Smile. Dream. Laugh. Remember. Do it. Believe. Walk. Read. Listen. Create. Pray. Dance. Hug. Write. Call. Visit. Apologize. Forgive. Love. Scream. Organize. Be. Relax. Enjoy. Encourage.
Pick 3 and have a beautiful day....
Be back soon,
Smile. Dream. Laugh. Remember. Do it. Believe. Walk. Read. Listen. Create. Pray. Dance. Hug. Write. Call. Visit. Apologize. Forgive. Love. Scream. Organize. Be. Relax. Enjoy. Encourage.
Pick 3 and have a beautiful day....
Be back soon,
Over the last couple of months, I have had several emails from people who wanted to find the post that I wrote over a year ago about my husband's horrible illness with depression, and how it had affected our marriage...Typepad had a glitch about a week after I wrote it and somehow the post got erased in the form it was in, and I have not been able to find it on my computer...I think there's still a way to find it on typepad, but I don't remember what it is. Anyway, today while filing a bunch of documents on my laptop, I found the original document....so, here it is......I think this was the first time I really starting sharing things that were difficult to share...it was a huge turning point for me when I realized how healing it is to hear the stories of others......
Leaving Out the BAD, SAD or MAD Parts of the Story
July 12, 2006
I spent a long time last night creating a post for today...and when I was done, I decided that it was entirely too personal....and raw, and painful and scary and real.
And, in the end, I've decided not to post it quite yet. I have to think through it a little. It actually kept me up last night...wondering why it was so hard for me to share it...when, I know FOR SURE in life that the best way to help and teach others is through real life stories, especially when they are our own.
I had a conversation with my grandmother a few years back. I gave her a whole stack of journals for Christmas and asked her to fill them. She wanted to know what I wanted to her to write...and, I told her that I wanted her to write EVERYTHING....she told me that she'd always been told, from the time that she was young, that you just shouldn't talk about the bad or negative things that have happened in your life...so, in her journals, she only talked about positive, happy things.
I was appalled.....and I said "Grandma...if you died, and I read your journals...I would feel SO RIPPED OFF!!!!!" Let me tell you why I would feel ripped off....back then, in my twenties, I would have felt ripped off because I would wonder why my life has so many struggles when my grandmother's life didn't....now, today.... I can say that I'd feel ripped off because I know FOR SURE that everyone has struggles, shallow and deep, and her withholding hers keeps keys to her treasure chest from me and the rest of her progeny....
And...over the last few years of traveling the road to HE*L and back several times, I have learned how important it is that all of us are open, when the time is right, to sharing things with others. Even if that means we are just writing things, especially feelings, down so that our children can read it all later. Everyone has these HUMAN problems, but somewhere along the way we are taught that if we have problems, we are failing...or we are less as people, or we will never overcome them....so we hide them. We put on shows, on the outside, to make it look to everyone else like we have 'the perfect marriage' or 'the perfect children' or 'the perfect life'
And, fact is....and the dumb thing is that we all already know this....that NO ONE has a perfect anything. But, we make things so much more painful when we turn regular everyday struggles into embarrassing 'crimes' in our mind....AND AND EVEN BIGGER THING that happens is that when EVERYONE is doing that...making things look 'perfect', we all think that everyone else is perfect except for us.
So......Ok, I'm just going to share my big long post right here so you can see what I mean........If I want other people to do this....I better do it myself....as Ghandi said "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
So...here goes.... ************************************************************************ Staying Married Through Depression
A little more than a year ago, people started coming to me…looking all around first to make sure no one was looking or could hear them, or people would show up in the evening or on Sunday afternoons on my back porch…and again, they would hush their voices and look to make sure no one one was listening before they would tell me…then, they’d say, while looking at the ground, or while looking at me with painful desperation, “my husband has depression” or “I have depression” or “my wife has been suffering with depression for years.”
OK, I’m just going to lay it right out here…first, I want to tell you that I asked my husband’s permission to tell this story…and second, the reason I want to bring up this topic is because I find more and more every day how many couples suffer through this alone and won’t talk about it because of the stigma attached to depression. It’s really time to bring this out in the open so there can be some kind of support.
People started telling me their own stories because I was so open about the pain of my husband’s depression, one of the after effects of his brain injury…the worst one in my opinion. We have been dealing with severe depression for 2 years now…9 of those months where he couldn’t even get out of bed and didn’t want to live…and I have decided that it is one of the most cruel diseases out there…much of it’s cruelty coming from the lack of understanding and even tolerance that people have for it. I must admit that I used to judge others with depression pretty harshly…thinking to myself “snap out of it!”…really believing that any person could will their way to happiness, no matter what. Then it happened to us…and I watched the most positive, driven, confident, incredible man I have ever met melt into a pile of paralyzed despair, immobilized by the chemical mix-up in his brain that led to this severe condition. Depression is not a “bad day” that you can “snap out” of. Depression is a disease and it has such an unfair and cruel stigma attached to it that not only does a victim have to suffer from the disease, but from the isolation and embarrassment of having the disease.
You would be absolutely shocked if you knew how many people suffer from depression…how many marriages are wading their way through those kinds of muddy pits…but NO ONE WILL TALK ABOUT IT. I looked for a book or a website or a support group…and there was hardly a single thing…yet, day after day…I have people confiding in me about the turmoil that depression and the isolation that it leads to. And, if the person you love and have devoted your entire life to is suffering from depression…your life is consumed by it. It is the most excruciatingly painful experience you can imagine to have to watch your beloved suffer through it and not be able to help…even if you’d do ANYTHING you could to make it go away. It’s been two years and it still makes me cry big huge tears when I talk about this. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through…
We have been to a lot of doctors this week and it has been rough. Things go up and down and right now they are down. I know they are going to go back up, but what it requires from me is 150% because my husband can only give –50% right now…at least that still adds up to 100% in the end…and that’s all that matters. When you make the promise of “for better or for worse” and “in sickness or in health” you think it might be all about taking care of your sweetheart through the flu or a cold…even cleaning up their puke…I certainly could never fathom that I’d be more than 2 years into a chronic condition…trying every single thing under the sun to help…but, I’ve learned how to keep a promise, that’s for sure.
What I’ve learned about depression is that people who are living with the effects of it need support…they need love…they need to know that other people have made it to the other side of it…they need to be reminded that THEY ARE NOT THEIR DEPRESSION, they are still inside there, and they’ll be able to break out of the bondage they are in…they need to be accepted and supported without conditions and without expectations. People need to know that it’s ok to talk about it…that it won’t be judged as a character weakness or punishment from God or all of the other mean judgments that can easily be made about depression.
What depression HAS taught me is what TRUE love really is…it is being able to love someone even if you don’t get a single thing back…you love for the sake of loving…without any conditions or expectations. It’s been a painful journey, but when I learned the power of this kind of love, it made me want to give it to everyone I meet. And…I do look at every other human being differently now…I just KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE that even if someone is walking through life with a smile, there may be something very painful and almost unbearable going on in their life right now…and they don’t need to be judged….no one does. What we need from each other is a big hug and the words “you can do it.” Or “I am here for you no matter what.”
You can post anonymously on this thread…your identity will never be revealed…but I want you to share your stories…I want you to share what you’ve been through and how you overcame it. If you know someone who is dealing with this right now…please forward this to them, because believe me…they feel very very very alone right now….
And, I love my husband not only just as much as I ever did…but even more. We will make it through this, we always do…if you need someone to talk to…please come here and let us all talk about it from time to time….
I know I get really personal on this blog…it’s a big risk….but, I have found from experience that the only way to tell our stories and really really help each other out is to not leave the sad and difficult parts out of our stories….it is in the discomfort that we grow…but sometimes, we just need to know that someone has made it through what we are going through right now. I hope you’ll share….you’ll be helping so many other people when you do.
Lots Of Love to You All,
P.S.....that was a year ago.....Marq has had over 4 months now without any kind of depressive episode...through love and patience and the right meds and some life choices and mostly God...I really believe that we are on the other side of it....hang in there if you are suffering. It's been 3 years since it all started and the ups and downs were dramatic and painful, but it is all worth fighting for....
FIRST...THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for helping me out with designing my art space...I can't wait to show you what I've come up with by combining so many of the ideas that you sent...THANK YOU SO MUCH....
Today before church, I put a roast in the crock pot, and when we got home, I made some gravy, boiled some potatoes and all seven of us sat around the table for dinner.
About 9 years ago, Marq drove his pickup truck to an antique store, where I had finally made my last payment on a table and hutch set. I loved the table because it pulled out 2 stretches of extensions in a really cool way, and I thought it would be a perfect table for a growing family.
That table was in our first house in Eagle, then moved to our farm…where it sat in the fully-windowed dining area, not big enough for the extensions, but big enough for the middle section to be pulled out. The extensions got pulled out once a year, maybe…on the years that we had Thanksgiving at our house. We usually ate around the big bar, in a hurry, one or two or three at a time…sometimes all together, mostly not.
About a week after we moved into this house, I had an important and life-changing realization. Our first night there, my nieces and nephew were visiting, so we pulled the two extensions out. We saw beautiful, perfect wood on either side of the worn out wood. We all sat down together, using a step stool for an extra chair.The table was full of all of us and lots of laughter and talking and the sunset through the window. We never put the extensions back in…and that week later, I realized that we had sat down at that table every night for dinner, as a family, all together.
….And I think this week marks 2 months of living here….and I can say happily that we have had dinner together almost every one of those nights, all together, around this table.
….and almost all of those nights…it was a dinner that I cooked.
….and if you know me, and my weakness pertaining to all things domestic, you will know what a miracle that is.
The biggest miracle is what happens around a kitchen table….this table the has waited almost 10 years for our family to figure out it’s magic…….
……..so, today, I am thankful that THIS IS MY LIFE.
And that I am started to do things that I have always wanted to do….this week I stopped at a roadside fruit stand and picked up some goodies for the kids…something I have always wanted to do…but always ‘too busy’ to stop…
…..and we went to the first 2007 Melba Mustangs High School football game together as a family….I think the last time I went to one was in 1989 in my senior year…
…and….almost every night, I sit in this lawnchair, on my back porch, and I watch the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen….because I can see for miles out here….
So…this is my life….
…and I’d love to see yours….post links to your blog if you want to join me in my new THIS IS MY LIFE project….just put photos of everyday moments that make your life unique, that make it what it is…that make it yours.
And let me tell you…I can’t wait to see yours…don’t have time? That’s ok…this will be an ongoing project and I’ll be inviting you to join me every single time….
Lots of Love…and thanks again for the studio ideas…can’t wait to see how mine unfolds…I’ll keep you updated.
Lots of Love
I am getting ready to set up my studio/art room in my house....where I will be doing a lot of my work.
Here's what I'll be doing: Painting, sewing, drawing, beading, collaging, scrapbooking, computer art.....
DOES ANYONE HAVE LINKS to photos of other artist's studios, scraprooms, etc? I know I've seen people post theirs a lot, but could you post a link here if you know of one? Or, if you send me photos of yours, I'll post it on the blog!....
Anyway, I knew this big worldwide community would be able to show me the way!
Have a beautiful day,
Lots of Love
Today I am thankful for the PURE TRUTH that we ALL have INFINITE POTENTIAL.
I used to read a lot of books about leadership and setting goals and going after your dreams…every book I read talked about how every human being has incredible, untapped potential…I wanted SO badly to believe the things that I read in those books…but, I always thought…’well, everyone but ME has huge potential…”
…and I find the more I talk to others that this is a common thread….why do we believe that the good things in life are destined for everyone but us? I remember in my twenties the most important thing in the world to me was that everyone liked me, that I made everyone happy…believe me…that is no way to reach your potential. I know I never listened to what was calling to me…what my heart was saying…my heart has ALWAYS known the way to my divine potential…but I have let my heart sing on deaf ears for way too many years….always listening too hard to what everyone else was saying…what others felt was my potential, or what I perceived others were wanting or what would make them ‘like me’….until I plugged my ears to the world and turned my ears to my heart, I did not begin to understand the power and truth of potential.
“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”
I started to believe in potential when I finally started putting principles into practice…when I started watching people that I admire and there was something so confident, yet humble about them…I have found that what they all have in common is that they know EXACTLY who they are…they know how God sees them, they know that they have infinite potential and therefore anything is possible…everything is worth working towards….AND….because they know who they are…they know who I am…that I have infinite potential…they treat me and everyone else in that truth…that we all have infinite potential…that everything is a possibility….and there is nothing so comforting as being in the presence of a person who knows exactly who he is….or she…..
Here’s what I believe so strong that I wish I could exclaim it right through your computer to you right now….
The greatest gift you can give to another human being is to remind them of their infinite potential…to be there to say, “I BELIEVE IN YOU…I KNOW YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU SET YOUR MIND AND HEART TO DO…”
….because that is the TRUTH folks…and when we don’t believe a truth this important and this pure and this beautiful…terrible, tragic, painful things happen….there are not many things more tragic than potential that is left to rot….or screaming inner voices that are ignored….or when we get stuck in our past…stuck in the quicksand of mistakes or the myth of age…
“Your past is not your potential. In any hour you can choose to liberate the future.”
….it is SO important that you remember this…that you remember what is important and what is not important…that you get very very still, very very often and ask God to show you WHO YOU ARE….and that you listen, and that you believe what the answer is….and then you go out and LIVE THAT WAY……LIVE IN A WAY THAT SHOWS THAT YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE….that you know who he is and she is and they are…that we ALL have this incredible capacity......let others experience this for themselves when they are with you…show them their potential by believing in yours.
“We are hoarding potentials so great that they are just about unimaginable.”
…the most important part of remembering this truth is that God is there to help you every step of the way…but you have to ask….He is there to help you get there, to show you the way…and to pick you up when you fall down…He knows you can do it because He Made You……
“Reach up as far as you can and God will help you reach the rest of the way.”
…the wonder and beauty of diamonds is that they start as a lump of coal…then through a lot of pressure and pressing and time and change…they become another kind of rock…then they are chiseled away at…until they are faceted…then multi-faceted…and then they just sparkle…but we must always remember what makes them sparkle…not only the fact that they went through the whole process of becoming a diamond and then getting chipped away at….but that they can now REFLECT light from other sources…every one of those facets is sparkling because it is reflecting light from other light sources….so beautiful….
I hope you’ll take some time today to think about who you really are…what you are capable of….and how living this way will affect everyone you love….
That is my wish for you…and I’ll do my very best to do the same.
Lots of Love
It was a crazy, hectic week! School started here…and getting 5 kids registered and ready for a new school is no small task! I love that my kids are going to the same school that I went to…this week has been so much fun! And we’re still trying to get everything moved across the valley from our old house and life is moving along in super speed! We all LOVE our life here in this delightfully tiny little town….
I have so many posts rolling around in my head, and an incredible podcast to share as soon as it is done…..but first I wanted to finish what I started on my last post….
My wonderful, beautiful & inspiring friend Jodi wrote me an email last week, as we were discussing what kind of mothers we want to be, what kind of artists we want to be, what kind of wives we want to be, what kind of friends we want to be…and she just started listing all of the things that she wanted for her life….and the more of her sentences I read, the more my heart started beating out of my chest. I think sometimes we FORGET that we have these huge desires in our hearts, desires that are unique to each of us, and that usually come from a higher place. Our GOOD desires are so many times messages from God, telling us what to work on next, how to be happiest and WHO we are meant to be…
So I started making a list….and my challenge to you is that you will make one for yourself….IT WILL SURPRISE YOU, what comes up…..things you may not have let yourself think about for years or maybe even since you were a child….before life started to get jumbled and fooled you into thinking that your desires were impractical or not attainable or silly……here’s SOME of mine…….and I’m going to keep adding….I would LOVE to hear what yours are….
I want to wake up as the sun is rising, every morning, and go for a run or walk and take that time to think and pray and start my day
I want my soul to be on fire with creativity
I want to be more patient with my teenagers
I want to be an instrument for good
I want to take more photos, really great photos
I want to dance in my living room and dance in my kitchen, every day
I want to write funny songs and stories with my children
I want to get more sleep
I want to drink more water
I want to write more books
I want to write 3 thank you notes every day
I want to tell people what I know about God’s LOVE
I want people to tell me what they know about God’s LOVE
I want to make jewelry with my daughters and their friends
I want to paint on cowboy boots
I want to listen to my son play his guitar
I want to stay madly in love with my husband
I want to pray with my husband every day
I want to finish my studio in this house
I want to keep making dinner for my family every night
I want my children to look up to me
I want to paint something every day
I want to mend hearts that have been broken, especially if I had anything to do with breaking them
I want to have a tube of every color of paint in my studio
I want to design and sew some clothes & accessories
I want to make funky t-shirts and jackets
I want to forgive
I want to be forgiven
I want to make collages with my little boys
I want to go to Hawaii again
I want to go back to South Africa
I want to paint on cowboy boots
I want to stay this close to God forever, and grow even closer
I want my nieces and nephews to know for sure how much I love them
I want to make more podcasts
I want to see more art made from artists who are trying to spread goodness
I want to do better every day
CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOUR LIST!!!!
And next…..a little photo biography called THIS IS MY LIFE. I am working on this project and I’ll be sharing it over the next little while….hoping it will inspire you to do the same…I am having a blast with it.
Have an incredible day!
Lots of Love
As I am working on today's post...would you do something for me?
THINK ABOUT, I mean REALLY think about what it would take for you to have an ideal day? How about an ideal week? How about an ideal YEAR...then and ideal DECADE.....and ideal LIFE?
But first start with what individual desires you have in your heart that you are working towards or that are burning hot in your heart but that you are not yet working toward.....
....we are going to do a little activity in a bit...
but first, really think....
Talk to you soon!
Lots of Love
I thought a lot this week about LIFE....because I was smack in the middle of so many beautiful parts of life this week.....and I thought so much about how much we miss out on by not STOPPING and looking at what is happening AT THIS VERY MOMENT.....how BIG and BEAUTIFUL life is....and sometimes painful and difficult and even seemingly cruel....but there is ALWAYS something that will take your breath away because of the beauty that it is made of....a baby's laugh, a perfect hydrangea, an 85 year old couple still madly in love....
.....and I flew home yesterday morning just in time to have dinner with our best couple friends....and we all talked about how much life has gone up and down and up and down and all around in a crazy swirl....and left us all breathless and dizzy but that we are all still so so so fortunate for so so much....and she (Aubri) emailed me this....and I just really want to share it with you.....
made by Pulitzer Prize winning author Anna Quindlen
at Villanova University
I'm a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work.
You will walk out of here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree; there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life.
Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account but your soul.
People don't talk about the soul very much anymore. It's so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is a cold comfort on a winter night, or when you're sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you've gotten back the test results and they're not so good.
Here is my resume: I am a good mother to three children. I have tried never to let my profession stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the center of the universe. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say.
I am a good friend to my friends, and they to me. Without them, there would be nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard cutout. But I call them on the phone, and I meet them for lunch. I would be rotten, or at best mediocre at my job, if those other things were not true. You cannot be really first rate at your work if your work is all you are.
So here's what I wanted to tell you today: Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house.
Do you think you'd care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast? Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red tailed hawk circles over the water or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger. Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Pick up the phone. Send an e-mail. Write a letter.
Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Take money you would have spent on beers and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister.
All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good too, then doing well will never be enough.
It is so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours, our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of our kids' eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again.
It is so easy to exist instead of to live. I learned to live many years ago. I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get.
I learned to look at all the good in the world and try to give some of it back because I believed in it, completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned.
By telling them this:
Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a babys ear.
Read in the backyard with the sun on your face. Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness, because if you do, you will live it with joy and passion as it ought to be lived.
No man ever said on his deathbed I wish I had spent more time at the office. I found one of my best teachers on the boardwalk at Coney Island maybe 15 years ago. It was December, and I was doing a story about how the homeless survive in the winter months.
He and I sat on the edge of the wooden supports, dangling our feet over the side, and he told me about his schedule; panhandling the boulevard when the summer crowds were gone, sleeping in a church when the temperature went below freezing, hiding from the police amidst the Tilt a Whirl and the Cyclone and some of the other seasonal rides. But he told me that most of the time he stayed on the boardwalk, facing the water, just the way we were sitting now even when it got cold and he had to wear his newspapers after he read them.
And I asked him why. Why didn't he go to one of the shelters? Why didn't he check himself into the hospital for detox? And he just stared out at the ocean and said, "Look at the view, young lady. Look at the view."
And every day, in some little way, I try to do what he said. I try to look at the view. And that's the last thing I have to tell you today, words of wisdom from a man with not a dime in his pocket, no place to go, nowhere to be. Look at the view. You'll never be disappointed.
-- Anna Quindlen
Enjoy your day...enjoy your week....enjoy your LIFE...
find the best view that you can today and stand in it...breathe it in....make it a picture in your mind that no one can EVER take away.
Lots of Love
Forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past.
This is going to be long and I hope you will read it all. I know for sure that one of the very hardest parts of life is learning to forgive ourselves for any myriad of life’s curves that we fool ourselves into believing that we had control over at any time....
This was a strange, confusing week for me, one that in the end, left me speechless, practically mute….so, until I just dove into what was really putting a hand over my mouth…I just had no words that I could express. Beauty and truth are sometimes very very confusing, but always end up with a whole that is hard to put into words.
Yesterday we had to sort through, gather and box everything remaining at our old farmhouse. The new owners have been kind and let us move out slowly….but we still have the barns and other outbuildings to sort through and we decided we would completely finish moving our things out of the house this week so that we can move on to the next job.
And…I have had the manuscript of “Stay With Me” (the book that I have written about our family’s journey to hell and back, mostly focusing on my husband’s brain injury 3 years ago) in a finished state for a while now…it was supposed to go into publishing weeks ago. I have held it and held it back….felt very strongly to do so…felt like parts of the story were still being revealed to me….to us….and that there were things missing….I KNEW there were things missing….there was a very important journal that I could not track down that I knew had things in it that I could not rewrite in the way that they were first written in their live, raw emotion…
Yesterday I found it…in a box with a lot of other things….
…And…I have to first tell you how the week started. I had to take my daughter back to the town we just moved from because she had a doctor’s appointment. I had not been there for nearly a month. On the way there, I got a terrible stomach ache, and a burning in my throat…you know, the kind where you know you are going to cry but you know you can’t, and so it just sits there in your throat like a ball of fire….
We got there a bit early and so I drove up to our old farmhouse to pick up a few things. We were 100 or so feet away and I saw it in the distance, and it was so disturbing. The fields were brown and the grass was dying in so many spots and humongous weeds were growing everywhere….the house looked like it had depression.
Madi and I both were silent. It was just so disturbing.
We got out of the car without saying a word and walked through the skinny little courtyard, shaded by an enormous maple tree that my children used to climb and spend hours in…we walked to the backyard and looked at the ‘park’ where their swings are, where the trampoline is, where thy used to play….it looked haunted.
Madi summed it all up for me. “Mom, I think our family was the magic of this farm, and now the magic is gone.”
Madi told me that I could drop her off at the doctor, that they just needed to check her ears one more time because of swimmer’s ear…and I went and washed my sweet mini van….then came back and sat in the parking lot.
Our doctor called me from inside and asked me to come in….so, I got out of the car and went in and she was standing in her office and she gave me a big hug….and asked how things were going in our new town, that she wished us all the best……and that my children were ‘superstars’…that I should be very proud of their perspective and how we all made it through the last few years (she continues to be Marq’s favorite doctor, better than all of the specialists….she helped us the very most)
…..we stopped at the pharmacy to get her ear drops….we walked in and past a beautiful woman and her teenage daughter…they were staring at us and talking as they were walking out of the pharmacy….I realized I forgot the money and went back out….they were standing there….she asked me my name, I told her…she looked familiar….we realized that we had decorated a parade home together 6 or 7 years ago…..
then she went on to tell me…
that for the last few months, she can’t get me off of her mind, that it was so very strange that we would run into each other but she is so glad, because she couldn’t stop thinking about me, and our family…even the last few years….but, especially the last few weeks…..that for quite some time, God keeps telling her to pray for our family…and she didn’t know why…but driving past our house the last few weeks, and seeing all of the weeds when it’s usually immaculate…something must be very wrong….but that God kept telling her how much He loves this family and how much they need prayers….
I was stunned…
I told her about everything that had been happening….we laughed a lot….and she said just one thing…”Thank God your family is still together.”
….and she asked if we could all pray together…so, right in front of the pharmacy, with people walking in and out and in and out, we all took hands in a circle and prayed…and she said the most beautiful prayer…and when we were done…she said “God loves you so much.”
It was incredibly healing….because it’s happened so many times over the course of this journey…complete strangers, many of them who have become my very best friends…who have felt massively compelled to pray for our family, even though they didn’t know us or anything about us….it was giant confirmation that all of those thousands of tear-stained words that came out of my mouth on my knees in my closet or in my car or wherever I was were never, ever not heard….ever. They were sprinkled all of the world, just like ALL prayers are…to find the right angel to answer them….because our prayers are so often answered with the prayers of others. I still do not understand the nature of prayer, and the paradoxical power of it…how powerfully strong our prayers on behalf of others are.
But the box…
Yesterday we DID go back to the sad farmhouse. I wanted to hug it and say “I am so sorry….I am so sorry that I could not hold it all together and keep you in our life….” Just like I want to say to every little piece of our life that shattered and blew away…I wish I could go find every person, every thing…I wish I could find all of the people who were in my life at that time….that were hurt by the kinds of changes in relationships that happen when your life explodes into pieces….I wish I could say to each and every one “I am so sorry that I could not keep it together enough to be the kind of friend to you that I was before this accident…” I wish the business I lost had ears so I could say “I am so sorry that I could not watch your more closely…protect you…take better care of you…”….all of it, at that moment I felt profoundly guilty for not being able to hold my life together enough to keep our house and our business and all of the different relationships that were in our life before Marq’s accident. There was just so much loss.
And so I went and packed up the pieces that were remaining, with the very people who were there when we moved into the house…the friends and family that have been there all along…. and I found this box….with the journals I was missing and also the binder that I used as a bible for so very very long….
I opened both of them, but I didn’t start to read any of it…I knew what it said, I could feel all of those old feelings coming off of it all….I asked my daughter to put in on my seat in the car because I didn’t want to put those things back in a box and lose them.
But with so many of my favorite people, I continued to pack up our life and place it into 2 piles…”keep and don’t keep”
Download handbook_3.jpg…..and I felt this reverence coming over me. I couldn’t even speak, for hours and hours. I couldn’t figure out what I was feeling and one of my daughters told me that she didn’t want me to read that stuff because it was making me sad…I told her it was not making me feel sad, but that it was all helping me make sense. I felt sad, but I figured out this morning that I was feeling sad for all of the days that I have spent NOT forgiving myself for not being able to hold everything together.
….I felt sad because THIS HAS BEEN HARD and I should not have been so hard on myself. Why do we do this?
I know that part of the healing that we have all been praying for has to be the healing that comes from forgiving ourselves for not being able to do all that we wished we could have done. That while we were juggling, as women constantly do, some of the things we were juggling fell to the floor when life told us that we only had the capacity to juggle the very most important things….
I read through all of the parts in that BRAIN INJURY HANDBOOK that I could have written, and still could….and remembered reading it all for the first time, years ago, going back and forth between thinking “We can do this…” and “How will we EVER get through this…”
….and remembering the doctors telling me that most couples divorce through it, that they just can’t make it….all of the changes….how painful and difficult it is….and how I told myself there was NO WAY…..but that so many times in the middle of the night I would wake up and wonder IF….if that was how we would end up someday.
So….Last night I finally forgave myself. I forgave all that I couldn’t do when I saw that I did all that I could. I forgave the horror and confusion of it all when I saw all that God has done through it. I forgave what was lost because I saw what was found.
Now I can finish my book and get it to the publisher. The journal that I found tucked inside of the BRAIN INJURY HANDBOOK had so much of the stuff that I needed for closure……..I asked Marq this morning if he was OK that I shared all that happened, everything that overtook him and all that we all went through…so much of it he does not even remember….he said….it was all part of it, part of the brain injury….I hope we can help some people….
…..and somehow, he has been healed. Millions and millions of prayers and accepting it as slowly as it came and also accepting it in the doses that God chose to give it in…accepting it in the different packages than what we expected and accepting God’s total will for our life. Nothing is the same, but everything that matters is better….
I guess I am writing this because I know there’s people out there….I wish I had found something somewhere when I was where I was…when our family was where we were….I wish we all had an easier time forgiving ourselves when we do our best.
I want you to know….if this rings with you….if your life is in a place where it’s boiled down to JUST the most important things, and everything else has had to take a back seat….
Someday it will make sense.
It will get better.
You will learn SO much, things that will blow your mind.
You can do it.
God is there…He sees, He hears, He knows…and He believes in you.
And, in the end....we kept our family together....and that is worth ANY sacrifice that we ever have to make......
(some more photos from our recent trip to the mountains...where we all learned to tie die...nope, don't have a secret extra child....he belongs to one of our lifelong friends...so he's like family!)
Today’s the first day of the rest of our life, and it’s going to be a good one.
Love to You Always,