Saturday, November 16, 2013
No matter how much faith we have, we lose people------- and, their memories can give us the very faith we need to continue on without them. Families Change, through death, divorce, marriage and remarriage. Through many of life's experiences, people come into our lives and slip away, and we are left to rebuild, to reunite, and to redefine our families. When my first husband left, after 20 years of marriage, I experienced a myriad of contradictory feelings. In one breath, I wanted to keep everything exactly as it was the day he left. I guess, in an attempt to not face my new reality, to pretend a bit that it was all a bad dream and I would wake up to everything the same. And, perhaps even to protect my heart from the devastation of divorce. Yet, in another breath came a burning desire to make everything new. To sort of clear the slate and start over. Some kids wanted certain pictures down, while other kids wanted certain pictures up. So, we redesigned and relocated a few, and even redecorated a bit, until we came to a happy place for us all. Then, there was the master bedroom closet. His clothes hung straight ahead and were the first things in view every time I opened the door. Those clothes hung for hope---- that someday he might return. Those clothes neatly organized, just as he had left them, reminded me of the many good things he had taught me like being clean and organized, and patterning our home and our lives in that same manner. His white shirts reminded of our beliefs that still burned deeply within my soul. And, his Olympic coat, from his volunteer experience reminded me of warmth and security------not only of the warmth and security I once felt from him, but also of the warmth and security I hoped to again feel, someday in the future. I left the closet just as he left it for over a year. Then, I was ready. The kids were all invited to different events, that weekend. I began to empty the closet. I laundred and neatly folded his clothes and placed them in bins. Each drawer was tenderly emptied, boxed, taped and labeled. As I went through things, I realized that those days, as I knew them, were over. I cried tears over what I had lost, over what he gave away and over what would never be. But, those tears were cleansing and healing. Those tears enabled me to close the door to that chapter of my life, with confidence in what was ahead of me.
This past August, I had the amazing opportunity of remarrying an incredible man and father. As I mentioned in a previous post entitled "We Build", one of the first things we did was to build a shed. We got rid of many things, donated others to those with a need. We filled a storage unit and built a shed. There were just some things that though they did not need to be in the house or garage, we wanted them close by, just in case. There were other things that we knew we would not need again, but were however, useful to someone else. Like, an extra washer and dryer. Just as we were moving his things into my home, there was a neighbor relocating. She had been through years of challenges. Things were looking up for her and she was finally getting her own basement apartment. That washer and dryer meant the world to her. I had an extra Scout shirt that was just the right size for a new Scout leader in our neighborhood. Then, we were able to place in the shed those things we might use, rarely use or just plain could not part with.
"Forget what hurt you, but NEVER forget what it TAUGHT you!".
Put those items in the shed----not too far away and close by just in case, those things you just can't part with. I realized that my memories did not lie in his clothes in my walk-in closet nor the pictures on the wall. Those memories and lessons were deeply ingrained within my heart and soul, and when the time was right, they could be simply put in the "shed" of my mind, close by just in case, but not so close as to make our new family dynamics uncomfortable. I vowed to never forget where I came from, because you never know when you might have to travel that road again, or help someone else make the very same trip. Though I am remarried, I never want to forget those feelings and experiences I had as a single mother. As hard as they were, it was definitely a time of refining in my life. A period when I had to make the conscious effort to smile and wake up, to become better not bitter, each morning, I arose.
Never forget where you've been. Never forget who you've been with. And, never take for granted those who have journeyed with you. Always remember you have become who you are because of them. There is power in knowing that if you make this trial of Family Change your strength ----- it cannot be a weakness. Perhaps, it's the very scars we receive in this battlefield we call life ---- that remind us of the prints in His hands and feet. The very prints that allow us to put our pain and heartbreak in the "shed" ---- not too far, and close by just in case----allowing us to press forward in faith and carry on for those who are depending on us to succeed. I know that my life has happened exactly as it has, so that I might be prepared for what lies ahead. Often times, I think we feel that we are doing a family member a disservice by putting there things away, sharing their clothes or even changing a picture or two. But, I cannot think of a higher medal of honor to give someone we have lost, than becoming better because of them. And, not being afraid to put things in the "shed", was part of that process, for me. Now, in my closet, there is another cluster of white shirts that remind me of our standards, our way of living, our beliefs and the core values we share together, in this new union, in this our family of Family Change. I might also add, there is also a section of warm coats, even an Olympic coat, which remind me daily, that I am warm and secure, not only in the arms of my husband, but His arms. His arms whom I have learned to cry on and rely on during the past few years of incredible Family Change. I never want to forget that journey. For it represents the possibilities in us all to rise above, to overcome, to heal, to put things in our "shed," not too far away, at times out of sight,----- yet close by, always to be found if we need, in our "Shed" of memories and experiences, lessons learned, hearts broken, healed and enlarged. And, spirits bigger, better, stronger and more dedicated to today, because of yesterday----- which has been tenderly placed at His feet, in "Our Shed."