Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Know Now It's All On My Own, As You Blossom Every Day

For anybody who is lost on the title, it's a line from a song by Candlebox. It's also a lesson that I'm learning, how every day you should strive to change and grow. I think that is something that I have neglected to do for a long time. I've been stuck in a rut, you see. A big, unhappy rut.

Almost two weeks ago, Zach came to Virginia to get me and the kids and bring us to Tennessee to see my Dad. Dad has cancer and is going through treatment, so he can't travel. It had been a year since I had been home, and although last time I was here I swore I would never come back, here we are. And it's good that we did, because I've learned so much. I'd like to share what I learned, as complicated as it all is, because, well, this is my blog and I can write whatever I want.

Lesson Number One: You Need Your "People."
I don't really have a lot of friends. I'm an introvert. I'm terrible at getting out in the world and socializing with people. My best friends in the entire world, besides my husband and kids, are Rebecca Ferguson (who lives in Durham, NC), Zach and Shawna (my little brother and sis-in-law), and Michael Tyndall. Michael has known me longer than anyone except my family--going on about 16 years now--and has seen all my craziness over the years and still loves me anyway. Zach, Shawna, and Michael all live in TN and I only get to see them about once a year, unless I manage to persuade them to come visit me, which has happened on occasion, but not often enough.
Coming to TN and getting to hang out with these guys has been incredible. Times are hard right now, with the cancer and all the changes that have taken place in my life in the past few months. I had no idea how much I needed my "network," but I did. And I do. There will never be people who know me as well or for as long as they have, who support me and love me like they do. They are my People.

Lesson Number Two: If It's Broke, Fix It
I have a bad habit of getting into a routine and sticking with it, no matter what. In Virginia, I was especially bad about that--the kids and I had the same pattern, same activities, same things every day. We don't have anybody there except my in-laws, and they are busy, busy people. Blaker works a lot. Our routine WAS NOT WORKING, but I didn't dare change it. I'm too much a creature of habit. Visiting Tennessee broke our routine, made everything different, and it was as if a huge weight was lifted off of me. And that makes me see that when I get back, we need to change things. I don't know how or what exactly, but things have to be a little more different, a little more spontaneous, or I won't survive.

Lesson Number Three: Appreciate Your Surroundings
I had forgotten how beautiful it is in Tennessee. I grew up on a farm, and coming back to the farm was such a peaceful experience. I spent a couple of days in the mountains and on the river with Michael, and it was just incredible. This amazing, majestic place that smelled like home and sounded like home and felt like home. It reminded me of how amazing God must be, that he could think up a place like that and then create it. It reminded me that I need to look at everything that way, and to learn to appreciate the gifts that I've been given.

Lesson Number Four: A Lot Changes, But Some Things Never Do
This is something I've struggled with in the past when I've come to Tennessee. The house I grew up in is different--walls, floors, furniture. Things have changed over the years. My parents got used to being without kids dominating their lives, and they adapted accordingly. Cleveland has grown tremendously, and I don't even recognize half of it anymore. Some of my loved ones are no longer with us, and that makes visits hard because I miss them even more. For a long time that made me resist coming home, because it didn't feel like home. But now, I realize that that's not what home is. It doesn't matter if things look different. What matters is that this IS home. I may not want it to be, but it is, and it always will be.

So what now? What do I do with all these things I figured out? We can't move. Blaker's job has us locked in for two years. And would I even want to? God has a plan for me, right? There's a reason he showed me all of this. I just don't know what it is yet. But I will keep looking. I will.