The Journey of Learning Love

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How long has it been since I was here last? It seems longer than it really was… so much has happened.

I’m surrounded by hectic “do-ings” that must be done, but a lot has been accomplished already and at this moment I’ve stopped to breathe — I’m pausing all the “must-dos” and sitting in the light of the twinkle-lights that have escaped being put away with the Christmas things. :) I am listening to The Philosopher typing away as he works on one of his writing projects, mumbling to himself as the story-line progresses. He has his personal music playlist playing on his laptop speakers as he types away, and the only other sound is the fan of the electric heater as it tries to chase away the winter chill in our living room.

The gas stove we used as our main heat source no longer works (apparently the broken valve isn’t made anymore so it can’t be replaced), so I’m missing its comforting whistle… as well as the heat it provided so well! The poor little space heater does the best it can, but we are going around bundled up with cold toes and noses — it just can’t quite get rid of the chill entirely. Thankfully, the rest of the week is supposed to bring us fairly mild temperatures, and the electric heaters handle our bedrooms well enough… we’re fine… maybe not completely comfortable, but we’re managing. This is just further encouragement for a surprise upcoming move — we’ll probably be getting some good news later this week… So much sudden crazy busyness around here! I’ve had to spend my days sorting our belongings and preparing for an upheaval… it’s kept me hopping, that’s for sure. I’ll go into all that in another post sometime soon-ish…

Today what free-time I had was spent getting off some important emails related to my hospice work, and sending in the first pieces of my packet for the International End-of-Life Doula Association’s Certification process. (I did their amazing training in October of 2016, and I’ve used the skills I learned there in this work ever since.) After some encouragement via email this afternoon, I’ve decided to tackle the certification process.  Tomorrow I have a couple phone calls to make — something I have to prepare myself for since I have a hard time communicating on the phone at this point… It’s so hard to hear what’s going on, and inevitably my phone will cut out and I’ll miss something important — so stressful! (I’m a complete introvert — send me an email or a text message any time of the day, but please don’t make my phone ring!) :) The calls need to be made though…

The Professor has his last doc appointment for awhile tomorrow morning, and the next day will be The Philosopher’s last one — our insurance ends this month so we won’t be going to the myriad of doc appointments that have been our norm for so long… such is life. I’m trying not to worry…

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You just never know what Life is going to send your way. For the most part, we go through our days thinking we know what’s going on — planning our calendars and daily schedules — but we really have no idea what the next moment will bring… let alone next week. We comfort ourselves with all our intentions and plans — it’s part of the way we stay sane in this crazy world. We design paths for ourselves to walk and set off in the direction we think we should go — but the journey we “draw on paper” rarely fits the landscape of reality. Obstacles appear that we didn’t know about beforehand — sometimes there are big cliffs in front of us that force a sharp turn, and other times a flash flood can wash everything away and deposit us on a completely different path. Sometimes we think we’re on one journey, and then simply wake up one day and discover we’ve been traveling somewhere completely different all along. My motherhood journey has been one of those kind of adventures… a journey you would never be able to plan for yourself because you didn’t even know such a place existed beforehand, and you didn’t know you were even on the voyage until you discovered the place you thought you were staying was actually moving somewhere else! It’s unsettling when Life throws you a curveball and you don’t even realize it until after the fact — sometimes long after the fact… we’re talking innings have gone by and you’re playing an entirely different game than the one you expected to play.

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

Being human requires a lot of blindness and a mind-preserving lack of observation, or an intense level of Trust in the goodness of God’s Love in order to maintain sanity in this unpredictable place. “‘I know the plans I have for you’ says the Lord…” (Jeremiah 29:11). As we ride around the sun, hopefully we learn to roll a bit more with Life’s punches. Even though the big ones may knock us out for awhile, hopefully we’re eventually able to get up and continue the fight — at least for the Love of those around us… and their Love for us.

It isn’t easy to walk this planet (wandering-star — doesn’t that make us all wanderers?) — to be so small amid so many galaxies and yet still Love our dear ones so much it doesn’t seem possible that we’re so finite. This is what we’re here for — to learn this common communication of infinite or unconditional Love, so we can understand the language on the other side of Death’s rent veil. We learn it as we serve each other — as mama’s snuggle their sleeping littles and calm wordless fears — as we make each other laugh, and keep each other warm and fed throughout the long winters of life… We learn it in the rhythm of poetry and song — in lullabies and literature shared together after a long day — in sharing what we have with others and being grateful for what we are given, and in creating homes where we know what it means to hold each other in our hearts. We learn it in the play of silence and story, laughter and tears — in life shared with one another in a myriad of small ways. We learn Love from all the lives that touch our own as we wander this road together…

I am so thankful for all my dear ones who are continuing to teach me Love.

I am grateful…

  1. reading aloud to the family in the car during a hail storm at the coast… :)
  2. listening to Kate Rusby together… (particularly this one over and over again) :)
  3. fuzzy socks in the cold…
  4. back to back with hubby at night – warm and cozy as we sleep…
  5. sister hugs…
  6. Little One’s laugh – even when he should be sleeping…
  7. Little Boy learning the alphabet…
  8. listening to The Professor and Philosopher talking late into the night when they think I think they’re sleeping… :)
  9. laughing with my hubby…
  10. wedding bands and lifelong loves…

It’s all Grace…

 

 

 

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Awe and Time…

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It’s been a busy couple of months since I wrote last.

The Professor had his 20th birthday. I can’t even… I just can’t… too many feels as my younger siblings say.

Christmas came and its 12 days have passed. I keep planning on putting away all our decorations but I just haven’t had the time yet. There has been quite a few pieces to write for work (one reason my blog is so far behind since all my writing time has been used for work lately), plus trying to keep up on all the rest of the things that need to be done — I’ll admit that removing the holiday decor just hasn’t been high on my to-do list.  The twinkle lights make me happy — I’m about to enter the last year of my thirties… happiness is high on my priority list, and I know a lot more about what brings happiness than I did a decade ago. I’m in no rush to put away the twinkle lights — there’s a good chance some of them will be up when next year’s Christmas Tree arrives. ;)

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My younger sister is about to turn 30 in a few weeks. She was my first baby really — my first real experience with tiny rosebud lips and baby-toes… We shared a bed — I watched her sleep — she heard my first lullabies… My brother was only three years younger than me — perfect for a younger playmate… He rode on the back fender of my bike almost as soon as he could run around outside with me. He was my adventure buddy — the outdoors was our playground and I loved having him to share my imaginary world. We played Mr. Magic Island, Pinecone Wars when we grew a bit older, and spent most of our waking hours living an adventure of some kind… But my first younger sister came along just a few weeks before my ninth birthday. She was my very own living baby doll and I was totally in love. I’ve always had a really strong maternal streak — mothering, nurturing, is one of the things that makes me happiest — makes me who I am. So, I loved being a big sister with such a tiny baby sister to pamper… And she was so spunky!!! (She’s still spunky — her ability to be herself no matter what still amazes me… she is an amazing woman with a deep strength…)

I can’t believe that tiny, beautiful baby girl is closing in on her 30th birthday. 

Maybe it has to do with where I am in my own life, but I’m spending a lot of time in awe of Time lately. Despite how crazy the days are and how insane the world can be — this globe just keeps spinning… morning continues to dawn, day after day after day…

    “…all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be…” (Psalm 139:16)

Aside from wishing the days would just pause so that I could catch my breath — so that I could get used to Time passing and all the changes it inevitably brings — I’m just in awe of how this whole journey of Life seems to happen. One moment you’re a little girl watching the world from your daddy’s shoulders, and the next your little boy is sitting on your lap learning to read… then you blink…

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I am watching another hospice patient wind down his journey through Time… It’s not a surprise, this is where this work gets real — but it’s not easy. It just seems that Time should recognize the permanence of mortality — it doesn’t feel right that the galaxies keep spinning after someone dies — that the next morning comes without even blinking its eye. I think anyone who’s life is touched by a death knows what I mean. Each person is so unique – their distinct blend of DNA and life experiences traveling through Time here happens only once… I wish I could force Time and Space to stop and take notice.

Life is such a sacred mystery… every end should be remembered.

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We are all born for this journey and I am blessed to be traveling it with so many people who love me — my family, my hospice patients, those who walk with me in close tandem and those who pass through my path like shooting stars… flaring brightly as they go by and leaving me in awe of their soul-beauty. This universe is an amazing place to be… As I look forward to the coming months when it appears that life is going to have more twists and turns for me than I expected for this new year, I am learning to trust in the God of Time, and to take comfort in the consistency of the next sunrise despite its unpredictability. The poem says that two roads diverge in a wood and the poet takes the one less traveled by, but the truth is — everyone’s road is unique… we’re all on the road “less traveled” and that is what makes all the difference. Somehow we journey together – each on our own less traveled path – yet still side by side.  Together we keep each other company and learn the language of the far country we’re traveling to — the only language that matters in the long run. Day by day we are learning Love together…

I am grateful…

  1. beach houses…
  2. stormy waves…
  3. hot tea…
  4. new slippers…
  5. family Christmases…
  6. mama hugs…
  7. sister love…
  8. Little One’s first birthday…
  9. sorting boxes…
  10. lullaby memories…

It’s all Grace…

 

Love and Time…

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I’m sitting beside our gas stove listening to its slight whistle as the fire burns, and I’m reflecting on this busy week. Advent begins this weekend so we’ll be starting our family evening Advent-time, and I’m also helping my Healing Touch teacher with her Level 2 class, so I’m definitely going to be busy. Thankfully, as of tonight we have all our Christmas shopping done — which is unbelievably early for us — I’ve never had to wait so long after buying gifts to be able to give them! There’s a reason we’ve always bought gifts near Christmas Day itself — :) — it’s just so hard to wait to give them away… :) This year we’re so busy with life that it just made more sense to take care of the presents earlier so we’d have time for everything else. I can’t wait to get everything wrapped!

Tomorrow The Philosopher sees his physiatrist again — he has improved a lot since his last visit so I’m hoping we won’t have to go back for quite a few months. After that our family plan is to spend the evening getting our Christmas decorations up — my sister’s house is already sporting all sorts of holiday loveliness and I can’t wait to get our place all set up too. I purposefully finished all my current writing pieces a day early so that I would have tomorrow evening free to decorate and get everything ready for Advent. If I have time I might even be able to get the gifts all wrapped and put them under the tree… :)

While we finished our shopping at the bookstore (we are the “book gift” family, though we bought a lot of our presents online this year — I fell in love with Etsy), we were able to stop and discuss The Professor’s upcoming birthday… he’s 20th… I can’t believe it. I really need to stop blinking… Time feels like a liar.

It’s so strange how something that can be measured so precisely can be perceived so loosely… sometimes it seems like the beginning of my motherhood was a lifetime ago, and sometimes it seems just like yesterday. I can so vividly remember holding his tininess in my arms — I remember when his eyes opened one day and showed their beautiful blue — I remember his baby laugh… How is it that he’s finishing up his 20th trip around the sun? It isn’t fair that I can’t scoop him up and make his owies go away anymore… His world is so much more than it was when it was only me…

 

I am so proud of who he is…

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It isn’t easy to ride this globe through space. It isn’t easy to live within the bonds of Time — to age and watch those around us grow old and leave us in Death’s final journey. My hubby’s Nanny has fallen and broken her hip — in her nineties she’s been gently placed in the arms of hospice surrounded by her dear ones. It’s hard to be the family members on the other side of the continent… but I know that it’s hard to be the family members there too… Nothing about our loved ones final journeys is easy…

“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.” Song of Solomon 8:6

We don’t realize how unbelievably strong Love is until we face the physical loss of someone dear to us. Love doesn’t die… it grieves, it aches, it remembers… but it doesn’t die. It is the seed of immortality within us…  It continues without end.

“Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 

 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres..” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

 

God is Love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:8)

Traveling this path around our sun — however many times I’ll do it in my lifetime — I’ve had this love-lesson written deeply on the tablet of my heart. My soul has learned to love… and so it aches, it grieves, and it remembers… but only in loving does it really learn to live. In really loving there is joy and laughter — there is song and poetry — music and story… Whatever happens on this journey of life — it is only the love I’ve known with those who have traveled with me that will last… that is what matters. The day in and day out living of life is made a sacred thing by the Love we share with each other. Don’t forget — when the day is hard, the mistakes seem overwhelming and the light is gone — Love still is… 

Love wins.

…and I am grateful…

  1. naked tree branches spilling their shadows in the sunshine…
  2. the smell of new books…
  3. Christmas packages in the mail…
  4. tracking packages across the country…
  5. bearing others’ burdens across the miles… and in our homes…
  6. hot tea before bed…
  7. hugs from The Philosopher…
  8. Christmas shopping at the bookstore with my hubby…
  9. Chai Tea made with almondmilk…
  10. living a couple houses from my sister for a whole year as of today! :)

It’s all Grace…