Sunday, September 22, 2013

Seasons of Life

Contrary to the Bangles song a few years ago, Sunday is NOT my "fun day." Today is the 14th Sunday. Some have been better than others, but today was just hard. I had a sense of hopelessness for the first time about the quality of my life from here on out. That is not my nature. I realized I was operating "below the line", as my friend Trudi uses to measure attitudes. But it was where I needed to be today. And I let myself stay there.

It has been a season of loss for me. Besides the loss of my soulmate and the life and future we had planned, there have been other losses as well this summer.  I didn't call or blog or Facebook anyone because I just needed to mourn today, for the things and people I have lost in the last 14 weeks.

And then an old song started playing in my head and it's been there ever since. It is based on chapter 3 in the book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 3

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)

Everything Has Its Time

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

For those of you who would like to listen to the Byrd's singing "Turn, Turn, Turn" circa 1966, here is the You Tube link: I hope you can open it. Every life journey has its seasons. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bonfire Appearances

Shortly after moving to Minnesota, Glenn and I took up camping. Sometimes the children reluctantly came along. :) We started with a tent, so that we could pull our boat and still take one vehicle. Sleeping on mats turned into cots, and after a few years, the tent turned into a popup camper. We went all over Minnesota, and in 2006 we camped all the way through Glacier, up to Jasper, Alberta, and down to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We were gone for most of the month of July. Wonderful memories.

By the next summer we decided that the only part of camping we would miss was sitting around the fire in the morning and again at night. Our air conditioned home and bed won out, and we started docking the boat on Gull and enjoying it there.

After we bought this house, we tried different methods of recreating our campfires. We had several "portable" models, until Glenn, being Glenn, decided we should build a mammoth bonfire pit in our back yard. If you follow me on FB, you watched the construction and the ensuing decisions of what color to paint the adirondack chairs. We decided to fill it in with soft beach-like sand, so the grandchildren could play there too. We always planned to brick it in someday, but it was so big we probably would have had to win the lottery first.

We loved it and used it frequently. Many world, local and family problems were solved while watching the flames. Last fall and spring Glenn spent  a lot of time cleaning out the woods so we would have plenty to burn.

And now he's gone. I've had 3 fires this year, including one right now. But it's not the same anymore, and  every time I look at it, it reminds me of what I have lost.

So lately I've been contemplating taking it apart, and maybe replacing it with a pool next summer. I love water, and it represents warmth and laughter and happiness. We will see. Last night I was thinking about offering all the bricks and insert to anyone who would come and take them away.

This morning shortly before I awoke, I dreamed that the fire pit was being taken apart, only there were huge holes, such as you would make when excavating for a house. And after all that this guy was refusing to take the bricks.

And then, Glenn was standing there. In the same dark blue, paisley shirt he had on the last time he was in my dreams. He had that shirt about 15 years ago; it puzzles me why it shows up. In fact, he had his old aviator style glasses on too. Doesn't say much about heaven's fashion sense.

He didn't say anything, he just stood there expressionless like the last time,and it was obvious, that although my kids and others were there, that I was the only one who could see him. I think I said something about a pool, and looking forward. I reached out to put my arms around him, and even in my dream I could feel the corse texture of that shirt, and how it felt to lay my head on his chest.

And then I woke up. And I haven't been able to get past that dream.

I came outside a little while ago and lit the bonfire my friends had laid a few weeks ago when it was still too hot to enjoy a fire. And I cried like I haven't cried in weeks. It's all part of this journey.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Journey continued...

Lately I can really relate to the posters we have all seen that say, "It's not the destination, it's the journey." This is quite a journey.
Last week was harder than I thought. Even though I am in my 11th year of teaching, it felt like I was starting a new job. Hard to explain, but it was almost surreal. So familiar, yet so strange. By Friday night I was exhausted. It has now been 12 weeks. 

For some reason during the week,  I was able to find a place of increased peace. It came from this. I realized that at 69, Glenn was too young by today's standards to die. But he had lived a very full life and he left this earth at peace with God and loved by me. He didn't suffer. I thought we would have ten more years together, at least. But I still wouldn't have been ready to let him go ten years from now. And I came to see, that after watching three of our parents suffer terribly from the ravages of advanced old age, I was feeling at peace that he was able to live big and leave quickly. That is not to say that I don't replay that fated night over and again. Time will heal that scenario,  I hope. 
Last week, our dear friend Jim came and organized the garage. I am comtinually amazed and humbled. This weekend, Rianna's sister Ariel, her fiancée Devin, Chris and Rianna came and gave me an HGTV makeover for the great room. I saw that stuff I was used to looking at was out of date. It was cathartic to start purging. With just a few changes, I got a fresh look and now every time I come into the room, it makes me smile. During the day, friends stopped over to view the transformation. It was such a happy day for me ; full of new beginnings. One of the best I've had in twelve weeks.
So today I went back to work feeling much more solid. And yet, at about 10:30, I started to email Glenn a good morning text, to say hi. It caught me way off guard, that my conscious mind could be one place, and yet subconsciously I am still operating from old habits and routines. Wow.

The journey continues.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The first, first day.

Today was the first day of school. I awoke very early this morning, probably with some nervous anticipation, as I have every year,but this year my whole schedule is suddenly brand new and today was the real deal, after a few dry runs last week.

Boo thinks that going for a long walk in the morning is a great idea. He doesn't know that I'm trying to tire him out and get all the "business" done before he has to stay alone 8+hours for the first time ever. He did a great job. I left the TV on, but he hasn't let me know which channel he likes best. Hopefully he picked up some tips from Dr. Phil.

Every year for the previous 10 years, Glenn got up with me the morning of the first day of school. He always kissed me and said" Go make a difference." It became a precious tradition. Today, when I was ready to go, I told him I was off to make a difference. But this year, the start of year 11, I said it to his picture. But he heard me. That I know for sure. I certainly missed his big hugs when I left the house. 

I did fine. Many friends checked in with me to make  sure I was okay. 12:40 was tough. I always called home at that time to check in before I went to lunch . Today I started to make new habits and routines. It has to be. Life has changed and I need to roll with it.

And I will.  But who I am as a teacher is partly the gift that he left to me. He so believed in my calling,  and my ability to share myself with needy adolescents. 

A new year. A new beginning. The first, first day.