Yesterday afternoon my 13-year-old son and I took a walk. We never take walks together but there is always a first, and hopefully it won’t be a last! This child of mine is a brilliant kid – he literally came out of the womb talking. Of course we couldn’t understand him, but he seemed to understand us and our lack of being able to decipher his baby talk did not discourage him. He has been observing, thinking, solving problems, asking questions since his first breath. Yesterday he commented, “Why do people always talk about feeling love with your heart? It’s not in your heart – it’s in your head.” Hhhmmmm. I used to be convinced that love was a choice too. But REAL love is more than just a re-commitment to a choice. I love my pets. I love my cup of coffee. I love a good book. But it gets a lot more difficult to stay in that place of “I Love You” with people. With some people it is as easy as breathing. With others, no matter how hard you try it does not work. We can try and try, but there is nothing in the world that can be done to make some people love in return. We don’t give gifts to get a gift in return…but love is a little bit more than a gift. Love is like food or water or air. We don’t necessarily expect to get love returned from “people in general” – but we do expect to be loved by people that we should have a special relationship with. Being loved isn’t a want, or a need that can be done without for long stretches. Love, at least for me, is a necessity to live. Hugs and kisses from my children…words of encouragement from my friends and family…feeling the heart beat of the man I love against my own. And when love is away, it hurts…it hurts my heart. Yes, my head knows I am sad…but I also have a physical, visceral reaction of pain – sometimes terrible pain…in my heart.
The following is an article I wrote last February 4, 2011. My son’s question yesterday made me think about this article. I hope if you are feeling blue…whether because of this dismal weather (I haven’t seen the sun in it seems like WEEKS!!!) or if you are feeling blue because your heart is aching…I hope this will give you a little comfort. You aren’t alone. Peace.
It is 10:10 on the clock… How ironic. I don’t like 10:10. There is no justifiable reason, I just don’t. I don’t know if there is any significance… perhaps some 10:10 Bible Verse somewhere that will tell me ALL I need to know, that would explain all of life’s mysteries IF I could just find it… if I would just look for it. But today 10:10 just reflects the terrible and irrational funk I am in.
I don’t get in funks…and if I do, they usually last anywhere from ten seconds to twenty minutes. But I have been on the verge of tears, or even dad-gum- drippy eyed, for the better part of two days. It isn’t hormonal either ( my ex-husband would attribute ANY emotion I displayed as either PreMenstrual, Menstrual or PostMenstrual… he liked to say I had one good week a month. He was a very funny guy. His jokes entertained himself thoroughly)… I wish I could excuse THIS as hormonal. I dislike this feeling immensely. I want to escape it, and I sure don’t want to expose anybody to it… I know this kind of thing can be highly contagious and can make a gray cloud appear in even the clearest and bluest sky of any unsuspecting person I meet. So, it is in everybody’s best interest that I lay low until this thing passes. I would quarantine myself if I could. The best thing that I could do would be to lay in the bed with a thick cover over my head… and put a big “Do Not Disturb. The Inhabitant Here- In is Not Fit to be Seen at The Present. She WILL Emerge when ALL Symptoms have Subsided” sign on the door. But alas, life goes on… and I don’t have the “Luxury” of wallowing in my pity pond like a stuck pig. But on the way home from the ten o’clock delayed start time for local schools, these darn tears that I hate to let loose just started falling. I sat in my truck after I pulled back into my driveway and cried and cried while Billy Currington crooned “If I fall, will you let me down easy?” Good grief.
I have been thinking about mistakes a lot lately. I spent a lot of years truly believing that I had made my bed and so I just ” had to lie in it”. I thought that if I got out, that the ripple effect would be too disruptive for all of the other people around me. I tried to convince myself that I could, by my own Power, WILL myself to be still… to not make waves, to not make ripples… to not rock the boat. Unfortunately, there were BIG waves going on all around me all of the time, regardless of what I wanted… and it was just a matter of time before the illusion of control was washed away.
In my mind, I would try very hard to push aside thoughts of resentment. I would tell myself that I was married, that it was a choice… that I had a choice about how I felt and that I had a choice to love. I wanted to be a good wife. For everybody’s sake, I wanted my wishes to be truths. I tried desperately not to look backward… to take each day as a new day, a new clean slate. At dark times when I would let myself ask “Why? How did this happen? ” If I let myself look back to the very beginning, I saw that everything had been built on a MISTAKE. “Two wrongs don’t make a right…” That is what I always heard as a child…Well, what about one hundred wrongs? What about one thousand wrongs? How can all of the wrongs ever done to me or by me ever make a right? They DON”T. They never ever ever EVER will.
I had to stop seeing it all as a mistake. IT was not wrong. My path was not WRONG. It might not have been the most direct path that I could have taken, but it had been a necessity that I slow down… that I veer off course. Had I stayed rolling on “Christy Highway” I never would have done THE THING that has made my life more than just a fast pace to anywhere on the selfish map. I spent five and a half years having four babies… and then I helped them grow. They are without a doubt the best children that any mother could ever in a million years be blessed with… how could I consider that a “mistake”? I have friends I never would have met… friends that have shown me how to be generous, how to listen, how to hold somebody’s hand through tough times. I have places I would never have seen. Sure, I would have met other people instead… and gone other places instead… but all of the past, good and BAD, has made me into ME. It has given me knowledge about what I want because I had to experience some things that I didn’t want first. I am eternally grateful. This life is to learn. I could have had an easier path, but the one that I chose has been for my soul’s greater good. This life is to learn important lessons so that I don’t have to repeat them over and over again.
I have seen people who rush forward without taking note of the greater meaning of their actions and choices… and when they continue to fall into the same hole again and again and again they are surprised, but they don’t ever learn. They get out… and then they do it all over again. I might have taken twenty years …or even forty… to walk down this path called my life, but I am determined to be intentional about every step that I take. The children I have in my life, the parents and siblings I have in my life, the friends I have in my life are not there by accident… it is not a mistake. Every person in my life is there for me to learn something from. I can rush on by or I can take time to listen. It may take a lot of time… but what is more important than being present. If we are going to be here, we might as well be PRESENT and learn so that we don’t keep falling in and getting stuck and wasting time and getting hurt in that hole.
“If I fall,will you let me down easy?” I know Billy is talking about love…. falling in love and not getting hurt. I want to love … I want to be thankful and grateful and love every little bit of my life, even the part that looks like it was a mistake, because that is what has brought me to the place where I am now. There are no mistakes. I want to fall in love with all that my past has given me and all that my future holds. I want to walk my path alert to avoid pitfalls and impediments… but also to see who is walking on the path beside me. I want to hold a hand, share a laugh and KNOW that everything has a purpose. Miles Davis said, “Do Not fear mistakes- there are none.” There aren’t… as long as we learn the lesson. FYI I am out of my stuck- pig mud hole now. I am done wallowing. Thanks for helping to pull me out.