Finding the Blessings

Father’s day is tough for me. Not only is it a day that I reflect on my some what estranged relationship with my dad, but also the anniversary of my mother’s death. 5 years ago she was found dead from an overdose in a motel room in Calgary. Sober for a few days before she headed to a friend’s funeral and I guess in a moment of ‘celebration’…. she used.  She thought she could handle it one more time and it was her last.

My mother, Granny as my kids called her, never got to meet my youngest child who was born weeks after she passed. She also will not get to see her grandkids; graduate, win sports events, hear them laugh or cry, sing or tell knock knock jokes, watch them sleep or tell them stories. Drugs stole this from her and her addictions stole all the precious ‘could have beens’ from us.

Then there is my father. He struggled his whole life with alcoholism and a life of reckless decision making mixed with extremely poor choices. This hurt him and it hurt me.

I was always  mostly close with my dad when he was sober. He worked his programs, tried hard to stay sober, but would inevitably fall off the wagon. Life was a struggle for him and he was stuck in a pattern that hurt himself and those he loved.

When I was in my 20’s I maintained a relationship with both my parents and saw my dad almost daily.  I started having kids in my 30’s and things changed. My mom slipped back into heavy street drug use and my dad fell off the wagon…no he set fire to the wagon and left a wake of broken relationships. I wanted to protect my kids from everything and that included potential harm caused by their grand parents. So, this meant keeping them at arms length.

I struggle with guilt every time I attempt a phone call with my father or send a letter or stop in at his work when I cruise through his town. My knowledge of who and how he has hurt others besides me is too big….too vivid….too much and I am at a loss as to how to handle the whole thing.

To stay sane I stay focused on something greater than my hurts and can find comfort in the fact that there has been much to learn in all of this.What have I learned?

  1. I am not my parents.
  2. I can celebrate the fact that I have stopped the cycle of abuse and neglect.
  3. Self care is not selfish and is far more important  than trying to focus on the addicts in our lives.
  4. There is nothing I could have said or done to change my parents. They believed the lie that numbing would remove the pain or provide freedom. It never does.
  5. My parents had experienced things that I will never really comprehend and were doing ‘the best’ they could. It is a big job to hide the messy emotional life we live and my dad had endured some terrible abuse as a child. Their best at times was addiction…. it was the most honest thing about them and their messy life.
  6. Standing in judgement does not serve me ,in fact it steals my joy.
  7. Being angry does not erase hurt.
  8. Numbing erases pain, but it also erases joy and robs us of precious relationships
  9. My parents may have written the beginning of my story, but I get to write the middle and the ending
  10. I may (or may not) regret the distance I keep my father, but I will never regret protecting my children. They deserve it!

Put on my crown

 

 

Bless This Beautiful Mess

“Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.”
― Anne Wilson Schaef

  This morning, as the sun sparkled through the dusty blinds, I felt the rawness of my very emotional week-end set into my bones. An awakening took place that I am still processing and new awareness feels good, but like new shoes, it needs time to form to your feet…or soul .

Upon sitting up, my eyes take note of the laundry hanging loose on the ironing board and the  over flowing basket of clean clothes under neath still waiting to be put away. Clothes are intermingled with decorative cushions on the window seat and corners of books and papers peak out at odd junctures. “Why do people eat in my room and leave dirty dishes behind?”  I say to myself, and then feel a lingering resentment compete with my contentment as I make my way to the door.

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The disarray continues in the hallway as I step over Dr. Suess books and barbies in tattered gowns and missing limbs, but played with none-the-less. My head turns toThe 5 year old’s room that was spotless for a moment last week, but now scattered with toys and clothes and bedding that no longer lives on the bed. Next, I know I am headed to the kitchen where dishes await my attention and the to-do list gathers speed and my chest tightens as my world seems too big to handle.

My feet stop me at the top of the stairs as I look out the dust streaked window into the tops of the trees and memories of first moving into to our home six years earlier remind me of how I disliked our scrawny, little maple tree out front. It seemed so awkward and bent compared to the rest on our street, but I had no clue how to change it so I just lived with it like I did the other ugly parts of myself.

I was uncomfortable with the uniqueness.

I wanted my home to be the same as all the other perfect homes.

 Perfect yards and maple trees that stood tall and round and full set the standard.

I wanted perfect too…it felt safe.

This morning I notice how grand my ignored skinny tree  has become. It is full and round and rivals any of the others around. The branches reach towards the sky in a posture of worship in its fullness and it takes my breath away. I take a deep breath in as I realize how profound this moment is. I did not try and control the tree’s growth process and instead stepped out of it’s way and let nature do its thing.

Just like God does with me.

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Gratitude seeps in and I look back at the mess in my five year old’s room and I become curious about why the mess triggers anxiety in me. Yes, the job feels never ending , and the to-do lists seem daunting, and I can never seem to get ahead of the game, but there is something more. I have let the mess be a part of how I define myself and with every unexpected knock on the door or friend who drops in my fear of being discovered for the mess I am takes over.

Then it hits me…

This mess is actually the most honest thing about me.

It represents the truth of how I get distracted by other pursuits that fill my soul. How my house is full of life and children who create and explore and play and live with out constraint. It is a picture of how I am not perfect and quite frankly can’t always cope with the amount of work it takes to have the pinterest perfect home. The mess may define an aspect of my ability as a house keeper, but it does not define my worthiness as a  human being. The mess does not take away the fact that I am worthy of love and belonging and DOES NOT make me less than anyone else.

I feel another layer of perfectionism strip away  and begin to thank God for the power of honesty and I quietly ask Him to

Bless This Beautiful Mess and all who live in it”

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Between Two Moons

Something happened to me between two moons. Actually, it is an always happening more than a one time thing , but maturity is revealing the pattern to me. That’s right, this Metis girl can finally pull out the cliche “Many moons ago”….actually 48 first  spring full moons…and still counting.

I have been on a path of seeking personal growth and I want to grow and be amazing , you know, with out the growing pains.

With out the pruning.

With out the dying to self.

With out the cracking open.

I simply want to have this beautiful blossoming, but my suburbian self has forgotten the gardening process. It is embarrassing really. Six years in the suburbs with little , contrived 2 x 8 patches of earth to plant and I have lost touch with how to garden. Not an excuse I know, but I am blaming it on the crowded house effect that has me spending too much time in my minivan, shopping at big box stores and piling up packaging in my recycle bin.

I have lost touch.

I have lost perspective.

I have put my faith in something other than the gardener.

What do the two moons have to do with this? Well I could not really put my finger on it until yesterday, the first full moon of spring. I had been going through a very difficult time and had been praying and seeking and reading and writing and sorting through some tough things. I had prayed for God to remove some things in my life that keep me from living wholeheartedly. I had prayed for a deeper, more authentic  relationship with God and I simply wanted Him to reach in magically make it so.

Instead, He planted me in darkness and asked me to trust the process. Like a little seed in the deep, dark soil, I sat waiting not knowing if I would ever see the light again. The dark was scary for me and it felt completely out of control, which is EXACTLY where God wanted me to be.

Letting go of control

Leaning into the unknown

In complete surrender to the process 

I sat in darkness grieving, but completely unsure of what it was I was grieving. Does the rose bush know why its branches are being severed fruit, thorns and all?  Probably not and either did I , but some big things were being trimmed out and I had to trust the process. It was painful, this letting go of tired old branches that felt necessary.

Perfectionism

Retreating

Shrinking

Believing my voice did not matter

It all had to go in order for prayer to be answered, for me to grow new, more lovelier branches of myself AND I had to grieve. I had to lean into sadness which is so very contrary to my perfectionist ways and yet so completely necessary in order to fully experience my joy.

In between the harvest moon  of autumn and the first full moon of spring I experienced a letting go so that I could be replanted freshly in new, rich soil. My heart has had to be cracked open so the nutrient rich word could seep in and begin its sprouting. This first full moon of spring has drawn a renewal, a rebirth, a sprouting towards the warmth of the sun  and God answers prayer like how He grows all of creation. With new strength I push up out of darkness and soak up the gentle spring rain  and know that all is grace.

 

 

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