I hate to be a walking cliche, but the truth cannot be denied: I wrote a blog for a few weeks, then stopped. Now I am back, and hope to redeem myself by writing a kick-ass, sublimely beautiful post that will make you weep with emotion. No? Okay, I’ll settle for words strung together that make some sort of weird, demented sense and don’t make you nauseous. That might be achievable.
So, we have made our big move from Los Angeles to the ridiculously gorgeous Santa Cruz mountains. It feels like an epic movie now in my memory, a Ten Commandments-style Charleton Heston saga. Our saga included the following:
- losing Little Bird’s beloved pillow pet pig;
- running to the vet after our dog’s delightful pre-trip dog fight left him with a torn ear;
- fixing our broken-down car on the I-5 in the middle of East Jesus;
- bad colds and sinus infections galore;
- living in a hotel for two months — TWO MONTHS! — while we sweated out escrow on our condo and new house.
Finally, we made it to the land of milk and honey. The very first house we looked at with a realtor was our house, with a third of an acre of sunny, useable land, solar panels, the kitchen of my dreams, and to top it all off, a play structure and sandbox for Little Bird. We left the hotel and moved in mid-January.
More on all that in another post.
What I really want to talk about is this: there is always a dark side to any bright dream. If we are to live this dream called life with grace and presence, we must acknowledge — as far as we are able — the shadow side.
I find that life provides plenty of opportunities to encounter the shadow side, if I am open to it. A simple event can trigger a cascade of challenging emotions. The day or two before we left L.A., I realized that we had lost Little Bird’s pig, which I was counting on to help ease the transition for her. As I drove from place to place looking for it, I cried buckets of tears. Buckets, I tell you.
That one little thing triggered all of my overwhelming grief at leaving dear friends and our long-time church home. I felt unbearably sad at leaving the place of Little Bird’s infancy, and more, at realizing anew that Little Bird was growing up, was no longer a baby. And underneath that is my grief that everything changes, that everything must change for life to continue.
Change! I’m against it.
It would certainly be more comfortable to ignore or push down all those hard feelings. In the short run, that is. The problem with that plan is that it blocks healing. All those repressed feelings coalesce into one big ball o’ pain, and everything freezes up inside.
So, the next time hard feelings well up inside of you, try welcoming them, as far as you are able. Although it seems counter-intuitive, welcoming the crap in life actually transforms it into gold in some weird kind of alchemy. (Please note that “welcome” does not mean “enjoy.” It simply means making a space for those feelings.)
It is embracing all of life, the hard and the good both, the sorrow and the joy both. And in the embrace, God has an opportunity to heal your deepest wounds, which is God’s greatest desire. As St. Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is the human person, fully alive.”
It’s good to be back.