Ok, this sounds kind of strange, I grant you. But it’s true. Tonight I took a cookie from a stranger, something I’ve told my kids never to do. But this cookie had a magical effect on me.
John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
This week’s news of the Boston Marathon bombings was a kick in the gut, a story that hits close to home. For me, it was especially close because last year, my brother-in-law ran the Boston marathon and my sister and their family were standing in the same place where this week’s explosions occurred.
I heard the news on my car radio and I felt the energy just seep out of my body, almost as though I was paralyzed. I felt so incompetant to help, to change anything about it. It’s one of the many times I’ve wished I could be a super-spy like Jason Bourne or a detective like Sherlock so I could save the day BEFORE someone gets hurt.
Days like this sometimes make me feel like the dark side of the force is winning. After all, yesterday’s event is just one of many tragic situations we’ve witnessed lately. When I see them happening, I feel a nagging fear at the edges of my mind and I worry for a moment about my children’s future in a world containing people who would set a bomb with the intent to murder innocent people, including children. It is the kind of darkness that steals our energy, our faith in our fellowman, our hope for a better future, if we choose to let it.
Part of me wishes I could gather my small brood and turn inward, away from all the ugliness. Part of me wishes I could protect them from the pain of loss and death. But my own intimate acquaintance with heart wrenching loss have taught me this is not possible. It is only possible to know none of us are immune to loss and to remember to hope because joy does come in the morning.
I remember how, in the midst of my own early experiences with grief, I felt angry that the people around me went on when my world was imploding. How could they continue to see joy when I was hurting so much? How could they go on like nothing had happened when such a huge part of my life was over? How could they be out enjoying the beauty of the sunshine when for me the light of day only seemed to illumine what I had lost? A dark cloud hid the sun’s warmth and life giving light from me.
But I kept getting out of bed each day. I kept putting one foot in front of the other. As the pain subsided a little, I vowed not to live in fear or grief forever but to find the moments of joy along with the pain of each day.
One day when I woke, I opened my eyes and realized there was a smile on my lips as I faced the prospect of a new day. And I realized that those around me needed to go on while I felt so lost, not only for their own survival but to ensure mine as well. Somebody had to keep the world turning so it would be there when I was ready to rejoin it.
So while I went to bed Monday night feeling undone by the day’s events, grief wrapping around my throat, the morning was a different story.
Tuesday morning, I woke with the warm light of the sun on my face and I found hope filling my thoughts. I know those who were hurt or lost loved ones might not be feeling that hope yet. But this time, I am one of those who will keep watch until they have regained their strength.
I don’t need to have Bourne’s secret agent skills to stand against the darkness. I don’t need to be able to hunt down the evil doers with the focused intensity of Holmes. We certainly need people who fight that way but my role is a little different.
Today I grieve with those affected by the bombings and with those who suffer pain around the world at the hands of those who channel darkness. Feeling that loss with them reminds me I am not an island. I am connected to my fellowman.
But I will not just grieve. I will be part of the light brigade.
Today, I will do my part to face down the darkness within my own circle of influence. I will look for those who are feeling hopeless, discouraged, hungry, desperate, grief stricken and I will offer what I have – even if it is small – to help.
I will teach my children kindness.
I will encourage them to choose to live honorably, with integrity.
I will teach them to love all people and to treat them with respect even if they do not believe the same things about life, God or politics.
I will show them how to stand up for those who need a champion and a hand up.
We cannot underestimate the value of taking the time to look outside our own needs. It could change the entire course of another person’s life – for the better. It might even make the difference between a life spent in the shadows or one bathed in Light.
I will grieve.
But I will also pray. I will also hope.
I will also believe that each person has the potential to turn to that Light and I will encourage every person in my path to do so.
Today, I will blaze a light in the darkness by being one myself.
I’ve spent the last few days erasing the signs of (our) life from our house. Wiping this, painting that…small fingerprints, works of art and smudges of color that somehow had become part of the walls, floors, doors of our house without my notice. It’s surprising how those little things escape your notice till you look at them through the eyes of a stranger.
Some of you already know why I’m looking at my home with a critical eye.
After 12 years of living in this space, of creating a life with each other and a community with our neighbors, it is time for us to move on to a house that better fits the needs of our growing family.
I’m still a little surprised to be saying that out loud.
It happened so fast and yet so providentially. We’ve talked on and off about the likelihood of needing to move at some point since the latest addition to our family. It has just never been the right time before now. But a few weeks ago, as we discussed the possibility, we discovered we’d both been thinking about the same real estate agent. We called her and very soon decided to move.
As we prepared our house to list and I walked around examining the rooms that have been our home for the last 12 years – almost our entire marriage – I found myself feeling unexpectedly emotional at the thought of leaving the walls that have witnessed so much of our lives.
Robert and I came here as newlyweds who had no idea what life would offer us. Yet, through all that we have experienced as a couple, as parents, as children, as lovers, our home has been our refuge.
We have laughed uproariously with friends here.
We wept over losses that you and our neighbors have felt with us.
We brought our first baby home in bewildered wonder that we had been turned loose with a baby. (Yes, that small one has survived our ignorance!)
We welcomed two more children at home with the help of a midwife, feeling more confident in our ignorance with each new arrival. Ha!
Yes. I meant to say that.
We discovered that using a floor sander is a lot more complicated than the guys at the rental place told us. One punched wall later and super-dusty us taught us there are times you just need to HIRE the right person! And, yes, the dust has cleared.
Rob and I have grown up in a lot of ways in this house and we have grown together in it. Love, loss, grief and joy have all been present as we made these rooms our own.
Aside from the inward experiences we’ve had in our home, the best gift we’ve received from living here so long is the privilege becoming true friends with those who live in the adjoining spaces.
When we moved into our small town home community, we had no idea how long we’d be here nor how we’d eventually view the people we initially saw as “just” neighbors. Today, we realize how lucky we are to have enjoyed such positive relationships with the long time residents here. They have become more than neighbors. So many of them are good friends.
Rob just finished a term as president of our HOA board and being actively involved taught us a lot about how important it is to invest our time and energy in our community. He and our fellow owners did more than just improve the value of our homes, they encouraged others who were previously uninvolved to jump in and continue to make this a peaceful and beautiful place to live.
As we list our home and get ready to find a new place to live, it is the thought of not seeing my neighbors daily that is the hardest adjustment. I love knowing not one, but almost all of the several dozen people who live here. I enjoy walking across the lawn and catching up on the little details of daily life.
I have been humbled and awed as I’ve watched several of my neighbors adopt older members of our community over the years, checking on them daily and offering meals or rides to the doctor. They are neighbors in the best sense of the word.
We may leave this place but we will keep those friendships.
This has been a heart wrenching and exciting month for us as we’ve gone from merely thinking of leaving our home to deciding to list it. It’s hard to leave a space that is lovely and familiar and from people who are dear to us. Plus, it’s surreal to have strangers walking through your home and thinking of making it their own. I feel a little vulnerable opening this space to everyone.
These walls are not just a house to us, they are part of our journey, the joy and the pain, the laughter and the life. I painted these walls while pregnant more than once. Our children were born here, have only lived here.
I have to keep reminding myself that it is time for someone else to make it their own.
While we make our choice with truly mixed emotions, we know it is a good change for us so we are embracing it.
So today, we need your help.
I am sharing our story with you because it’s our hope that this place that has been our home won’t just go to an investor. Instead, we’d love to pass it on to someone who wants a home and a great community where they can put down some roots.
If you know of someone who needs a home, would you pass it on to them? Interested parties can contact our realtor, Keslie Halonen.
Here’s a little tour of the space we have called home for so long.
I wish I’d taken “before” pics of the old brown carpet, the fluorescent pink and blue stenciled flowers in the kitchen and the very, very ugly old bathrooms. Alas, lucky for you, they’re gone.
Please take a moment and share this post. You never know who might be looking for just this space!
Welcome. We’re tucked into the center of this small property in the heart of Central Phoenix, near the Murphy Bridal Path and trail 100.
Our kids learned to swim here.
Love our tile.
Our living room. We hid the rocking horse for the picture.
You can actually see mountains out this window but I couldn’t take a pic of the room and the view. Give me a break. I’m using an IPhone for pics!
Here’s the “fun” room. Notice I took the pic in the morning – BEFORE the toys escaped their containment.
The kids love the waterfall faucet.
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Apparently, I have a new super power. I can talk to bees. Or at least, they seem to ADORE me.
Just call me The Bee Whisperer.
Lately, we’ve enjoyed warmer weather and the desert has started blooming thanks to all the rain we’ve been getting. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and all the bees are apparently my new besties.
Don’t get me wrong. I actually LOVE bees. They are such cool little creatures. But seeing a few bees mildly bumbling around on occasion and having a bee escort are two very different stories.
Here’s the deal. Everywhere I go lately, I seem to be sending out homing signals to the local honey makers because
It’s been happening for weeks now and I’m finally getting over the urge to drop everything and run away screaming, “Every woman to herself!!!!!!” to my kids.
Probably a good thing since I imagine most people would frown at my leaving my kids to fend for themselves against the advances of bumblebees. Or the killer African bees. Whatever.
And I’ve learned a few things about them.
Bees like to shopWhen we arrived at a thrift store to buy some cool treasures, I got out of the car only to be surrounded by several bees. I quickly herded my kids inside and asked the shop owners if they’d had any problem with bees in the parking lot. They looked at me in surprise and said, “No.” But when I returned to the car, after nearly an hour inside, the bees were waiting for me! I stopped at several places that day and they were with us the whole day. Maybe they were the same bees???
Bees enjoy local coffee
I met a friend for coffee INSIDE a local coffee shop that keeps the door open all day. As we sat there, a few bees flew in the door and passed several people to head straight for me. By this point, I was getting used to this and managed to stay calm. They buzzed around for a while and left me alone.
Bees want to live (and die ;( ) in my house
A few days ago, Rob was home with me after listening to me going on about how bees seem to be following me. I’m sure he was supportive but I don’t think he realized how much they like me. We didn’t have the AC on yet so we left the door open to enjoy the great weather. Within an hour, we discovered that 8-10 bees had come in the house through the open spots above the screen and were warming themselves in our front window. NOW he believes me.
I did a little research and found that bees do have strong olfactory senses and don’t necessarily follow bright colors. In my case, I’ve worn anything from bright colors to gray and black and they still buzz along after me.
My local beekeeping friends concur with my research. Maybe I really am sending out “bee vibes” or some kind of pheromone that attracts them. Rob loves this because he’s told me for years that it’s all the “natural” stuff I wear. Coconut oil, herbs etc. Ha!
It seems a little crazy to say bees are following me but it’s true.
While I was writing this, a bee flew into the light next to me and died.
And – here he is.
You know, I feel like I should be getting something out of my new relationship with the bees besides a start when they surround me and try to caress me with their buzzy little wings. Like some free honey or something.
Since I’m apparently the Bee Whisperer.
If only they were actually listening to me.
Coming soon – What I’ve been up to and why I’ve been soooo quiet!!!