I wake up to a chill in the air and the sound of the wind rustling through the trees just outside my window. It’s a Monday, the start of a brand new week, full of brand new possibilities. At this early hour, the house is quiet, beds still hold sleeping bodies lulled with dreams. I breathe in the coolness of the house and wrap my favorite soft blanket tightly around my shoulders as I make my way downstairs to the smell of coffee brewing. I see the darkness fading as the sun begins to rise and greet the day, lighting up the entire world. And I can feel it in my bones. It’s going to be a good, good day.
She lived in a big house with a small mind.
She created ugliness in beauty and chaos in peace.
She lived out her days longing for what used to be while completely ignoring what was right in front of her.
She filled herself up with regrets and stopped noticing all of her blessings.
The people in the big house tried to remind her but she had closed herself off to them.
Swept up in her own ideas about life and how little she mattered, she looked the other way when they tried to convnce her how much she was loved.
As life went on, that big house stayed the same but became less and less crowded, until one day it was just her.
All alone with her small mind, with her small life in a big house.
Alone, lost and sad.
All her life she looked backwards while all the while life was moving forward, to this exact time, this exact moment.
As she sat in a chair, in that big house, with her small mind, she all too sudden became aware of how small her life really was.
It was just her.
Everyone else had moved away, moved on or passed away.
While they had been here, she had avoided them because they had reminded her of everything she wasn’t.
They reminded her of the dreams she didn’t pursue, the future she’d never have, the goals she’d never accomplished.
While she had a family, she had pushed them away with her bitterness and hate for what she had become, somehow blaming them.
Now that they had gone, now that it was too late,
she realized that all along she had, had it all.
The marriage, the family, the big house, the dream.
She had been blind to all of it, wishing for everything else.
It had destroyed her, her marriage, her family.
The real regret was now, the end of this all, what she had become.
A lonely, widowed woman whose heart had closed off all love.
Whose small mind had created a small life.
In a big house that was now empty.
It’s beautiful to see the way the world is coming together for each other right now.
In this foreign new world, I’m seeing abundant beauty.
People are sharing their gifts, for free, in order to shine a light in the darkness, an act of true selflessness.
Never before have I witnessed such extreme acts of kindness and love for complete strangers.
Even though most of us are living out these redunant days inside the walls of our homes with only our immediate family,
people outside are being brought in through the wonders of technology and we are all being connected.
It’s hard to feel alone.
It’s comforting to know that goodness still exists and in times of distress we are all still connected.
It’s wonderful to see how abundant hope, joy, faith and friendship is and how easily it is being shared.
Hold tight to this time right now, and stay positive.
The world is truely a beautiful place, that even in times of chaos and confusion,
we can come together, as one, and hold each other up.
THAT is the true experience of altruism.
Don’t let this quiet world get you down.
There is so much hope that can be found in each sunrise,
promises held in each sunset.
Don’t stay behind windows, locked inside with panic and fear.
Open your door and step outside into the beauty of everything that still remains.
Watch the birds flying freely and let go, shake loose the restrictions you have placed on yourself.
Feel the wind on your face and let it remind you to breathe, deeply and with intention.
Look up to see the clouds floating passively in the sky and look inward to find grace.
In this time of uncertainity, look around at the things that haven’t changed to find some grounding within yourself.
Hold tight to all things good: love, patience, joy, kindness, hope.
Let go of those things that serve no real purpose: fear, anxiety, control, panic.
These long days of isolation will pass, like days always do.
Time will move forward and lives will go back to normal.
Let this time of pause be a time of self-care.
Let this time of pause remind us of what really matters.
Let this time of pause open our eyes to the things we’ve been holding onto that we now can let go of.
Pausing can be a good thing because it forces us to stop.
And when we stop we have the chance to see more clearly.
We have the chance to take chances we might never of taken before.
So step back from your windows and instead of waiting,
start living the life you really want to live when we press play again.
The hubs and I went on what I call a ‘date night’ walk this evening. We needed some alone time, a quiet moment to breathe and just be together. We live out in the country where there are dirt roads and wide open spaces…The perfect place to get lost in God’s beauty. As we held hands (and I stopped to take a few pics) we talked about the crisis happening all around us right now, and as we talked we both felt all of our anxieties and worries lifting off of our shoulders. In this quiet world, where the future is unknown and all of our lives have been upended we decided this is the perfect time for us to press the reset button. I think God is giving us an opportunity to slow down, to look up and finally see what we have. I don’t know about you but I feel like this could be a time of great blessings. We are going to let this time, this worldly pause, reveal to us how we can be better, how we can do better and I hope our new normal will look nothing like the old one. Take it two ways, this time can either cause you stress and panic or it can be a time of paving a new road into a much needed change.
Wearing a black one-piece bathing suit, the pattern just a simple solid, I make my way to the shoreline,
the unfamiliar feeling of freedom coursing through my veins.
I’m not worrying about how my body looks,
not caring about what others are thinking of me.
I am simply present in the moment.
I feel the heat of the sun on my back,
the way the soft breeze plays with my hair,
the feel of the gritty sand between my toes,
and a realization comes to me,
I have finally accepted myself,
and in doing so I have let go of fear.
The fear of not being good enough.
The fear of other people’s judgment.
The fear of MY judgment whenever I faced a mirror.
I’m as vulnerable as I’ll ever be in this bathing suit,
but I am not hiding,
I am not covering up.
I am not afraid.
This is me.
This is who I am.
Imperfectly perfect, me.
I like being alone but I also like being around people.
I am outgoing but I am also shy.
I can be wild and crazy but also calm and sane.
I live in reality most days but others my head is in the clouds.
I long to make friends, to bond with others but I think most people are mean.
I want to be authentically me but then I wear a mask way too often.
I am a mix of sweet and sour, yin and yang.
I am restless but always hopeful.
Sometimes sad, with a dash of loneliness.
I try my best and often fail. But I keep trying.
I believe in God but have a lot of questions.
I’m late to pretty much everything because I hate time, so I rarely look at clocks.
I want simplicity but I also long for things.
I am strong with a little side of weak.
I can be organized in the physical sense and messy in the mental one.
Most days I am endlessly searching for meaning and most likely looking in the wrong places.
I am light and dark, push and pull.
I am human, marred, imperfect.
Just a woman, trying to navigate her life so that at the end of it, I have the fewest regrets.
Our trip started off perfect.
We traveled across the world and experienced a sort of freedom I’d only dreamed about.
We stopped at state lines to pose for pictures and stayed in dingy motels to sleep away the nights.
We had our whole lives ahead of us.
We were young and had no idea what we wanted out of life.
We thought we knew but isn’t that how most young people feel?
I cared about you so much but as the miles passed, so, it seemed, did our future together.
Instead of music blaring from the radio, the sound of happiness, the car began to fill with the noise of us yelling at each other in angry, bitter tones.
I suddenly felt trapped, like I’d rather be anywhere than here, next to you, on these strange roads, in this car.
Maybe if we would’ve just stayed friends… but I guess we thought that we could have more.
We used to have so much fun together, laughing ourselves into tears.
Staying out late, not in any hurry to get home.
Our friendship suddenly caught fire.
Those times, those memories, are faraway.
They seem like a lifetime ago.
By the time we reached our final destination, we tried to smooth things over but some things can’t be ironed out.
I ended up leaving you in the cold, as the snow fell.
Taking a flight back home.
We never really spoke again, although I’ve seen through social media that you are doing well, still living in the place where we last saw each other.
You were once a giant part of my days and now I hardly know you.
It’s strange how life ends up,
Someone you knew so intimately now a total stranger.
That road trip took us downturns we never saw coming and left us at a dead-end,
but I guess that was the plan all along,
or else I wouldn’t have met him, my now-husband.
You were just a part of my life where he is now my whole life.
You were just passing through, where he will stay a lifetime.
I sometimes think about you and the good times we had.
I hope you are out there, still doing great.
And in case you didn’t know I really once, cared a lot about you.
What we had…it was once something real to me.
I grew up in a house, not a home.
Fighting was as normal as breathing.
Chaos ensued almost every day between my parents.
I had a father, not a dad. A woman who gave birth to me, not a mother.
I had two brothers but really I was an only child.
My childhood was not terrible but it was not wonderful.
It was marked by alcoholism, divorce, almost stepdads and lots of tears.
My mother didn’t give her love away unconditionally and my father didn’t know how to give away love unless it was attached to a dollar sign.
In fact, money was what my parents lived for. My father worked endless hours to provide a life that my mother pretty much demanded…diamonds, fur coats, nice cars, a nice house, clothes, maids, lots of “stuff”. My mother’s happiness was always tied up to things. Money was the root of everything in our home and my mother spent more than was coming in. Hence, all the fighting going on between her and my father.
It’s no wonder that growing up, I began to lack some of the tools I’d need to get through life. Life lessons were screwed up and my understanding of what love meant was blurry and confusing. I began to wonder if I was even worthy of any kind of love so I began to date the “bad boys”. I had relationships that mimicked my parents…..lots of fighting, no respect and anger. It was I who was causing all of this turmoil. I was picking fights, pointing out faults. I was saying mean things because it was what I thought this whole relationship thing was about. It was what I had seen first hand in my parent’s marriage.
It wasn’t until I met a boy that wouldn’t put up with my insanity, that I began to change. This person called me out on my crap. Left me (literally) to see if I could get it together and then came back and taught me what real love truly is and what it’s not. This man, who is now my husband, is my lifesaver. The someone who struggled with me but stood by me and has always been my rock. He came into my life at the perfect time and with him, I have become who I needed to be. Our relationship started out thorny but has blossomed over the years into something beautiful. Even though we are polar opposites we are perfect together. We are best friends. We finish each other’s sentences. Over the years we have built a home. This home is full of love, understanding, faith, and all things that a family should be. My husband gave me a gift for which I could never repay. He saved me from all the wrong roads I most likely would’ve gone down. He saved me from repeating the pattern.
I will always have tangled, messy memories of my broken childhood, but with my husband, building a family with him, the love he gives me so freely, I have finally found my home.
We were strangers.
And in all of the places we could be that night and of all of the times,
what were the odds that we should be in the exact place at the exact time?
Our eyes meeting, our hearts pounding, something inside of us stirring.
You smiled and I melted.
I didn’t know it at the time but my life would never be the same.
A handsome stranger would become the best part of my life.
You were strong and kind, mature beyond your years.
You were brave and fearless and I remember, when getting to know you, how much I envied the way you had lived your life.
Sixteen years later, I can still recall everything about that night, like it was yesterday.
Watching a boy, in a black leather jacket, steal my heart away with his infectious joy.
Looking at you now I see a man, your hair fallen away and parts turned silver.
I love you so much but we have grown so far apart.
The years have seen us through many ups and downs,
some crazy adventures and a lot of mistakes, but we are still here,
getting through this life as best we can.
As individuals and as a couple.
You are tired.
You have a sadness about you.
Your heart is like an anchor in your chest, a heaviness weighing you down.
Filled to overflowing with burdens and responsibilities.
The years have crept up on us, time has a way of doing that, doesn’t it?
One minute you are young, with the best days ahead of you and,
the next you are grown up with this full life, that sometimes just seems like a long list of to-do’s.
Loves grows from something wild and passionate to something steady and reasonable.
You pass each other in the hallway, never really seeing one another.
And as time goes by you once more return to being strangers.
The way things used to be, long forgotten.
God, I don’t want to be that far away from you.
Take my hand and let me help you remember who you used to be,
Who we used to be.