Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Short and Sweet

I just spent less than 24 hours in Seattle.  Sometimes that is all that is required to shift your focus a little.  I keep wishing that as humans we had a reset button, a way to reprogram the mind so to speak, when we get into unproductive ruts of thoughts.  No magic button to push unfortunately.  Fortunately, sometimes when things get a little off kilter, they manage to reset themselves, kind of like magic, but not quite.
I didn't leave home feeling particularly off or out of sorts yesterday, at least nothing I noticed.  What I did notice today, as I headed back home, is that I felt fresh, renewed, ready to greet whatever awaited me.  It wasn't that anything extraordinary happened, I just had a little time to myself...the quiet in the car with no one demanding anything of me, an evening at a fundraiser talking with an old co-worker and his partner, interesting, passionate people, and feeling transported 180 degrees away from my normal days, late night ice cream and easy conversation about life with a dear friend...it really doesn't take much.
I had intended  to go shopping while in Seattle, buy a dress for my sister in law's wedding, take in a yoga class.  When I woke up this morning, none of that seemed all that interesting at the moment.  Instead, I wandered up to a neighborhood coffee shop, got a really good mocha (why do they always taste so much better from Seattle coffee houses?), the sun was shining, blue sky overhead and the day felt glorious.  I got in my car and headed toward the freeway.  I felt full.  I watched a mother deliver her preschooler to school and felt my eyes brimming with tears.  It wasn't so much that I felt longing for my kids, I just felt connected to the universe, could see myself in her.  Heading over the pass, I saw a deer trying to run across the highway.  Oncoming traffic slowed, a trucker honked and the deer ran back to safety...again tears, grateful for when they world spares life, when we conspire together to keep someone or something in danger safe.  (Sounds like I've been crying a lot with these last two posts, doesn't it?)  I sang my little heart out as I drove home, listened to music that lifts me up, speaks to my soul and simply felt grateful for the ability to get away, even for a short and sweet adventure on my own.  Feels good to be alive.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tiny miracles

It's been awhile.  I have just been in and out of one of those phases where I feel like I have nothing worth sharing.  Inner battles, struggles, not being the best version of myself very often...thank goodness for the impermanence of it all, that we pass through those phases, sometimes quicker than others, but things always, always change, and life has a way of bringing us what we need so that we can find our self again.
In the last 24 hours, I have been moved by the incredible capacity we have for love as parents.  Our children are the deepest source of joy and happiness and also of pain.  Because we love so deeply, when our kids suffer, we suffer, we feel their pain, we grieve for their losses.  It's an amazing part of being a parent that no one really prepares you for, nor could they.  It's a love so rich, I don't have words to adequately describe it.
Yesterday afternoon, I listened to a couple share the story of their 21 year old son's suicide.  Raw, painful truth about human nature, about a young man in a deep, dark, depression.  They spoke about the importance of paying attention, noticing when things aren't right and doing something about it.  As I listened to them speak, I couldn't help but cry.  I was so moved by their courage to share their story, obviously in hopes that they are honoring the life their son had, and preventing such a tragedy from happening to someone else.  Their pain is visible.  The wounds, 5 years later, far from scabbed over.  I don't imagine that losing a child is a pain you ever "get over".  I imagine it to be one that rests in your spirit for a lifetime.  And yet, despite their pain, their heartache, they carry on.  They continue moving forward, trying to make something from a deep hole in their hearts that may never heal.
This morning, I witnessed the other side of this coin - a new mother and her week old son.  This tiny little being, almost 3 1/2 lbs, full of promise and hope for the future.  I found myself in tears, again, watching the look on my friend's face as she watched him, lying in the incubator, breathing with the help of a machine.  I felt like I could almost see the love spilling out of her heart on to him, could feel the heartache of her not being able to hold him.  I could only think about how heart wrenching it would be to leave the hospital without your new baby, how long those weeks must be while she waits for him to be strong enough to go home.  I don't know what I expected when I went to the hospital, but I was undeniably moved by this tiny little miracle, a precious life being held in the hearts of many as he finds his way into this world.
There is so much in each day we take for granted.  We sometimes need those tearful reminders to slow down, take life in to the fullest, to really look at those we love, appreciate our health, to reach out in places where we can be of service, and to lift up another when the load feels too heavy.