Friday, November 18, 2011

A Stitch in Time

Last evening, we had our second Modern Widows Club Social Hour. It's always intimate, mysterious and I come away with insights that leave me thinking about life on a long highway.

There is one thing for sure, let's just get this straight -- We are widows, it feels like a stigma and we all abhor the title.

In fact, I hesitated starting this group fearing this one emotionally packed word would turn many away who do not want to associate with the startling reality that in fact, they are widows, whether they want to be or admit it, for a while, you are this to the world, so now what?

What do you do when there is no cause, no blame and life just is (or isn't the way you want)?

I could spend hours discussing this, and have many times (I won't bore you). Or I can point out the elephant in the room and say 'we are here'... owning something that we are is part of this journey. Like it or not. No one ever really wants to hear this but some, like me, say it out loud. I do this in the most loving way because, I know when we do not speak of it, it holds the power we have to accept, find peace in the present moment and make our next move. I'm so guilty of spending many years in this 'limbo' stage of not wanting to accept this new way of life. I've given it too much hospitality in my daily choices of how to use the 24 hrs I'm given.

In the early days, I didn't realize how much I allowed the 'past' to occupy my 'present'. But, boy, when I realized it...I literally started a calendar of how I used my time. I divided it up into past, present and future. With practice, I could see how I was using my time and thoughts in each area...and I will tell you, when I'm present, I'm always happier.

I fumbled through it day by day and it was beyond frustrating and my life felt like a tumbleweed. But there are lessons if you stay aware. I'm still doing this and look where I've a moment with you. Coincidence is God's way of being anonymous. 

Let's talk about tumbleweeds. They are controlled by the wind, they go where they are sent by something unseen. In the beginning, we are very much like this (where is this going?). Although, tumble weeds don't have will power or dreams or responsibilities....I bet if they could talk, they would have some amazing stories.

Because I am optimistic, an avid life learner, I see parallels in nature and the human condition in everything. I believe God created us and this earth to teach each other. You only need to sit, be one with your own silent journey in nature to grasp the magnitude around you in a flower, a mountain view or the sound of a wave hitting shore.

So, I find it simply amazing that even something as insignificant, something so useless as dried up sticks bundled up in a ball can actually inspire me, one stitch of wood at a time.

The point I'm making here....(and I always have a point) is this... Do something with your tumbleweed!

You may feel blown in the wind, but you don't have to feel off course. Bill Hybels confirmed in his book 'Just Walk Across the Room' why groups like MWC are valuable with inspiring this perspective. It's called living a 3D life. Develop friendships, discover stories and discern appropriate next steps.

If that doesn't describe us at MWC, I don't know what does. Together, we are one conversation away from having an eternal impact on someone's life.

All three of the women I spent time with last night, did just that for me. I wish I could post our photo to share but I forget to take one (that's when I know it's a powerful evening and I love that.) I got dressed, I showed up, I opened my heart and allowed myself to enter with zero expectation. Instead, I trusted the 'wind' to take me where I was meant to be. Because of that, I was able to take away these nuggets of wisdom.

~ Sometimes it's hard to hear someone else's story when we are immersed in our own.
Widows should be allowed a grace period to share their story. Our sharing is factual and on a timeline. This is never a quick conversation, nor should it be. Intertwined is our emotional connection and love that we shared, and the love we miss in not being there. A grace period gives us our history, a unique cliff notes version that allows us to envision the 'void' which brought us all together.

~These conversations always move from the objective to the spiritual. Death just does that to ya. Our loved ones and ourselves were in relationship. Those relationships had distinct personality roles: wives, partners, parents etc. It was how you lived and connected as a couple.....but in order to 'honor the void' we eventually come to terms with the realization that we are all soulful spirits, connecting and fulfilling our purpose in this life. The person we lost came into our life to teach us something, they fulfilled their purpose in our life (and theirs) and now we must identify what is our Godly purpose.

We must move from craving what we lost to craving what our life's purpose is today.

~The Golden Thread is HOW and WHAT we fill that 'void' with....just as every day mattered with those we loved and lost, so does every day that you LIVE in this life you honor finding your purpose.

~ Living in the past as if it was now is a false life (even if its in your mind). I know for certain that clinging to false anything creates a shrinking of our own spirit, a shrinking of our highest potential and certainly our growth potential. Author Daniel Day Williams said 'We fear it is all we have. Even our sufferings are familiar and we clutch them because their very familiarity is comforting'.

Grief and overcoming deep sadness isn't always comforting and living in the moment can feel so full of painful uncertainty. But there is a golden thread weaved in and out of your story and it's happening right now, one stitch at a time.  You are taking this moment to be present and read about possibility and that my friend is how it works.

I might be a tumbleweed, but by gosh, I'm gonna paint it gold and shine going down life's highway! Take that Mr. Wind!