Friday, December 26, 2014

Starry Skies

It came upon a midnight clear and more than ever I felt the shifting of what was and what will be.  The settling in of letting go while opening my arms to what is coming.  This year has absolutely knocked me down again and again and again.  I continue to stand up, dust off and step forward as gracefully as I know how.  And to be fair, for every loss, every hurt, every heartbreak I have faced I have been presented something to celebrate.  My blessings have been multiplied.  Praise God for the way HE gives when HE takes away.  The way HE places before us our very fears, doubts and worries right alongside the tools and the people and circumstances to overcome, if only we are willing to seek them and do the work.  Everyday is a choice.  We get up and we can choose to face our giants, fight our battles, celebrate our victories or we can sit down on the path, stay right where we are, linger in the dark instead of walking forward in faith while we seek the light.  Each year I silently and privately focus on a word, a saying, something that has spoken to me.  I write, meditate and pray while allowing myself to grow.  This year I didn't consciously make an effort to find that was placed before me.  It was HOPE, for no other reason than the fact that it was literally all I could hold onto some days.  HOPE without my FAITH would have been pointless.  Thank God for the promise of each new day and what is, as well as what is to come.  If one believes this is really all there is how do they rise from bed each new morning?  I have a beautiful life, and much of what I have is more than some people will ever know, I don't discount or take a moment of it for granted.  The first thoughts when I rise in the morning are praise for the little faces that look up to me, the arms that hold me, the roof that shelters me and food that fills me.  I fall asleep each night in prayer whispering silent gratitude for each and everything that brought me through day even when that gratitude is tired eyes and fingers because my business is thriving amidst challenging times.  I realize that the challenges we face are a gift we are unwrapping.  Sometimes we don't see the value right away, but nothing is without reward if you can embrace what is being offered.

2014 has not been my friend.  I am ready for a fresh start and a new beginning while facing the reality that just because we are hanging a new calendar doesn't mean we will smile more and grieve less.  Real life.  It isn't for the faint of heart.  I am certain we all have seasons we must face that challenge us and grow us.  I am stretched and desperately looking forward to my season of rest, of basking in the beautiful, a place of peace and joy.  I know it is coming, that is a promise.   The burdens we face today are temporary.  Nothing lasts forever.  We are all just passing through on our way to what is next.  Learning to accept, appreciate, allow what is, is just a mountain to climb on our journey.  I keep stepping, one foot in front of the other, not always quickly and admittedly there are days I have to tie a knot in my rope and hang on, but for everyone one of those days I am given a day that I can skip and dance and run ahead with anticipation of what lies ahead.

My walk these days is all about transparency and authenticity.  I want to be real, all the time, every day.  I don't want to put on masks or dress up any of the stuff that makes me who I am.  I often feel perhaps the world would feel a little safer and kinder if we all could see the struggles our neighbors faced.  If only we could borrow the shoes of the lady who just screamed at you on the phone, or the person who cut you off on the highway, or the man who shows up at your office everyday asking for candy and speaking nonsense.  If we could see where another has been and what the dark looks like through their eyes we might have a little more understanding, compassion, presence and acceptance.  We are all fearfully and wonderfully made, no two alike, hand crafted pottery, stained glass, snowflakes.  Sometimes the world around us just needs to step back and look a little longer and harder to see the art of our hearts.  We never know the call someone has just received, the news from the doctor, the loss of job, the broken marriage, the too long day to make ends meet, the flat tire when they were already late, the child that abandoned, the dementia that stole a loved one, the broken heel on a shoe, the homesick heart, the inability to just say no when the addiction has taken hold.  We don't know how or why anyone makes the choices they do, but it isn't our place to judge.  Maybe if we had made the same journey we would stand in the same place they do.  Boundaries for ourselves, love for others, what a concept.

I have written and deleted more than once as I write this piece, trying to wrap up and spill out a recollection of what this year hurled at me.  I guess I am not in a place to put the words to paper of the hurt because I am still working on the healing.  Letting go, again and again.  Trying to say goodbye when you miss the hello is hard work.   I guess we all do it differently.  Many times this last year I have smiled at how things were healing and feeling better and easier only to spend the next day in a pullout letting the tears pour down, being dropped to my knees while pleading for comfort from the pain.  And there was August the gift and the time that balanced it all.  I am certain I am not alone.  There are others who have strolled this same road before me, and many who will walk behind me.  My HOPE is that no matter how dark it gets you can look up and see the starry sky.  It is my go to place when I am homesick, or lonely, or missing loved ones past.  Just 5 minutes and a quick glance helps to softens the edges of my heart.  I have always equated the stars to holes in heaven where loved ones shine down.  Choosing stars to represent people who matter to me.  A little place to say goodnight, or hello, or I am thinking of you. 

Missing the memories and the magic of the years behind, missing the people who made the magic happen in my life.  Trusting that what is coming is something equally as beautiful if I am willing to accept it.  Letting go of the preconceived notions of what Christmas must me, would be, could be, or should be....because it is what it is and that in itself is enough.  Cheers to New Years, may this one be unforgettable for its celebrations, memories made, possibilities and smiles.  May there be more hellos, welcomes, come on in's that there are goodbyes.  May the walk be gentler and the rest plentiful.  My HOPE.