50 Shades Of Blue

This week, I spent a good amount of time redoing the bedroom our oldest son, Ben, has slept in since he was 9 months old and we moved into this house. Our youngest son, Franklin (Tank) has been in a bedroom without a window to the outside since he came home from the hospital 15+ years ago. We have told him for a long time that when Ben goes to college he would inherit “the room with a view” . . . of the neighbors enclosed patio on the back side of his house. *laughs allowed* It would at least be a cooler option for him to have a window. He is loving it, by the way. Anyway, on Monday after dropping Ben off at Hastings College on Sunday, I tore into cleaning and painting and vacuuming Ben’s room. His room was painted a pale blue that matched a quilt his Grandma Peggy made for him when he was a baby. Ben was so excited to get his big boy bed and change the walls in his room to match some of the blue in that blue and red and dalmatian covered quilt of his. We painted it to the specifications of his then three-year-old imagination and desires. And he loved it for a long time. As he grew and got older we would always ask him if he wanted us to repaint the room to a color more of his liking as he matured. He always told us no but I have a feeling it was because he didn’t want to pull everything out of the room to get it done more than he wanted to change it. Just a suspicion. I bought all my supplies, taped off the “unpaintables” and carpet and started in. It took two coats but the room was done. As I was wrapping up on Wednesday, I sat down in the middle of the empty, now completely changed room. I had this overwhelming feeling come over me that I had just erased a little boy completely. And I cried. Thank God Tank was in school and Wade was working and the only one I had to worry about seeing me was our dog. Because it was an ugly cry. All the memories of rocking him to sleep or sleeping on the floor next to his bed because he was sick or scared and the conversations that grew more meaningful over the years that we’d shared while laying on the bed staring at the ceiling came rushing back. I erased that little boy. Or that’s how it felt in that moment. 

This year has brought so much change to my life. I know we have all experienced changes brought on by the current pandemic we are living through. But more than that, some of us have experienced other changes also. I left a career of 12 years to pursue a dream and an opportunity that deserves my attention and time and devotion. Was it scary? Oh, heck yeah. Was it worth it? Oh, heck yeah. One thing I have learned in this journey of mine over the last year and a half has been to embrace the suck. What do I mean by that? I mean that sometimes in life, things just plain suck. They aren’t enjoyable or pleasant in the least. But the sooner we embrace the suck the sooner we find our peace with it and are able to work through some of it. For me, the suck has consisted of walking and exercising and making sure I am moving my body to continue to lose weight. The suck has been my sacrifice of sugary sweets and oversized portions at meal times. And in other areas, the suck has been realizing that time marches on and kids grow up and leave. And that is okay. That is what we raise them to do. The thing we need to understand is that every “thing” in life will suck from time to time. Marriage. Careers. Family. Parenthood. Friends. Responsibility. Finances. Home-ownership. Vehicles. School. Health. Life. All of these come with moments that drag us through the proverbial crap we have to work through. The question then becomes what things in our lives are actually worth the suck; the crap. Find those things and you’ve found your purpose. Foster those things. Care for them. Even if you know, eventually, it will come to an end.

Over the course of our lives, we learn that one thing is inevitable. Things end. Every “thing” that happens and every “thing” that we are going through will end. Sometimes, it ends too soon. Other times, not nearly soon enough. I know we all can understand both sides of that same coin. Our job is to find the happiness in the middle of the current “thing” we are experiencing. That can be difficult at times. Sometimes, we step into things that we know are temporary; or transitional. Parenting is one of those things. You’ve heard the phrase, “Leave it better than you found it?” Well, I believe that to be true in all circumstances. I believe that our job, as parents especially, is to understand first and foremost that our children don’t truly belong to us to begin with. I feel like they are loaned to us from God and our job is to raise them to the best of our ability to know Who He is and to do His work in the world around us. And along that line, we have to remember that He loves them more than we ever could anyway. 

As things end, oftentimes, with no help from us at all, our job is to let go. That is the difficult part. I know I have the tendency to hang on to things . . . good, bad or indifferent . . .  for far too long. I am an emotional hoarder. I stuff things in these imaginary boxes in my mind thinking that someday I’ll pull them out and handle them again to feel the same emotions and feelings as I did when it initially came to me. Sometimes, that’s good. We should embrace and hang on to the good. It’s what sustains us when the crap comes. Where this becomes dangerous is when we end up hanging on to the pain, the bad, and in the not-so-good. In different seasons of my life, I have held onto pain and heartache and unforgiveness just like the rest of us. But through the years of learning how to deal with the pain and heartache and learning how to forgive I have realized that in order to receive the blessings and the good that God truly wants to send to me, I have to loosen my grip on the bad. There are things I have held onto for so long that they don’t even resemble what they did when I first took hold of them. They have literally disintegrated and started to slip through my fingers. And as that happens, my focus shifts solely to try and put it all back together and salvage whatever I can to make it like it used to be. But I can’t. It is impossible. My hands are white-knuckle-clamped around things that God doesn’t want me hanging on to any longer. Have you ever had your hands full . . . either with one big item or a few different ones . . . and someone either threw something to you or acted like they were going to throw something to you? Do you remember that panicked feeling you had for a split second as your mind raced to figure out how you were going to receive what was coming at you without dropping everything else you held? In a sense, that is what happens when we are hanging on to things that aren’t meant to be handled by us any longer and we see good things coming to us. We have to have open hands to receive whatever blessings God is laying out for us. 

I watched a movie years ago called “Hope Floats.” I am no film critic, but I think it’s a well-put-together story about a mother, her daughter and granddaughter. It packs quite the emotional punch all the way through. At the end of the movie, the main character, played by Sandra Bullock, is speaking to the audience. She says something that has stuck with me and I believe it to be one of the most simple yet profoundly true statements and I use it from time to time. She says, “Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that counts. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.” I know that the beginning of Ben’s story is the ending of that dependent little boy that used to sit on my lap and give me kisses and hold my hand. But it is okay. More than okay. He has hope. I have hope. I haven’t erased that little boy. No. I simply let go of his hand so that he can take hold of the good that is coming his way. 

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

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