I know some really amazing people. And, dang-it, I want you to know them, too. So, I’ve asked a few of them to step up to the keyboard and fill in for me as I take a few weeks off to spend time with my family over the holidays.
This is my friend, Melissa. The first time I saw Melissa, she was in Babies R Us, sporting a giant pregnant belly. We didn’t speak, but I was sporting my own (tiny) newly-pregnant belly, and I noticed her, because I thought she was just beautiful.
A few hours later, I spotted her again…down the street from my house! Turned out, we were neighbors (what were the chances?), who quickly became friends.
That was in 1997 in Jacksonville, Florida–and we have been friends ever since.
Melissa stands out to me as one of the single-most consistently supportive people during the birth, life and death of my son, Noah (the aforementioned pregnant belly). I cannot begin to tell you how much she simply “showed up” during those long, dark months. Since that time, she’s weathered a few major storms of her own. Unfortunately, we’ve moved apart geographically, and I wasn’t there for her in her dark times. But thanks to the modern miracle of Facebook, we have reconnected. And, for that, I am so thankful.
Happy New Year, and enjoy!
I like goals for growth more than I prefer resolutions for a new year.
In the calendar year of 2011 I felt good in life, settled, mature, was in a loving relationship and felt I had some personal power to live the life I desired. In that year I did things that scared me physically. I faced personal fears that challenged my I’m “too…” well, fill in the blank: old, unfit, uncool or scared to do.
The year of 2011 ended up being a really great year for me. I didn’t conquer worldwide hunger, but I did TRY in my own life and I did GROW. Some of the things I faced and experienced, include:
- Shooting three guns (They scare me to death so I faced the fear. It turns out I AM awesome!)
- Para~sailing (I do not prefer heights)
- Participating in a fitness event that I hadn’t trained for, to raise money. (What if I can’t finish??? That is pride speaking)
- Climbing a tree and jumping down into a spring, TWICE. (I was 42 at the time. And remember I don’t prefer heights… my *fear* was that I might not be able to do it, that onlookers would see me as this fat old lady stuck up in a tree! )
- Choosing to go into the ocean once a month no matter the weather, because I COULD. (My step~father had been in a nursing home and the concern was that he might not walk again. I thought to myself: Why in the land would I not enjoy the ocean while I can, in any season or temperature when some people never get to see/experience the water or aren’t physically able to do so?)
- Learning to kayak and paddleboard (those aren’t scary but I hadn’t done them before).
Like I said, I liked that year of my life.
Then I got introspective about 2011 and realized the risks I took were immediate leaps. I grew from them, but then wondered what more I could do for personal development.I thought to myself… “Okay, 2011 I knocked out some things that scared or challenged me. How about in 2012 I face a bigger challenge that isn’t as quick at just leaping off of a tree?”
So, I chose to be as fearless inter-personally as I was physically. And, I let God know my plan.
I think He responded something like this:
“You wanted people closer in your life… I believe in your effort and am going to afford you the opportunities you seek.”
Let me tell ya, that going into it, I knew being closer with people—more vulnerable and more open—was gonna be a harder task than anything I had done before. But, I felt I was building on the strengths I had already secured in myself.
Here’s what happened after that:
- In mid January of 2012 I got sick. I stayed sick for over two months. It was benign, but I simply couldn’t shake it and went through months of medications to finally feel better.
- Once on the mend, I broke my ankle. More down time and convalescing for this person that doesn’t prefer to sit still. I finally healed enough and was back on my feet and then…
- In May my fiance and I broke up.
I will be straight with you and say that I felt pretty beat up by mid-May, both physically and emotionally. I had NO idea how I could be truly closer with people when I felt so broken physically. Plus, almost half of the year was gone. None of this set well with my “goal”.
Then I remembered all the experiences of 2011,and I was able to make some leaps in my life. And the most amazing things happened in me:
- I did not fear financial insecurity.
- I did not fear or avoid sharing my journey or struggles with other people.
- I did not fear being vulnerable or available with the people in my life.
- Today I am closer with my children than I was a year ago.
- I am closer with my parents.
- I am closer with my siblings.
- I am closer with my nieces.
- I am closer with my nephew.
- I am closer with my friends.
I have new love in my life and for that, I am blessed. Now, I serve well and love big, but have no giant expectations from it. I live in-the-day and am glad for what currently exists.
Did I get what I *expected* when I considered this task for the year?
Did I get more than I could have wished for in a richer life?
That makes me believe that I can be open to a plan, tend to my side of life… but ultimately, I know I’m not in charge. I believe it is God’s plan for me.