There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have a feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well. So I take the memories as they come, accepting them all, letting them guide me whenever I can.
Happy April my friends…
I’ve shared this before, but there is something about the rebirth of spring that makes me think about the balance of life.
And, even though I put down these thoughts some time ago, they still ring true for me. I was reminded of this just recently, as I organized some boxes and de-cluttered some of our closets. I was feeling super energized about the momentum of JOLT, and how things are growing. I feel so good about helping others, and how far we’ve come in just a short amount of time. I know it’s not rocket science, but it’s something. It’s a stone thrown in the pond of life saying:
“I’m here, and no, life is not perfect, but there is still goodness around. I know you’ve been through a lot too, but we are going to be okay. If it’s a hard day, all we need to do is find one little thing. That’s all. We can do that. We can do that together.”
Anyhoo, I was thinking about all of this, and how I would like new business cards that say my occupation is telling people “You’re going to be okay.”
And then I opened this box, and inside was Stephen’s wallet. Preserved in a Ziploc bag, contents exactly the same as they were the day he left for the weekend, the last time I saw him. A university ID card, a Costco card, a handwritten note, a ticket stub…and I just lost it. In fact, I am crying as I type this right now, thinking about that preserved memory in a freezer bag, taking me back to moments I never thought I would recover from…..reminding me that I am still broken.
And that is okay. It is more than okay.
It is good that I not only recognize I am still broken, but I embrace it. The cracks from past hurts have allowed me to let all of you into my heart, they have allowed me to be honest about the journey, and reach out to both share and learn with others. The reality is, we are all a little broken, in one way or another. The choice we are presented with when life breaks us is this….are we going to cement up those cracks and reinforce the barriers, or are we going to allow life, and love and wisdom to seep within our pores through those broken edges? In 2009, I made a choice to do the latter. It did not make the journey easier, it did not change the hurt, it did not “fix” me, whatever fix means anyway.
But it made me feel alive. It made me value life, the people, the places, the sunsets, the flowers, the big brown wonder dog. It made me believe I could help others find that too.
I know I’m rambling….but I just wanted you to know that it is okay to be broken. And happy….at the same time.
Here’s to celebrating the balance in life….tulips and dog crap. It’s what makes the world go round…
February 28th-Tulips and Steaming Dog Crap
People who look through keyholes are apt to get the idea that most things are keyhole shaped.
The tulips in the back bed have started to pop up. I am excited, because it has been an unusual winter here in the Carolinas; cold and more cold. The tulips are a sign of life from the cold ground, a good sign that spring will indeed come this year, despite the cold temperatures leading up to this moment.
I look at the tulips and think a little, on how they represent life, and the human spirit in so many ways. Over the past eight months, I’ve experienced the winter of my life. And much like the bulbs beneath the ground, my quiet and painful winter is beginning to subside, and I am starting to feel ready for the sunshine on my face again.
I feel mighty proud as I reflect and look at the greenery shooting from the ground. Boy, I am deep, and wise.
And then I see it.
In the corner of my eye, as I gaze on the tulips, I see rising steam. At first, I am confused, knowing that the dryer vent is on the other side of the house. But, on closer inspection, I see it. Steaming on the ground, it is Rudy’s own creation, left strategically in front of my window, so I may watch the steam billow up into the morning sky.
Gee, thanks Rudy.
I laugh, as I look at the two focal points from this different perspective. And then I realize. Rudy unknowingly completed the picture. Did I mention he is a Wonder Dog?
Life is like the tulip for me, new life emerging, slowly and tentatively, not knowing what will happen when you break through to the other side. My life and the tulip endure, even though we may only show our beauty and bravery with the right season, and retract when it gets too cold and unbearable. Life and the tulip are meant to be lived, even in the harshest of circumstances. I think about the tulip bulb, beneath the ground, living life within a contained shell that would ensure its survival, and it sounds like how I have lived since Stephen’s death. Protecting my broken heart, living in my shell for months. But as with the tulip, I knew, in my broken heart, that I would find a way to blossom once again.
Truly, real life is more like the complete picture I see out my window, with Rudy’s oh so generous addition to the canvas.
You can reemerge from the winter of your life, as a tulip. But, no matter what you’ve been through, or how hard the winter was, when you reemerge, there it is.
Crap is a part of life. No matter how you try to change it, you will always have the balance of good and bad in life. There will always be people and situations that will hurt you, anger you, irritate, and raise your blood pressure.
The key to happiness is in how you look at it.
I like to think of life as a photograph and I am the photographer. As the photographer, what do I see through my lens? The tulip? Or the steaming dog crap? Will I be so disgusted that Rudy ruined the picture, that I lose sight of the tulip completely? Or worse, do I throw my hands up in the air and say, “There’s no point in taking the picture, because it’s not perfect!”
I choose to realize that the balance of the two is what makes the tulip more beautiful. I choose to see the miracle of the tulip, being able to break through the cold ground and exist even though the environment may not be perfect for its survival. I choose to focus my lens on the tulip, and realize that Rudy’s contribution will eventually serve as fertilizer to make next year’s blooms more colorful and resilient.
Life is all in how you look at it. A life lived well is a life that understands that the good and the bad go together and both are our teachers on the journey.
Look for the blossoms in your life today,
I lost my brother at 13, in a car accident, he was in his 20’s at the time. I shored up the walls, didn’t let my emotions take me to where I needed to go, it didn’t work. I have grieved extra long because I didn’t cry when it happened, I am 44 now and am still struggling with his passing, I wish I had let myself be broken at 13 so I could be whole at 44.