I am currently sitting in the quiet of a Colorado cabin, with the soft daylight filtering in the window, enhanced by the sparkles of the falling snow. I have sat for hours the past two days doing nothing but staring and just “being”. It has been a long, long time since I have just “been.” Life isn’t in that stage right now. My family is and has been in a very active stage of life for many years now and it isn’t really slowing down anytime soon, so this time of just being is so unexpected! I am soaking it up….. but in all honesty, it has taken a bit for me to get there. But right now, in this pause of time, I am truly grateful, even for the reasons and ways it came to be.
I never dreamed over Thanksgiving, how one fall would affect everything so much. It is my life-long joke that I love a good fall, but the reality is, I learned a long time ago to learn to laugh at myself because I do fall. Most people don’t know because it really has no overall bearing on my life, but I was born with tunnel vision. What that means is that I was born without peripheral vision. Therefore, if I am not looking at something, I don’t see it. So, falls do happen from time to time because that can make you a bit clumsy. I have never seen or felt it to be any sort of handicap as it has never impaired any area of my life. I think when you are born without it, your brain just does fine without it. I have known people, even one friend in particular, that lost their peripheral due to medical issues and they have had a tremendously difficult time adjusting, struggling with feeling off balance and etc. I just haven’t had to go through that. Depth perception is difficult at times, but again it’s all I’ve known so it’s really not worth worrying about or talking much about.
However, this fall reminded me that it is a deficit and for the first time, it has really affected me! I turned to look at a car and when I turned around, I had no idea the sidewalk was ending so when I stepped, I thought I was stepping a normal step, not a drop off. When I went down, I knew immediately this fall wasn’t one I was going to jump back up from. I also again know it is really small in comparison to many things in life and I feel bad complaining. I have dealt with cancer in my life, have friends with cancer, friends with MS, people that have missing limbs that I care about, family going through physical difficulties, and I will heal. It is a longer route than I wanted and certainly having to deal with a blown out shoulder and a blown out ankle on opposite sides of the body hasn’t been easy, but I will heal. And I am thankful. Sincerely, thankful!
But the thing is, it is still hard and if I act like it isn’t I am not being authentic. Any of you that know me or have read my blog, know that the only way I know how to be is real and honest. So that is where I am again, blissfully sitting to write FINALLY after a long semester of grad school and fun teaching. When I fell, I knew it hurt and I knew I was about to be inconvenienced. I had no idea the challenges I would face emotionally as a result. First of all, it happened the first day my son was FINALLY home from college for Thanksgiving break. I had plans and was so looking forward to a week of family fun… not a time of feeling so bad that I only got out of bed to go to the bathroom and back. Second, I teach first graders! How in the world do you make that happen with a bad leg and a bad arm that can’t be used? Also, I was knee deep in a demanding grad school class that required me to be on my mental A-game….and my mental game was depleted at the end of the day. Finally, we had a family ski trip planned for Christmas break and the reality was, I knew I was not going to be better enough by then for it to even remotely resemble what I envisioned it to be. So, in all honesty, though I am grateful I will heal, I was pretty bummed. A lot.
See, the thing is, I am young. I mean not in my 20’s young, but young. The last few years since my hysterectomy have been pretty brutal on my body. I have found out some health diagnosis I didn’t want and have had to see far more doctors than I want or meant to. I feel I have pushed through it all, even last year having a terrible issue with my back. I am the kind of person that doesn’t surrender to this junk. I believe 90% of the ballgame is mental and I am just not one to slow down and just accept that some things aren’t perfect in my body. That has been a good thing overall, I think, but I am slowly learning, while sitting and staring at this gorgeous backdrop of glistening snow, that it continues to be an area of pride for me that I have to work through. And that hurts and stinks.
I have learned and even blogged about the pride issue many times. It isn’t pride as in arrogance. It is pride as in independence. I love to be the giver and the doer in life. It is my love language to serve others and be a part of giving. It just lights my fire. It is what I love about being a mom, a teacher, a friend, a neighbor, a church member, and it is what heals me most with missing my sweet Eathan. When I am raising money or giving out blankets or teaching kids about the true meaning of serving others, I am healing. It’s the most glorious feeling. And I just am not as good at receiving. I have learned and valued being on the receiving in a great deal along the way, especially through Eathan’s journey home to Heaven. The love and sacrifice that was shown to our family continues to just blow my mind. I will never, as long as I am this side of heaven, be able to truly express the depth of what that love shown to us meant and still means. I forget a lot of things in life, but I can assure you, there isn’t a single act of love and kindness that I have forgotten from our journey during that time and after. And since that time, I work really hard at remembering that refusing others help is refusing them a blessing. I really understand that. I know how I am blessed in giving and I know I must allow that for others. So, it’s not that.
The thing that I am currently struggling with, I think, that makes this different, is even in the midst of all that, I was still able to give also. I was giving my daily life to Eathan’s fight and to loving my husband and children through it to the very best of my ability. I was still giving. In all of my journey’s I have still been able to give while receiving. This time, this silly fall, took that from me. I have felt more helpless than I ever have before. And I didn’t know until I got so grumpy my first night hear, just how much I had to work on myself in that area. How many times I have learned to BE STILL AND KNOW THAT HE IS GOD! But I still didn’t fully know it. Still. After all the lessons. After all the beautiful patience God has had allowing me to learn through the years.
When we arrived here, I was coming off of a couple of weeks of having dear, dear friend donate her full days to coming and being my hands and feet when I returned to the classroom. She knew how hard the Christmas season is for busy activities and she just came and selflessly served me and my students. If I needed an errand she did it. If I couldn’t reach something, she got it. She passed out papers. She opened my cokes. She picked up my trash. My word, she just served me. She lost her daughter last spring, suddenly and tragically. That sweet daughter’s birthday is today and Christmas is around the corner. I know that season of pain. Yet there she was, every day serving me. It was beautifully hard for me. Funny, I almost dread working without her now, because of how my heart feels when I am near her! But it was tough to experience. My team picked up the slack, even my teaching partner that has a fractured foot. Coworkers were amazing. I made it through because of my village. But I felt so out of my element, not doing for myself. And then my poor family. I am absolutely useless at home. It has been hard to not do what I do there and have to see them, especially Todd with his bad back and busy schedule, having to drive me and help in every way while I am useless. Tough. Friends have brought food. Neighbors have helped with dogs. Just remarkable, but very hard for me. Because I can’t do one thing to give back right now.
So when we headed here for our vacation, I had the stubbornness in me to actually think I would just knee-wheely right out to that mountain, plop down and watch. When we arrived, I was hurting almost as much as the first week, as the 18 hour car ride wasn’t friendly to the injuries. Then when we got here, we realized that though we were bottom level, there were stairs. STAIRS. I can’t walk! I can’t use crutches due to the shoulder. And there were stairs. Still in my determination, I said to myself, “NO BIG DEAL. I CAN SCOOT”. It was hard, painful, and somewhat embarrassing along the way. By the time I was half way up the 16 stairs, I was crying and just flat mad. The reality hit that I wasn’t going to be able to manage those stairs multiple times in a day. The reality was I wasn’t going to be able to head to the mountain. The reality was, that our first ski trip since moving to Houston (ski trips are what we always took to run away on the death date...they are very special to us) that I was going to pretty much miss it all. I felt sorry for myself and I felt sorry for my family. I felt like a big ol’ burden and fun spoiler.
But then they left yesterday and I was thrilled to see the excitement in their faces. I laid in bed for a long time after they left, just staring out at this gorgeous view. I didn’t read. I didn’t watch TV. I posted a few pictures to facebook and then I just stared. For the longest time. I wasn’t really talking to God. I was just… being. I did that off and on all day. Many people encouraged me on social media to enjoy the time. Rest. Relax. Soak up the time. And I heard. I listened. But I still had this nagging sadness. When the family came home and shared their stories, they were all wiped out. We needed to get some things from Wal Mart and pick up some food for the cabin. It wasn’t worth me going and the effort it would take on all of us. Seth offered to stay, but I just didn’t want people staying behind because of me. I wanted them to go and see and do. These little towns are so quaint and seeing them at night is just worth it. So they left and I sat alone again. Trying to be okay with things, but feeling sad.
Last night, I woke up and was just lying there listening to the night sounds, and I don’t know, but God got a hold of me. He convicted me that I was not being a fair example for the ones I love the most. I tell my kids all the time that every situation is what we choose to make of it, but I wasn’t making anything great of this. I didn’t know what to do about it, but I felt it. This morning, when they left, I didn’t feel sad like yesterday. I didn’t feel jealous of Todd getting to see first-hand what I can only see in pictures. I got up on my knee-wheely, put on my warm coat, and scooted onto this beautiful balcony and just got lost in the reality of where I am and what a fantastic gift it is that I am here. I prayed for my friend Joni, who is more courageous and beautiful than anyone I know, as she lives a full life, fully paralyzed due to MS. I love her. I honor her. I respect her. And I thought of Randy and Shawna, as Randy continues to battle something that so far has taken a leg and several fingers, with more issues still occurring. I respect them so much. I was overwhelmed with the understanding that I was missing the point again. I was here. I was experiencing these moments just as I was meant to because God allowed them.
The blanket of fresh, pure, untouched snow is something I would have missed were I at the mountain with all the excitement of the skiing. God had given me this gift to absorb and I was so busy feeling “helpless” that I was missing the gift! This morning, I see it. I SEE it. I feel it. I am experiencing it. And I realized, as I was shivering on the balcony looking out at that gorgeous backdrop God had given me that I needed this for something more than I even knew.
This is so long. I am sorry! It’s been such a busy season of research and essays, with teaching, that I haven’t written. So I am on a roll! IF you are still with me, bless you! Most may not be and that is okay too. I always write to write. If God wants others to read it, that’s great. If not, it’s okay too because man do I love that God made me find joy in writing! I hope someday that this will be a legacy of who I really am for my children. Not just the parts of me or certain moments, but who I am to my core. So I write until I feel I am done!
I am so not done! So I will stop this entry and save the rest for a second entry. Who knew a blog could also be a chapter book! I will leave you with these verses that speak truth to me today while resting in the beauty of the white blanketed mountains.
Isaiah 55:10- 13
10“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower, And Bread to the eater,
11 So shall my word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
12 “ For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands,
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the Cypress tree, And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; And it shall be to the Lord for a name, For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”