If I had to pick one thing to tell you about myself in this moment I would say I am a woman learning how to let go. I am slowly learning the terrifying and delicious taste of surrender. I am a woman in her mid-thirties slowly coming into her own, opening her hands to grace and most of all to love.
When my husband and I first got married we talked about the kind of people we wanted to be, I like to think we are being shaped into those people, but not in the ways we would have ever guessed, anticipated, or chosen. We said we wanted to live adventurous and "big" lives and we spent four years living in the Czech Republic towards that end. But that adventure was nothing compared to the unchosen one God was preparing us for next.
The year that I turned thirty my husband was diagnosed with a rare form of melanoma that quickly metastasized and advanced to stage four. We were living in Seattle at the time with our toddler son and new baby girl. It was the same year our daughter was diagnosed with bilateral polymicrogyria, a big long scary term that essentially just means her brain didn't develop in the typical way. She has cerebral palsy. It was a hard year and there have been lots of hard years since. These two diagnoses launched very different sorts of adventures than the ones we dreamed about as newly weds.
But, life is like that isn't it? It takes you places you don't want to go. I am finding, ever so slowly, that there are buried jewels hidden in those places I didn't want to go. I am finding that there is more love, beauty, and grace than I could ever have imagined.
When I was a little girl I wanted to be an archeologist or an architect. I wanted to dig up and discover important and sacred things, the things that last, or I wanted to build something myself that would stand the test of time and create space for the mundane sacred that is people interacting and living their lives.
Then when I was a little older I wanted to preach and teach. I didn't grow up in a tradition that affirmed women as preachers, but I knew something in me burned to speak truth and uncover new ways of looking at old things. I used to write sermons for fun. Discouraged from preaching, I turned to the more accepted role of teacher. I studied education and then history in college and planing to "change the education system". I dreamed of starting my own school. I wanted to uncover the things that didn't work and build something that would be effective in influencing others in ways that would last. I wanted to inspire people.
Now, after five years of cancer and special needs parenting I sometimes wonder if I should go back to school for nursing. My husband and I joke that I'm half way there already, with all I've learned as caregiver over the past few years.
Instead I teach yoga and I write. In my yoga classes and in my writing I get to be the archeologist and personal historian, digging up my own past, my own hurts, my own current struggles and victories and using them to tell stories and possibly, hopefully, bring some light and good to my own heart and others. I get to preach and teach.
I love teaching yoga, but, softened by my own story and hurts, what I love most lately is crafting an experience, a safe place, for people to meet with God, to examine their own hearts, to become more aware of their body and their own unique story. I am less certain of my ability to speak into another's life than I was when I was younger. I want simply to be with people in their stories and hope that I can still bring something that will last to the table. I want my classes to be a place full of presence and grace.
Yoga has been a safe space of awareness for me and I want it to be a safe place of awareness for others, but writing has enabled me to put that awareness into words. Through writing I have discovered my voice and the power of my own story, as well as the stories that dance in the outskirts of my imagination. I love writing, but what I really love is finding just the right way to clear communicate the big, universal, hard to understand things that are in my mind and heart.
I am a lot of things, wife and mom, yogi and writer. But, most of all, perhaps just like you, I'm a person putting one foot in front of the other each new day, trying to find my place, learning to open my hands and surrender to Love and Grace.