(1) I know myself better than I think. You probably know yourself really well, too…better than you think, too. This trip to Sanibel? A really really good idea. This person, this soul needs space, exercise, animals (besides alligators), nature, fresh air and sun. And books. And a journal. What do you need to heal? To feel whole?
(2) We all need to be kinder to ourselves. We are our own worst critics. I’ve always been REALLY hard on myself. In the past, when reading through old journals, I’d get disgusted because I haven’t changed. Still so flawed! Could you please fix me? Now, I’m gentler, easier, more willing to recognize that we all often feel we are sort of blundering along in life, but God’s grace covers everything, if we will just accept it. It is sufficient.
(3) I don’t want to become hardened. I actually got this from the preacher last Sunday, when I went to a local church for services (TBH – normally I’d skip church on vacation, much less go to yet another strange church BY MYSELF. I didn’t talk to anyone; I still have my Introvert Membership Card). He spoke about how pharaoh’s heart was hardened toward Moses and the Israelites – in spite of the plagues and evidence that God was going to win – and the pastor cautioned as to how we want to avoid that …even when we are sad, disappointed, grieving (really? did you have to include that word? Don’t I have a right to be hard? To be bitter?). We need to try and stay open, to continue trusting God, to keep our hearts soft. I’ve tried not to harden, to become stiff in my sadness, but I’ve felt it creeping in, like concrete in my arteries.
(4) Two weeks of vacation is enough. One week is not quite.
(5) My daughter has inherited the writing gene. She recently put up a post on Facebook about the end of her color guard career and I had a messy, snotty, ugly/happy cry over how beautifully she writes. One more marvelous thing to learn/know about my kid.
(6) Taking the time to reread my journals, and to write and write and write has helped me to see that God has been consoling me all along. I do think He has his work cut out for him when dealing with introverts because people can overwhelm us, and yet that’s the primary way God shows His love, is through His people. Regardless: I see it in the incredible love of family and friends, far and near; the gifts of synergy, of miracles small and large, the way this trip worked out for me and what it has delivered straight to my soul…all of which point to a heaven that is closer than close. I’m still asking the WHY questions, and I’m hoping to get answers one day…but I don’t feel as unheard.
(7) None of this will bring Mark back. That is the hardest, most difficult part. The bitter pill we are slowly, slowly swallowing. I like to say we are coming to TOLERATE it; we don’t want to ever accept it because that seems to imply agreement. That doesn’t mean we will stay put, not carry forward, not live fully, not laugh and feel joy. It’s just one way to stamp our feet and say to death: we feel your sting, but you haven’t won.