Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Everywhere I turn the message to me seems to be "stay in the moment, be present". I have never been very good at that and I am not sure that I even totally understand what that means. I do know that I have a loving, gracious heavenly Father who is willing and in the process of teaching me what that means and how to do it. Jesus was always in the moment, fully engaged and available. Now, being in the moment is not something that we, as Americans, are very good at. To further complicate that matter for me is the survival mechanism I learned from a very early age to keep myself alive. I spend the first 20 years of my life escaping in my mind, detaching myself from whatever abuse I might be experiencing at the moment. I lived most of my life in a very compartmentalized manner. I would keep things in boxes and closets in my mind. It has taken the last 18 years of my life to learn not to disassociate from what was going on around me. But, for the majority of my life I felt like I lived inside a plexiglass box that no one else could see. I could see and be seen, communicate and appear to be involved, but there was a thick sheet of plexiglass between me and everyone else. This left me feeling isolated and alone. Now this compartmentalization and detachment served me well in my early years. Without that coping strategy I am not sure I would have been able to survive the things I have survived, however, I cannot keep living my life that way, nor can I use the abuse as an excuse to stay disconnected. For one thing, that kind of live is not truly alive; it is a hollow, empty, dead existence. We are called out of death and into life. We are called to depth, abundance and richness. In the last 18 months I have learned, for the first time in my life to connect with people. I have learned to allow people into my space and let them become important enough to me that they aren't dispensable. I have learned to feel empathy for others, to feel their pain and joy, to share in the experience of humanity. I have learned to not shut down when I feel emotions for myself or for others. I have learned to show people how broken I am; I have learned to expose my weaknesses and struggles, to trust people with the holes in my armor and even begin to tear down the fortress that has kept me safe, but isolated. This process has been a learning process and a healing process. It has been allowing God to talk to me and expose the roots and then give me the courage to reach out and open up. It has been such a tremendous and amazing experience. I have so many really wonderful people in my life. I have so many deep connections.

Now I feel like God is saying it's time to take it a step further. I don't really live too much in the past. The past is over; God has forgiven me and healed me of so much. What I did not realize was that I have been living in the future more than that presence. I am realizing that I have missed out on the fullness of so many experiences and so much love and beauty in my life b/c I was always striving to make things better. I have been so driven for so many years to get us in a "better financial situation". I have always wanted my children to have more than we did. I wanted to take them on vacations, pay for them to go to college. I wanted to be able to give them lessons/sports/or whatever they wanted to participate in. I wanted to be able to give them braces, buy them a car when they were old enough to drive. I didn't want them to feel like we were poor. (Not that we are poor in comparison to the rest of the world.) I am not talking filthy rich just comfortable. What I am now realizing is that we are still pretty much in the same financial situation that we have been in for the last decade, so that striving and discontentment have not moved us forward at all. What it has done is make me miss out on really being present for the life we have lived in the moments we have lived it. It's not like I am saying that I wasn't around. I just missed out on really just enjoying the moments and resting in exactly the place we were in. I was discontent and striving, obsessed with this idea that if we had more, if I could give the kids what I didn't have that they would be happier and turn out better. I realize now that I could have taught them the beauty of contentment in the Lord. I could have taught them the beauty of God's provision and delighting in unexpected blessings instead of teaching them that "tomorrow when we have more then we can really live." I have not taught them to rest and be thankful for the little things. I have not stopped to smell the roses, or taste the sweetness of the fruit, or look at the beauty all around us, b/c I was in too big a hurry to get to some "ideal destination". Who needs Disneyland when you have woods and bugs, creeks and fish, stars and lightning bugs?

I guess my point is (I hope I have conveyed my heart) that the moments and experiences I could have had with my children and husband were not fully experienced as they could have been b/c I was too busy being discontent and thinking that I would enjoy life when I "arrived" at the "destination". I have heard a lot that life is a journey not a destination, but I think I just now really understand what that means. The bumps, struggles, and tests are part of the beauty as are the moments of laughter, good food and just sitting under the stars.

That being said, I cannot go back and change any of that. I also cannot live in regret or condemnation. What I can do is start today learning to be present. I can start to be aware of things around me and in me. I can begin to indulge the senses that God gave me and enjoy all that is around me. I can be in the moments I am given and trust the the next moments will come by God's grace without me having to fret or help them along. I can take moment to kiss my husband and tell him every day several times a day how much I love him and how grateful I am that he loves me and that I get to share life with him. I can stop and listen to Chloe's stories about her day. I can allow my children to help me cook and sew or whatever they are interested in participating with me. I can listen to the music Stephen wants to share with me. I can gaze at the incredible beauty that Ally has grown into. I can experience the smell of the coffee at work and connect with each of my customers with genuine appreciation that they have come to see me. I can stop and slowly chew and taste my food. I can be aware of how songs move me or art inspires me. I can be aware of my breath going in and out as I run. I can smell the food cooking and anticipate the taste in my mouth. I can let myself touch the textures all around me. I can stop to feel the wind and smell the scents it carries to me. I can walk in the grass barefoot, jump on the trampoline, listen to my husband breath as he sleeps. I can allow myself time to create just for the sake of creating. The list is endless. I will live in this moment. It will take practice. I am sure there is so much more to this that God will need to teach me, but today I will begin the journey of embracing the journey. I will let the destination take care of itself. I have ended up in so many places different from where I thought I would be. I don't know exactly all the places this path God has me one will lead to, but I do know that I can enjoy the walk and experience it deeply instead of trying to get to where I am going "quickly".

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