There has been a cute little table...round, wooden of the kitchen-table sort sitting in the third floor exterior hallway of my apartment building for a week and a half now. I have no idea where it came from, but it is almost identical to mine, but painted a pretty blue and cream. I've asked neighbors and no one knows anything about it and every time I walk past it to leave or walk Charlie or to come home I wonder who on earth would just drop a pretty little table in such a random, inconvenient place. It has two drop-leaf sides and one is folded down so it is butted right up against the wall across from my door, between the two apartments, like someone purposely put it there for the long-haul not just to drop it off while they went and grabbed chairs or moved something out of the way to set it into its permanent home.
Initially I simply thought it was cute and everyone who comes over asks about it, each one saying they should grab it and give it a good home yet no one has. But then, last night after a particularly hard, painful day, I walked up my stairs, past the pretty little table and all I could think of was the word "possibility". I had thoughts of setting a vase of wild flowers in the middle and placing a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies with a little note letting anyone who may pass by know they should take one and enjoy it just because. I found myself imagining dinners with those I love sitting around that table...totally symbolic, I know, given that over the past couple months I've barely used the microwave much less cooked a real meal for anyone and I'm sure I'm craving that sense of creating something that brings people together....and, maybe I'm missing feeling needed and appreciated a little...and, if I'm totally honest, I'm feeling a little lonely, with that ever-recurring sense that something is missing in my life and wishing I was part of a family who would likely take me for granted more often than appreciate me, yet maybe give me enough love to make up for all of that.
Yesterday I started a post entitled "Choices". I typed two lines...something about how we all have them, we all make them and many don't matter in the grand scheme while a few others leave a wake of destruction, havoc, joy (fill in the blank with your own emotion). But then as my day went on I found myself unable to write that post. It's cliche' and typical and I want to be anything but cliche' and typical. I could tell you that yesterday I was both the windshield and the bug (VERY typical cliche'.) I could tell you that right now I find myself a little upside down, a bit bumped and bruised (emotionally) and trying really hard to seek God's direction for some things in my life yet unable to really ask Him. What is that anyway? Why do I avoid asking for help? From anyone. It's like I think I have to do it all alone and while I've never used prideful to describe myself (well, does anyone?), I guess that's what it comes down to. I have to let go of that and figure out how to be okay with the fact I can't do it all rather than wasting parts of my life simply because I'm afraid to seek help.
But possibility...yes, possibility. I recently finished a book by one of my favorite authors and I wrote down a couple quotes (as I often do when reading her work):
"What's the point in loving anything when it will just change or be taken away?"
"The point in loving is only that. And when you lose something you have to remember that then there is room for the next thing. And there is always a next thing."
"The best things in life have no hard evidence to support them. Hope. Faith. Love."
and finally, "The greatest understanding of a thing is when you can't reduce it any further."
- Elizabeth Berg, Tapestry of Fortunes
Each of these represents possibility to me...possibility and hope and the belief in absolute understanding, forgiveness and acceptance. You know, those things we all seek to feel yet rarely take the time to offer. Where can we be a possibility to someone else? Can we work harder to fully understand someone and then meet them where they are and accept them in that place? Is it possible to allow ourselves to remember there is always a "next thing" when feeling hurt or lonely? And, is it possible to really spend our life with the true focus on those three little things that have no evidence to support them and if we did, would we then find absolute peace, worth, acceptance, joy, mercy, grace - not only for others, but maybe more importantly...for ourselves? Seek possibility....
36. Thirty-six. A number. Nothing more...or, is it? I love birthdays...I always have. We each get one day each year that is ours alone. One day to celebrate who we are, but lately I've been thinking about that...about the people I choose to spend this life...these 36, almost 37 years with and how each of them are a part of where I am, a part of how I've gotten to this point in my life.
I have friends from every stage of my life...many from childhood - those who know my family, my past, me as a kid and a teenager and who I feel the deepest rooted connection - they know me from a time before life took hold of me, from a place of purity and clarity...our stories are woven with threads of transparency and are tied together with knots of time. Then there are those from various stages of my adult life...a few from college, many from past jobs and churches I've attended...some who know me before I got divorced and some after...some who've walked through the darkest parts of my life with me and others who've only known me for what seems like a moment yet have taken up a special place in my heart. There are many from over the years who I now only know through the magic of Facebook - what you could call mere acquaintances I suppose, yet each of which I cherish in some special way. From church camp friends I made when I was nine to those of you I've met in casual passing but have now become something so much more...you are each a part of the tapestry of my life. You are each a part of my story and when I look back over the past year...as I often do when it gets close to my birthday...I am able to place each of you somewhere within the context of my memories and find myself thankful to have so many amazing friends spread over the pages of this little life of mine.
For some reason I'm having a little trouble saying, ahem, accepting 37. It's not that I feel old or think it's old or anything like that. I'm honestly not sure what it is. I think it's more that I feel unsure about what this phase of my life is supposed to look like - not that that should matter, but for some reason I guess it sort of does. So, what I'm choosing to focus on this week is the people within my life...those of you who are with me now...those of you who are a huge part of who I am and where I am at this point. I guess I want you each to know what this journey, and your place within it, means to me. While I'm a words person, I'm not always the best at expressing how I actually feel. So, I'm hoping to do a better job of that over the next few days, next few weeks. I've always said I believe God surrounds us with the people He knows we need and that everyone is connected to those within their lives for some reason. For me, this life is about the people in it...the people we get to walk through this crazy, beautiful, messy, amazing life with. Without them...without you...my life would mean nothing. I think that's why I like having a birthday party so much...I love to share that day with the people I care about most...love to be surrounded by as well as put these people I love so much all in one place for a few hours. To those of you who fill my life...who make my life...I am so very blessed, so very thankful. You make my life worthwhile, make it worth living, make it worth being the best I can be. Whether I've known you my whole life or we've only just met...you give my life meaning and I look forward to what the next year holds for us.
I'm up early...crazy, ridiculously early. It started around 3:20am and after fighting it for a bit, I gave in and crawled out of bed (where the not-so-mini version of myself was sleeping soundly pressed tightly against me) to send emails and update the calendar and to generally get myself ready for the week in the( hopes that if I cleared my mind of all the junk that was keeping me from sleep I could get a couple more hours in. Yeah, no such luck. So, here I am, at 5:34am...I've walked the dog, made coffee (twice...the first pot ended up with a folded filter and a pot full of grounds - Yuck!), made M's lunch (she is home this week), looked through some stuff for Rotary and put a load of laundry in the dryer.
I've been...off, not myself the past couple weeks. Work has taught me a couple hard-earned lessons - mostly in regards to setting better boundaries for myself. It's no secret that I'm an emotionally-lead person. I have a hard time doing what I do without investing emotionally in my families, but I've learned the hard way that it's vital to remember what I do is truly just my job and that I am not responsible for the choices others make. I have to remind myself that, for the most part, what we are doing is planting seeds and that I can't care more about them than they are willing to care about themselves. Life isn't easy for any of us, but, for the most part, it's the choices we make that determine the quality of the life we have. I just have a hard time watching people make really awful choices when I can see potential in them to live much better lives. Again...these are not my lives to live. Not my choices to make. Not my mistakes to live with. It is simply my job.
So, I took the past few days to reset myself. I didn't check email - not even my personal one really, and basically forgot about that part of my life for a bit. I focused on the people around me and have spent some time really thinking about who and what I want in my life now and for the future. I'm not sure if it's because my birthday is coming - I know, I put a lot of stock in one day, but for some reason it's always been more of a mile marker for me than say New Year's - but, I have this strange feeling that something is about to happen...I have no idea what, or if it's good or bad, but it's there. Honestly, I've tried to ignore it. Mostly because I have no reason to believe anything, one way or another, is coming my way. I'm not moving. I love my job. While would love to take a vacation, nothing is planned. I thought about buying a new car, but have decided to hold off for now. I don't know if something is about to be added to my life, or taken away...I just know I feel like something is about to change.
It's no secret that I love sunsets. I love that no matter what the weather has been like, God takes a minute to give us something beautiful to look at and reminds us that the day is done...no matter what we did with it, it is done and we can let it go...an extension of absolute grace. But, this morning, I once again remember why it was that I used to love sunrises more...there is something about the way the sky lights up with all the potential of the day before we have the opportunity to mess anything up. To me, it's the truest form of purity... As a child I woke early, long before any of my family, and spent sometimes two hours alone almost everyday. If I had spent the night with my Gran I would join her in the kitchen for breakfast and a game of solitaire before anyone else woke up. While I now love sleeping in, I still love a little time to myself before M gets up...it centers me and helps me feel more prepared for whatever the day holds. I often think I should make a point to get up earlier more often rather than just when I can't sleep, but rarely make a point to give myself much time on purpose these days.
So...I promised myself last Thursday that I would start this week with a new outlook...that I would be back to myself and be refocused. I had lost a lot of my drive, my willingness to care, my kindness...I don't like that version of me...it causes me to disconnect from everything and everyone - almost like a protective measure I guess. But, this morning, I feel better...more like myself - more connected, more attentive, more focused and more driven. My girl is home this week. It's summer. It's my birthday month (hehehe!). I have much to be thankful for and am focusing on that and the people I get to live life with. I'm gonna pour another cup of coffee and finish getting ready to tackle today.