Sunday, November 20, 2016

Letting My Smile Be My Guide

Final page.

I stepped out onto the porch in my fuzzy white bathrobe this morning where Hubs was having a pipe. I carried my new prized possession, a refurbished and beautiful iPad Air. With surprise in my voice I said, "I think I'm falling in love with a red one!"

I'd been shopping online for a cover for this first big purchase with my paycheck from my new job. He laughed because I had been saying that I wanted a black cover because it made more sense. But every time I saw the red cover online it made me smile, and I was deciding that a smile makes more sense than making sense. 

For some reason this feels like it connects to the fact that I am dreading filling out the final page of the journal I have been pouring my heart into for the last few years. 

May have something to do with identity and how I thought we would find it once and for all in "old age", but I keep surprising myself lately. I keep recalculating and finding myself going in an entirely different direction than planned. This thought makes me happy and excited...but also scared and reluctant to let go of the past. 

The first words in this old green journal say, "It feels unreal that Mom passed away 19 days ago. I wake up each morning to sadness that it is still true. Six weeks from her diagnosis to her death was not enough to adjust to its reality."

Why don't I want to close the last page on a journal that heard my pain about death, serious job loss, an awful motorcycle accident and food stamps? Five years of deep loss and severe self-doubt that sent me spinning spiritually and emotionally.

I was slow to write in this last journal. Weeks slipped by between entries, sometimes even months. The span of this journal is longer than any other I have used over the years. I do not like to journal when I am unhappy or depressed or lost. Some pages will be about my confusion and prayers that consist of the words, "Help me God, please." Then it begins to feel useless and empty and I let the journal collect dust next to my bed. 

But this journal ends with happy entries about the cutest and brightest grandson in the world being added to our family, writing my book and my new job as a preschool teacher. The grandkid and the job have changed my life DRAMATICALLY! I do not even recognize my life anymore!

Which brings us back to the first paragraph up there. Who is this lady who would choose a bright red iPad cover over the more sensible black? The church lady who always did the correct thing at the correct time for the correct reasons seems to be lost. Maybe it's just an age thing. Passing 60 makes one decide that a smile is better advice than common sense. (Oh I like that! You can quote me on that one!)

I am ready to close that sad journal and move on to the new one that waits for me with fresh white pages. This new chapter will include stories about my silly 2 year old grandson, more silly stories about the ten 2 year olds that I teach and this unrecognizable and busy life that fills me with joy. 

I'm a writer, a teacher, a Jesus lover, a devoted wife, grandma, mother and mother-in-law. My identity is fluid. Waiting for it all to make sense is senseless. 

Letting a smile guide me in my decisions is my earned wisdom. 

New journal! This makes me smile too.

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  1. You could leave the last page blank!

  2. much love for much life held between those I love the way I can see God so clearly in your journey. Ain't it funny how that works? From my distance in many ways, I still see his hand clearly in your life, somewhat more than my own! Thanks for the new one. Stash it and move's time!

    1. That is funny how that works. Hindsight is also much clearer. Ha! Been so long since I've written anything. Felt good. Love you my friend...and miss you.

  3. By all means, get the RED one! Red will make you smile every day, just like your little butterfly tatoo! When we bought an electric stove/fireplace for our new home, I had a choice between black and red, and I labored over that decision just like you. I chose the RED one, and have smiled every time I look at it. Now, concerning your journal...I remember those days that you wrote about...the sad, confused, dark days....we were new friends then, and your mother and my father both passed away within a month of each other I believe...and we both were going through changes in our lives and homes...some hard, some horrible, and some wonderful. That is a journal that you will look back upon some day and see how far you've come...and realize how God was preparing you for the JOY that has come in the morning after the weeping that endured for many nights. You are in a new place's almost like "life after death"...and the happy days are just beginning. God is faithful...He never lets us down. He's with us in the good and bad times...and your journal proves that. It's a keeper. You are a keeper too...and so, by all means, get the RED one! (Ha ha...that made good sense, right???) Love ya, my little "RECOVERED CHURCH LADY"...No longer RECOVERING...You are recovered in so many beautiful ways. Sorry to take up so much space commenting, but you know me...! And I am rejoicing with you today.

    1. I love this lady! I love you too, Susie, but so much group hug in my head right now!

    2. Thanks Pam, you guys walked me through the tough stuff and I am so thankful for you both!!

    3. I love BOTH of you. So when are we all getting together for that real group hug?????

  4. I enjoyed reading about your strength in our Lord, in overcoming the tragedy that happened. Your joy about the new baby is so wonderful, and I see you have even written a book! You are one buys lady. I added myself to your blog, to see where life takes you. If you get a chance, please stop over to our family Christian Blog and see what we are up too...Many Blessings to and your family...Linda B


All comments are good comments!

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