Monday, August 5, 2013
God Knows What We Need
You may or may not have noticed my absence from the Journey Wisdom blog. The last several months, last two years have been the culmination of the life-changing AHA moments. Change happens, and we can roll with it or we can resist it. The latter makes for one hellacious life on Earth. After some initial resistance, I settled into accepting “what is” and rolled with the flow of Universal Life.
The childhood home that my mother and father built from the ground up forty years ago sold earlier this spring. I had the blessing to live there for last two years before letting it go. When I moved in with my dad, I did so believing it was temporary since it was on the market, for sale by owner. Two more unsuccessful attempts at “for sale by owner,” and three real estate agent contracts later, we finally sold it to a family who I believe will carry on the heart and soul of my mom and dad's legacy.
While living with my elderly father brought many frustrations and challenges, I settled into gratitude for the opportunity. God knows what we each need in our lives for healing, spiritual and personal growth. If we embrace and commit to these opportunities, we can find the greatest of treasures within them. Living with Dad allowed me to financially get back on my feet again after experiencing a devastating setback. Living in my childhood home also connected me with my mother again through everything in that house she handpicked, placed and cared for with love. I enjoyed the peaceful landscape of the countryside: my mother's flower gardens, the view of Browns Valley, and the peace and quiet of country living. I reflected on the memories created over the decades of growing up there, and as adults when we came together for holidays and visits. I enjoyed reconnecting with extended family that lived around the corner.
Most importantly, I did some deep healing work around my relationship with my father, and ultimately, within myself. I found my voice and personal power with him, which I abandoned as a teenager. Our relationship over the years have been challenging, as we hold different views about how I should have lived my life, should be living my life. Everything I decided to do, my father held the opposite opinion, no matter what. In hindsight, I find it amusing. I am sandpaper to his four by four. What I realized is that our relationship reflected how we feel about one another. I've never felt my father respected me, and energetically, that reflected in how I interacted with him. Once I began to let go of my need for his approval in order to feel loved, I began to heal the old wounds of our past. When I began to forgive him and myself for past grievances, our relationship energetically shifted to one of greater collaboration. At times, the process was scary, angst-ridden, and even ugly when I slipped back into being a 16-year-old defiant daughter; but I quickly found my center, standing strong within my personal power until I became spiritual Teflon to his barbs, criticisms and dismissals of my feelings.
Add to this process the shift in the parent-child relationship as parents get older and the children “parent” the parent. It is heartbreaking to watch the man you've looked up to as provider of breath, home, and knowledge, as rescuer of boo-boos, heartbreaks, and roadside breakdowns become disoriented, slow down, and struggle with the simplest of things. My father became feebler with every month that passed in those two years. Ever proud and stubborn, Dad resisted the idea of being the old man that needs help getting out of a chair, help around the home place. Bound and determined to do for himself as long as he can, he carried on until a minor accident on the farm shook him into reality. (He kept that incident from me for a few weeks, unwilling to admit the defeat to his aging and weakening body.) Despite the fact we'd had the house on the market for two years, I knew in his heart dad wasn't ready to let it go, which created little interest from potential buyers. After this accident, he began accepting the reality that it was time to give up the home place. Once he energetically let it go, we had the first of two offers on it within a month. It sold three months later.
God gave me the time I needed to move through the healing work around my financial life, grief over my mother's passing, and four decades of resentment and hurt related to my relationship with my father. God gave my Dad time to come to terms with letting go of the home he and my mother built together with their blood, sweat and tears. When both Dad and I were ready to move on with our lives, to move into the next leg of our journey, the house sold.
With all transition comes limbo. After selling forty years worth of belongings, my dad moved in with me for six weeks while waiting for an opening in the Carmel Home, an assisted living and nursing home managed by the Catholic diocese. This time was important for us both, as we recovered from the stressful whirlwind of recent life upheavals. These six weeks allowed us to rest before we independently launched into the next leg of our journey. This time also provided us an opportunity to bring the two years we spent together to a close without the stress and uncertainty of selling the house hanging over us. We watched the nightly news together, talked and laughed. My dad was more relaxed than I'd seen him be in months. I was grateful to have and be in my own space, on my own terms.
Today my dad is settled in the Carmel Home. I'm settled into my home, and now fully unpacked four months after arriving. Since dad's departure, I've had time to clear some clutter, both emotionally, mentally and physically. A long respite with the monks at the Abbey of Gethsemane was just what the Spirit Doctor ordered for my soul. Refreshed, reconnected with the Spirit Within, I have before me a blank canvas ready to be painted with whatever wonderful things I desire for my life.
Change happens. The last two years of my life helped me realize even more the importance of my daily spiritual practices which I abandoned in the busy-ness of life this last spring. I understand more now than ever the need to stay centered in the presence of God, for this center is the calm eye within the storm.