Saturday, February 26, 2011

All the Love in the World

My Kindle keeps resetting itself, making it difficult to work on my papers. If it keeps it up, I may have to reset to factory defaults. C'mon little Kindle! Stay on! This is the second time this has happened. Third time's the charm, and then Amazon gets a phone call.

Some wonderful friends are taking me out tonight to celebrate the anniversary of my unexpected singlehood. After sitting for (hopefully) my last set of WEST-Es this morning, I was reflecting about things I wish I'd known a year ago -- lessons that maybe only a really awful breakup can teach. My early morning Facebook status read something like this "Today I am thankful for friends who held me when I cried and brought me food and for the parents who let me come home a year ago. What a difference a whole year makes!"

Lesson #1 -- All the Love in the World is within reach.
Most of my friends know how much I love them because I tell them I do. Wow -- I just teared up thinking about this next sentence. One of the lessons I learned is how loved I am by my friends and family. I have a pretty amazing cheering section filled with people who will bring me food when I'm sad and will share my joy. All the love in the world is within my grasp -- it surrounds me daily. Words cannot express how blessed I am and how grateful I feel for all of my people. Thank you for laughing and crying with me. I love you all.

Lesson #2 -- Sometimes God puts blessings in unexpected places.
I'm not sure if I've written about God here before. I have a quite strong belief in God. Some things happened to me when I was younger that I took as proof of God's existence. My faith has been shaken and tested at times, but I always return to it. I'm not shy about being a very liberal, progressive Christian, but I don't really bring this up in everyday conversation. Sometimes being Christian in Seattle feels very lonely.

Anyway, with my very unexpected singlehood came many blessings. The biggest one was that I discovered a confidence and a fierceness I didn't know I had. Another was lesson #1 -- realizing how much I too am loved.

Lesson #3 -- Grieving is healing.
My pastor Catherine listened to me while I sobbed. She told me "God teaches us that this will get better. But you can't go around your grief. Nor can you go over and under it. You just have to get through it." She reminded me that joy awaited me on the other side. Grief sucks, but it gets better. And the joy awaiting me on the other side of all that grief was so joyful that it was worth it. I'm a person who lives her life joyfully. I've learned recently that this is an aspect of my character that new people pick up on rather quickly. Grieving is hard for me because I usually live a joyful life. But I think that, through the grief, I learned how to have empathy for others going through similar situations.

Lesson #4 -- When you're knocked down, you come back stronger.
A year ago, I was broken. And now I climb mountains. If that's not coming back stronger, than I don't know what is!

Those are the big ones. As I pause to reflect, I am reminding myself that this will be my year of living joyfully. My "new year of happy," so to speak. It's easy to live joyfully when you're surrounded by all the love in the world.

Thank you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Garden!

It's been a year since I started chronicling my gardening and life adventures. A whole year since I put my first little pea seeds in the ground. A year since my house looked like a grow house -- it glowed in the dark because of all the tomato grow lights, and I must have looked like the worst pot grower ever.

And yes, it's almost one year to the day of the worst breakup I have ever experienced. On a study break on this cold cold Seattle night, I am thinking about what a difference an entire year has made. I wrote in an earlier post that I have become the woman who climbs mountains in this past year. I think I've regained my groove. I'm not as afraid to try new things, and to live life with the joyful abandon I thought I'd lost. I feel more alive now than ever before -- back to being 100% truly me. 29 has been a good year, and it's only going to get better.

I am currently having a text message conversation with a cute, neat guy about Mardi Gras, which reminds me that it's almost Lent. I wrote him "it's almost Lent, and I have to think about what to give up!" Maybe I shouldn't think about what to give up. Maybe, instead, I should commit to something. I should commit to doing something for myself -- to set an intention for the period of Lent for how I want my life to be. I'm writing this a bit on the fly, but I think I want to commit to living joyfully. I want my Lent to be a time of laughter, joy, singing, and new experiences. I know Lent is supposed to be a thoughtful, pensive period -- and a period of self-denial. But I had a lot of pensiveness and a lot of sorrow last year around Lent. And this year, I think God would be okay with a little more joy in the world. I may write more on this later.

Back from rambling to the title of the post.

Happy Birthday, Garden! Thank you for teaching me that strawberries are resilient (and so am I). Thank you for your bounty. Thank you for being forgiving of your often wayward gardener. Thank you for teaching me the sheer joy of putting my hands in the good dirt. Thank you for allowing me to taste a tomato that I grew from a seed that I put in the ground. Thank you for attracting those great fat little bumblebees. Thanks, most of all, for being my therapy. For Garden, you kept me grounded (literally) during this tough year. And even though snow is currently falling from the sky as I write this, the calendar is reminding me that spring is on the way, that little green pea shoots will emerge from your depths (once it is actually warm enough to plant some seeds), and that my year of renewal has come full circle.

Thank you, my Garden, for everything. Even for Peazilla, my giant snow pea plant monster.

I can't wait to see what this new year of growing will bring.