Obviously my 2015 Lenten commitment didn’t pan out quite the way I wanted. Four (or five, I can’t remember now) days into Lent and I stopped writing in my Spiritual Journal.
Now, I can give you excuses for my inability to finish the task I set before myself, but I won’t. I’m just going to tell you the truth: I didn’t want to do it.
Look, it’s not like I didn’t have good intentions. And it’s not like I don’t want to experience spiritual growth. It’s just that, well, writing a journal - and then letting others read it - is hard work. Heck, reading it back to myself was no cake walk.
Which is why I stopped writing.
Actually, it went something like this: On day four (or five - again, whatever), the topic was “Mindfulness”. On this same day a former babysitter, now a thirty-something mother with three young children, wrote me asking for advice about what to say to a parent who lost a child through a freak accident. I wrote a response in the form of that day’s journal entry, since being mindful of all life brings us - both the good and the bad - is part of personal growth. Let's face it, when something bad happens to you, or your child, you simply want to shut down and cease to feel. Anything. When you do that, you temporarily avoid the agony of experiencing a pain so deep it suffocates you and threatens to overcome you. However, the grip of fear and sorrow that you feel in times of such great distress forces you to fight back, and learn to embrace life - with all its beauty and all its ugliness - in a way you never before imagined.
That’s what it’s like to be mindful.
And that mindfulness stays with you. When your friend experiences a similar devastating event, you feel right along with him or her. Because you know what it’s like. You know what it’s like to lose all sense of stability. You know what it’s like to have everything you know suddenly taken from you, and you realize you have to start life all over again, and you know it can never be the same as it was before The Event.
And it’s painful. And exhausting. And lonely. And miserable.
And who wants to talk about - or read about - that stuff?
Who wants to go there over and over again?
So, here I am, still in the midst of yet another challenging life event, facing the demons from my past, and trying to make sense of it all without becoming angry and bitter. I’m trying to allow myself the luxury of feeling - of being mindful - without over-indulging my inner drama queen.
Because, look, I know it could be worse. I know some of you reading this have been there - you walked right up to the worst, looked it in the eye, and had no choice but to allow it into your lives and face it, head on, and do your very best to move forward and re-learn how to live. I know this because I’ve been there, too. And I was so scared I would have to do it all over again, and I honestly don’t know if I have the strength to do it one more time. And, I also don’t want my children to have to go through these painful, life-altering events.
Because who wants to watch her child suffer? I mean, maybe some of you are not quite so worked up by this stuff as I am. Maybe you view suffering as a necessary evil for personal growth. I get it, suffering does lead to wisdom. But to watch your child experience a debilitating illness or agonizing treatments to overcome a life-threatening disease? That just seems too much to bear for me. And for those of you who think it’s just a matter of having faith, I either envy your unwavering confidence (or your possession of that crystal ball that tells you everything will be just fine) or I pity your inability to be honest.
So, I wrote that post on mindfulness. And then I never published it. Because, honestly, it was depressing.
And I’m tired of being depressing. I’m tired of being depressed. I’m tired of Debbie Downer taking over so much of my life.
The truth is, we laugh a lot in this house. Even with our tears. We tell jokes - and
all most some of them are very, very funny. Some are inappropriate, too, but, hey, I never said we were perfect.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: I’m going to do my best to keep recording my story - and Billy’s story. Some days the stories will be difficult to share, and maybe those stories won’t be shared in a timely manner. That’s Ok. But other times the stories will be joyous, and even funny.
Because that’s how life is.
Sometimes it’s challenging and incredibly, unbearably difficult.
Sometimes it’s overwhelmingly joyful.
Better yet, Jimmy Buffet said it best when he said:
“Some of it’s magic, some of it’s tragic. But I’ve had a good life, all the way.”
Life is good. Embrace it - every single bit of it - and live, really LIVE.
Until next time, be the light, people. Be the light.