Monday, December 23, 2013

Beautiful Mistakes

They were mistakes, no doubt.

But, they were beautiful mistakes. Not so much because it was good to have made them, but because it was good to have learned from them.  When she looked back, she could see the turns she had taken that maybe weren't the wisest choices.  But, when she looked back, she could also see how those turns had taught her something.  Lots of somethings.  And lots of somethings that were important to learn.

They hadn't been easy lessons. Some of them had hurt deeply in the learning.  Sometimes they had hurt her.  Sometimes they had hurt other people. They weren't lessons that had come without a price.  Some prices, she was happy to pay.  Some prices, and mostly the ones for which she wasn't the one who had to pay, she wished she had somehow made other choices. But yet, in the end, they were prices that had been paid, choices that had been made, and there was no going back and choosing other things. There was no going back and paying other prices.

So she looked back and she simply found herself grateful for the lessons. She was grateful for the wisdom. She was grateful for the opportunities to grow and change and become something else.

And yes, she was grateful for the mistakes.  Hard mistakes, but beautiful mistakes.

For they made it possible to be who she was today.  And who she was...  well, that was beautiful, too.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

2013 Theme: Choose Who You Want to Be

Choose who you want to be, 
despite what anyone else does, says, or thinks.

In the end, I suppose this was my theme for 2013. It's something I stumbled across early in the year, and I really liked its idea.  But, I kept returning to it over and over as the year wore on.

I suppose that I am (and perhaps we all are?) a pretty responsive person. I don't act so much as I respond. I change what I do and think and am, based on what other people do, think, and say about me.  And perhaps that isn't un-understandable.  It's difficult to not let those things affect us.  But, I came to a decision early on this year that I was responsible for who I was. I was responsible for what I did and thought and said. And it wasn't okay for me to blame other people for those things.

Because, at the end of the day, I got to choose who I was.

And who I was... it wasn't dependent on other people's choices and thoughts and words.  Those were their things to choose.  I couldn't control those things, and neither should I try.  But what could I control?

I could control me. I had power over me. I could choose the person I wanted to be and I could make choices based on that person.

I'd love to say that I was a rousing success.  But, it probably wouldn't be true. I often had to be very strict with myself and reprimand, "No! You get to choose. Don't change who you are, the person you want to be, the kind of friend/parent/etc you want to be, based on someone else's actions. Let them be responsible for them. You be responsible for you."  Sometimes I listened.  Sometimes I didn't.

But I think I'm ending the year content in those choices. Part of me wishes that I'd chosen deliberate action more often, and responsive action less. But, I think I'm ending the year content in the choices I made, content in the times that I went right along being who I wanted to be, no matter if anyone else was on the train with me or not.

Be the person you want to be, Jo. It doesn't matter what anyone else does.

I think I'll take that into 2014 with me, too.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Light at the End of the Tunnel

It's been a really rough six weeks.  Really rough.

It wasn't supposed to be!  November started with a CRUISE with my absolute favoritest group of vocalists, and I was really excited about it.  The first time in a really long time that I'd been able to go on a vacation that was just for me.  But, on the plane ride home from Miami, I was inundated with emails from my youngest...

Mommy, when are you coming home?  I am so sick...

And.... she was. A misdiagnosis of strep throat had passed over the pneumonia in her body, which took a repeat visit to the doctor to find.  She's been sick ever since.  We're still struggling with breathing difficulties, trying to figure out the right medical road to walk.  And while we do that, school marches on without us. I'm ever aware of the amount of school she is missing, while she struggles with being panic-attack-level afraid of returning.

On top of that, another one of our kids got sick a week ago and she's been home too!

Can we just say I'm a little worn out of playing nurse... and I'm struggling to see the light at the tunnel.

And sometimes life is like this.  Sometimes life is a struggle and you walk roads that seem dark and that have no end.  It's on roads like this that you have to be deliberate about looking around you. You have to pay attention to the good things around you, even if they are little.  Sometimes the littlest smile can make the biggest difference in a week of hard.  And you are going to have weeks that are hard.

And so you need to enjoy that cup of coffee without guilt.  Make time for the run that fills you with endorphins and makes you feel strong. Sit in front of the fireplace and stare into its flames.  Play that new CD you bought and stop apologizing that it's the 19th time you've played it in the last four days.

Do what you need to get to the end of the tunnel...  cause it's there. Just keep walking, keep looking, keep smiling.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Before I Fall

Before I fall, could you look a little closer?
I want you to see who I am really.
I need you to see.
I need someone to see.

Before I fall, could you move a little closer?
I just need to be in a space that isn't so open, so empty.
That won't hurt so much when I crash.
As if the mere presence of others makes the ground softer.

Before I fall, could you speak a little softer?
Just a kind word or two, a thought of understanding.
It makes such a difference just to know that we're not alone here
That someone cares.

Before I fall, could you hold me a little longer?
Hold my hand another minute before letting go...
Because I know that the fall is coming
And if you're here, someone might catch me when I finally let go

And fall.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holding On and Letting Go

Sometimes I think that one of my deepest struggles is knowing when it's time to hold on and when it's time to let go. I don't always trust myself and and I don't always trust if my feelings reflect what is true, and so I often look outside of myself for someone to tell me which road I should walk, which path I should take.

But, I think that you know.  I think that, when you're struggling with it, deep in your heart, you know if it's time to do one or if it's time to do the other.  Fear complicates that knowing.  Are you letting go too soon and losing the chance to heal what's broken? Or are you hanging on for too long and robbing yourself of the chance to find where you're meant to be?  And that fear, on either side, keeps you immobile, keeps you from moving down either path.

Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe my deepest struggle isn't knowing which path to take. Perhaps it's just being able to trust myself and to believe that what I know in my heart is right.

Because I think you know.  Deep down, under all the "what if'"s and indecision and "but what about"s, you know.  And you have to trust that knowing. 
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