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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Waaaaaiiiiiiting Is The Hardest Part

     Divine Timing: This is the idea that everything that is supposed to happen will happen only when it is supposed to happen. No sooner, no later. Divine timing sucks. Well, not really. When we experience an event that we sense was divinely timed, we are always so grateful for the experience. We say things like, "Hindsite is 20/20," or "It was just meant to be," or "You see, everything happens for a reason." But when we are on the waiting end of divine timing, it just sucks. "I don't understand!" "When is my ship going to come in?" "Why can't I catch a break?" "What did I do to deserve this?" Sometimes we get angry with God. Sometimes we question our faith all together. Divine timing comes with lessons.
     It feels like I am always learning the lesson of divine timing. I used to think it was patience, but now I realize it's actually a lesson of surrender, letting go of the illusion of control and just going with the flow of the universe. It's not easy. It comes with feelings of anger, grief, longing, fear, and sometimes that feeling like someone ripped out your heart and stabbed it with a large sword over and over and over again. Sometimes it's small things, like waiting for a check and fearing that you won't eat next week or that you might lose your car or house, only to find the check in the mail the day before everything is due. Sometimes it's big things, like waiting for love or a life changing career opportunity, or a baby. I know a lot of people waiting for big things.
     Many of you already know the long story of how I waited for my second daughter after 2 years of trying and miscarriages. Many of you lived through it, and supported me during that awful time. Some of you are experiencing similar challenges right now, and have endured so much more than I did and are still waiting. But the point is, my little monkey came on March 9, 2009. This date is significant. At some point during the ordeal, I remember just saying, "Our baby is there somewhere in heaven, waiting to come to us. He will get here when he is ready. When the stars are perfectly aligned. When one specific sperm meets one specific egg. When everything is perfect." And, she did. I never had any doubt that I would have her. I knew she was coming, and because I knew with every fiber of my being, I was trying to bring her here when I wanted her." I did a whole lot of praying during that time. At some point my prayers shifted from asking to get pregnant to asking for strength to endure the wait. I had a very close relationship with my late great-grandmother, Teresa. I always have. I look to her for guidance, I have seen her in dreams and she has greatly influenced my spiritual path. She supported me from "the other side" in so many ways, that when my daughter was finally born, I gave her the middle name Terese in her honor. I loved that she was born on 3/9/09 because I love numbers, and 3s and 9s have great significance to me. However, what I would find out 2 years later is that the date is even more special than I could then realize. My great-grandmother Teresa was an immigrant from Italy in the early 1900's. When she came through Ellis Island, like many immigrants, her records were distorted and confused. For some reason, my family always celebrated her birthday in January. One day last year, I came across some papers at my parents' house from my dad's family, and found 2 references for my great grandmother's birthdate. One just said March ?. The other said March 9. MARCH 9TH?! What?????!!!! My little monkey, who was named after her, she who spiritually held my hand through the entire journey, was born on her birthday! Coinicidence? No such thing. God's hand. Divine timing. Everything was as it should be. God's plan, not mine. 
     And here we are. Waiting. All of us are waiting for something, aren't we? That next big idea, that financial windfall, that precious baby, that true love, that moment when we finally arrive. It's not easy. It sucks. It hurts. Sometimes it downright makes you physically ill. I urge you not to lose faith, though. It will happen when it's supposed to. No sooner. No later. And all we can really do is pray for strength and help each other endure. And we will endure. Each and every one of us will get through. I promise. This too shall pass.  Until then, I pray that you are surrounded by love and light, and that you find joy in the small moments in between. Because, really, that's all we can do, be present in THIS moment.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

You Can Rain On My Parade, But I'll Only Sing Louder!

I'm standing in the rain again.
              I watch the droplets fall.
                           My makeup washes down my chin,
                                     Clothes cling to my goosebumped flesh.
                                               My hair sitcks to my neck.
                                                I am exposed.
                                                           I'm standing in the rain again.
                                                               Teardrops stain my cheeks.
                                                                      The walls are crumbling.
                                                                          The roof is leaking.
                                                                               I can smell the growing mold.
                                                                                     I am lost.
                                                                 I'm standing in the rain again.
                                                    I cannot make it stop.
                                       Children are crying.
                                         The government's lying.
                              And my tea is getting cold.
                  I am helpless.
I'm standing the rain again.
                I can't see the road ahead.
                          It twists and turns.
                                   My socks are wet.
                                       All I can do is walk.
                                                    I am walking.
                                                        I'm walking in the rain again.
                                                               Not sure what's round that bend.
                                                                                One step closer to the light.
                                                                                          I hear a song of Grace.
                                                                                         It is Amazing.                                                     
                                                                                 I am singing.
                                                               I'm singing in the rain again,
                                                             As I'm often apt to do.
                                                       The harder it pours,
                                                  The louder I sing.
                                             I will not be drowned out.
                                I'm laughing at the rain again as I travel the road less taken.
                                        I will not be forsaken.
                              Do not be mistaken.
                You can not hold me down.
The twists, the turns, the aching burn of doubt and fear of the dark.
                                      These things make me pause, but I won't serve their cause.
                                              I will walk. I will laugh.
                                                      I will dance and I'll sing on this long and winding road.
                                   Sometimes it will rain.
                                               Sometimes I'll feel pain, but I'll never lay down my load.
       For I know in the end, when I turn that last bend my Home will be warm and dry.
And I'll remember the love and the hurt and the pain and the lessons I was slow to learn.
And I'll have no regrets for the life that I led as I sang and I danced in the rain.             

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tick Tock- Click: Persistence Of Memory - Insistence Of Time

     "Where does the time go?" That's what a colleague said the other day when looking at a recent photo of my now 7 year old "Angel baby." (Funny how we watch our own kids grow, but are always surprised to that other people's kids have grown at the same time.) This comment, so cliche that it almost means nothing when we say it caused me to pause. While I jokingly said that I wouldn't mind time speeding up a bit so can get my little one out of the terrible twos and past the torturous threes (which are actually worse than two), in my head I was having a conversation with myself that I need to take more mental pictures.
    What are mental pictures? They are memories, of course, but somehow they are more. It's something I started doing when I was studying abroad in Costa Rica. In the rainforest, everything is beautiful. Breath-takingly beautiful. There's an energy that can't be described that emanates from the abundant life around you. There's an awareness of how small you are, how insignificant your life is, and how interconnected the world around us is. You want to take pictures of everything......but your pictures just pale in comparison. I remember hiking with my friends through this secret trail that led to the most magnificent waterfall and thinking, "How could I possibly capture this on film. There is no way that anyone could appreciate this from a photograph. I am just going to have to remember this moment perfectly in my mind." So I took a deep breath. I inhaled the unique smell of life and death that permeates the tropical air. I focused my attention on the cool mist that blew off the waterfall leaving tiny drops of water on my cheeks. I remember the air pressure changing abruptly and the wind getting cooler as a sudden thunderstorm muddied the trail such that I had to grip deep rooted blades of grass to pull me up the steep incline. I stopped,  focusing all my senses on that moment. I was determined to capture it in my mind forever. That's what I call a mental picture. Being totally present in the moment and savoring every sensation so that I have a perfect memory...
 Salvador Dali  "Persistence of Memory"
      Since then, I have remembered to do this at key moments in my life. For example, I can recall almost every minute of my wedding day from my morning yoga practice in my backyard, to the MTV special that happened to be on about the shortest marriages ever, to the moment I became Mrs. Jones, to Viennese hour during which I was determined to taste EVERY single dessert. And I remember exactly how it felt to give birth to each of my children....the unique sensation of my body doing everything it was designed to do. These were important milestones of my life, memories I was determined to capture. But what about all the moments in between: the bedtime stories, the walks in the park, the days at the beach or on the playground, the gymnastics practices, the games of Uno, the stolen kisses, the 100 second hugs, the ice cream sundaes. Are these moments spent with my family not equally important?
       No one was happier that I was at 11:59:59 on December 31, 2011. I don't know what it is, but 2012 seems to have so much promise. I bubble up with excitement when I think about all of the things I am determined to do in the days and months ahead. I feel like a phoenix that has risen up to reclaim life. I want to push my boundaries. I want to open my mind and heart,  and really live this life I have been given. And yet some days I find myself furious at the pile of dishes in the sink, at my wits end with my clingy kid who really just wants some attention, and positively irate that there's a pile of papers that need grading. I waste so much energy sometimes thinking about what I'd rather be doing instead of appreciating the moment I am currently in. The next big moment, that next great milestone is down the road. It's not going to get any closer or farther away whether I think about it or not. But my daughters are getting bigger by the second. Eventually my clingy toddler will be rolling her eyes when I tell her I love her. The pile of dishes will be smaller because I won't have to feed a full table and the pile of papers to grade will be a distant memory of some of the best years of my life.
     The truth is that time doesn't go anywhere. We move through time. And if we spend all of our time thinking about the next great moment in our lives, we will miss all of the precious wonderful moments in between. Living in the the moment- remembering to capture those mental pictures- is not always as easy as it seems. It's a discipline. It takes practice. We have to slow our minds down and take inventory of each of our senses and breath in the love and light around us. I may never achieve that perfect zen where I live authentically in each moment, but I can try. And in 2075, when I look back on my life, I can only hope that I have accumulated more mental pictures than vague memories.
     So now, if you will excuse me, I have some kisses to collect, some bedtime stories to read, a cup of green tea to savour and some love to soak up. Hopefully, I won't yell at my iron and when my head hits that pillow, and I'll remember to count all of the blessings in my life, for they are far more than I could possible ever deserve.