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March 2014

Buried Treasure

For a while I have thought that perhaps I shouldn't share so much.  Should keep some of my personal musings private.  But today, when I ran across 25 year old musings that felt like such a note of encouragement, I opted to share.  It's okay if you don't want to read any further,  your life is full of your own musings and memories and time is so precious.  BUT...

We hold on.  We hold on to bits of paper and coins and ticket stubs.  We cherish the green barrell of monkies and the Barney night light, the blessed rosary and the baby Weeble.  We hold on... until our lives are so overflowing with those treasures, reminders of our past that we can't experience fully this present moment.  

We wonder why we forget appointments, why we make list after list, why we lose our glasses, our keys, our shoes, for goodness sake.  Maybe we have a finite hard drive and because we have lived and loved so very much, we are out of room for extraneous data. 


Shannon didn't take after her Mom in the clutter category.  She valued everything but held on to very little.  This is a collage that she made, a terrible photo , but a beautiful piece that hangs in my office/library/computer room.  It is like her jounal, full of moments that she treasured.  Mementos displayed.  They speak volumes and they aren't obscurred, tucked in boxes and baskets and bags, under beds or in closets.  As I work my way through these 40 bags in 40 days, I am trying to let her speak to me.  To remind me that I don't need every scrap of paper... I hold these precious memories in a far safer place and if I allow myself room to breathe, the panic that I might forget, without the reminders, will ease.

Of course there are treasures, buried beneath the rubble and when I find one I take a minute to appreciate all that that moment meant and I savor it.

Shannon was 14 when I wrote these words.  I never imagined, that these words would be resurrected some 25 years later by the older, slightly broken version of me, and offer reassurance and encouragement.

"June 8, 1989

When do we begin to hear the words of our inner prompter?  That friend that asks no favor and needs only to be there for us when we seek them for comfort  or companionship.

Take heart in every action that requires a reaction from you for in that moment of reaction you have touched the heart of being.  There are no mistakes, so never regret your decisions.  Know that you make every choice and take every action,  to experience another facet of your being.  You may not realize the significance at the time, but you always shine a little brighter and light a little more of the darkness for every step you take toward the Divine within you. 

There is always eternal peace if you can experience life in the moment.  Don't worry about what you should be doing, no lamenting about what you could have done or will do, or what if this or that?  We are at each and every moment safely in the loving hands of our Father.  There is no love greater or longer lived than that.  Each moment begins the next and if we can learn to live and love ourselves completely, then we can learn to give ourselves this gift.  This gift of peace of mind and heart. 

We are born unlimited, the essence  of our Creator, but are quickly taught to forget who and what we are in defference to what others think we should become.  We outgrow the magic and learn limitation.  We learn that we can only "do so much", and forget that in God, all things possible. 

Death is to be mourned ? Why?  This is the next step, a return to what we are and what we live longing for.  That place of wonder just around the corner, that thing we can't quite remember but know is there.  An ecstatic reunion with our true selves."

All I really remember about that time is that I was happy.  Jules and Shannon were happy.  We were whole and our family was happy.  I was totally into Angels and had attended a workshop on "Communicating with your Angels".  Later that week I wrote that page.  

What I know for sure is that my Angels didn't leave me when sorrow replaced joy.  They have been waiting patiently for me to excavate and declutter and rediscover what I have always known but had forgotten.

On days like these, I am certain that Shannon, my Mom, Maw Maw and and a myriad of others that have gone ahead, are watching, taking a break from their harps and cloud napping ( of course Shannon is shaking her head and smiling at that one ) to assure me that we are all okay.

We hold on... we hold on with a white knuckled grip, until we know that it's okay to let go.  To open our hands, our hearts and our minds so that we are ready to receive whatever the next gift is.  With each bag, I am once step closer to beginning again, to remembering that all things are possible.




March 1

GG fishing1

"Great Expectations"

The Fredericksburg Women's Club Art Show opened yesterday.  I've only missed one year since Shannon and I entered together in 1998.  She won the "Most Popular" that year and after her accident, the ladies created an award in her memory.  It always pleases me to see the piece that they choose from the drawings to honor.

This year I received an award for "Great Expectations".  Gavin fishing the muddy puddle at Mom's.  The title is somewhat misleading.  He really had no expectations.  He simply enjoyed the act of fishing the muddy puddle.  There might have been a fish, or a frog, or even a turtle.  He simply sat there, red plastic bobber hovering over the red plastic hook waiting for whatever might happen. 

After a while, he was finished.  Not disappointed.  Not fuming or fretful.  Just finished and ready to move on to the next adventure.

There's so much to be learned from that one fleeting moment.

On January 19, I stopped at Mom's after Gavin's birthday celebration.  The refrigerator had stopped and the floor was covered with water.  I was frantic.  The house had been on the market since October and we never knew when someone might show an interest.  I plugged and unplugged, tripped and flipped breakers, opened and closed, but nothing would revive the relatively new refrigerator with the french doors and freezer at the bottom.  I had been with Mom when she picked it out and she really loved that refrigerator.

After the clean up I headed home and Monday morning Jules agreed to go to Reva with me to be sure that I hadn't overlooked something simple.  Nope... just dead.  But while we were there, with the refrigerator in the middle of the floor a  realtor, of course, arrived with prospective buyers. 

They were so sweet and had little boys and for the first time in months, I felt like maybe I could let go.  We tried to stay out of their way but had an opportunity to chat a little and that afternoon they put an offer on the house.  I felt as if Mom had hand picked them. 

Forty two days later they spent their first night in the house. 

I had personal expectations.  I thought I would feel sad.  I thought I would have trouble as I left my key and pulled the door closed behind me for the last time.  But I realized as I drove home that I was experiencing the same emotional calm that I felt when I met Shannon's heart recipient for the first time.  Mom is happy.  She doesn't live there anymore.  A new family will laugh and love and play and cook and celebrate in that space, just like we did.  New memories are being created and instead of a is once again a home. 

When I met Shannon's heart recipient, five years post transplant, I was asked if I wanted to put my head on Matthew's chest and listen to Shannon's heart.  I remember being stunned at the thought.  I know it is very important for many donor families but I looked into that young man's face, so gracious and kind, and knew that all I wanted was for his heart to beat long and strong in his chest and all I needed was to know that he was healthy and happy, like Shannon is. 

That heart loves full out now, just like it did for Shannon.  That is a wonderful miracle.

Today I begin again.  I don't know what I would do without the promise of new beginnings.  Far too often I begin only to end... abruptly when life has different plans.  We do what is asked of us.  It's not obligation or responsibility so much as the desire to feel necessary, relevant.  This morning I'm not sure what that looks like. 

I divided my life into seasons so that I could get a clear picture of the journey.  My first twenty years were spent learning.  I was a daughter, a sister, and a wife.  I didn't have a clue.  And because of where I find myself now, I think that was my summer.  The next twenty, I was a wife, a daughter, a sister and a MOM.  Oh how I loved being a Mom.  Again, learning, growing, making mistakes, but most importantly, I discovered a love that I couldn't even have imagined.  That was my autumn.  The next twenty, I had to discover and draw from a courage that I wasn't sure I had.  I was still a wife, a daughter, a sister and a Mom... but I had to learn to love from a distance...with an intimacy that defies explanation.  We believe that those we love are as close as breath, still alive and well and happy, still held safely in our hearts... but nothing prepares you for that journey...and it never ends.  This has been my winter.

This morning I am squatting beside my own muddy puddle.  Not sure what swims beneath the surface, not sure it matters.  This morning, I just want to enjoy the moment.  Things have a way of working out just the way they should, just the way you would have them if you were really in control. 

I look at GG's little feet and head, sitting there beside that muddy puddle with Great Expectations and know at three, he is wiser than I am with sixty years behind me. 

For the next twenty... the spring of my life, I hope to embrace the promise of the moment,  anticipate new growth, rebirth, warmth and light and know that I will have Great Expectations, but like that wonderful little boy, I plan to relinquish disappointment in favor of the next big adventure.

P.S.   The refrigerator is now working great !