I remember once when M was about six and was terribly upset about something and cried openly, without reservation, giving in to her pain without worrying about who could hear her or what she looked like as only young children do and I thought to myself, "when do we stop crying out loud?"
That same little girl got her heart broke for the first time a few days ago and I'm watching her struggle through the painful messiness that comes with a break up...no matter what the age...and I see the ways she is hurting inside, trying to be brave and strong yet working hard to navigate all of the ickyness she is feeling for what is certain to be the first of many heartaches...and I realized I would take the outward tears over the stoic internalizing I'm watching currently.
See...it used to be I could fix it...my words, my hugs, my security were enough. I miss those days. Back then I knew she was okay...even when she cried. Now, I don't know what she's thinking, what she's feeling and I hate it. I know she thinks I have no idea what she's going through, that I can't possibly understand and I get that, but no matter how old we get, heart break is the same and, sadly, it never gets any easier. And, maybe even more so, I'm desperately dreading the wedge the next few years are going to drive between us. She is growing up, and while it's painfully beautiful to watch, I want to protect her from all the things I know are there to hurt her.
I want her to know life is short and love, even with inevitable heart ache, is worth it. I want her to be brave and strong yet cautious and empathetic. I want her to see people from the inside out and to not fear feeling everything...the good...and the bad...because without the bad we can never truly and completely feel and enjoy the good.
I was asked the other day if I ever really loved my ex-husband. I replied with "Yes, I believe I loved him as best I could at that point in my life." I'm fairly certain I've not said a more honest statement about that very real, very difficult, very painful part of my life.
I have always loved easy. To me, that's the easy part. It's all the other stuff that junk the loving up...trust, compatibility, shared values, dreams of what you each want your life to look like, family drama, compromise over all of the above...those things complicate the love, BUT...those things also have the ability (with patience) to take simplistic love to a whole new, deeper level. We are each very complex individuals searching to fill some very basic needs: acceptance, valued, wanted, chosen, cherished, trusted, safe...loved. The problem is, we fall in love young trusting that an emotion will be enough to sustain us without really taking a look at what we want for our life and whether or not the object of our undying affection truly fits into that equation. We most likely haven't really lived at that point which is part of what makes that love feel so special...we aren't carrying the weight of our emotional, six-piece set of Samsonite with us yet. We aren't comparing and weighing out the odds. We are simply loving.
I was no different. My life had been fairly simple up to the point at which I met my ex-husband. And, in my mind, (to credit the "pleaser" that I am) I was doing it all "right"...graduate high school, go to college, meet a great guy, graduate college engaged, get married, but a house, have a baby... Picture perfect in my mind. But, I knew little about life and all the junk it was gonna throw at us, much less how much I was going to be shaped by some of what I went through. I wasn't mature enough to truly compromise. I could love, but I'm not sure I knew what all that meant (included) at that point in my life. Was I in love? Very much. Was I selfish? Sure, still am in many ways. Did I put my happiness above his? In the end, yes. Is that still a hard thing to admit? You bet.
But...I can look back at the past seven years, at everything I've been through since my marriage, and not only am I much more honest with myself about what life looks like, but I also have a much better understanding of what I want/need out of it (alone or with someone) and what I am capable of giving. I understand now that love isn't just an emotion, that it takes real work but that's actually the part that makes it so worth it if two people are both ready and willing to give it all they've got.
I am reading Amy Poehler's book, "Yes Please". I love her candid honesty. She says she wants to get in deep with people, that she loves the richness of people over 40, that she has so much more to offer anyone in her life now that she's lived and she encourages people to "continue sharing your heart even if it's been broken"...she's my kinda girl and I really wish we could grab and drink and hang out.
Back to where this all started...I loved as best I could at that point in my life... Maya Angelou said, "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." I would like to believe that I am able to love (anyone, not just romantically) much better, with more depth and understanding...that I am better able to understand the positive ways compromise can benefit the relationships that matter...that I can see someone with all of THEIR "stuff" and meet them right where they are, loving them in the ways they need...that I can be more forgiving of someone else's shortcomings and better able accept my own. I do believe we are all doing the best we can...with what we have, where we are, at this moment. The thing is...we can't ever stop growing. I guess what I'm hoping for at this point in my life are relationships that are rich and deep...full of conversations that don't ignore the depth of life...love that takes everything to the next level...without reservation and fear of all the "what if's, could have's, should have's" that tend to plague even the best relationships. The way I see it, we can't undo the past (not that I would want to), and we only get one shot at this thing we call life. I want to take everything I've learned (because if not wouldn't it all be in vain?) and live, and love, the best I can...at THIS point in my life.
3:45. A.M. Seems like a perfectly reasonable time to wake up...if YOU'RE A ROOSTER! After tossing and turning for an hour, with my thoughts racing, finally landing on this...my little blog...and the embarrassing neglect I've shown it the past four months. It's not that I've had nothing to say. More so that I've had too much to say which causes me to not be able to focus my thoughts well enough to actually get them down so I push them aside. But, the past few weeks, it's become more and more hard to ignore the words swirling round and round in my mind and this morning I'm fairly certain I was woke up so early with the overwhelming nagging feeling that I couldn't ignore this app (and what putting my thoughts down on it means) any longer. But, I left my computer at work last night so I'm stuck writing for the first time in four months on my PHONE. I'm gonna go ahead and liken that to a bad case of PMS with no chocolate anywhere within a three state radius...look, I thought about using "sexual frustration" instead, but...well, you get the point
At this point, I feel like it's been so long that I don't know where to start...like catching up with an old friend...you know, that rush you feel as you find yourself tripping all over yourself trying to share everything yet finding yourself holding back because you feel like most of it isn't really important or worth sharing? Yeah, I feel just like that.
So, a few things...I bought a house! Yep, my very own. I bought two with M's dad years ago, but neither of those experiences felt a thing like the pride I found myself filled with the day I signed my papers on July 17th. And, one minor freak out aside, I have loved every minute of these past seven weeks. Honestly, I never believed I would (translation: could) do this. Barring all self-doubt, I took a huge leap of faith and trusted God to lead us wherever He wanted us to be...and after the way it all turned out, I have no question He used this experience to remind me He's got me and that no matter how much time I spend "away" from Him, He's there.
Okay, what's next...hmmmm...I turned 38. I woke up in my little home the morning of my "late 30's" (whoever thought it was a good idea to use that term needs to be shot) and found myself at peace (for the most part) with where I am at this point in my life.
M started sixth grade. Middle school. Need I say more? Although, we live literally one block from her school so that not only reminds me of my childhood (we grew up a block from the elementary school/jr. high and across the street from the high school), but it's also super convenient. Time will tell how we fare this next phase...fingers crossed we both make it out alive.
Pause for coffee break...with this little home purchase, I have a two-car garage and found myself down there with my two living room end tables and a can of chalk paint last Saturday night (big night, I know)...I've never been one for projects and am NOT crafty, but I wanted them to look different (the verdict is still out as to whether we will be able to use the term "better") so I went for it. I put the coat of wax on them last night while a couple of missionaries and a neighbor stopped by...I digress...point being, I have nowhere to set my much-needed coffee cup this ridiculously early morning.
What else? See what I mean? I can go months with nothing to say yet find myself feeling like I have little to share out of my desire to not waste your time and, more so, my need to say something of value. What do you want to know? Is there a guy? Yes... He, and his support the past few months, mean the world to me. Work? I still serve the working poor of Clay County via Hillcrest Hope. There is no way to express the ways I'm impacted by the work I do and the people I meet. It is similar to parenting...challenging beyond belief, yet rewarding beyond measure. I have been changed by the things I've experienced there and pray daily that God uses me to be His hands, His words, His arms to the men, women and children who walk through my door.
The one thing I've been hit with (you know how that works...you think about something a little then you find yourself almost consumed with thoughts about whatever that is until you do something about it) is my desire to travel...to see the world...hell, at this point I just want to get back to the beach. It's true...the world is meant to be explored, enjoyed...and, we learn so much about life by traveling and seeing how other people live. I love the anticipation of a trip, and the feeling of coming home. So, I have to do something about that.
I have a multitude of opinions on things happening in the news...there have been so many things...sadly, most of which is less than good, and I've almost written about my thoughts on them, but then I think, what's the point? Who really cares how little I care about Caitlyn Jenner (but, while we're at it, no, I don't think she's a hero - at all. A hero gives something for someone else without asking for anything in return. There is no way to convince me that any part of what she has done falls into that category. Although, I'm happy she's living the life she wants, but that does not, by any stretch of the imagination, make her a hero.) or how offended I am that we waste so many precious resources talking about her rather than bringing to light things that really matter? Add to that my thoughts about the KSU marching band debacle or the Duggars fiasco...and don't even get me started on police brutality.
Here's the thing...I'm just gonna say it...trash comes in every color, every shape, size and nationality...and it's a shame we, as educated, civilized people, give it/them so much power by sensationalizing every stupid thing in the media. Be better, people. If you don't want others to believe the stereotypes, don't BE the stereotype.
Whew. Okay, that was a lot. I need more coffee and my pointer finger is tired (typing all of this with one finger is hard!) If I've offended you, don't come back. If you want the truth...well, as I see it so I guess that really makes it more of an opinion...come on back. I have more stories, more opinions and more...I would like to say "inspiration", but at this point I feel like that's a stretch. Really it's just rambling stories and my thoughts on whatever crosses my mind at any given time. For those of you who are here...thank you. Having words to share means nothing without someone to read them.