Archive for November, 2011

A few of my loyal fans

Hard at work signing away!

This weekend was my first book signing at The Coffee Shop in my hometown and so many of  my loyal fans stopped by to share their love and support.  It was so much fun to have so many of my friends and family making a long journey (even through our first snowstorm of the winter!) to share the day with me.  There were people from all parts of my life and as far away as Colorado!  The journey to this day has been an amazing one, full of the depths of pain and loss and the heights of love overflowing and grace- and to be able to spend the day in celebration, sharing good coffee, good food, good conversation and lots of hugs was such a gift.

People kept streaming in, showing up with hugs, smiles and well wishes and it was such a reminder to me that there are so many people that are willing to celebrate with us, to share success, to support and to guide us through our lives.  More often than not it is just a matter of extending the invitation.  These are the same people who gathered me in love and held me as my life shattered and now they are coming to celebrate the weaving together of the broken pieces, sharing the journey in large and small ways.

I have gotten letters in the mail, phone calls, prayers, messages on my Facebook, on my blog, and special gifts that are constant reminders that we are held in so much love, even when we can’t see it or feel it.  I have made it a practice to collect these magical moments to help me remember when the sadness creeps in, or when the love and support feel further away.  Cards on my fridge, moments captured in my journal to read over when I need that reminder of all the support that surrounds me, a list of gifts that I add to every day to remind myself to stop and be thankful for all the gifts that surround me.  All of these things have enabled me to be strong in the broken places, to remind myself of who I am when I have forgotten and to share the same support with others who need it.  And that is really what the book was created to do, to be that gift, to be that voice, to share what I have been given.

After the official festivities were over I had invited everyone over to my house for food, conversation and fun.  When I was in the other room getting the leaf to put in the table I stopped for just a minute and I heard the comingling of voices, the intermittent bursts of laughter, the voices I could instantly recognize and I just sat there for a minute taking it all in… this is my home that they are filling with love, this is my book signing party surrounded by all of my favorite people and what just kept on rolling over and over in my head was the phrase- “This is what love sounds like.”

Indeed this is what love sounds like.

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My writing voice has been silent.

For the past four years I wrote nearly every day, and then recently I just stopped… the words stopped, I stopped coming to the page, I stopped letting that little voice dictate my waking moments… and yet, deep down I knew that was what I needed to do.  To just live in this moment, to not have to capture all of the details, but to let the magic, the moments that have taken my breath away, the moments of pure joy and of excitement just bubble up.  To have trust that in time I would come back to the page, that the words would bubble over, that I would again have something to say, to share.  To trust that the words, the blogs and the books that I know are waiting will find their way- in time (which often isn’t the same as my time).

And it is busy, living my life, sending out books, responding to the heartfelt mail, e-mails and phone calls, building new relationships that this book is helping me to create and re-envisioning my priorities, my time, my relationships.  It is a time of transition for me, of jumping into this new piece of me, of owning my writing voice, of sharing my gifts in a new way.

When I was transitioning from high school to college my best friend gave me a card with this quote from Rilke on it, words that I have went back to time and time again:

…I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903
in Letters to a Young Poet

Transition is all about living your way into the answer.  For so long I had struggled with my purpose, I always knew Social Work was a piece of it, but it wasn’t everything, there was other things that were missing. And as I filled my life with other amazing pieces and experiences I would always think, yes this is a piece but it isn’t it- so I kept collecting.  Then last week I was invited by a friend (who is now a professor at our alma mater) to speak to a Social Work Policy class about my life, about my adventures in social work and the policy realm and where life has taken me since Nora and I sat in that very same class dreaming about “someday”.  “Someday” I’ll have stories like the professors have, “someday” I will have made a difference in someone’s life, “someday” I will be able to find and live out my purpose, “someday” I will move from learning about life to living it.

I was able to talk to the students about how one thing led to another, and what I had learned from the previous place I had woven into the new place, and somehow it all knit itself into this tapestry I call my life, where you can’t pull one thread without feeling the effects of all the others… the leadership I learned in Youth In Government, the respect for my body and healthy competition I learned playing high school sports, the love for learning that so many teachers instilled in me as I made my way through school, the love of friends and family that held me close in the midst of life’s twists and turns.  And it occurred to me that as a combination of decisions, of taking advantage of the opportunities that others provided me, some that I created through my own hard work and determination, and some pieces that were nothing short of Divine Intervention- I now had interesting stories, I helped create and implement policy, I have held people’s hands in the middle of the night as they face their darkest hour, I have published a book, I have a loving network of support and so many other things that I had dreamed about “someday” having and being.

And as I was talking about speaking to the class with another friend she just stopped me, sighed and said “let’s celebrate that you are living your ‘someday'”.

So today I invite you to take a moment, to sit, to celebrate your someday moments.  To be at peace that there will always be something you are living into the answers around, to enjoy the fact that as soon as you celebrate ‘someday’ it creates a place for new ‘somedays’ to be created.  So today, celebrate your ‘someday’.  And if today you are deep in the midst of muck may you “have patience with everything unresolved in your heart.”  And may you know you are well on your way to living into the answers themselves.

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