a relationship... made me go into a state of panic. 

Because that, my friends is vulnerability at it's finest.  Of course this happened way way way before either one of us was "ready" for it to (he is recently divorced) but that is how life is; life happens when you least expect it.    So just a few mere months after "the David breakup" when I'm frantically working to pick up the pieces and rebuild with my bricks, here comes one being thrown at my head.
But, as we all know, being vulnerable, being "in the arena" as Brene Brown talks about means to take a chance.  It means to take a risk.  It means to fight for something.  It means you step into the arena with your vulnerability on your sleeve and your heart on your face knowing full well this could end in  disaster.... or not.


I'm choosing to allow myself to find my wings and fly.  Even if I fall.  

Now, you'll have to stay tuned for more details of this crazy relationship because what kind of idiots enter willingly into a long distance relationship?  Jeff lives in Michigan.  I live in Tennessee.  That's not changing in the foreseeable future.  The kind of idiots that know the best things in life are those worth fighting for.  I can't think of a better way for us to get to know each other again after 23 long years while still finding ourselves.  What a gift it is to be able to have the space and time to be able to do both.

Who am I kidding?  It sucks most of the time. However, after 23 years we can throw a bit more time and see where this thing called life takes us both.  

For now, we are allowing our hearts to heal not because of the happiness we have found in each other, but with the happiness we have found in each other.  We are throwing each other bricks of support in which we are both rebuilding our lives.... 

and having a marvelous time doing it.


At the Jason Aldean concert in Detroit.  The man supports my obsession with Meijer.  I didn't say he was on board with it, I said he supports it.  God bless him.  


Blessed.
Humbled. 
Grateful.

Editor's Note: (a big tongue in cheek don't you think?) I was hesitant to write about this.  It's interesting.  I have no problem writing about the misery in my life, but when it comes to my happiness I hit the keyboard with trepidation.  But after months of sadness, doom and gloom, I felt I owed my readers, followers, friends and family, what may just be the beginning of a happy ending.  At the very least, a happy, positive chapter in the story of my life.  But that's the vulnerability talking.  It's the fear of failure.  It's that voice in my head saying "What if this one ends just like it ended with David?"  It's the trust.  I don't  even trust myself right now.  But I don't really need to.  At the end of the day, my job is to put my trust in God and know that he is placing me exactly where I need to be.  If I write a blog in an attempt to help others, then I need to write it ALL.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  Let's take a break from the bad and the ugly for a moment shall we?  After all, everyone loves a great love story.  And this one just might be.