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The Power of Prayer

Prayer follows me. It is who I am…and who I have become.

Don’t get me wrong…I do not profess to be “holier than thou”.

It is just something that I do.  

The fact is…I was scared.

In the middle of my divorce, fear was my constant companion.  I couldn’t breath without reaching for my rosary. Oh yeah…did I mention,  I am born and raised  Catholic. (Don’t get me started.)  (I have my fair share of “issues” with the Catholics)   Aside from that…I have been “born again”…not once… but twice.  In addition, I studied and embraced Kabbalah. It made sense to me.  And without question, I bless the Buddha  when our paths intersect. How can you not feel compelled to rub the belly of  Buddha?

The fact is…I’m a closet believer. I never want to climb on my soapbox and talk about GOD. It ends up sounding preachy, conceited, directional. Who am I to tell you how to get through your own nightmare ? Besides… HE…never guaranteed that I would get through mine.  HE never appeared in a vision and said, “I will wipe away all of your fears and I will bestow upon you happiness…and joy…and light.

No…there was no vision. Only Faith.

And yet…that is exactly what has happened for me. There is happiness. There is joy.. There is light.

Why?

Because I pray.

And in the midst of this mess we call life…I stumble upon countless opportunities, to enlighten and share  the wonder  of God. I wait for your direction…a comment…a question…and in careful fashion, I share, the goodness that I have seen. I encourage you to embrace the God of your chosing.  He will find you.  He will comfort you.  He will bring the answers you seek.  He will change the way you live your life.

Prayer is simple. It involves communication. It requires surrender. It’s easier than you think.   

The Power of Prayer

The day was long, the burden I had borne

Seemed heavier than I could longer bear,

And then it lifted – but I did not know

Some one had knelt in prayer;

Had taken me to God that very hour,

And asked the easing of the load, and He,

In infinite compassion, had stooped down

And taken it from me.

We cannot tell how often as we pray

For some bewildered one, hurt and distressed,

The answer comes, but many times those hearts

Find sudden peace and rest.

Some one had prayed, and Faith, a reaching hand,

Took hold of God, and brought Him down that day!

So many, many hearts have need of prayer:

Oh, let us pray!

author unknown

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…do you like the things that life is showing you…where are you going to

… do you know?”

One of the toughest transitions for me, following my divorce, has been adjusting to the unpredictable nature of…well…pretty much everything. You see, in marriage, you develop certain patterns…traditions. You know which family member is going to host Thanksgiving, where you will be for Christmas, where you might vacation for spring break. You establish routines revolving around people you are most likely to get-together with over the weekend…and who you are most likely to vacation with, or celebrate your birthday with. You know where you are going to be living, and you have plotted out a most likely scenario for the next 18 years or so while you hunker down, build a business and raise a family. It all seems very well thought out…and comfortably…predictable, and while adjustments are made along the way to allow for change and growth…one thing is for certain…you have a pretty good idea WHO  you will be traveling down that road with. 

Divorce launches you into the land of question. Houses, friends, and families, are split up…subdivided…sectioned off and re-assigned. Nothing lands where it once belonged, there are no real roadmaps pointing in the “right” direction, and suddenly you find yourself asking the questions…where will I go, what will I do,  who will I be with, and how will I find the answers… on my own? 

In the aftermath of my divorce, the questions seemed looming and ominous. There was a foreboding sense of fear and uncertainty. I no longer knew what to believe in…or which direction to turn.  My children,  my immediate family, and a handful of faithful friends were the only reliable constants in an otherwise uncertain world. And yet I knew that my only hope in navigating my way through that uncertain terrain was to remain open to all that life had to offer and try to learn something meaningful from everything that happened to me along the way. Some of the lessons have come easily…others…not so much. Never-the-less, I have remained  determined to show up for all of it.

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers which could not be given to you now because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything

Live the questions now.

Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even knowing it, live your way into the answer.

                                                                                                                                                                                     ≈Rilke

 

I can honestly say that I am no longer afraid of the uncertainty, the un-predictable nature of my life. My children, my immediate family, and the same handful of faithful friends, surround me and sustain me, along with the rich tapestry of new friends and experiences that I have woven into my story. I still don’t have the answer to the question, “Do you know where you’re going to“… but I am happy to report that I feel truly blessed by all of the things that life is showing me.

Invite Love

I was running along the beach the other day…thinking of the burning in my legs  and the shortness of my breath…all the while enjoying the scenic splendor of everything around me, and while I was mostly focusing on the sand and the terrain, hoping I wouldn’t trip on a pile of seaweed or twist my ankle on some old debris, I passed by a rock that was a bit…well…heart shaped. 

My attention shifted to a very dear friend of mine who is in the habit of  “finding  heart shapes  in unexpected places”,  and as I maintained my running momentum, I pondered the notion of stopping to retrieve this particular heart shaped rock.  I remembered a day we shared, hiking along a  peaceful trail, and she stumbled upon something very similar. We quietly continued our hike and after a few moments she  excused herself and went back down the trail for some mysterious reason. When she returned she held in her hand the prize she was seeking. Upon questioning her she simply said…I needed to ask… if it was okay.

I felt determined to stay focused on my run that morning and I had a ways to go before I reached the turn around point , but the whole way back I was secretly hoping I would stumble upon that rock I saw on the beach. Meanwhile I couldn’t help reflecting on the significance of the experience I shared with my dear friend. 

You see…You cannot ever hope to find love or feel love if you are not willing to be open enough to invite love into your heart. It’s a question…an invitation…do you want to love?

Well…

…do you?

Like Noah

“Start a huge, foolish project,

Like Noah…

it makes absolutely no difference

what people think of you.”

Rumi

The Damsel in this Dress

Why is it so gosh darn hard to ask for help? As Christian women, mother’s, wife’s and X-wife’s, we have been called upon to lend a helping hand on many occasions , i.e. a friend’s new baby, a neighbor’s passing, a celebration, or an unexpected divorce…and we are always quick to jump in and say, “Let me know how I can help”. “Just let me know what I can do to help.” ” I’m  here if you need any help.”  And then…we help. We make dinners, we organize carpools, we  prepare banquet rooms for receptions, we handle the details. We are  go-to girls in crisis or celebration. It is woven into the very fabric of who we are. It is no surprise to me that some of my very best friends are women (and men) who go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to helping out.

Why then is it so difficult when we are the one’s in need of a little help? We pride ourselves on being strong, stoic, and self-reliant, (okay maybe that’s just the Irish in me) but, (I  am reluctant to admit it),  there are times when me, myself and I are just not enough people to take care of me, (myself and I).  And yet…I am more likely to trudge along with whatever burden or broken shit I am faced with and simply, do it myself or do nothing, than to ever comfortably  ask anyone for help.  

Case in point; I have two doors in my house that need to be planed. I bought new carpet in that room a little while ago (3 yrs) and the padding is making it difficult to open and close the doors without tremendous effort. 3 years have gone by (did I mention it’s been 3 yrs?)and it is still on the list of things to do.

I’m gonna get right on that.

There’s a crack in my windshield  that is spreading into something reminiscent of Charlotte’s web and I know I need to take the car in for service soon but I just haven’t figured out when that would be conveinient.

I’m gonna get right on that.

There are smoke detectors beeping, sprinklers that need adjusting, and fans that oscillate in the wrong direction. I can’t get the kid’s computer  set up to the wireless remote because I can’t find the needle nose pliers that I need to detach the cable and re-install it in another room and I can’t figure out why the damn printer isn’t working again. Don’t even get me started on that pesky pickle jar that gave me so much grief and God-forbid I should have trouble with a stubborn cork at the end of the day. Finding  the  tools designed to help me tackle these ridiculous life challenges is right up there at the top of my list of things to do.  

I’m gonna get right on that.

None of these issues are enough to push us over the edge. We can do this. We are problem solvers and trouble shooters. We are self-sufficient, self-reliant, stand on our own two feet kinda women who can easily handle a power drill AND a glue gun all in the same day. Why then do we have so much trouble asking for help?

Does the term Vulnerability ring a bell? Remember that one? It’s the thing you’ve been running from since the very beginning of the end of your life as a married person. Somehow we all made silent vows to ourselves that we would never allow ourselves to be that vulnerable ever again. EVER!

Give up to grace.

The ocean takes care of each wave til it gets to shore.

You need more help than you know.

Rumi

 

 

I made an appointment to see my therapist last week knowing it was probably a good time to ask for a little help. (Because these are the tools designed to help us tackle life’s ridiculous challenges) No..it wasn’t the pickle jar or the stubborn cork that sent me over the edge. You see…my son is leaving for college and in a week’s time we will no longer have a man around the house.  I am once again feeling very vulnerable, fragile and slightly broken hearted.

 

Rumi says Give up to grace… and so I pray

 

the ocean takes care of each wave til it gets to shore… and so I pray…

 

I need more help than I know.

 

 

I’m gonna get right on that.

Love Is A Risk

…this is who I have become.

There are so many songs on the radio these days that are expressions of strength and resilience in the aftermath of a broken relationship.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller, doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone, What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter, footsteps even lighter, doesn’t mean I’m over cause you’re gone. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stronger, just me myself and I. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller, doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone. ”    Kelly Clarkson

Everything that happens after your divorce is part of the “aftermath”. It is post-divorce whether it’s been days, months or years.  Whether you date, re-marry, or never marry. You will carry the memory of your past life into everything you do. If you were fortunate enough to share children with your X, the memories will be permanently etched, despite the fact that like a photograph they will fade over time. Your children however will never fade and they will always be a part of who you are and who you once were.

Who you become in this “aftermath” is what defines you. Will you become bitter, jaded, angry, depressed? Will you seek revenge, hold grudges, remain guarded? Or will you rise above the anguish and become better, softer, more compassionate? Will you stand taller in your truth, speak kindly, embrace honesty, be thankful.

“So I wanna say thank you…thanks for making me a fighter. Makes me that much stronger, makes me work a little bit harder, makes me that much wiser, thanks for making me a fighter. Made me learn a little bit faster, made my skin a little bit thicker, makes me that much smarter, thanks for making me a fighter.” Christina Aguilera

In the aftermath of what you’ve done…this is who I have become. I seek the truth. My truth. I demand honesty. Yours… and mine. I walk tall, I support my friends, I have their backs, I face the fire if necessary. I listen with compassion, I share openly, I remain vulnerable. I pray fervently, I have hope, I embrace life, I ask questions. I am not afraid. I am courageous. I am strong and I am brave.

You may never know me. Because in the aftermath of what you’ve done…this is who I have become.