Faith

This is long overdue. An examination of my marathon. Writing, with my left hand, about each mile. What I was feeling, thinking, seeing. I did it. And now I am having a hard time with the “results.” At the advice of my yoga teacher, I named the race. Faith. Each mile I needed to somehow relate to faith. Mentally working through each mile may just give me my life lesson she had said.

And this is where I am struggling. It was mile 16 I saw my my sister-in-law, nieces, T, my dad, and my mom. My interaction was mostly with my mom however. T and my dad where standing back and up on some stairs. I wasn’t feeling very strong at this point or at least not as strong as I had in training. And from here it went downhill. After I saw my family, it went downhill. And honestly, I think it was more after I saw my mom specifically. Ugh. I became weaker. More in my head. Weak. Beaten. Defeated. Up until seeing my mom she had been sending me supportive texts. When I saw her, she was proud. She yelled out as I ran off “How are you feeling?” and T just happened to snap a picture the moment I turned to respond. The look on my face says it all.

So why after this point, the point where I should have felt an extra boost, did I lose energy?  I can still feel what it felt like now – the lack of energy. It was a gross feeling. It was so hard to keep moving. And truly I didn’t know if I could. I became my weak, old, self full of anxiety and panic. And that turns into a downward spiral. My brother was running also. He had been a few miles behind me. I called him to say I didn’t think I could do it. He told me to keep going, he’d catch up with me. I kept looking back, looking for him. He never caught up. But, the fact that he tried so hard still warms my heart. He was there for me.

I crossed the finish line that day. Not even close to the time I had trained for and expected. It wasn’t until hours later, I could reflect back on the race and notice the many gifts.

So faith. Faith in myself. In my strength. In my abilities. Trust in who I am. And probably most importantly, feeling confident in doing what I know is right…for me. Not doubting. Yes, faith.

Gone

Today I lost my childhood friend. In fact, he was my very first friend. 43 years old and now gone. I still have a cassette tape of him and I at age 5 singing our ABC’s. He always shy and me not so much in comparison. Despite decades of not really seeing each other, he always held a place in my heart. And today that was even more obvious. A tiny piece of my heart since truly the day I was born was held just for him and through all these years it remained just for him.

His mom last saw him reading a bedtime story to his daughter. My mom did always tell me his daughter was his everything, his life. Her words “he was a great dad.” His daughter found him this morning in bed. He wouldn’t wake up. Oh how my heart breaks for her. She can’t be more than 8 years old and has already experienced a traumatic loss.

As I remain in shock and so saddened, I pray that all of his wonderful qualities will live on through the love of his life.

Peace Johnny.

Connection

During yoga today, the teacher read an excerpt at the beginning of class and then once again at the end of class. It resonated.

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” – Brene Brown

The search for the quote when I got home, led me to it’s original author and a talk she presented on vulnerability. It was lighthearted but thoughtful. It’s about being authentic, and true, and of course vulnerable. I think it’s worth watching maybe even more than once.

 

During this talk she spoke of courage which reminded me of a quote that also resonated with me on Instagram about a week ago. How ironic that she was the author of the quote as well?

Being able to tell all the chapters of my heart can lead to connection when the person they are presented to has the capacity to open the chapters, read the chapters, and love me all the same. And of course vice-versa.

Here’s to courage, vulnerability, and connection.

Be

I’m trying, trying to demonstrate how I want my own boys to be

How I hope they will treat others…

But I am pushed back, not by them

I am not allowed to provide them the example I wish for them to witness

I have done all I feel I can, and then I try more

And my heart starts to ache, my breathing increases, but shallow

Don’t they deserve more?

Who are their role models?

How will they be better fathers and husbands if they haven’t witnessed a better example?

My purpose in my life was without a doubt to be a mom

And I will always work to be better at my purpose

 

Be kind, be considerate, be unselfish, be giving

Be love, be happiness, be compassionate, be alive

Be nurturing, be supportive, be forgiving, be strong

Be a hero in your future children’s eyes

….and do not allow a moment to slip by when you can be everything to them

 

Cautiously Happy

My whole life I was told I was unhappy. And to this day my mom defends this by saying “I wanted to know what I could do to make you happy.” She even went so far as to say “You misinterpreted things (I said) as a kid.” Umm no….telling me I was unhappy, telling other people in front of me I was unhappy is pretty straightforward.

So now I look back and think was I unhappy? Or was I just living out what she placed on me, much like a self-fulfilling prophecy? I do know I was unhappy she would say this. I was unhappy hearing it. But was the core of me unhappy? I believe I was heavily unbalanced and seeking. Seeking someone or something to sit on the other side of the see-saw so that our legs would dangle as we sat perfectly balanced. Do you remember sitting on see-saws as a kid? It was no fun if the other person weighed that much more than you because you were left stuck in the air. And if the other person weighed that much less, well your legs would hit the ground so hard and your knees would bend to an uncomfortable angle. But when you found the perfect match, it was, well, perfect. And fun.

As I am trying to move forward to a healthier place in my life, I struggle with being wholeheartedly happy. Understand there are countless moments that bring me happiness. But…I proceed with caution. Divorce hurts. And I was hurt by others during this time. As a result, my heart doesn’t want to feel any more pain. It has become afraid. And timid. It has cracks and holes and bruised parts that are so desperately afraid of someone else taking it and not respecting all of it’s broken pieces. Or not even considering my heart at all.

Yes I am happy, but only cautiously so. Wholeheartedly?…..one day.

Pain

As my oldest son D looked at me crying and yelling “It’s not funny mom when you joke you may have a boyfriend! Dad’s house is NOT my house. Stop telling me to keep some clothes there!” my heart was breaking. It quite literally felt like I was being smashed into tiny little pieces. I had no words in that moment. Just pain. This burst was apparently building inside of D. His pain glaring at me as his tears quickly slid down his beautiful cheeks. He yelled at me to “fix it.” His reference – the divorce, the two homes. As a mom, that’s what you do right? You fix it. But this I can not. So I walked heavily to the hallway that leads to his room and with a cracked voice flooded with emotion and so full of tears, I spoke the truth…”I believe your father and I have provided you with a wonderful life. And continue to give you a wonderful life. This (situation) is not what I wanted. But I have done and am doing everything I can to make this the best situation for T and you. I would like to think you’d feel I am deserving of happiness.” I just did not have the strength to look at him as I spoke. The hallway was dark and I knew he was tucked in his bed listening. His response was a sincere “I know.” Walking back to my own room, I cried myself to sleep.

My mother had given me a mug she had won for her dad at a carnival about 50 years ago. He passed away several years prior to my birth but many have said he is so much a part of me. Someone about two years ago accidentally broke the handle. I was able to superglue it back together….it continues to sit on my bureau holding miscellaneous items. Even though it was cracked, it was put back together with love and thoughtfulness. Just as it had  been presented to my grandfather from my mom so long ago – with love and thoughtfulness. It’s obviously not the same. When you look closely, you can see the crack. But it’s whole. And it’s perfect. And it represents so much.

Sometimes it’s more about how the pieces are put back together.

Stepping Back

I like to think of myself as someone who doesn’t quit, who fights for what I believe in, who doesn’t give up. I think that’s a big reason why I struggle with coming to terms with the divorce. I feel like I quit. I do know it’s much bigger, much more grey than black and white. But when I observe others not fight, not try, not do what they can to move mountains, I admit it bothers me. Particularly when it comes to my oldest son. D does not have a good relationship with his father. In fact, he doesn’t have much of a relationship at all. This is nothing new. Not a result of the divorce. I had actually, naively, hoped their relationship would improve with the separation and divorce. Some feel my ex-husband was/is jealous of D because D took attention away from him. But as long as I can remember, there has been a tension that exists between the two of them. Honestly, I am downright appalled sometimes at the direct attacks at D from his father. To say this rips my heart into tiny pieces is an understatement. Along the way, I have created opportunities for them to bond; I push for them to spend time together; I often act as a middle-man trying to calm situations. But no more. It’s not my relationship to save. And as hard as it is to see their relationship crumble even more, I know it’s the right thing to do – step back. My ex-husband feels as though he is trying and I do believe he feels like he has gone above and beyond. As long as he feels this way, things won’t improve. One first needs to realize the problem in order to fix the situation. And so I am reminded of the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

As a matter of fact, this Prayer will be helpful in other aspects of my life too.

Have there been times in your life when you have had to hesitantly step back?