It's more than my hands can hold

A word has been turning over in my mind since Thanksgiving. It appeared as I was wrestling the 18 pound turkey lying naked in my sink. It was my very first go-round with a holiday bird, and the girl was heavy. The turkey, of course.

So, anyway. The word.

Abundance.

I have so much. And I'm not talking about stuff, although I have a lot of that too. I purge on a regular basis and things in my house seem to multiply. Need a pen? A coffee mug? A vase? A Lego? I have plenty to pass around.

Before we gathered to say the blessing and eat the (delicious! go me!) turkey, we wrote what we were thankful for on paper leaves and hung them to the Thanksgiving tree. Even though I got the idea from Pinterest, my homemade tree was nothing fancy. I'd sent the boys on a mission to find some branches in the yard, and I'd refused to let them steal them back and use them as light sabers.

Then, Thanksgiving rolled into Christmastime, and an elf flew in from the North Pole and landed on it. I took it as a sign that the tree needed to stay until the end of year, so I hung ornaments on it.

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Today, the decorations are boxed and the moss-covered branches are gone. The space feels empty. I miss the open proclamation of the goodness in my life.

Abundance. And yet, right now, here, to you, I'm hesitant to say I have it. That I want it. That I need it.

I wonder if it's because I mistake abundance for greed. So I stuff it down, refusing to let it get too big for its britches.

Or maybe, I'm scared. The more I have, the more there is to lose. The stakes are higher. Living fully and loving with all I've got is a risk.

Or perhaps, I worry that I can't handle it. That if I give abundance room to grow I won't be able to hold it all with my tiny human hands. So I reduce it to something I can manage.

Self-sabotage disguised as good intentions.

The truth is, I don't have a clue how to hold it all. Dump all that goodness in my lap and I'll most certainly drop it. I'll be on my best behavior, but eventually I'll mess it up.

But I wonder if abundance comes in spite of character flaws. Maybe, an abundant life isn't dependent on my ability to hold it, to manage it or control it. Perhaps, I simply need to open my eyes, my mind, my heart and my arms and let it flow. Let it fill me up and cover me. Trust it and receive it.

It still feels too big. But I'll start by being bold enough to admit it.

I have it.

I want it.

I need it. 

Now. Can I live like I believe it? 

I love you. That is all.

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I'm sitting in my office. Blake is asleep. Dillon is sitting on the couch, watching me type and eating Saltine crackers. Cate is also having a cracker and sitting in a pile of crumbs. Sunlight spills into the windows by my desk.

It's quiet and that's rare.

Beside me is a list of blog post ideas. Things I intended to write, stories I've been writing in my head since Thanksgiving. Things that will have to wait until after Christmas, or perhaps I'll wipe the slate clean and start anew. For now, it's time to let it be.

All that was done and left undone. Just let it be. Be okay with how it unfolded. Be thankful for the New Year ahead. Clean slate.

I hope you will join me in a collective letting go of a year well-lived. A year we lived the very best we could. Because I know you, and I know me. I know we did our best. And an opportunity to do better is on the horizon.

So for now, Merry Christmas, friends. I raise my glass to you and say cheers. I hold out my arms and offer a hug.

This place keeps me bound to my love and my need and my desire to tell my stories. To learn more about myself, and about you. To start conversations. To share perspectives. To entertain. To inspire. To connect. All of those adjectives that may sound cliche but get right down to the heart of it.

You all mean so much to me. The in-person friends and the virtual friends and the brand new faces who pop in and say hello.

Thank you.

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Before

Clouds

Hours before I heard the news of the elementary school tragedy that sent many of us into a place of questions with no easy answers and the mixed up emotions of fear, anger and grief, I stood by the bed in the recovery room whispering to my 6-year-old, rubbing his arm, offering him a lick of a yellow popsicle and telling him he did a great job in surgery. The bed rail created a barrier between him and me, and I rattled it without thinking, trying to get it out of the way. I wanted to get closer. To sit on the edge of the bed.

Finally, my words caught up with my desire. "Would it be okay if I lowered this?" I asked the nurse.

"Here," she said, pointing to the plush, oversized chair. "Sit here." I followed instructions as she lifted my 60 pound son off the bed and lowered him into my lap, covering us with warm blankets. Dillon wiggled himself into place, letting me hold him like I used to hold him when he was a baby.

I felt every tight place in my body relax. The feeling was pronounced. Tingly. I want to live in that space. That invisible place where truth and peace reside. The place where I feel the most grounded and connected to everything that matters.

"Are you asleep?" I asked.

He shook his head. "Can we go home?"

"Soon."

I was ready to go home, too. We had gotten up at 5:00 am and had arrived at the outpatient surgery center at 6:45. At 7:30, he cried when I pried his fingers from my arms and they wheeled him through the double doors to the operating room. Less than an hour later, the doctor who had cut the muscle in my son's eye came out and told us everything was fine. The surgery to keep Dillon's strabismus under control went exactly as expected.

Even then, even before, I noted how something that—on the surface—seems like a really big deal (a child, anesthesia, the cutting of eye muscles), is really not that big of a deal. We know this doctor. He has cared for our child for years. He performs this exact same surgery all the time.

I also noted how much trust we had placed in everyone who handled Dillon. We trusted they were prepared. Alert. Ready. And they were.

After:

On another spot on the map, things were not okay. They were so the opposite of okay that I was flooded with words in my inadequate attempts to process it, and words fell flat.

But, probably, what I want to say is this:

I can imagine. I know how easily it could have been me, or you. And then I can't fathom it.

But, I do remember what it felt like before. I can't let myself forget. Regardless of the darkness that surrounds and threatens to strip every sense of security and hope and peace I have.

My life has not been stripped of light, soit's my responsibility to be light. It's my responsibility to strive to live in that invisible space where truth and peace reside. The place where I feel the most grounded and connected to everything that matters.

As long as I can. As long as I am able. As long as life allows me to live in the before. I must.