When I settled on the word FAITH, for my 2019 journey, I really assumed it would be an adventure that dealt with my relationship with God. I truly believed the word was meant for me, (which is pretty much how I’ve come to my past WORD OF THE YEAR Commitments), and so I readily accepted the task of growing in my quiet time and prayer…
My year was not remotely about quiet time, or prayer. In fact, though I do believe in a God who is essential for every aspect of my life, the Faith Journey wasn’t really about that sort faith at all.
Every single month of 2019 met me with great loss. Sometimes it was an unexpected loss of opportunity or something beloved. Twice it was with the loss of lives. Then there were lost relationships that I believed I could not live without, that I had no worth without, but it turns out I had been wrong. It was the hardest year I have ever known, and yet…
Yet, I am here. As the theme of loss, in various forms, continued to flow through the changing seasons, I suddenly saw THAT I was more capable of handling them. My vision became clear, as I emerged from the fog I had spent so long in, that I could not merely live beyond the strongholds, but I could live better. I came to a peace I could never have imagined my life ever existing in.
The thing about Faith though, or at least my personal faith, was that it was deconstructed too. As I attended funerals, helped grieving family members and continued to build a business (when all I wanted was to curl up in a ball and cry) and live my life, new things grew in the absence of old. Sometimes these things came in the form of new relationships and precious friendships. Other times these came in professional connections and wisdom shared. Each day I was able to see clearer than I had seen in so long. The relationships lost, had never really existed. The benefit of them had never been mutual, and though that was appropriate for a time, the inability for me to exist outside of the other’s demands and orbit, the inability for me to be an individual deserving of any respect or love, was a problem. It was a problem many had seen for so long, but did not know how to talk to me about. (and it wouldn’t have mattered.) Honestly, I was not brave enough to sever those relationships, but I allowed myself toe courage to respect their wishes, and bold enough to allow life to go on, and unfold, and I have been continually blown away by what that has looked like.
Loss is sad. Loss can be tragic. Loss can also make way for new, and the new doesn’t negate the heartbreak of what is gone… We are shaped by the good and the bad that came before this moment. We are beautiful and capable, because of it.
On a shelf, in my living room, there is a small wooden heart which contains ashes belonging to my father, who passed away this past spring. So much of my life held complicated elements, where my father was concerned, and then one day that simply wasn’t the case. I am filled with gratitude for the fragments of time I spent with him, for the traits of him that I had long before I met him, and more than anything- for the absolutely amazing father he was to my half siblings. Though I’ve never held resentment against him, my soul did sometimes utter the question how can someone who is such an amazing parent, have a child they couldn’t love in that way? And then, on that day of clarity, I knew the answer… Because life is hard. Life isn’t fair. Things happen. We want everything to work out, and we hold often ourselves to the standards that we will get that cookie cutter life, but it doesn’t. With that same clarity came grace for myself as well. I had spent so long trying to become a mother, and then my health failed me and I had to move on from there. That motherhood ache never went away, and one day I sat beside a bathtub as my little adopted daughter played and I realized how incredibly full my heart was. I loved three amazing kids, and wouldn’t have traded one second of the hardship that led ME to them. In that moment I loved them so much that I believed our little family was meant to be.
The family that we fought like hell to bring together.
The process that drained us, and all of our resources dry.
One morning, in 2010, I sat at a brunch table looking at those faces and felt a sinking realization that the five of us would never be together again. I was devastated, and I was caught up in the overwhelming unfairness of that. My motherhood had been the thing I had wanted more than anything in the world, and that entire journey had been unceasingly difficult, and then suddenly…
Hanging on a print, of my favorite lyrics, is the silver etched thumbprint of my the beloved uncle I lost in early 2019. He had been the stable man my childhood knew, likely the one thing keeping me from the alternative of never trusting a man again. He had been the one to hold the fun, childhood teasing. He had been the man to walk me down the aisle. He had been the one, when I was a twelve year old broken child, to make the hard call not to take me in, because he could see the long term effect of how that wouldn’t really help me at all…
Littered on walls and shelves are framed photos from the years in between my motherhood and 2019. Photos of smiling kids my heart could have burst with love for… Photos of relationships dissolved to ash and blown into the wind. For awhile I questioned, do I hide the photos away? But no… It comes back to the unfairness of it all. My “motherhood” was never something I should have placed my faith in. That bursting moment which felt like destiny, wasn’t ever true. Broken and hurt children found their way into my heart, and there was never anything meant to be about what they went through. I bled my soul dry to love them, to fight for them and lost myself in the journey. I wasn’t ever enough, but they didn’t owe it to be to pretend that I was either- and that truth isn’t on anyone. Relationships don’t work out sometimes, and it is loss. It is tragic. It is ok… I could have spent the past 7 & 12 months in agony over how things hadn’t turned out the way I’d hoped and prayed they would, but that would be pretty selfish. The origin of how they began wasn’t anything like those once sweet children deserved either. Sometimes everyone gets hurt, and sometimes every one loses, because life simply isn’t fair. I was there, when I was needed, and the moments frozen on my walls remind me of the beautiful “motherhood” season which wasn’t painless, but I am so grateful for that fragment of time. Because there is loss, doesn’t mean the middle didn’t matter. It mattered a great deal, and all I have for it is love.
Sometimes letting go, is love too. This notion went against what I believed, but finally I learned this too.
In addition to the intense gutting of my entire heart and soul, I began to see the truly flawed theologies and belief structures I’d set my life by. Absolutely wrong, man made ideas, hashtagged for Jesus, when Jesus wasn’t present in them at all.
Faith… The journey was a slice, and a gutting. It was a refining fire, in the way that ravaged land is burned intentionally so that new, healthy growth can blossom.
Welcome to 2020, my year of BLOOM…
4 thoughts on “in bloom…”
Your post is heartbreaking but beautiful with great insights! Hope your 2020 is a great BLOOM! That is my word for this year, also! Hugs as we watch the unfolding and BLOOMING of this New Year!
You always write so beautifully even when writing about hard subjects. I did one of those word generators and it gave me bloom as well, but my journey has given me the word worthy for this year. I have very private thoughts about why I think it is my word, but I have been in my own set of changes too, as my mother role adjusts and becomes something new, as my role of wife grows out from under the motherhood role into a (hopefully) stronger and new place. As other relationships in my life seem to turn over as some lead in different directions and new ones start to form. Happy New Year, Misty! I hope to be better this year at keeping up with your writing. I have always enjoyed your writing and the glimpses into your journey. You are strong my friend and I look forward to your bloom.
You are so sweet… WORTHY is a wonderful and BRAVE word!!!
Oh, I just cannot wait to see what you bloom into. This was magic to read!