The Sun Rises

Early every morning, when my son Caleb started to toddle and talk, he rushed into my bedroom to shout “The sun rises! Wake up, the sun rises!”.  His declaration roused me from my sleep, and started my day of mothering activities.  I loved his sweet high-pitched, joyful voice when he said those words.  The start of a new day brought many joys.

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He’s long since stopped bounding in with his declaration.  Yet, the truth of his words hugged me this week as I adapted to a big change in my life.

Due to a strange and unexpected twist I found myself leaving a job I loved at a place I loved.  I accepted a position in another amazing organization.   I did not imagine even two months ago I would leave this job, yet here I am, starting over in a wonderful way.

Throughout the last couple of weeks, I found myself in pain.  The pain I discussed in an earlier post that simply has to be dealt with.  No positive affirmation could relieve me at the moment of its grip on my heart.  I could not even explain it to my dear friends.  The why of heart ache is sometimes inexplicable.

I felt attached to the sweeping view Pikes Peak from my parking lot.  Every day, a gentleman smoked his pipe behind the green tress as I walked to my building.  I smelled the oaky, sweet aroma as I meditated, walking up the hill under the shade.  I loved greeting the two janitorial superheros in their purple shirts as I entered the building. They worked hard to keep our space lovely and enjoyable.  I looked forward to catching up with my office mates as we rehashed the night before or the weekend and worked together to get the job done.  We became a family.

Even though I left on a journey to an amazing place for an amazing opportunity, I felt a sense of loss.  I built community at my former place of employment.  I allowed myself to fully embrace my surroundings and more importantly the people I worked with.

I talked to a loved one on the phone and said these words…”I’m tired of starting over.  I mean, I’m 50 and I’ve been through a lot and I don’t want to start over again.”  As I heard myself say this, I simultaneously had a thought which became my answer to the pain.

The sun rises every day. It starts over every day.  It’s very old and it just keeps starting over.  It’s going to be okay.  Not only that but as every ocean wave goes out, another one comes in.  The ocean is very old and yet it starts over.  The waxing and waning of the moon is starting over.  As someone dies, someone is born, and hence life starts over.  Seasons come and go and come again.  A new storm cloud rolls in and the rain falls again.  A fallow field is planted and growth starts over.  A seed from a flower falls to the ground and growth begins.  A toddler falls down, gets back up and starts over.  Humanity and all nature is in a state of starting over.

Life means starting over at any moment, any age.  With every new dawn, a torrent of possibilities is unleashed.  I intend to embrace starting over and expand fully into my new journey.

Recreate your life, always, always. Remove the stones, plant rose bushes and make sweets. Begin again.     Cora Coralina

 

Strange Teachers

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.  – Buddhist Proverb

A ten-hour drive unfolds before us.  Caleb, Sallie, and I drive on the bare Kansas highway aligned with fallow fields.  It is Thanksgiving…….my Thanksgiving, and we choose to spend it with my ex husband’s family….I know, this divorce is not normal!  I am very excited to reunite with family that I love.

I welcome the cold, lonely drive.  It is restful and beautiful in its own isolated way.

Before departure, we drive by the library to pick out some cds to play in the car.  I choose books on tape such as Sherlock Holmes, Lord of the Rings, and so forth.  Sallie and Caleb pick out the music.

When I read the music titles and artists names, I shudder.  “I’m not going to listen to that!  The language is base, the message is dark, I simply will not allow that music to be played with me in the car.”

They implore me to give it a try because their music is extremely important to them and is a guiding force in their lives.

Much to my surprise and yes I had to yelp at the curse words, I  learned so much.  My friend Macklemore taught me that a dream can be birthed in me and 10,000 hours of sweat and tears can cause it to grow.

No matter what anyone tells me, I can live my dream.  stand here in front of you today all because of an idea
I could be who I wanted if I could see my potential
And I know that one day I’mma be him
Put the gloves on, sparring with my ego
Everyone’s greatest obstacle, I beat ’em
Celebrate that achievement
Got some attachments, some baggage I’m actually working on leaving

Now when I take my walks in the early morning or late evening.  Macklemore Radio goes with me.  I choose not to listen to all of it but in certain moments, I do hear words that call me forth to live in the presence of my dreams.

Macklemore_canRenai Blue suit  Who knew a loving friend could show up for me through this guy:)

Naivety and Three Pecan Pies

In 1742, Thomas Gray (pictured below) coined the phrase, ignorance is bliss. I prefer to say a little naivety and three pecan pies will take you anywhere you want to go!

Image result    This week, I will get in my new Nissan Rogue warmly called the roller skate, drive an hour and a half to the Pepsi Center in Denver to be a guest at Michelle Obama’s presentation to the Women’s Foundation of Colorado.  That’s pretty cool.  The even cooler part of the story is that I will embrace my precious friend and former Washington D.C. roommate Melissa who I have not seen in twenty-five years.  It is a miracle!  Melissa worked for the Obama’s during the Obama administration and now works with Michelle Obama.

Melissa and I met during a summer college internship program.  It was love at first sight. She was unlike anyone I knew.  She was from a distinguished Chicago family, Jewish, well-educated and well-traveled.  Melissa was scheduled to work for a democratic congressman. I was from a distinguished family in rural Valdosta, Georgia and partially from a less distinguished, poor, country family in Moultrie, Georgia.  I worshipped in a Southern Baptist Church.  My education consisted of having fun in high school and going to the closest possible college to my home.  I obtained a position in the office of a republican congressman from Georgia.

I knew nothing of politics.  At the ripe young age of seventeen, I developed a crush on a young man from Valdosta who worked in Washington, D.C.  I  just had to get to D.C. to be near him.  That was the extent of my political drive.

I found and applied for an internship program for the summer of 1986. I mean, why not me?  At first, I was not accepted into the program due to inexperience and a nonsensical, rambling essay.  Hello, I knew nothing!  Not to be put off, I contacted the manager of the program, an energetic, handsome New Yorker, and begged to resubmit my essay. He had mercy on me and said these magic words,

“If you’ll bring me three homemade pecan pies from Georgia, I’ll let you into the program.”

Hell yeah!  That was a no-brainer for me. My cousin and I stayed up all night, the night before I my departure, and made three Georgia style pecan pies.  I proudly carried them onto the airplane in a brown Macy’s bag all the way to the U.S. Capitol.   That internship led me to Capitol Hill,the White House, and to so much more.

Melissa and I were roommates and dear friends.  I learned early on that Jewish people do not buy Christmas trees and have tree trimming parties but again, who knew?  We chose different paths in life and seeing her again this week will be a highlight for us both.  The beauty in this story is  at such a young age, I did not see a limitation and I did not receive a limitation.  I receieved freedom to do exactly what I wanted to do.  I did not see less-than. For me, privilege was not the only mechanism to success.

I showed up innocently, 100% myself in my yellow skirt and pink top, delivering pecan pies as a gateway to a wonderful life.

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Bemiss Road

I go there.  I have to.  My soul has to be there, even now, so many years later.  At times when I need to center, I call on my old friend.  Today, my loving friend is a place.  It lives in my memory and is so very important to me.  I close my eyes, breath deeply and go to Bemiss Road, in Valdosta, Georgia.

I turn onto the dirt road lined with little sand pebbles.  The steamy atmosphere is full of life.  I feel the vibrations in my ears with every heartbeat.  Humidity and energy surround me.  I drive on past centuries old oaks, a field of cotton or corn and cross the cattle gap into the garden….yes the Garden of Eden, vibrating with life.

This is my place, my people, where my life formed.  Day-lilies named after grandchildren and loved ones line the interior fence.  Exotics dance around the yard.  My grandfather’s roses stretch toward the sun and leave a succulent scent.  Honeysuckle, grows amidst lumbering oaks.

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I find strength here on Bemiss road.  A long screech, silence, then bang.  The screen door alerts every one of my arrival.  Crickets chirp in the corner of the kitchen.  My grandfather fills his igloo water container, grabs the crickets and heads out to fish. My grandmother and I spend our day talking about God and life in the kitchen.  I slink off to the blue room upstairs to take a nap.

We share a meal together and listen to my grandfather quote poetry.  As a child, I found this incredibly funny and annoying and often started a giggle circle with my cousins. When I go there now, in my mind, I find it comforting and soul filling.

Night comes, I fall asleep slapping mosquitoes away from my ears and face.  I hear sound of Johnny Cash serenading from the radio next to my grandfather’s ear.  Yes, I’m in another room and yes he is hard of hearing.

I am loved here.  I am safe and now I am at peace again.

johny cash

 

God Grant Me the Serenity

This week held in hand the miraculous, the mundane, and the heartache.  I learned that all three can co-exist in my life.  This discovery is HUGE for me.  There is a compartment of my life or a “chunk” that is really happening for me.  I stand amazed at the professional possibilities that are coming my way. I had a week in which opportunities arose that I did not have imagine possible.

Yet, at the same time damn it, I feel a mother’s pain.  A crazy panic and fear arises in me. One of my loved ones made choices that hurt.  I want to show up for this one like a grizzly bear that tears through the woods to get to the cabin and take every one down in order to rescue her cub.  I can see mama bear now, leaving the ramshackle cabin, walking out to the porch with her precious cub in her arms…..victory, mom saves the day!

 

In the past, I easily allowed the heartache to dominate.  I dropped everything to suffer. I mean I was really good at it.  I was so good at it, I kept inviting it into my life.  One day, during a particularly difficult time in my life, I called my husband (now ex husband) crying that God hated me because the public beach access was closed when I wanted to take a walk….say what?  I’m pretty sure that I ruined my day, his, the children’s and anyone else who would listen long enough.  Thank God, I am not that person any more.

Remember in an earlier post I wrote, pain is inevitable but suffering is optional?  I stand by that quote.  I felt great pain this weekend but I also, felt great joy at the gifts life gave me.  I took my son and his friend out all day Saturday so that his mother could grieve the loss of her mother.  Yes, I actually wanted to lay in bed and cry all day but I found  a place to serve and it took my mind off the difficult situation.  My mantra being the world needs a loving friend, has to stand regardless of my own state of emotion.

Living in the miraculous, the mundane and the heartache is true living.

God, Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.