Wednesday, October 5, 2016

How's it going?

Over the summer, I had many kind-hearted friends who wanted to know how I was feeling about our upcoming move. You'd think after answering the same question so many times I would have come up with a simple, rote answer.

I never did.

I was never entirely sure what to say and it often depended on the day, or even the moment. Sometimes excited, sometimes nervous, sometimes weary, sometimes I just wanted to scrap the whole crazy plan.

In the past month that question has been replaced with a new inquiry, " is it going??"

Again, I don't have a perfect elevator speech that can sum it all up in 10 sentences or less.

But the answer I most often come back to, even if only in my own mind, is simply that it has been exactly what I expected it to be. Meaning, it has been a little bit sad, a little bit fun, a little bit exciting, a little bit scary, a little bit lonely, a little bit easy, and even a little bit surprising.

It's been a mixed bag which is exactly what I knew it would be. You don't uproot your whole life and think you can just snap your fingers and instantly have the same continuity, routines, and normalcy you had in the place you lived for almost 25 years.

(A quarter of a century, people.)

So, the thing I just keep telling my thoughtful friends is that it's good, and we are happy, but it will take time.

I'm a great believer in the magic of time because I've seen it work miracles over and over again in my own life and in the lives of others. Things you thought would never be resolved, never heal, never change, never improve, and never grow- suddenly do.

But it's never 'suddenly', really. It might feel that way. Or it might look that way from the outside. But usually that miraculous turn of events is really the long awaited reward that comes from days, weeks, months, or years of waiting, praying, and never giving up hope.

He has made everything beautiful in its time... ~Ecclesiastes 3:11

If you know me, you know that the fall, and especially October, can make me a little melancholy so forgive me for a second for conjuring up a rather unhappy memory to make a point. I'll try to swing it around at the end and give it a happy flourish to close it out.

(That's kind of my signature move).

Anyway, when I was in grief counseling after the loss of our babies, I remember saying to my counselor, "I know I'm going to find my way through this somehow. I know I won't always be this sad. I really do feel confident of that. I just want to know when. How long? Give me a date and then I can circle that day in red on my calendar and just hold on until then."

As good as my counselor was, she never could give me that date.

And, of course, it wasn't a specific day, or moment, it was just a slow, quiet unfolding until you realize you are no longer clenching your fists trying to fight your way back to life. You look down to find your hands are open again, ready to receive whatever bounty the day has to bring you. Whether it be joy, or laughter, or even possibly pain again, you are no longer afraid.

So, the point is, I know what it is to wait.

What I'm getting better at is what to do in the waiting.

Yesterday, I took a leap I didn't think I would make quite this soon. I met with the principal of a small, Christian preschool/primary school about becoming one of their regular substitute teachers. I've always made it clear that I really only like "pretend subbing" and by that I mean I am only interested in substitute teaching at one small school where I can actually get to know the kids and teachers. That was the blessing I had in subbing at my daughter's school in our old neighborhood, and I knew I'd need to find a similar arrangement if I were ever going to venture into subbing in our new home.

And even though the sloth in me wonders why on earth I am not going to continue to just bask in my long, quiet days at home, the voice in my soul is telling me that level of isolation is not ultimately doing me any favors.

I mean, preschoolers, my friends! A tiny school full of babies with no one older than the fourth grade! It's like a dream come true. And the lovely thing is, it's a blessing for them, too. A small school like that has difficulty attracting substitute teachers and yet their teachers get sick and need vacations, too. They were all so delighted I was really interested in coming on board. I swear they all kept looking at me like I might be a mirage.

Sometimes waiting means taking time to rest and heal and be quiet. But other times of waiting require us to be patiently active. We start moving toward those things that allow us to use our gifts and talents, knowing that you never know where and when you might find what it is you are looking for.

So, I look forward to meeting my new young friends and in the meantime will continue to relish the luxury of my quiet days at home.

I've always been a big believer that the "sacred is in the ordinary" which is why I tend to be pretty content with a life that borders on some reality TV version of Groundhog Day. 

Sidebar: (Oh my stars. My life would be the most boring reality TV show EVER. Wouldn't you love to have watched me type this blog post for the past hour? Riveting.) 

But given my inordinate love for the ordinary and everyday, I was pretty happy to come across this quote by Henry Ward Beecher to back me up:

The art of being happy lies in the power
of extracting happiness from common things.
~Henry Ward Beecher

Thank you, Reverend Beecher. I will continue to do just that. 

Just a picture I snapped after leaving Annie's horseback riding lessons.
The fog had settled in on the hills and all you could see was pasture land, trees,
hills and sky.
I suddenly felt very grateful to live in a place where horses and open spaces are
a part of our everyday.
..."extracting happiness from common things."

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