I took this video on a recent morning commute. The ‘back way’ is ignominiously called Hogback. A few homes look like the set of Coal Miners Daughter, replete with black and neon crocheted curtains. Others are bastions of middle class living.
It’s a circuitous route, winding through woods and dumping out in short order onto the cracked pavement of our dying city. That morning it was foggy. Not the whispy, smokey setting from Casablanca, rather the heavy, humidity laden curtain weighing heavily in the air.
I recorded the short journey. It was a physical manifestation of my life.
For so long it was clear cancer and caretaking were my focus. Treating it and beating it whilst maintaining a family and work consumed my every moment. That’s over and buried.
On the foggy path to work that morning, I couldn’t see the next bend in the road until I was right on top of it. Unless I was moving forward, I would have remained engulfed by the heavy curtain.
Unless I keep driving forward, I’ll never get to the next bend in the road of my life. I probably won’t see the next bend until I arrive upon it. I must eat less, pray more and love abundantly to see what’s next.
How will you keep driving through the fog?
Things I Would Be Thankful to Have Less of:
–Cancer steals the life of the one with the diagnosis and rips away pieces of the lives of all those who love and care for them.
–Jeans Size, seriously if the junk in my trunk expands any further I’ll need my own zip code.
–Stuff, which at one point I thought I needed and then forgot why I needed it and now just stare at and wonder how it came to rest underfoot.
Things I Am Thankful to Have More of:
–Time with the one with cancer. We are months ahead of the curve, every day is a bonus
–Comfy Wool Socks in the frozen hinterlands where I live, obnoxious wool socks are the difference between a cranky night and cozy one.
–Faith is a precious commodity I ceded to bitterness and an attitude with God because things didn’t go my way (an understatement-they didn’t just go another way, they stomped on my heart and stole my life). Faith is nibbling at the crusty, hard baked shell around my spirit. Would like to have more of it.
Things I am Thankful to Have in Abundance:
–Laughter at and with my kids, they are so weird they make me feel normal.
–Friends who text when I can’t remember how to turn the phone on and who always ask me how I am because they truly want to know.
–You reading my blog. Of late I am learning harsh lessons on the value of time, sharing yours with me is a gift for which I will always be thankful.
What would you be thankful for less of, more of or have in abundance? I want to read what you write too.
You’ve seen them. All the kids are making/wearing/stretching/trading them. It’s the fad o’ the moment. Loomed, plastic bracelets.
“Mom, do you think you could make me one of those?” my 10-year-old asked, hope tingeing his voice with irresistible little boy-ness.
“Sure!” I said. What I thought was, I sure hope so….
I loomed, twice. First was a disaster which had the little suckers flying across the dining room. After a shower to calm down, I sat down for my second attempt. Here’s a few deep thoughts o’ loomy wisdom.
We start out life in a fairly straightforward fashion. Like this loom, every cell, every trait, our DNA is so ordered. Sure, our finger prints and whether we will like chocolate or vanilla/coffee or tea are up for grabs. For the most part its neat, and orderly.
As kids we take time to not only smell the flowers, but to cook them into imaginary stews or throw them on our brothers or set fire to them in the rain.
Then it starts to get complicated. Hormones, choices, independence, control and all the challenges of adolescence mess with the careful order of childhood.
The choices we make in life reverberate far into our future. I am so thankful there wasn’t a Facebook back then. There are more than a few ‘posts’ I am glad I can erase from memory.
However, the choices and the connections we make, for good or ill, stick with us for years. The choices pull us in one direction or another. Some keep us tangled up in fear. Still others keep us still and paralyzed from connecting with anything or anyone else.
I am slowly realizing all my experiences, even the painful ones, have formed the core of who I am. The scars have thickened my skin so I’m a tougher broad than most would realize. There is a colorful nugget or two of wisdom I can share with others, or with myself.
As I loop my life with others intentionally and carefully, as I make new connections which will stretch me professionally and personally-I know it’s all being formed into something bigger than the sum of its parts.
It took two hours and more than one expletive, but I finished that bracelet. I’m reminded of these sacred words, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” This is how I hope to loop together all the pieces of my life from now until the end. I want to fight the good fight. I want to finish the race. And I want to keep the faith.
For me, 2012 is the year of the chisel. Have a few minutes? Let’s watch this video together.
I thought it was living in such a small town where my history stalked me in every grocery store aisle and restaurant. CLINK.
I thought it was being convinced I was a triangle peg in the very square holes of my community; be it Starbucks, church, my kids school or Wal-Mart. CLINK.
I thought it was the crushing debt and poverty thinly veiled behind my cheerful smile where 123 Never Enough, Dead End America became my address. CLINK.
I thought it was the hangover from so many crushing losses. The previous two years took so many pieces of my heart, I wondered how it continued to beat. Family, friendships, and dreams all boxed and buried beneath sickness, betrayal and misunderstanding. CLINK.
All these became tools in the hands of the One. The One who took me seriously when asked, from the filthy floor of a stockroom, to make something of a life worth nothing. His response? He began to chisel.
Lysa Teurkeurst in her book, “Unglued”, talked about this process of chiseling. She writes, in the section “The Unfinished Sculpture”, of the journey of Michelangelo’s sculpture of David.
The sculpture was actually begun before Michelangelo was even born! “The 19 foot block of marble had originally been the project of an artist named Agnostino di Duccio, but after shaping some of the legs, feet, and torso, he inexplicably abandoned the work.” Ten years later, another artist was hired to finish it but his contract was cancelled. 25 years after that, a young 26-year-old Michelangelo, “picked up a chisel and dared to believe he could complete a masterpiece.”
For more than two years the artist ate, slept and breathed the sculpture. He literally slept in the same room with the piece of marble. “I saw the angel in the marble,” he said, “and carved until I set him free. When asked how he made such a magnificent statue, Michelangelo said, ‘It is easy. You just chip away at the stone that doesn’t look like David.”
I thought I was a victim of circumstance and poor choice. God saw an opportunity to chip away at the places which held me captive. He removed the hard places which don’t look like me-the Me He originally created. He loves me enough to chisel at the stone around my heart, soul and mind.
It’s been painful. It’s still a work in progress. However, it’s progress.
Today, this first day of 2013. I begin it hopeful. I begin it more free. I begin it more fully formed, thankful for some of the hard pieces having been chiseled away. There is oh so much more to be chiseled. At least, for now, I dare to believe it is to complete a masterpiece.
I pray you too would allow the One who designed you to pick up his chisel and find the Masterpiece inside your life.