Some days blow in like a tornado turning our normal into tumultuous chaos. When the winds fall silent, we stand in the midst of panic, clutching our heart while everything we once knew is left shredded to pieces, barely recognizable. There are seasons in our lives where we are forced to start over in a direction we never imagined and the fear can cripple us until we feel paralyzed. It’s like a nightmare that we cannot wake up from and we have no choice but to see it to the very end.
It wasn’t too long ago I felt exactly like this. I had no idea what the next minute would bring and all I could do was sit on my situation and breathe. Surrender doesn’t always come easy but when my hand is forced, gradually the destruction left behind turns a blank canvas into a blessing in disguise. Blessings come in many forms. Sometimes the old has to be completely torn down to make way for the new. There is a song I love and one verse goes something like this, what if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise? Sometimes I cannot see the bigger picture because I am so focused on a single frame but time puts most things in perspective and I have to remind myself to be patient and take one moment at a time. Deal with today. Sometimes that is the only way to find the strength to face tomorrow. And who knows? Maybe tomorrow will be far more beautiful than I could ever imagine and the peace I find there waiting for me will make all the pain and tears worth the trials I had to face.
Today is my tomorrow and I am here to tell you it is so amazingly beautiful on this other side. Stand firm in the storm. It will pass.
I remember as a young girl how my mother would react to seeing an ambulance. Her whole body would start to shake and she would worry herself sick until she could verify that all four of us kids, her parents and my father were okay. With a constant flow of breaking news, I see many people in a continuous state of reactive panic. One thing that has taken me years to get a handle on is not getting myself crazy over a new grade posted on parent portal or the latest memo being released by our panic causing political parties. So how do we stop reacting and start responding? One way is to just breathe and remind yourself that everything changes from one moment to the next. What seems like devastating news one minute doesn’t seem so bad the next. My advice is to stay calm and put things in perspective. How will this news affect me a year from now? A lifetime from now? We have to stay centered and carry an internal calm that will see us through the intentional chaos being thrown at us from every direction. Rise above it. You are stronger than you think and more in control than you let yourself believe. Shut it all out and move inward. Focus on your breathe and create your place of calm.
Nature offers an escape from the noise. The reality that we are all connected cradles me as I sit on the grass. We create an energy that is sometimes too painful to endure. I sink back. My sigh is like the whisper of the gentle breeze that tickles my skin. Let them go I say to myself as the sun illuminates the ripples on the water that are racing toward me. I imagine they are my thoughts running through my mind and I watch them flow by me. I stare as the creases on the surface glide past my weary body. There are children yelling in the background. All the noise hitting my soul as it longs for some quiet, some peace. Solitude is a rare gift. My husband wraps up the sandwich that is leftover. Every crinkling sound reminding me of the agitation in the world I desperately try and leave behind. A fish jumps in the distance. There are two ducks floating on the surface of the water as the current moves underneath them. Be like the ducks I tell myself. Float above the chaos. Find your place of peace and ignore what is happening underneath the surface. I am reminded that peace is not a destination. I center myself and I close my eyes as the warmth of the sun rejuvenates my desperate skin. I am calm and I rejoice in this moment. My reminder goes off. There’s somewhere else I need to be but I will take a piece is this place with me. I sigh again as I walk to my car only this time it is a sigh of relief. I am grounded again and ready to waltz back into the crazy with grace. I breath it all. Yes, I am ready.
It’s one of those days. I’m not looking for pity, we all have them. There’s a lot of tedious things to do today. My back hurts and I’m trying to get it all done before it’s time to pick one kid up, drop 2 loaves of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches off for the swim team and then finally get back later to watch the meet tonight. It’s like a Monday on a Thursday and it snuck up on me unexpectedly. I was finally making progress and finishing my hair when I heard the gut wrenching noise. You know the noise. It usually comes in the middle of the night and you lie there wondering if you should let it go until morning or get up and clean it up. This time, luckily for me it came in the middle of a chaotic day. There they were, two disgusting, gigantic hairballs sitting there laughing hysterically at me. It’s really a funny thing, sometimes when you are convinced you are having a lousy day, there is always something lurking around the corner to make it even worse. So, shake off the poor me act and be ready. Have a roll of paper towels available to clean that crap up and then just move on. Keep going and don’t give it another thought. When life is like a giant hair ball, just walk away from the cat. Simple as that!
Some days are just not going to be good days. Can we change that? Probably not, but we can control now we react to them….but how? I knew it was going to be an unpleasant ride to drop both kids off at different schools and two dogs off at the vet for an exam. One dog is overly excited and the second he caught a glimpse of his leash in my hand this morning is the very second he started to run around like a maniac and squeal. The start of the ride was not too painful because each kid held a dog. As soon as we pulled up to the first school and my son got out of the door, you would think we stabbed the overly excited dog right in the heart. He whined and cried like crazy running back and forth between the front and back seat while my teenage daughter calmly flipped radio stations and took selfies. One thing that makes me uneasy in the morning is chaos, especially noisy chaos. I usually start my day off calmly with yoga so I was doing my best to hold it together.
As we came to a stoplight, I almost had a heart attack. The crazy dog has a knack for placing his paw strategically in just the right spot to open the window on his own, and the surprise of it nearly scared me half to death. A few minutes later kid number two was getting out of the car and the wounded whining went back into full force. Finally, we arrive at the vet. One dog is crossing in front of me one way and of course the other dog is crossing in front of me the opposite direction and the dumb girl behind the desk smiles and says, ” Can you please fill out these forms so I can take the dogs back?” Seriously? Are you kidding me? How about you hold the leashes so I can fill out your paperwork and sign your silly credit card machine. Sign here, and here, and here, and…..all the while trying my best not to get caught up in the leashes and fall flat on my face on that filthy floor.
I bolted out of there as soon as I could escape and made my way to the nearest Starbucks. Coffee can fix most things, here’s to hoping it erases at least part of my crazy morning. So is there a lesson here? There are some things we just have to get through. No sense fighting it or getting a bad attitude, just know a better, calmer moment is just around the corner. Now, wait for it…