Here we are again, October 25th. Every year since this date became one of the most significant turning points in my life, I’ve found October has brought with it a different cocktail of emotions. The journey is always different but consistently meaningful. For those of you reading this who don’t know what I’m talking about, October 25th is the day Chris left this world for the next. That day was a Friday and this is the first time since the date has fallen on a Friday.
As I’ve done often in these last six years, I must confess and share my feelings of how this October has affected me. This has been an October with great highs and great lows and so many plot twists in my life that it should be no surprise as to why my neck hurts. (Seriously, my neck does hurt either from age and/or emotional whiplash.)
First off, there’s been an intense uprising of anxiety within me. Probably the most intense I’ve had or rather remember having in the last several years. I credit part of that to being “awake” again. I’ve been walking through a period in my life of unhappiness, confusion, and sadness. Truly, I’ve felt like my own version of the walking dead. I don’t know exactly how I “lost” myself again or how I fell back into a lifeless stupor but I’m sure the additional losses in my life have played a factor. That coupled with an insanely busy schedule with no writing time and almost non-existent “me” time contributed to the state I was in.
As God always does, He found ways to speak to me again, ways to remind me of who I am, and who I’m capable of becoming. He again provided the grace and divine providence to wake me up. And again I’m so thankful. With this re-awakening all the feelings have flooded back in full color and so it makes reasonable sense that anxiety has found its way back in with the other emotions.
This time God’s providence came in the forms of a book and a person. I was reading the last assigned book in my first doctorate class, Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson. If you’ve never read it, you should. It’s short and the story rings true. It is all about change. After reading this book, I recognized that at some point I’d become complacent in my life and I’d lost my focus. I’d stopped seeking my “cheese” and had allowed the waves of life to push me out to sea not realizing that I had oars I could use to get me back to shore.
Equally well timed, the next day my path crossed with a significant person in my life and instead of floating out to sea I grabbed the oars and rowed towards my goal. Anxiety and fear splashed in my face but I still kept rowing. After spending an evening with this special person, I suddenly remembered who I was and realized it was time to make changes in my life because I wasn’t living MY life I was living someone else’s life. I was trying to fit myself into a box that wasn’t right for me and then wondering why I was so uncomfortable and unhappy.
I have this plaque thingy I bought from Hobby Lobby this past spring. It has a quote on it that says, “If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice.” It spoke to me at the time but I couldn’t figure out how it truly applied to my life because I felt complacent, scared, and frankly too busy to think about what I wanted in my life.
I talked a lot this year about how I felt I’ve lost my hope and I’ve had a hard time chasing it down and keeping hold of it. But after reading a book and spending an evening with an amazing person and all the prayer I’ve done along the way, I realized I’d stopped moving towards my dreams. I’d stopped making plans and doing things that actually made me feel alive. I’d given up on how to get there because I had no idea what to do next.
At my Mamall’s (my grandma’s) funeral this past summer, I spoke about this wall hanging she had above her chair. The wall hanging carried a simple three-part recipe for happiness. It said in order to be happy we need someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.
I’ve had so many “somethings to do” for the last fourteen months that it hasn’t allowed me the time to properly love the “someones in my life” or hope for something more. Suddenly the perfect storm hit—the book, the person, my personal limits—they all slammed into my spirit.
I pray every single day for my person and for a family of my own. Every. Single. Day. I pray for this. I pray for him. I pray for us. I pray that I am doing all the things to become the woman who is worthy of him and them. Every day without fail and sometimes multiple times I pray for this. I’ve prayed rosary after rosary, prayed novenas, lit candles, kneeled in church on Sundays, and wrote letters to God. I continuously petition for this BUT I haven’t been moving towards it. I’ve been letting life carry me wherever it wishes instead of taking intentional steps to get to him, to get to them, to prepare my home and my heart for them. Nope, instead I’ve just been working my butt off on a relentless cycle.
That all changed this month. I’ve made choice after choice and have been listening to the quiet voice that whispers to us all. I’m making accommodations so that I can write again. There are other things in the works like a podcast and a nonprofit organization—all centering on the one thing most dear to my heart—family.
October carries harsh memories for me but it also carries the most important one and that is change is the only guarantee in life. The leaves change during this month. My life dramatically changed during this month six years ago. Death is real and it comes for us all. But life is just as real and it is brief. If we don’t change and pursue those desires of our hearts, our true purposes of this life, then we’re crawling into our coffins while there are still beats left in our hearts and breath left in our lungs.
I distinctly remember the first time I was at the cemetery and I had this feeling that I needed to leave because my life wasn’t in the cemetery. I was trying to crawl into my coffin well before my time and then I wondered why I felt so dead. I guess I didn’t learn my lesson the first go around so I’m circling this mountain again, but that’s okay. I’ll get it down eventually. 😉
My entire life changed six years ago. A part of me died—the old Michelle died that day. I find myself grieving her a bit right now—her innocence, her old life, her blissful ignorance.
But with death comes rebirth. This month I’ve found myself falling in love with myself again (in a healthy way not the narcissistic way.) I’m proud of who she is, her ability to be bold and daring, to be soft and strong at the same time, to be completely terrified but still staring the challenge in the face, her ability to believe and trust in God. She knows how painful death and loss can be and yet she’s still going for it. And so, I have to give her a break for being anxious. I have to give her a break for being emotional. Because she’s coming out of her coma and she needs a little time to tend to her wounds while she races towards the next goal.
October, here we are again—a month filled with tumultuous changes. I don’t know what you’ll hold for me next year but I guess that really doesn’t matter right now.
So today, on the day that Chris left this earth for the next, I celebrate life with all its beautiful brokenness remembering that broken glass casts more rainbows than the fully intact. And really the more rainbows the better, right? At least I think so. <3