Monday, July 4, 2016.
Happy, safe, wonderful Fourth of July! Plus, note that Juno, a NASA science probe, is entering the space surrounding Jupiter. That is about as close to a scientific description as I can get. I just find it uplifting to think that as the earth spins here, out there, we are reaching out to know more. Isn’t that what life is about? Is it not that we should know more for ourselves even (although that is enough of a reason too), but to live in the knowledge that we prepared the earth for something more, something unknown, and something that we may never live to see the results.
Today has been my favorite kind of summer day with massive amounts of sleep, weeding and trimming branches, swimming and Wally time. Just time to soak in those moments one often chooses all the have-to’s of daily life over sitting with the dog. Maybe that is the best part of Fourth of July: the freedom of choice – the switch in priorities of rushing around, checking items off a list to picking at weeds one at a time or trimming the hair around a dog’s paws as he lies between your legs on the front stoop.
I was in my usual state of banging off the walls when I caught myself wondering about gluing boards together and asking myself if I would really miss my big cutting board, if I used it as a portable desk – a hard surface not dedicated to one particular use, but one in which I could use inside or outside, laying down, sitting on the sofa or lying on the grass. I must have pondered and constructed in my head for twenty minutes….Then it hit me. Or should have. In my hands, as I worked and figured in my brain, I had been carrying around the ‘form and function’ perfect twenty by twenty-four inch finished shelf I had removed from my closet. Um, yeah…
I bought my son a new desk – a purchase which I probably should not have done, but I could not not do it. The furniture store delivered it this holiday weekend. It’s a good purchase. I dislike with all intensity purchases which one has misgivings immediately afterwards. I have had too many of those. Nope, this one was worth every dime. As I moved the old desk – a very well made but ‘seen its days’ desk, the side pulled away from the top. The deliverymen hauled it outside and around down to the lower basement garage. It’s a perfect desk for my office plus what harm can I do? I am going to think about how, research online, then fix it. Heck, I might even paint it….grey. Just one shade of grey, thank you very much.
But the best part of the desk is not even the desk itself. Seemed pointless to have a wonderful desk under windows which haven’t been cleaned in I don’t know how long. Seemed equally pointless to have this desk under dirty windows with the dirty wooden blinds. Many years ago, my husband and I purchased…yep, real wood blinds. They make a perfect haven for dust and grime.
So, I started to wipe them down, each blade, one at a time, these gorgeous wood blinds which I have not taken care of. No more blaming. No more excuses. I did not do it. Equally no more beating myself into the ground. Just get off your butt, Steph. Do it.
Sometimes… a blind is just a blind. Clean it, Steph. Go on.
During the week, in one of my usual conversations with my mother, she complimented me. I did not even realize her words much less even feel the impact until later in the day. She and I have weathered many battles, as many mothers and daughters do. These words, quite frankly, made me glow as only a mother’s words can. They were testimony to a success in my life’s journey, a statement of who I am. Oh, mama, the price I paid for that testimony to my character. Well, she knows. My son has a hint of the price I paid. But he too knows.
But my mother? She knows what happened to me. And on the upside of this, my journey, she gave me the best present which no one else could: She knows me. She knows what my soul has been through; she knows all what happened to me and the price I paid for standing up for my faith, my self and decency. She knows….. it was no price at all. It was my soul.
There is something quite magical and mystical about knowing oneself, about being given an experience that teaches oneself what is your soul. In true “me” fashion – just in case I would forget – I wrote all the way through that part of my journey. I wrote of my prayers, in times of total pain, of total rejection. But the best experience was knowing what my soul was – not when everything was okay or slightly painful, but when a person is alone in their times of trial, what happens? When a person is there, at that very moment, what does your soul choose?
I prayed. I found out I prayed. I listened to prayers and chants and songs in ancient languages subject to no ones interpretation, only the beauty and comfort and wisdom which lay within them. No one, not anyone on this earth could take away my faith. I stood alone. During all of it, during the worst of my life, I was alone.
But I was not. And, since that time, I have never again, felt alone. I had experienced, in my life, what I considered the worst loneliness. It had been the cruelest rejection in all parts of my life.
But it became the greatest gift of my life. Would I ever change it? Not in a million years. Did I just write that? People have called me every name you could call a woman and treated me the same. Whatever. I failed a lot.
But one success, the main one, was no success at all. I learned I was never alone. I learned of the truth in the statement of belief: G-d never left me. And I learned of my own prize – that my soul is a gentle soul. Not weak. Gentle.
But that was yesterday, so to speak. I lasted through horrific battles and occurrences even with my marriage. We are friends, and a family who can wrestle bluntly with the raising of a now sixteen year old son. I found out, after everything around me had crumbled, that my gentle soul struggled to find peace, to make peace, and to create out of some of the worst experiences of my life, a home.
I also reckoned with myself another point: I do not wish to regret not knowing more of faith. I have often said that if I ever had to study formally all over again, I would study theology in the form of world religions. Yes, believe me, I am rolling my eyes at the thought too. “Really Steph – how are you going to do all this?” Another great gift of these past years? I can trust my own timing. I can study the rest of my life. There is no purpose except that of my soul. This one…is to fill me.
Do you know the weird thing about my decision? I began to think.
May your Fourth of July be full of freedom, peace, love,….and hummingbirds! (It’s a grand life, isn’t it?)
#mybeautifuljourney #thebrickdandelion #studyhardworkharder #wallythebutterdog #imjustme