Exhale

 “Tell me about a time everything was going wrong and then you suddenly knew it would be alright.” 
   

It was January of 2008.  My friend C had suggested I go to church with her one Sunday. I can’t remember why I was alone: I’m not sure where my boys were or my then husband was, but I was alone in the house. I had been to her church before and it was the first one I have ever been in where I didn’t feel like I was going to be struck by lightning for going into it. While I do believe in some sort of higher being or consciousness, I wasn’t brought up in a super religious family. My parents “made me” go to Sunday school at a Methodist church as a child where I was presented with a Bible at the age of 12. Then my brother and I started refusing to get out of bed and my mom had a bit of a faith crisis and we moved to Texas where finding a Methodist church was a project (we were surrounded by Baptists, Catholics or Pentacostals).  So she gave up. She and I dabbled in Unitariansm when I was in my twenties, but it felt too lonely to me. There was something missing.

Until I went to C’s Church in Orlando the first time in 2007. My husband was on the road so I even brought my kids. My youngest son (3) happily went into the nursery school, and my older son who was about seven, asked to come with me into the cathedral where my friend and her friend were waiting for us. I looked around at the Stained glass windows and realized every one of them represented different religion. I took a deep breath and waited for the lightning– so to speak. When the uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach didn’t come, I wasn’t sure if I felt scared or relieved. As the service started, my son was, as usual, his seven going on 22 self. He was quiet and observing. He told me on the way home he liked how the place felt.  I remember leaving that day and actually wanting to go back. But my then husband thought the church was weird after I told him about it, (“What do all those windows mean? It’s like it can’t decide what church to be.”) Plus, it was forty minutes away from my house and I had two small kids and a failing marriage.

Now it was January 2008. And C had invited me again.  I was reading Eat, Pray, Love and realizing that,  like the author, I didn’t want to be married anymore. Well not to him. But I didn’t know what to do. I had two small kids and couldn’t pay my rent alone.

My friend’s invitation to her church called to me and hit me in my gut in a way that told me I had to go. So I did.

It was the first Sunday service of the new year. The pastor handed out small rectangular stones that were about the size and shape of a Domino.  She told us to be silent a moment and when a word came to us and wouldn’t be dismissed, we should write it down in pencil on the stone.  My word begged me, then hugged me, then caressed my cheek. It was a whisper at first. My eyes welled and and I fought back the urge to laugh and cry at the same time.Edit

It was perfect. I knew.

My word? 

Hope

.

That’s when I knew that my coming year would be full of tears, the unknown, laughter, friendships, false starts, revelations, doubts, anger, panic, too little sleep and too much stress, and yet, at the foundation, was hope. 

I had hope and faith that I was smart enough to know what was right for both my kids and for me. And that we would be okay. 

I still have that little white stone. It’s in the windowsill of my kitchen in CA.  When I’m rinsing out a coffee cup at the sink and internally lamenting my current self-imposed stress/crisis, I look at that stone and remember how I felt when I wrote on it: where I was and how I just knew it would be okay.  And it still will be. 

2016 Redux

  

Looking around Facebook today, I was struck by all the usual “new year, new start” memes floating around.  

And I had a bit of a shitty day today.  Feeling weirdly weepy and pissy. Not a good start to my year. The world is a mess and I’m having trouble seeing the light. 
My youngest, who is 13 going on 10,  is giving me crap about doing things for himself.  That wifi password is about to change. Daily. 

 I’m in flux with a client that verbally agreed to hire me in July, but didn’t after I had surgery and didn’t work for a month… Said client paid me anyway.  Very nice. But I am back at 100% and they haven’t offered again. And I’m consulting at a reduced rate.  I don’t like the limbo. And between medical bills and kid tutors I am looking at one broke year unless something changes. 

I am restless.  I’m lucky I know. I’m infinitely grateful. I have love. A house. Food. My health is mostly back. My kids are good kids. No drug addicts, no sociopaths. 

But I seem to be a born worrier and fusser.  

My back won’t let me have a life again. It gives out after too much sitting or activity.  I’m back at PT.  It’s was fine before I had to take two and a half months off after surgery. Now I’m back at square one. 

Back to the New Year….clean Slate.  Feeling obligated to commit to some sort of self improvement list or path every year amplifies my self loathing. I fail every freakin year. So this year I decided on a different approach: one day at a time.  And each day has no plan to it. Just a baby step. 

I’ll wake up and be nice to my self one day. I’ll catch the crappy self talk. 

Next day: before I fall asleep do a gratitude meditation

Next day: wake up and do yoga.

Next day: eat better.

Next day: take a walk.

Next day: a massage.

Next day: contact the local library foundation and ask if they’d like a new web site for free

Next day: try a new recipe with my kids

Next day: write in my novel

Next day: clean a bathroom

Next day: donate stuff

Next day: pick a box in the a garage and go through it; toss; donate and repack in a plastic tub

Next day: write that serious letter to voldemort. 
Perhaps small daily victories will help me gather momentum.