I moved again.
It is the final time (I hope) before I find a resting place for my soul…and my body. The story is long, and I will tell it…when I am strong enough. Too raw still. God. What a jokester.
In dramatic fashion, because I seem to roll that way much as I detest it and even more so detest admitting it…but in a matter of three and a half days, I did a 180 degree turn right….more like a 240 degree, but I digress…
So….I am still unpacking stuff…stuff I was unpacking before now co-mingled with new stuff, and I am doing all of this in the midst of the most insane 30 days of my 2015 because I think 11 days of straight travel in four cities, four planes, and one car is COMPLETELY normal only because it was preempted by five days of travel in two cities, one vehicle, and a full-on stomach bug nightmare that culminated with projectile vomiting on the side of the road while my dear friend apologized that her friend was ruining someone’s beautiful (looked new before I struck) driveway on a back road in Tennessee. #bless
So….today on a two day hiatus from the crazy of this 30 day span is the day God whispered, “Open the box.”
The box is one that I have had for several years marked private. Only two people were aware of it’s existence and for the past three and a half years it has been stuffed in the back of my closet in my workshop in the hollow collecting dust. It contains stuff I am not proud of, journals, letters, photos of a time I don’t want to think of full of smiling faces who are strangers to me now, handwritten last wills and testament sorts of stuff. It is a classic Heather box in many ways and in others, a box of past shame. What can I say…I am a walking conundrum. When I got to the workshop a few weeks ago, I immediately went to it. Duct taped it like it was a bomb and stuffed it first into the pile of stuff to bring home. Why? Because it was time. Bon fire material? Maybe. Absolution? Confrontation? What?? I didn’t know. I just knew it was time. God said.
As soon as I got home, I stuffed it on a shelf to “deal with later” I told my Sis.
Later came this morning.
“Open the box Heather.”
No tears. Good. This is going to be okay. I quickly filled up a trash bag of what I knew I never ever ever ever ever wanted to see again. No need to get mushy there. Over. Done. But there laid a giant ziplock bag full of goodies I neither wanted to quickly toss nor could. God wouldn’t let me.
I went and sat on my bed and opened it up…out fell photos, journals, letters, and reminders of a Heather I only vaguely remember. I cracked (literally) open the first journal and started reading…a few pages in, I was done. Opened another and another. I neither felt anything nor had any outward emotions. This wasn’t good. I needed closure. Right? Right??? I looked at the pictures again…thumbing through faces that looked young…much younger…and naïve. Unbelievably naïve. Then I saw it…a letter I had written to an old love, but it wasn’t a love letter…it was more of a good-bye letter. A good-bye letter I had written ironically at the beginning of the relationship and one never given to him. One can only imagine why right…back from our first date…here..all the reasons this isn’t going to work.
I wish now I had given him that letter.
Sometimes we want something too much…for too long…and we simply kill it. Dead. It is over before it even starts because we just simply want it so badly it can never be what we made it up to be in our head…what others wanted it to be for us. It just simply can’t be. I will never again wait. Not for a moment. To tell someone I love them. I need them. Lets be together. If they don’t, can’t, won’t the same with/for me…then I will turn and walk away. Quickly. This. This I have learned with all of my heart and soul. Because to stay is to succumb to watching that same love die right before you like drying paint. Slowly. Dying a little more each day…and as it does, so do you.
I have loved two men in my life. Deeply. Both of them broke my heart. Shattered it in all truth. One gave me wings and the other roots. The irony is that I lost both the men, the wings, and the roots. Have I mentioned I don’t do things halfway? or small?
I lost them and their gifts to me because God needed the time and space to restore my heart and to give me those gifts anew…from him. There is something to be said for the Phoenix that rises from the ashes as I can remember not believing I could recover from either loss both bookending my adulthood and leaving such vast wounds, but I did…I have. God is good that way.
Time doesn’t heal wounds. God does.
The truth is that I have spent most of my adulthood trying to fill the gaping wounds left from a devastating childhood spent reeling after a divorce I could not understand and responsibilities thrust upon me I was not mature enough for at 9, 10 years of age. I simply was ill-equipped for the life my parents gave me and once an adult, I was so wounded and angry and confused…well, I was a mess. A walking hot mess that projected anything but that to the world around me. Whenever anyone did get close enough to sniff it out on me…I ran or they ran…somebody was running. Fast.
I have spent the past three and a half years working HARD with God to unwind the walking wound that is Heather. It hasn’t been easy or pretty. There have been setbacks. Major ones. God has face-planted himself on more than one occasion, and I think there is a pretty good chance that if awards are given out in heaven (which they won’t be), I am definitely in the running for giving God the biggest headache. I mean…what a mess I am. Just when he thinks he has made progress with me, I disappoint…not a little, but a LOT. I am hard to love. Even for God. Thing is…he does. More than anything, and it is that unconditional love by an ever-present God that has helped me make it through to today. To this bed looking through memories of a time in my life I just knew would last forever, was the culmination of all of my hard work and pain, was my happily ever after…Finally. Douche. I landed in those years broken and slammed up against others as broken, if not more so, as me. Wow. That was a truth-moment.
Two broken people don’t make a whole one, they just cut each other to pieces. I have cut a lot of people in my life’s journey. I turn 44 next week. I am only truly proud of about 12 of those years. That is as hard to write as you might think it is. But today…today, I am proud of who God is making me into. The person I was meant to be all of those years ago before everyone in my life “dropped their baskets” and then I followed suit and dropped my own.
You cannot love others until you truly love yourself.
You cannot give grace until you truly know grace for yourself.
You cannot give hope until you know hope.
You cannot live your truth when you are hiding from others…yourself….God…lies.
You cannot show people God when you don’t know God…in you. As you.
Saying good-bye is the one thing I hate most in this world. It brings out all of my old hurts from a childhood full of important people always saying good-bye never to return. In the last few years I have lost some of the most important people in my life as my growth forced me to make decisions about who was healthy for me and who wasn’t. Others left on their own, and I understood. So much so. You can forgive people, but that doesn’t mean that can stay in your life. That took me over 40 years to understand. Today, I am going to burn a box of memories and say good-bye. I am not alone though because God is sitting with me even now as I type. He is watching me glance over at photos, wiping away the occasional tear, and reminding me that I am his beloved. His beauty.
Allow me a digression…
I am in my final year of a three year purge….and let me say that as hard the act of purging is…giving things away, throwing stuff away, selling, or whatever it is…you cannot move forward as long as you have shackles of the past hanging around your neck, latched around your ankles, clasped on your wrists…or even piercing your heart. I truly believe God is walking me through this purge in preparation for something of which I do not know, but what I do know is that if I don’t do it…I am going to miss out on something amazing, but also, I am not going to ever experience full healing from the messy childhood, confusing 20s, and finally my driven 30s. I am determined that my 40s will be different. Whether God is preparing me for someone or something, I want to finally be able to say yes with my whole, healthy heart….arms free to grasp them or it….legs free to walk, no run to them or it. I have hurt people. People have hurt me. I don’t want either of those truths to be my legacy. I am fighting for my heart. Fighting to give it 100% to God to do with or give to whatever or whomever he wants…His turn. I’m done fighting for my way. His way or nothing.
I digress from time to time…
Today I am not saying good-bye easily, but I do say it peacefully. The woman in those photos and those pages was searching for answers in all of the wrong people and places. I don’t need these reminders…the health scares, the loneliness, the efforts to claim a do-over that was doomed from the start, the dreams…all the good stuff is in my heart and the rest I gave up a long time ago. The truth is that I am not really saying good-bye to all of that (I already have awhile ago…maybe that is why no tears today). What I am really saying good-bye to is my need to go back to 9 years old and start again. I spent literally years trying to do that. I just squished up and rubbed my face really, really hard.
That’s it. I am saying good-bye to the dream of a do-over life. I don’t need to start all the way over. I just need to start from here. It isn’t about a different family. A different home. Different choices. It is simply about today. What am I choosing today?
Thursday of last week I was asked to speak at a luncheon to a group of amazing women about negotiating as a women and as I like to say, how I have seen both sides now (as the Joni Mitchell song goes) of being a woman in business and leadership. A woman I have known for over 10 years came up and hugged me after and said, “I loved the old Heather, but I really really love this new Heather.” and I squeezed her tight and whispered back in her ear, “Thank you so much. Me too.”
The truth is that I didn’t like myself awwww…..for about 32 years of my life (9ish to 40-41), and I spent a considerable amount of energy disguising that fact. The bigger truth is that I really didn’t know who I was so you can’t like what don’t even know. Now can you.
I may have 40 more years on this earth or 40 minutes, but as long as God gives me breath, I am going to spend my time learning and being true to myself while also honoring the truths of those around me. I am so tired of looking backwards…there is absolutely nothing left for me there. My truth lies in front of me…the life I live, the people I love, the breaths I take, the experiences I savor, the books I have to read, places to see, joy to spread, change to help create, strangers to make friends, friends to make tribe, but mostly a God to learn more about and love more deeply a little more each day. Where I have been has brought me to here. It is no road less traveled, it is a road well worn, full of regrets and shame, mistakes, lessons, love - gained and lost, experiences, beauty, ugliness, mean people, a little girl, a confused and angry young woman, a driven woman, a poser, a friend, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a sinner, and a beauty.
You haven’t walked in my moccasins nor I yours, but trust that just like yours…my journey to get to here has been somethan.
That it has.
Thank you Jesus.
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! 🙂