The Sweetest Family I Know

My Momma, kids and I arrived home about an hour ago from a delightful little overnight getaway to Branson.  (Side note…I LOVE Missouri~.)  We were there for the specific purpose of celebrating one of my nephews who is doing incredibly hard work in his life.  He was able to be away from his temporary home for a few days, it was a lovely reason for us to get together.  Only about 1/2 of our big family was there, I look forward to the day we can all revisit at once.  That seems to be a rarity with the busy-ness of every day life and I am thankful for every bit of time we have to join each other.

This morning was perfect for sitting on the porch, sipping coffee and soaking in the gratitude.  The family we are is the real Brady Bunch..a living conglomerate of love.  We know how to throw a good, old fashioned, fun party!  There will be hugs and squeals, yummy food, laughter, tears, often music with dancing and always memory making.  We know how to connect with each other and within generations.

It might be conversations over coffee in red rocking chairs and barstools on a glassed in porch with a beautiful view.  There will be cooking together in the big, open kitchen and yelling at football players on tv for some.  Several are likely gathered around a table eating a meal or playing Farkle, Dominoes or even Candy Land.  The Air Hockey Table, pool table, Pac Man arcade game or Pinball machine make for excellent, friendly competition.  Snuggling up anywhere and swapping secrets and hanging out in a hot tub until skin is itchy and cheeks are flushed….all excellent opportunities to bond.  Wherever and however the connection happened this weekend, gratitude for this enveloping love overwhelmed me.

Chatter about sports, how healthy and fat the robins in Branson are, comfy pillows and beds, how awesome the hot tub is, where we will hike (and if we really want to hike), that the smell of our girls strawberry smelling hair is wonderful and even the teen boys sweat is somehow sweet to us, how much we’d love to come here again…all of this and more was discussed.  We share beloved memories, our sorrows, our joys, our struggles and worries.  We rejoice in our love for one another, cousin camaraderie, sweet remembrances, a glorious God who loves us, kindredness, peace, redemption and stages of life.  We share wisdom and adventures in school, love, dating, and life experiences. We are simple, we are complex.  We are real and back to the basics awesome.  There is a sense of celebration, abundant love, vulnerability, and safety that coexists in our chaos. We are a unique gift never to be taken for granted.

A year or two ago, these occasions made me incredibly sad.  I no longer had a husband who had a shared history with me and this family.  Our Daddy was no longer physically present.  I grieved, and grieved, and grieved some more.  Something inside of me has healed though, and where there was only grief, there are now cherished memories.  The shared story of my beautiful family (the one we are still writing)  continues to heal my heart.

I thought about the words that describe our family (those who were there this weekend and those who weren’t)….ALL OF US….I was only going to write a few but my list kept growing.  In our family, there is…

grace, joy, fun, redemption, respect, camaraderie, conversations, soulful connection, God, familiarity, safety, understanding, empathy, true connection, sacredness, board game playing, friendly competitiveness, creativity, sweetness, yummy food, celebration, music, dancing, laughter, tears, reflection, honesty, hope, truth, togetherness, reverence, delight, appreciation, gratitude, openness, trustworthiness, acceptance, tradition of love, late night delirium and early morning adventures, love, seeking, reaching, growing, stories, memories, teasing, playfulness, organized spontaneity, real emotion, gentleness, judgement free, wisdom, energy, learning, fondness and HOME.

THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME.  So thankful.

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Shadow Dance

My internal world has been filled with an abundance of “AHEM” moments today.  AHEM moments don’t feel like the progress I like to feel after I’ve done the hard work of processing; they have yet to lead me to any “AHA” moments; and honestly, those are usually my goal.  AHEM moments are more like scathing, scary, scolding, self scuffling conversations that go on constantly between my head and my heart.  These moments are anxiety provoking…the kind of anxiety where although I continue to be productive and sufficiently distracted with work, there is the constant gnawing in my belly, the lump in my throat and the uptight breathing that accompanies the tense certainty that everything cannot be as okay as it seems.  I went through my day, doing the business of living and forgetting to find my place of surrender, my calm center, my joy…I just go and go and go as fast as I can.  No matter how much I do or how amazingly efficient I am, the chatter in the background will.not.stop!  That’s my day today.

Writing, praying, reflecting and sharing are healing for me, and I know there is something deep inside of me in need of healing as I write this or my heart wouldn’t be so overflowing with trepidation in this moment.  Selfishly, I’m ‘getting it out’ in hopes of being rewarded with peace.  Altruistically speaking, I hope the reader gleams some sort of self awareness from reading.

  • I made a decision a couple of weeks ago to do something totally out of character for me…I think.  As I ponder my actions more, I consider the possibility that this was absolutely something within my character but something I’ve never felt the freedom to do.
  • I had a hard and precious conversation with my ex husband today (I still feel as if I am speaking of someone else when I say those words…I’m working on owning them).  We are at a place of peace and we are able to ask questions of one another, this is beautiful but does not make the answers easier to bear.
  • I have had to distance myself from someone precious in my life in order to guard my own heart.  Boundary setting sucks.
  • It is less than a month away from the 9th anniversary of the stroke and just a few days away from what would be our 19th wedding anniversary.  My soul reverberates the echoes of what my mind wants nothing to do with.
  • I’ve been playing Words with Friends when I need a little break.  One of the men I have been playing with invited me to download an app on my phone today so we could ‘talk naughty’ to each other.  (I don’t know him, he is a ‘random’ stranger from the game).  I don’t really believe in random and after I found out his story, my belief that there are no accidents has been confirmed.  He is married and wanted to be honest with me, but felt that ‘talking dirty’ wasn’t a big deal.  He asked if I thought it was and I let him know that I guess that depended on where your personal boundaries were and that mine would not permit me to engage in these conversations with a married man.  We talked further, I shared with him my heart on the matter and my own story.  I encouraged him to find out what was missing within himself or his marriage and not go down this road, no matter how innocent the intentions were.  I don’t know what he will do, but I pray that our ‘meeting’ was of value to his heart.
  • We celebrated my beautiful sister Beth’s 60th birthday this weekend.  I have no words sufficient to describe the fullness in my heart that the love within my family provides to me.  No words.  No matter how many years go by, when I am naming my siblings, I always feel like I leave one out.  It’s my big brother Brent and he definitely left an empty space.  I celebrate his life in partiality by always ‘counting him in’.  My Daddy would’ve loved the party thrown for Beth, and he would’ve been immensely proud of all of us.  I miss him so.
  • I have haunting background thoughts that tell me I will never be the object of a worthy man’s love, that having extra pounds makes me less than valuable,  that I will get Alzheimers and not have enough money to have good care, that I won’t fulfill my purpose before I die….all of these crappy lies that won’t go away.  I don’t actually know if they are truth or lies, I do know that I am living my purpose right here and now, that I will have everything I need when I need it and that God’s plan is much better than my own.  I KNOW these things deep down but when the shouting between my head and heart gets louder than my knowing, I forget my truth.

So here I am….dancing with my shadows but the shadows mean that there is light, so I know I am okay.  That’s an AHA moment and the only one I really need right now.

 

Be blessed,

Sarah