Sunday, February 10, 2013

That Full Feeling

It was Thanksgiving that my thoughts last made it here. I have had no earthly idea how to update my “goings on” through this means these past few months…and haven’t necessarily had any problem with that. They have seemed too big to be shared in this way. But, as I sat on my porch today and watched a lizard flex its crazy, red gobbler (technical term, obviously) & do her/his lizard thing, I thought differently for the first time.  

There are everyday experiences where I have been floored by the love I am shown—where tears have been brought to my eyes by the words and actions of others, where I have wanted to jump and shake and run because of how others step into my life to show their love for me. But that becomes exponentially present on those not-so-everyday days. Those days where the unexpected happens and the extra doses of love need to fill the empty and confusing spaces—and there are friends, family, even people whom you don’t know, who so strongly desire to step in and do just that for you. I think this post is me wanting to update all of you about the presence of that in my life recently. I am wanting to let these thankful (I wish there was a stronger word) thoughts that have been swimming in my head and in my heart to gather together and have a way to pour out for other eyes and ears and heads and hearts. Because they have been keeping me going…and sometimes it does something unpredicted and wonderful in our lives when we hear about how others have been touched. Maybe this compilation of letters and words and paragraphs can be that for someone outside of myself.

I knew I’d be experiencing new things in this time of my life. I knew it would be unknown and scary and exciting and wonderful and crazy all at the same time. I really did. I never considered though, that the first handful of months into my US-2 experience would forever be marked by the passing of a parent. There is no need to elaborate on the known fact that that is hard and that that is painful. That isn’t what this is for. The transparency about what has occurred, does however, speak important insight into the remainder of these thoughts. I’ve mentioned here how I’ve been shaken by the love I’ve been shown, both by those who know me best and by those who have never even met me. I have been supported and loved in ways that I cannot use the term thankful for, simply because it does not encompass my true meaning of it. I am consistently encouraged by how powerful and overwhelming love can be and how it can move each person differently when they see a space where more is needed.

This is not to say that loneliness has not been felt. Boy, has it. There are times when I feel as though I have a small understanding of what contributes to that. And the reason is that situations like these are uncomfortable for all people. It creates a fear for those around you of not knowing how to ask about it, of not wanting to bring it up for fear of upsetting those directly affected by it, or of waiting for that affected individual to come to you...but I have found that those are the worst for me. I believe that being there for someone does not mean knowing what to say, but rather making yourself available to them in the time where all involved don't know what to do or say. But the simple acts of that care, regardless of all else...that's the good stuff. These moments I'm attempting to share about & highlight here rock that sticky and stubborn foundation of those lonely feelings. It's these moments I'm celebrating here that remind me when it's most needed that while I may be the one who is actually going through this time, that there exists that genuine, genuine handful of individuals who act to remind me that I am anything but alone.

I had a friend write to me in December and tell me that there are times when we need to let those who love us be strong for us. And while I have recently felt so stretched in the “strength” I feel I am capable of mustering, there has been a long line of individuals who have stepped up to give strength that really could not come from me most of the time. I have had the hardest, hardest time trying to express my thanks for the ways this has been manifested. This feeling comes often for me & I try to describe it sometimes as when my lungs feel so full that it’s as if words just want to come pouring out, but there are too many that are fighting to go first, so they just create a swirly, big, full feeling. But, really, none of those words can even come out anyways…they’re not enough. And thank goodness there are gestures and words and actions and thoughtful responses that are too dang big to allow a response. Thank goodness those full lung feelings exist and we can sometimes feel helpless in our gratefulness, that we are shown so much love and understanding that all we can do is sit in the big, swirling wonder that has been poured out on us and try—just try to understand that it’s real. Try to understand that others’ love for us exists in such big ways that even when you can’t see beyond your own pain, sadness, and confusion, that they remind you otherwise. They remind you, not only that more exists, but that you are more. They help you find it and they celebrate with you along the way when you rediscover those genuine smiles, those belly laughs, and those happy tears, and are not fazed amongst the other honest and real times of the opposite.

One of the cards I’ve received during this time was amongst a pile from, wonderfully enough, children I don't know who wanted to show me their care & thoughts. It’s when a little girl writes on a popsicle stick to “feel so much better in life” and “Sarah’s missing a piece of her heart so we gave her ours”, that you have to try to understand what I mean by all of this.