Monday, February 29, 2016
It has been a long, cold winter and I've clung to the promise of Spring like a savior.
When Spring comes, I will feel better in my bones.
When Spring comes, I will feel my heart lighten.
When Spring comes, I will be happy and more patient and care for myself...
When Spring comes.
This place is familiar to me. I've been here many, many times. Times when my Spring was food. Or no food. It was God. And self help books. My spring was "love." It was a downed bottle of pills. Or hospitalization after hospitalization. Therapist after therapist. My Spring was alcohol. Care taking... of everyone but me.
I've suffered a thousand Springs.
During these long, recent Winter days, the weight of my burdens was heavy. Diapers and homework and marriage and real estate. Housework and arthritic pain and grief and hope and writing and not. Endless patience and excessive worry and packing lunches and chasing a toddler and getting out of my pajamas... or not.
Both big and small things which, on top of each other, became seemingly insurmountable and threatened to crush my spirit. Spring was too far away to even envision. So I stayed inside. It was clear - this winter would last forever.
Here I was again making the same foolish mistake of my youth. Who am I to expect the next anything to make things different? What if I stayed inside waiting for my spring to come to me... and it never came? Then what?
The days of "quick fixes" and self punishment and longing are years behind me. The problems of my youth seem small compared to the grief for the children I once held under my heart. I rise each day embracing the constant battle between joy and pain, anger and forgiveness, singing birds and buzzing alarms.
No matter where we are in life - it's always the same. We must experience Winter before we can experience a Spring. We shed parts of ourselves that we don't like... we leave behind behaviors that don't work for us (or those around us) anymore... and we start again. Our blooming can look like a first step or the next step or standing still with our face to the sun.
I am coming out of my winter - a winter of great discontent - feeling grateful. I was in that uncomfortable spot between no longer and not yet... between promise and fulfillment... and I forgot one thing. I was put in that spot for a reason. There was a lesson to be learned. There were choices to be made that were mine. Only mine.
Each day, I rise and thank God that the children I mourn are safe - and happy - and everywhere I am, every day. I thank Him that I knew they were never mine to begin with and I learned as much as I could from them while they were here. I thank Him for all I'm learning from Brian and Hope... and from a husband who teaches me every day that it's okay to be me. And I thank Him because I know - deep in my soul - that this life is just one big journey in a self-led classroom on our way back home.
Sometimes I get lost. But then I find myself again.
The sun shines brighter through our bedroom window these mornings. The birds sing "Spring is coming!"... and I believe them.
Spring will come - for all of us - if we just ask.