Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The crisp of the air

The seasons are changing.  I love it when each season changes, yes even the fall into winter.  It is a reminder that we too are always changing.  This is not a bad thing!

 In 2010, at my girls' baccalaureate, the minister spoke about yearbook messages.  He said the one that always got to him was 'don't ever change' or 'stay just the way you are'.  He said, 'what a horrible thing to say to someone'.  At first I was really taken aback by this.  I mean, what a compliment, that someone thinks you are so wonderful that they don't want you to ever change.  Isn't that a compliment?  This minister went on to say: 'Think about it parents, are any of you the same as the day you graduated from high school?  Aren't you glad you aren't.'  Aha!  He was right.  Although many of my core values are very much the same, I am not.  Looking back over those, well, let's just say many years, I realize I have changed many a time.  Not always a positive change, but a change none the less.  Looking at each one of those changes, I have to smile, because all of them, even the not so good ones, have made me who I am today.

As of late, I have found myself struggling to change to 'fit in'.  I have found myself struggling to change because the world, or society, deems that a certain lifestyle, or having x number of relationships, or x amount of material items, or x amount of social activities, makes you happier.  I have been trying to be who I was being told I am supposed to be.  I couldn't understand why I was so stressed, and not so very happy.  If all of these things were supposed to be making me happy, then why am I not?  I had to take stock of why I found myself at a place where I felt so uncomfortable, and when it was last that I didn't feel as such.

Now, bare with me a moment, because this is going to seem a bit bizarre when I first mention of the time where I last felt happiest, but... let me finish before you start to judge.  Last year, at this time, my DH was deployed.  The first few weeks were difficult.  Not only did my husband's presence become nill in our house, shortly thereafter, so did my girls' as they headed off to the U of A to start their next chapter of life.  It was an interesting season of change, and yet, as I adjusted to the new temperature of our home, I did settle in, and that is the last time I can truly remember being at ease.  How could that be?  My  husband was at war, there was an injury that resulted in surgery.  There was first year of college stress, and homesickness, and trials.  There was car trouble in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere while completely alone.  There was a case of mono accompanied by strep and cytomegalavirus.  So many other things that I dealt with, just me, no husband, no family close by, just me.  Why in the world would that be the last time I felt the most at ease, the most content?

Now, I asked you to bare with me, and here is where I need it.  It wasn't because my husband was gone as were my girls, and I was just left with my boys that I finally felt at ease.  It was because, during that time, my focus was my family.  I wasn't trying to be anything anyone else was telling me to be.  I was being true to what my nature is, a caregiver for my family.  I packed up a box a week and mailed it off to Afghanistan.  I sent care packages and devised surprises for my girls to help their first year of college become all they dreamed it to be.  I sat in the evenings with my sons and laughed until we cried.  I would wait patiently by the computer knowing at that time, my dh would be getting off work in another part of the world and would just simply want to say goodnight, or good morning. I took time to myself to eat better, and I exercised in a not so conventional way, and loved it!  My focus was taking care of this little unit.  Don't get me wrong, I still had some outside activities, like the youth choir, and Bible study, band boosters, and my regular exercise mornings.  My focus was not about me trying to be something or someone else though.  It was about me being me, a lady who completely pours herself into her family.  Yes, change is good, but right now, I am just not ready.  My life is full of my little family's activities, and I love being the crazy mom who is at all of the games, and concerts, and musicals, and camps, and contests, and chaperons the dances, and laughs at youtube videos, waits up for the kids to find out how their day went, or who sits with the kids and their friends at events, or even in my living room and just talks.  I love, that when I walk into church, the kids in my choir can't wait to tell me something.  I love that my social circle changes depending on which season, event, or location we are in. I know, I know, not a whole lot of adult interaction there.  I know what society says.  Yet, maybe just maybe, I am supposed to be right in the middle of the craziness with my kids, and right in the middle of this youth generation for as long as they welcome me.  Not necessarily as one of them, but as a mentor, a counselor, an adult they can come to when they are lost.  Maybe, my nature, my focus, the one God has ordained me to do, is being this lady, who doesn't follow conventional society, and is focused on building this family, and the youth that cross my path.  Who marches to a different drummer, and at the end of the day, whose heart smiles.  Then as the season changes, will be ready for whatever new temperature the Lord brings.