Monday, January 1, 2018

My one word for 2018

 My word for 2017 is love.  I've been reflecting quite a bit on all that I learned about love this past year.  I think the biggest lesson to shine through was simply that being open to love, allowed me to fully see it and feel it in all encompassing ways.  In the everyday, the ordinary, tiniest moments, love can be found.

When I was growing up, we didn't express love to each other by saying, "I love you."  Whether its our Scandinavian heritage, or just old family traditions, love was shown, but not overtly expressed other than on a momentous occasion... and often privately.  Oh how I longed to feel it at times.  But maybe it was there more than I saw?  

I really tried this year, to express my love in ways that reached far beyond the boundaries I grew up with.  You so often have to give away the very thing you desire.  So, I said it, and tried to show it, to all those around me.  It was far easier than I anticipated and seemed to be reciprocated on such a grand scale.  I realized, I had been able to express it for so long, I just had to lean into it, and honor it, and it was such a staple to my every day existence.  My own boys have no trouble at all expressing their love towards me and others. The "I love you's" roll off their tongues and hugs go right along with saying it.  It touched me so to see it lived out in this way.  I hope that its me, living my legacy- not just leaving one- but truly showing my boys how I want them to go on.

But now I'm pondering my 2018 word.  What word could possibly be the same as "love?"  I've just had to stay with my practice of paying attention to what comes to me and consider the deeper message often shown in our day to day activities.

And the word that shows up over and over again lately?  Is hope.  I even received a journal, in perfect timing, as my old one is closing in on another 1,000 gifts I've counted and I need some more pages.  And there it is, "Hope anchors the soul..."   Hebrews 6:19

And then this quote I stumbled across while reading really resonated deeply with me...

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. 
Thich Nhat Hanh

So often you all ask how I'm doing...

Hardship has entered my world on a daily basis.  Just sitting here to type is somewhat daunting.  Words don't flow out of me like they once did, and the chemo brain stifles what I truly would like to convey.  How do you walk that fine line between saying you're essentially doing ok, but also being real about parts that aren't ok?  And that the next day, it all flips and new things aren't ok, but other parts are now better.  It just depends on the day.  Some days I eat, others I can't.  Often I sleep, but then days go by without a single nap.  Pain is managed, but then suddenly it's not.  I seem to shift in and out of these states often throughout my days.  And yet, every time something new is lobbed my way, so many of you show up with answers.

My blanket with heat has seen me through so many hockey games.  I can fit my heated coat, under my down coat, and the blanket can fit on top.  And then when my feet went cold?  Rick's Dad, Jim, bought me socks with batteries and now my feet can stay warm too!  Hope just keeps showing up seeing me through hockey game after game, I feel so blessed.

Our Christmas was a mix of both of these things.  We had a wonderful cousin's gathering and I managed to go for a couple of hours.  We laughed and talked and shared good food. But then I was spent, and needed a day or two to recover.  I wouldn't trade it for anything, but its hard to gauge where best to spend my energy day to day.  We managed a wonderful night of Christmas Eve at home in front of the fire, but I couldn't go to church.  The boys hadn't asked for very much and we had a simple gift opening and we were all surprised by how well Rick did with being the main Santa Claus this year.  My one big task?  Was to mail out Christmas cards and I enjoyed each moment of it.  I wrote notes with some and delighted on reading letters from others.  I cut way back and didn't get one out to all, but I was so happy to devote my time and energy to the ones I could do.   But that was all I could muster energy for this year.  And despite what we couldn't do?  Nolan whispered in my ear, "Mom, was your Christmas a good one?"  His big heart on display for me, was gift right there.

What really blessed us was all the wonderful gifts we received at our doorstep, or in the mailbox!   The letters some of you wrote that touched me through and through.  The gifts that were so thoughtfully delivered to us- from plants and fruit baskets, to baskets with Christmas goodies and books, and music and kindness all wrapped up in a big bow.  And when our washing machine needed to be replaced?  Gifts of money showed up and helped us do that very thing we so badly needed.  Our hopes were met yet again.

Its one more gift that choosing "love" has taught me.  Family can come to you by means of genes, and by means of community that grows up around you when you have hardships.  I not only have a family, but I have a hockey family, and a neighborhood family, and so many others with people that I can sit and chat with, and commiserate with, and laugh with- and it doesn't matter the origins of the relationship. It all feels like family to me!  If it can happen to me, I know it can happen to all of us when we have a great need for community.  We all just need to be there for each other in whatever ways we can.

I had chemo on the 26th, and am trying to fully recover.  I get pretty worn out and nauseous for a few days, but then slowly start to rebound and am pretty stable after that.  And I just try to stay in these moments, in the here and now, taking in what I can, and giving what I can.

Theres still purpose in my days.  The boys come to me daily, sharing with me their own troubles, and kindnesses that others have shown them.  They don't hide their feelings, and let me see how happy they can be, yet how sad it can feel to them as well.  They're both going through some tough things, outside of me and my sickness, that I can't do anything about. Its pulled us all closer tougher and we're searching for ways to make sense out of what they are enduring- but it hasn't been and won't be easy.  Hope is all I have to offer them as well.

 It was a somewhat teary good bye as they loaded up for a 3 day holiday hockey tourney a few days back.  I wouldn't be able to attend.   I just try to assure them I'd be here when they return, and they should go off and Nolan should play hard and Colton should manage the team well.  Then, I anchor myself in hope. Its what I have right now and its something that I'll hang on to as long as I can!

When you get lucky

When you get lucky

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