Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Divine Earthly Experience 10: Gratitude for Being Okay

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."—Melody Beattie 

Hello Fellow Earthlings,

How are you? Well, you must be okay. After all, you are here reading this blog post. I assume you have food, shelter, friends and family. You have a computer or an iPhone on which you are able to read this post. Being okay is certainly something to be grateful for. I sure am. Here's what I wrote on that subject over the past weekend:

As I sit here at the end of Memorial Day Weekend at my family’s lake house in Washington State, I realize I’m okay. Not just okay, really good. If you would have asked me if I’d be okay a year and nine months ago, I would have told you, “Absolutely not!” 

At around eight in the morning, my boyfriend got up, made me a smoothie, kissed my cheek and left. I was still lying lazily in bed, reflecting on the dinners, talks, walks and boat rides my boyfriend Scott, I and another couple all shared. Now, the silence was stifling. The house, once filled with laughter and cooking and snacking and drinks and trips up and down the stairs to fetch bathing suits and suntan lotion, was dead silent save for the hum of the refrigerator and a few bird calls in the distance. I lay there on the bed unable to move. What would I do with my time? The space between community and solitude is always the scariest for me. I have difficulty with that transition. It reminds me of when my husband suddenly left my home for good after sharing a bed with me for the almost 13 years of our marriage. Would I ever see my boyfriend and friends again? Of course I knew I would, but for a few moments I wasn’t sure. After all, who would have thought I’d never sleep with my husband again? Days before he left, we were laughing and humming and picking blackberries that we’d later mix up into delicious muffins. Nothing in life is certain, even the things you think surely are.

Within 10 minutes, I was up, pulling my shorts and t-shirt on and lacing up my Tevas readying myself for a 2-mile walk around the lake. The sun won against the clouds and soon I found myself pulling off my cardigan. I watched yellow finches and swallows swoop between pine branches and two bald eagles rode the thermals high above my head. On my left, where the trees had been clear-cut, I saw volunteer daisies in full bloom. It reminded me of how my own life had been clear-cut. After my husband walked out of my life, the familiar scenery of our lives together had become a wasteland. A bulldozer might as well have just plowed right over our lives while we were having dinner, taking everything with it, because that’s how it felt at the time.

But now, I can say, I’m okay. In fact, I feel so much gratitude. How lucky I am, actually, to have witnessed such tremendous sorrow. I’m not sure I could have felt this at peace and content had I not walked through a very dark valley of pain. When things were going my way and the wind was at my back, I thought life would always be that way. I even took it for granted, not realizing how much I had. But now, walking over the clear-cut of my own life, I stopped to stare at fresh shoots and new blooms, sure signs of new beginnings. I felt happy and content to have this moment to myself to feel this gratitude. 

I still don’t know where I’m going. I’m not so sure of the future anymore. I don’t have a grand plan and perhaps I’m still floating on a vast ocean with no markers. I feel like a huge clump of clay yet to be molded. But I’m okay. I’m good even.

I have this moment. Here in the silence of the dining room, looking out on the early evening light reflecting like shimmering crystals across the lake, while pine tree branches wave like outstretched arms waiting for a hug, I’m happy. Yes, I’m happy. I rest my hand on my cheek, the one my boyfriend kissed this morning. I never thought I’d have a boyfriend again. I thought I’d be married until “death do us part”. You just don’t think about those things. Especially when everything appears to be going along swimmingly. I’m grateful for this man who showed up in my life about six months after my husband left. He’s been loving and kind and gentle and patient. He’s showered me with all the love I had so missed in my marriage. I had somehow convinced myself that all marriages experience a time when affection wanes or even stops all together. That was just how it was. I didn’t know that what I was experiencing in my own marriage was simply not okay. I didn’t know how good it could be. I haven’t witnessed a love like I have now. Maybe it’s not my lover who has allowed me to feel this way, maybe it’s me.

Perhaps I’m ready. Ready to stand up for what I want and need. Ready to be completely loved without holding back. Ready to be full of each moment. Ready to step away from the din of others telling me how it should be and to be grateful for what is.

What is okay in your life? What simple things are you grateful for?

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