Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gone Fishing

“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime."

There are many times while driving when I turn off the music, preferring the company of my own thoughts over lyrics that tell someone else’s story. Sometimes this isn’t a good thing, but often an epiphany of sorts works itself into my consciousness, giving me a clearer path into answers for my life.

On this particular trip I was on my way back from the grocery store and all kinds of thoughts were going through my head: “Where should I transplant my very shaky roots? How am I going to survive, financially? Are my kids going to be all right? Am I going to be all right? Should I switch jobs…and if so, what should I do?” I’m a creature of habit and don’t handle change well. Now every aspect of my life was up for grabs and I was grasping into air that seemed to be growing thinner by the minute.

The parable came to mind: if you want to truly help someone, don’t just give him fish, teach him how to fish so he can provide for himself in future years. I could definitely relate. I didn’t want someone to fix things for me, but I had no idea how to find the right fishing hole or how to go about beginning again. I needed to learn how to fish, to make a new start and take care of myself. “God,” I breathed, “please teach me how to fish.”

Instantaneously I heard these words: “Lori, you already know how to fish. You just have to cast your line.”

In all the weeks and months of feeling like a failure, of doubting myself and the gifts I have, I was given the reassurance that I do have a place in this world…that I do have something to offer and I can come back stronger, more confident and more able. I already have everything I need to make my life work.

It’s time to stop being afraid of the water, to believe in myself again and know that no one can ever take that away from me. I need to cast my line. It’s time to go fishing.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Planting Loveliness

My bedroom window faces east. It is where I start each day, looking over the new horizon into the morning’s sunrise. I keep the blinds open so my day begins with light and warmth, and from the moment my eyes open, I feel blessed to have a new opportunity.

The other night I was standing in my front yard, just beyond that window, teetering between practicality and my heart’s yearning. It’s the first time in twenty years that spring has come without a permanent place to plant my flowers. It takes a few years to really establish a flower bed and each spring finds me searching for the first shoots of my perennials. It’s disheartening to realize that like everything else in my life at this point, I have to start over. I’ve told myself that there is no need to plant flowers this year. After all, this place is probably temporary and there’s a good chance I won’t be living here next spring.

But then I walked to the corner of the house and kneeling down, hidden under the green leaves and thorns, I saw the loveliest blooms of wild roses. I was delighted to find that just beneath that bedroom window lay a thing of beauty. I had no idea they were there. There too, beneath the brambles of the past few months, is a heart that still loves, still feels joy, still wants to build a home where loveliness lives. It's time to start planting and growing and living again. I still have the wonderful life that I've always had. It's simply a new chapter in an ever-changing story.

Idle bricks from a former tenant were stacked by the garage and they soon became my border. A trip to town reaped impatiens, marigolds and salvia. How could I not? It is a part of me, a part of my past and one I’m not willing to leave behind. And I've realized that everything is temporary, no matter how much we want to think it is ours. The secret – and the joy – isn’t in the possession; it’s making every place, every thing, every person we touch better and more beautiful because we paused beside them for awhile.

“If of thy mortal gifts that art bereft,
And from thy slender store
Two loaves alone, to thee are left;
Sell one and with the dole,
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.”

Saturday, April 30, 2011

To Tell The Truth

Sometimes I wonder if my blog is a lie.
Everything I’ve ever written here is absolutely true….and everything is mine: every thought, every feeling, every word.
The falsehood doesn’t come with what I’ve said, but from what has been held back.

This last year I’ve experienced more pain than I have at any other point in my life. Some parts have been devastating, leaving me angry and hurt. I’ve often felt as if I’d been picked up in a whirlwind then dropped in the middle of nowhere, stunned, bruised, lost. I didn’t share that part of my life here for several reasons: If I didn’t put the circumstances “out there”, maybe it wasn’t really true; I am somewhat a private person and sharing the hurt made me uncomfortable; the pain I felt left me like a wounded animal who simply wanted to be left alone; and….I felt like a failure.

I have another journal that takes its shape in an inexpensive composition notebook. There is something cathartic about putting pen to paper….and this is where these thoughts reside. Inside its cover there is pain and fear. There is uncharacteristic angry and there is sadness. But I’ve also noticed a recent turning of my heart. Over the months I’ve seen the strength return; a perseverance that is winning over the heartbreak because I realize every day is a gift. All of my life I’ve been able to look ahead just enough to see where it is I’m going. I’ve been fortunate that most of that path has been sunlit. I understand now there are no reassurances about tomorrow, there are no foolproof plans. It’s been difficult knowing that on this new journey, there is no map. And then I realize… there never really was.

So has this been a lie by omission? Perhaps. But the truth is this: despite it all, I’ve had a wonderful life filled with wonderful family and friends. I am blessed with love and faith and a heart that still believes in the goodness of people. There is much ahead of both sorrow and joy, but I choose to walk into the sunlight. Because for me, it’s the only choice there is.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Hope Awaits

After such a long absence, it's hard to find the right words to transition my life of last summer into what I live now. But somehow this photograph, taken several years ago, seemed to fit. In it our beloved dog, G.T., looks out over the horizon into a waiting world....a world he is no longer part of. It now feels like forever ago, yet was less than a year, when we lost him; a faithful friend...the best dog I've ever had. And the world seemed less bright and certainly empty as we buried him at the edge of our property where the endless sky meets the waving prairie grasses.

I, too, am looking across the horizon and wondering what awaits me. It has truly been a year of loss, and my view these days is across an unfamiliar landscape. I put my trust in a future that will no longer be, and in someone who's decided that he doesn't really love me after all.

It took several months to get a grasp on that fact; to start lining up ducks and stop stumbling through a maze of darkness and grief. I'm not there yet - to the place I need to be - and I'm still searching for that familiar sky of blue where my heart felt peace and I knew where I belonged. It's difficult to redefine "home," but if it really is where the heart lies, then I belong many places. And in a time of uncertainty and loss, that's nice to know.

So for now I'll follow suit in the steps of a kind blue healer, look out into the beautiful, vast world and promise myself that with the approaching spring awaits new life...and new hope.