Seasons

Seasons come and seasons go. None stay for long. Each with its enchanting beauty or with its nightmarish toil. There was a time I had no concept of seasons. I’m sure I was taught about them in school, but I guess it wasn’t important enough for me to pay attention. The weather was either hot or cold, with nothing in between. I recall first being aware that “there was” different seasons, and that there was a “time” of the year in which they took place. I was mesmerized by this new found “lost” information. Why hadn’t anyone ever told me about them? Ha! Well, they had I was just not paying attention.

As life has continued, I’ve become “aware” of seasons in life. However, some life-seasons are as “predictable” as weather-seasons. Some life-seasons can linger far too long, while one aches under its oppressive load. Others, one wishes they had never ended…they were far too short.

Take winter for example. Some places have the beauty of snow, which makes for a winter wonderland. It’s what you see on post cards, on romantic movies. Those beautiful white Christmases. But what about when you are shoveling snow? Frost bite? Wet and frozen toes? Blizzards? You get my point. It also makes “everything” green die all around.

I live in California, so I am not in the midst of snow and such. But I remember a winter that lingered way too long. We had fruit trees in our back yard. Those trees ended up looking like horrid “bushes of dead sticks”. I was so over it. The sight was not one I was fond of looking at every day. I was ready to yank everything out and “start over”. Maybe it’s the “controlling person” in me or the “fixer”, but something had to be done. The gift of “waiting” was definitely not mine. My husband convinced me to wait, which was no easy task.

Come Spring, I was mesmerized by the beauty of “regrowth”. Each bud, each shoot, each sign of “new life” was breath taking. I was grateful I waiting, although not very patiently.

TODAY I’m up to my neck, and at times completely submerged in “snow”. I have “no-shovel”, and even if I had one, I have no strength to “shovel-myself-out”. My winter-season is brutal and frigid. And, at times it feels like it will last forever. However, TODAY, I am reminded of those horrid-dead-bushes in my old backyard. AND…I have HOPE!

~~~ Spring always follows Winter ~~~

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

Fisted Hands

Hands closed…tight, tight! Veins pop, the flow of “life” is cut off. Holding on for dear life, thinking, “if I squeeze tighter ‘nothing’ will be lost; nothing will ooze away.” It has been said, “he who dies with the most toys wins”. Grab, grab, grab…holding tight, oh so tight. Eventually, there is no room for “more”.

This could be said of possessions, but what about relationships? People come into our lives for a “moment” in time. Nothing and no one stays forever. My parents, both gone. My sister, my brother – gone! Friends whom I thought would be around forever, gone! Some have physically moved away, others relationally, while others have completely been severed.

There was a time I thought that by holding on tightly I could protect, shield, keep forever. That’s not how it was meant to be…acceptance is a journey worth taking.

Learning to be present, in the moment, because “tomorrow” will bring its own or it will never come. Today is a gift! This moment is a gift! Drink deeply of the moments gifted to you. Keep your hand open, your heart open…love, live, laugh!

The Impact of Words

“I’m so proud of you!” Wait, did you just say that to me? I must have heard wrong. You don’t mean it. You’re just saying that…and on and on and on.

Used to having every word and decision questioned, positive feedback is hard to accept. I remember once I was asked to handle a task. I asked for all the requirements and such. The person giving me the lead said, “You got this! I know you can handle this. I trust you.” I almost fell off my seat. In fact, I myself questioned “my every decision”, so afraid of making a mistake. Once the task was finished, I remember thinking, “I did it! And, it went really well.” I was so surprised.

Words can build or tear down!  Words can wound or heal! They can be said to me or I can say them to others.

Let me be slow to speak and quick to listen. Quick to give positive feedback, and slow, or better yet keep my mouth shut when tempted to criticize or tear down.

 

My Grieving Friend

I saw her. Her steps were heavy. Every move cautions, as if each move threatened to shatter her brokenness. Somber, every facial line etched deeply. Her frame and movements seemed ancient compared to her real age. Her beautiful body bowed, like she had just been hit in the stomach and all the breath was zapped out. She seemed unapproachable, quiet…her mind far, far away.

She spoke softly, almost in a whisper, almost as if she didn’t have enough air in her lungs. I had no idea the sorrow and the pain she held deeply, reverently. We would sit for coffee, often. At times she spoke, but mostly she listened. There, yet, absent. Her red lipstick always on point…she needed color, somewhere…anywhere.

Cautiously, briefly, she opened a window of her soul to me. We entered a sacred place…her garden. Filled with color, serene, holy. In the midst of her vibrant garden was a memory garden filled with the most mundane of things, yet each was set with purpose, with care. A bench, a bird bath, a cross, an angel, and lots and lots of miniature roses. Oh, the tears, the memories, the talks that garden held. We stood in silence, it was a sacred moment. She shared that her 21 year old son had gone off an embankment; that she had to identify his remains; that she missed him; that this was one way of honoring his memory. I gasped, I couldn’t say a word, but felt privileged that she had allowed me into the sacredness of her pain.

Many, many years have passed. I now sit in my own memory garden. Mine has rocks with messages, butterflies and plants that attract butterflies. My daughter loved butterflies. I put a rock with her name on it…something about her name.

My dear grieving friend, how much you taught me through your silence ❤

Honest Ponderings

The realization that you are more like your Dad than you thought. Well, in all honesty, I had never even made the connection. As I ponder this, the thought nearly suffocates me. I said, “Everyone adored and respected my Dad. He always did good for everyone —— EXCEPT his own children.” I gasped…then…boom! I WAS JUST LIKE MY DAD!!!

Known, traveling, sought after, helping here and there, “rescuing”…making a name for myself. Yikes! BUT what about my children? My husband? They were being left behind…set aside. The “others” came first. My family got what was left, if anything. Everyone “loved me” when I was their “savior”. Now, I’m just a by-word. They shake their heads in unbelief and disappointment. I’ve let “them” down. I fell off the man-made pedestal.

No human being is meant to be all-things to all-people. Only God can do that. Humans disintegrate under the weight of trying to meet everyone’s needs and expectations. Humans aren’t meant to do that.

In a world of “trying-to-do-it-all”, we miss the MOST important. I am a wife to my husband. No one else can or should fill those shoes. I am “still” a mother to my remaining son (my daughter is in heaven). No one else can be or should be their Momma.

The memory of my precious daughter, on her last days here on earth, calling out to me, “Mommie!” Guess what, no one else would do. She wanted her Mommie

Clarity of mind in the midst of this intense fog – go figure…what a gift! So often, we come to “aha moments” too late.

Grateful, it is not to late for me!

Present

Noise noise, constant noise!

Always connected; always engaged,

missing the moment at hand.

Can you be still for a moment?

What do you fear?

Do you know whose beside you?

Do you even care?

Can you see beyond the screen?

Can you hear the whisper from within?

Can you be present?

just for a moment,

just for a while.