I feel like the lion in the Wizard of Oz on the Yellow Brick Road, journeying to his goal unspeakable, fraught with the unknown.
I am reminded that there will be joys unspeakable in the journey. Yet, there will also be temptations. There will be heartache. There will be choices and decisions to make. There will be ominous questions asked of me.
CAN I do it? WILL I do it?
The journey seems so long. Yet I am told there will not be one inch too much. (In my doubt I, of course, ask “are you SURE?!”
I am reminded to keep saying: “All is well.” Always say “All is well”.
Courage – Courage – Courage.
I CAN do this. I WILL do this.
“All is well.”
“All is well.”
The Alaskan Northern Lights that lit up the night sky, cascading from one side of the horizon to the other, making the sky seem cathedral high, and even higher.
It is the affirmation I need.
I CAN do this. Even if L.A. and being an “Instigator” it is WAY out of my comfort zone and people I have experienced.
I have heard that life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
A new beginning……..Courage…….Courage…….
How about YOU? Will YOU say “All is well, too?”
Three times today – and it is only 9 A.M…..I have heard this:
Do not neglect your gift. which has been given to YOU. Persevere in the gift. Use it. Share it. Be diligent in it. Give your whole self to it. Share it so others can benefit and share and delight in it.
OK! OK! I get it!!
Now I throw it back to YOU. Do YOU “get it”? Are you using YOUR gift?
There he was. He was ginormous in stature as I gazed at him, standing tall next to his lovely wife. His long, strong arm wrapped around her tiny, petite waist as they stood to leave the building. His grizzled hands, large as baseball mitts, revealed years of hard work farming, logging, working in the aluminum plant and working his acres of land.
As he passed by, he extended his hand to greet us. Jim’s leathery, worn but warm hand enveloped mine. His grip almost brought tears to my eyes it was so strong. His wife, with her twinkling eyes, radiated the beauty of the earth. Her whitening, yet still somewhat peppered hair was in her trademark bun, wrapped as it had been, I am sure for years.
As big and tall as Jim was, Ellen was tiny and somewhat frail looking, but feisty and fierce, and funny at the same time. Years of her hard works showed, too, her frame slightly bent forward
We chatted of getting our fall firewood in, how many cords we had each split, how not only glad we would be when we were done, but how toasty warm we will stay as we heat with wood stoves. We would be able to keep the cold of winter at bay. We talked of the yields of the fruits of our spring and summer labors, and the bounties we were yielding. We spoke with gratitude that we lived where we could grow apples and berries, cucumbers and squash. Then there would be the herbs and spices we would grind, and the pickles and pies we would make, and the vegetables we would preserve.
Time has a way of slipping by. We saw them weekly. They considered us one of their “kids”. When we moved over a dozen years ago, our communication continued. Ellen would write pages of local news and send in the post. I would call when they would come to mind. Often our calls and cards would cross in the air! How much they had taught us about honest hard work, of true love and the importance of relationships.
The last time I saw them, time had more than taken its toll. Jim was hobbling and could hardly hear or talk. Ellen’s frame was bent over – not just with age, but as if the weight of the world was upon her. She was taking more care of Jim, but also responsible for two of her nine grown children who had abilities different than most who still lived at home, plus the cooking and gardening, which was getting harder each year.
The phone rang. Ellen had forgotten the time zone difference. It didn’t matter. I knew. It was two days before Christmas. Two days before their 53rd wedding anniversary. Jim had whispered to her in bed the night before as he hugged her tight, that he was going ‘home’. He would be OK, and always remember how much he loved her.
Two months passed. I called Ellen last week, sobbing, in tears. I asked her to forgive me. I had let time slip by, and I had not touched base with her, not for lack of not thinking of her, but letting “life” get in the way. We talked for an hour. She shared that Jim (much like my Bill) didn’t like holidays – we should be thankful every day, why do we need Thanksgiving? We should treat everyone special every day – why do we need birthday celebrations? And isn’t every day Christmas – a new present to open? And we should love everyone EVERY day.
A neighbor had stopped by on Valentine’s Day with a ‘gift’ from Jim. What? She had NEVER in 53 years ever received a card or gift from Jim. It was a picture of Jim and his best friend, huddled over one of Jim’s old (really old!) tractors, tinkering to get it to fire up again. Jim had had his wife sneak over and take the photo and his friend hand crafted the frame.
That was the true and essence of Jim. It was what Ellen needed – she had no photo of him – they lived so simply, camera’s and photos weren’t even on their radar. “Who needed them anyway – it’s just extra stuff”, Ellen would say.
We cried together, and laughed through our tears, missing each other terribly. Me? I was grateful for her forgiveness of not my staying in touch – she had taught me better over the years.
Relationships. Who do you need to call today?
“The best laid plans of mice and men go awry?” How many times have you heard that Scottish saying? How many times have you FORGOTTEN that saying existed?
Sigh….This is one of those weeks that I have well been reminded of it. It has been a good remember of one of my “F”rontier words: Flexibility.
It’s one of the mornings that my body WISHES it could be “flexible”. Investigator Experience ladies: I swear you’d NEVER get me into some yoga positions! My cat jumped from his cozy chair to the window sill as I contorted myself out of bed this morning!!
I think it has something to do with getting the answer to all my whining/prayers about not having any snow, asking you lower 48’rs to send winter back up here. We got 10” of wonderful snow and it is a balmy 5 degrees out right now with blue skies. Or maybe it has something to do with the refresher course on how to use the snow-plow again, (It HAS been a year since my bionics being bumped along for 2 hours and then used the snow blower and ‘played’ with it on the front walk for another ½ hour?!)
Flexibility. “OH! You are leaving on FRIDAY (tomorrow) instead of NEXT WEEK for Kaktovik, sweetie? Sure I can get the extra loads of laundry done and help you get things together! Sure I can drop everything for the last minute run through the list of ‘what to do in case’ in an Alaskan winter while you are gone for the next 2-3 weeks! “
“Can I sneak my coveted hour of ‘quiet time’ that centers me and keeps me focused so I CAN be FLEXIBLE today first?”
I knew he’d say yes – after 39 years together, he’s MUCH more FLEXIBLE than I am!! Plus he knows how much that hour means, (for everyone!) and how much more flexible I’d be the rest of the day! I have rarely missed a day over the years.
So how to take a day when the best plans you had go awry?
Laugh, take a lot of deep breathes, stay flexible – and DON’T miss your “quiet time”!
After all, life begins at the end of your comfort zone!
Sometimes in the harried, hustle and bustle of the “busYness’ of life, we forget what our true “business” of life is really about.
So – just what IS your life ‘business’ (aka:current assignment)? Maybe you need to stop for a minute to remember! Smile as you think about thegoal you are working so hard for, and the rewards it will bring when you have accomplished it!
We so often get caught up in time schedules and deadlines to be met, kids to carpool, books to write or review, conferences to plan, tasks left undone. We forget to stop and remember what our we are working so fast and furious for – what the end goal is. And the REAL goal is the ONLY goal worth being busy for!
The busy life doesn’t have to always be harried and full of distress. It can and NEEDS to be a life full to the brim, filled with JOY!
Take a minute today – even if you are in a place that has taken our Alaska winter and snow (Hint: we WILL gladly take it back!) Go outside, take a deep breath in. Smell it? Even if it is minus 10, Spring is on its way! Daylight savings time starts this week!
Bundle up, or grab your surfboard and live outside as much as possible. Sun, snow, rain, fresh air are all great healing forces that feeds our inward joy. They change the poisoned feelings from within to a GUSH of pure, life-giving joy that will be contagious to those around you.
Remember, too, that as you go about your busy day and week ahead that the REAL healing of body, mind and spirit comes from within. So go outside, take that deep breath in (I just did – even tho’ it’s 5 degrees F!) Carry on with your BUSINESS, your goal in sight, your heart filled with joy! Happy Monday!
Care Tuk is a nationally known speaker, educator, and retreat/workshop leader. She has been a school, hospital, and home health occupational therapist for more than 30 years. She has been named as a Top Business Woman in America and recognized for her work with youth, disability outreach and awareness, and the American Cancer Society.