Christmas is over and we begin to look towards the beginning of the new year. I humbly offer you my imperfect attempt at a New Year Post.
I don't really know what to say because I feel like whatever it is should be sweeping and grand. You know- some sort of revelation or lesson I learned that could change both of our lives. FIND ETERNAL HAPPINESS IN 2016!!!READ THIS.
But here I sit alone with you and my simple thoughts, without a sweeping or grand in sight. I do have tired and honest, though. Which fits, because lately I've been on a quest for the acceptance of imperfection. Sometimes just the want to love imperfection is all I have, which is still a step ahead for this OCD, Type A, Tightly wound-Recovering Perfectionist. Because you know- trying to get your love of imperfection -just perfect, sort of defeats the entire purpose.
I sit and reflect on the year that is coming to an end. I'm realizing that lately, my struggles have been so good. They aren't Cancer or moving or the realization of autism. They are normal, every day life struggles, which in comparison aren't actually struggles at all. Sometimes struggle is just another word for growth. If you are stuck in a moment, free of serious struggle- rejoice. Woo hoo with me.
I struggle to find joy. It took me a long long time to realize I had to search it out, not wait for it to knock on my door. And so for joy I search. Whatever you seek- you will find. Seek good stuff. I'm realizing joy comes more frequently when I am awake. I don't mean awake- as in the opposite of sleeping. I mean awake as in aware. I struggle to be awake. To live in this moment right here between these two parenthesis of life. To notice smells, and hear sounds. Stop now, pay attention- what are all the sounds you can hear? I hear the crunch of leaves as someone walks over them. A faint lawn mower in the distance. The calming rhythm of my dogs breathing in and out. Paying attention to details brings me joy. And details of a beautiful life are a commodity that will never run out.
Parker seeks joy better than anyone I know. And the more he seeks, the more he makes.
I struggle to recognize love. I've always equated love to a feeling that comes from words and from doing. And not just doing- but doing how I would do. You see, sometimes it's hard for me to accept others for exactly who they are.
Jack the dog was my first encounter with a love that knows no words. Jack is the dock to my boat. I need to know he is near in ways I can't explain. I remember vividly a time almost seven years ago. My aloof, I'll give you attention if I feel like it, Jack, wouldn't let me out of his sight. I felt like a movie star and he was my paparazzi.
If I were sitting on the couch he had to practically sit on top of me. He's 42 pounds, and not really a lap dog. He slept pressed up against me, a little spoon to my big. It all felt like love in just the right amount because I need a lot. When I was in the bathroom he would scratch at the door until I let him in. It was the craziest thing- but made perfect sense a couple of days and one positive pregnancy test later. He sensed I was pregnant with Grey before I even knew I was. And he made it his job to make sure I was ok. Boy is that love. It paved the way for two bitty boys who can't really talk either. But they find ways to tell me I love you, in a million different ways. I just have to remember to recognize it when the ache for words comes along.
I have to work at recognizing love from my husband. If I am sad and want to be listened to- he buys me a starbucks and says, "It's not a big deal. Don't be sad" and the conversation is over. Sometimes that makes me so mad. Sometimes it makes me sad, sad, sad. But it doesn't sting as much when I realize he is loving the way he knows how. Imperfectly. So it is my job to recognize love. A love that doesn't look like my love, but occupies the same cells just the same.
I struggle to be myself. My REAL SELF- not the self I think I should be. Not the self I think I am expected to be. Those selves just turn me into a jumbled mess. I was made on purpose and by design. ONE OF A KIND SISTER (and Mister!) I do not need to veer from God's blueprint in order to be enough. Repeat after me:
I am (more than) enough, just the way I am.
The older I get, the easier it is to embrace my true voice. We owe it to others and ourselves to be our true, imperfect, messy, complicated, brilliant, loving selves. I still have to work to silence the mean voices in my head. They try to make me like everyone else. And they never say- Boy are you awesome, (or beautiful, or strong). I'm working on shhhh'ing those voices, one single day at a time. Sometimes a million times a day.
Look at my boy here. Just looking at this picture brings tears to the front of my eyeballs and makes me FEEL. Greyson is 100% himself. He wouldn't even know how to be someone else if he tried. I watch him in envy and awe and just try to absorb a little bit of it's goodness.
A little while back he rode on those go-carts above. When the real ride was over and everyone exited- well, that's when HIS ride began. The lights were swirling and forming patterns on the floor and ceiling and everywhere and music was blasting. Greyson got out of his car and stayed on the floor. He jumped and flapped and grunted and squealed and danced, not politely and looking around like I would do. He did it disjointed and like he was possessed by authenticity. He did what felt good. I want to be more like him.
For this upcoming year I want to search for all the religion I cannot find at church. The religion not sung in hymns, or found in psalms. The religion that God places before my eyes daily.
His toes are my religion. I worship them. I kiss each one goodnight before bed. I squeeze them so hard I'm afraid they may pop. His eyes light up and lock into mine, my little life enthusiast. We squeal over the goodness of his toes. At least once a week the beauty of his perfect toes almost knocks me to the floor. THANK YOU GOD!!! I yell out loud, excited for this gift. Thank you God for his toes and for the way they make me feel- in love and alive. If his toes were people, the big one would be my best friend. He would give the best hugs. We would go out for cheeseburgers and he would always make me laugh.
My religion is connection. My religion is plugging into life. Into you, into my family, into my environment, into friendships new and old. Sometimes I walk around for days with my head down. I don't want to run into anyone I know. I fear small talk. I feel lonely and empty. That's a sure sign that what I shy away from is exactly what I need- human connection. I do not need to hide, I do not need to be afraid. I need to see and be seen.
I need reminders as to what matters most to me. Awake is my religion. Yet I sleep for days. Not aware of the beauty of my surroundings. Not aware of the beauty of my pain. The beauty of my mundane. Please God, let me always see this beauty.
As I embark on 2016 I make friends with time. Think of the pain, hurt and disappoint you have waded through this year. What has it taught you? What has gotten you through? I'm learning to see the places I ache as a reminder that I need to accept or change something. Right now while the waters are calm, take a moment. What will you seek this year? When the rapids start you will forget to remember.
Prayer is not asking for what you think you want, but asking to be changed in ways you can't imagine, says poet, Kathleen Norris. So yes, what she said God.
I'm ready to let you go. Thank you, you've been a wild ride. XOXO Chrissy