The other day I was walking to one of the classes I teach. As I was crossing the green tree-lined south-suburban campus a wave of gratitude just washed over me. I felt the cool fall breeze coupled with the warm sun and was thankful to be alive in that moment. I thought about the many amazing blessings that I have and how wonderful it is to be in this time of my life right now. I am genuinely thrilled with my daily life. Sometimes that happens to me, a moment where I'm just overcome briefly with gratefulness for my life. I wish I could live in that moment more often, so much more commonly I'm caught up in the racing emotions of live that distract me from focusing on the important, life-giving ones.
For example, the feeling of fear. In counseling I'd probably tell a client that feeling afraid is adaptive to a certain extent, it helps us to survive in our surroundings (particularly if there is something legitimately to be afraid of in our lives). But for me fear is complicated, not always helpful but not always unhelpful either. Like many people, I can get trapped in fear and paralyzed by it so I work hard to keep it at bay. Sometimes I'm more successful than other times. This week I heard on our block that several houses have gotten robbed. Now, on the one hand feeling afraid can be helpful when hearing this news, it causes me to make sure I'm aware of what's going on around me. It helps me to remember to set my house alarm when necessary and it keeps me focused on safety. But it can also be paralyzing, because for me the fear of getting broken into is an old one that taps into something from my early years. When we were discussing this the other night MSD asked why this fear gets to me when so many other things don't seem to stir up any worry on my part. I believe the way he put it was, "I'm not used to you being the one worried about something, that's usually my job..." So true, so true.
I tried to put into words my experience as a 6th grader whose house had just been robbed and explain the vulnerability that comes when you don't feel safe and secure anymore. What I realized is that when that fear of getting robbed comes up I go back to being that 11-year-old girl trying to hide her cd player in the covers of her bed to protect it. A little kid doing whatever she could to save her precious treasures. Even at the time I knew that my efforts were useless, if someone broke into our home they could easily find anything I hid. I couldn't stop it from happening, even if I tried my hardest.
And that's really it, there is nothing I can do to protect my life and keep bad things from happening. I can spend tons of energy worrying and trying to safeguard my belongings and loved ones but ultimately there is nothing I can do to stop evil from wrecking havoc in my life. Now I don't say all of that to be depressing, in fact I find it rather liberating. I can't save myself so I have to quit trying. Instead I want to live in moments of gratitude and thankfulness for the blessings in my days.
Easier said than done. There is a balance to be sought, an attempt to value this world and it's tremendous potential and recognize my own powerlessness in the midst of pain, hopelessness and despair. I am always working on creating that balance in a way that tips the scale towards greater hope in the things that last, such as relationships, love and kindness. Those are the moments I want more of in my life.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Yesterday afternoon the weather was really fabulous here, sunny
but breezy with a hint of coolness in the air... have I mentioned that I love fall???
We took a quick trip over to one of our favorite places in the city, Garfield Park Conservatory, unfortunately this summer they have had major damage due to the hailstorms but the grounds are still open for walking. As the sun was going down we enjoyed an early evening stroll through the paths. It's quite the oasis in our urban center...
Here's Nemo exploring the grass... I can't believe she's 10 months old already...
|hummm counting my fingers...|
|what is my daddy doing?|
|oh he's acting crazy so I'll look at him!|
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Not much to say tonight, but one kind of funny thing....
I taught this weekend and to spice up the afternoon I showed my students a couple of pictures of Nemo. One of my students saw this picture and remarked that we look like a "cute indie family" then she followed that up with "you should start a band."
These two pictures I just like ...
Ahhh summer adventures, the cool weather this weekend is reminding me that the summer is coming to a close... and the summer adventures are just fond sunny memories ....
on to the next season!
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
I love the fall and I've been waiting for a fall like this for quite a while. This past week Nemo and I did something that I hope to make an annual ritual. We headed to Cranes Orchard in Fennville Michigan to pick some peaches. We had a great time playing with Grandma in the orchard and came home with a ridiculous amount of peaches... here's a few pics from the day...