Friday, May 29, 2015

Smack- right in the face!

 
So some days I feel like the words on the page are smacking me awake.  I've read two different pieces this morning and both just struck me with such "Aha!" that I had to share/write it down.
 
The first came when I was reading a magazine article about a confirmation experience of the author.  Yep- church confirmation. It fell into my lap at a perfect time, especially since my thoughts from yesterday's Bible Study were still a buzz in my head. 
 
  Yep- I'm in a Bible study group that meets once a week- I'm trying to educate myself on this great book. I joined this past fall and it has brought me nothing but sheer joy, happiness, and unending love of those I'm surrounded by.  These women and men know their Bible.  However, they don't judge, they don't lecture, they don't read it word for word literally.  They have introduced me to a beautiful book that for the longest time I was put off from, scared of and felt wasn't needed. I have learned just because there are people out there who like to read the Bible literally and tell anyone who will listen that they are the end all be all expert on understanding what the Bible means doesn't mean I have to agree with them.) OK so I digressed...
 
The article "Confirming our Youth" by Elyse Nelson Winger talked about the author's experience into becoming an adult within the church through confirmation via flashback to her own confirmation and realization of her daughter's current confirmation.  The reason the article spoke to me was because of the following lines the author writes about her daughter Catherine and also the lines of Rainer Maria Rilke the author quoted at the beginning of the piece...
 
"... be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.  Do not now seek answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them.   And the point is, to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then gradually, without even noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer." -  Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke.
 
"Catherine brings to this milestone quite different concerns and convictions than the 13-year-old me.  And her questions and doubts are inviting (okay forcing) me to look anew at the meaning of confirmation.  Among every confirmation class across every church there are young people at different stages of belief and faith, and all of them deserve the opportunity to affirm their baptism with authenticity and integrity.  What does this mean?"..."Catherine is very interested in what's really 'true' and she doesn't know how she can say yes, in her own terms, to the promises her father and I made at baptism when she's not sure she's all in."
 
The "Letters to a Young Poet" lines couldn't have hit me in the face any harder- basically just live life- the answers will come.  "Love the questions themselves" was a big "aha!" for me.  Also, the experience of Catherine's questions/doubts coincide with those I seek to have answered by attending Bible Study and trying to get my hard questions answered.  What is "true"?  What is "right"?  I think reading this article made me realize I have to live the questions, ask them and then continue living, not waiting to hear the "right" answer.   Through living life some of my tough "life" questions may just be answered. 
 
Then I was cleaning out my inbox and found this email from Liz Lamoreux.  She is one of my favorite people, I've never even met.   Liz Lamoreux is one of those people I'd tell my favorite Peeps- "Hey this person would be one of our peeps".   Her blog lizlamoreux.com is excellent.  She is also a great one to follow on Pinterest.  So here is what she sent me and the "aha!" I had. 
 
The image was sent with her post- EXCELLENT!
 
This morning found my daughter and me running late for school. My husband usually takes her because he's a teacher at the school she goes to, so it just makes sense that they go together. But some mornings I need to take her. She was so excited after celebrating Jon's birthday yesterday that she had a lot of trouble getting to sleep last night, so I let her sleep in. But as I'm known to do, I didn't really think about how I needed to get myself ready along with the usual routine of getting her breakfast, making her lunch, helping her get dressed, etc.

I so often think I have more time than I really do...as though each minute is really 90 seconds long. Can you relate?

And I'm trying so hard not to do the "come on, hurry up, keep moving, we're going to be late, can you stop telling me that story and just focus on your shoes" thing. I've been focusing on empathy and reinforcing the positive with her lately, and I'm seeing huge shifts in the way she interacts with us and those around her, even in the way she sees her world.

This doesn't mean that I didn't say, "Honey, if we don't get your teeth brushed right now, we're going to be late" or that I didn't say, "Stop your story for a moment and eat another bite of breakfast." But I tried to just let it be softer and breathe through my own "We are SO GOING TO BE LATE!" inner dialogue.

We finally got into the car and if traffic was non-existent and we made the lights, we would be there just on time.

And I had a choice. I could tense up my shoulders, hunch over the wheel a bit, tell her to be quiet, and get laser-focused on driving so that we wouldn't be two minutes late. Or I could enjoy the drive with my daughter and turn up the radio and we could sing together like we love to do.

Each day we have these simple little choices we get to make.
  • We can choose to snap at someone or take a breath before we speak.
  • We can choose to drink the glass of water our body needs or drink our third cup of coffee.
  • We can choose to wear clothes that make us feel good, the necklace that reminds us to just show up as ourselves, the shoes that just feel good on our feet or we can put on the clothes we've never really liked because we hate going shopping and refuse to change that story.
  • We can choose to reach out with gratitude or think about how we should write a thank you note and then never do it.
  • We can choose to pause and notice what we need or we can push through without even taking a deep breath and wonder why we're stuck in the story of not having enough time, being enough, doing enough.
  • We can choose to rest or we can just keep spinning.

So what did Ellie and I do? You probably already guessed the answer. As we pulled into the parking lot of her school, we were singing American Authors "The Best Day of My Life" at the top of our lungs and she was saying, "Mama! Mama! Look at my new dance move." And as I parked and turned around to see her dancing in her car seat, my heart grew another size.

I don't always choose the path with more magic, more ease, more light. But when I do, I can feel myself settle into my life with more love within and around me. Every. Single. Time. And I want to remember that I get to choose because I really do want to feel like I'm living my life. I don't want to feel like life is happening to me. I want to live it. Yes. Yes. Yes.
 
I don't think I have to add too much more to the above- I think the "simple little choices we get to make" should be printed and put on my mirror in my bathroom, on the dashboard of my car when I go to pick the kids up from school, and as a book mark to glance at when ending my day exhausted, frustrated, annoyed, irritated, or just plain confused on my purpose in life.  "AhA!" we all have choices- we just have to step up and choose what is best for us- easier said than done, but this email couldn't have come at a better time than this morning! 
 
Again, where would I be without reading in my life!  It gives me so much! 

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