Life is in Seasons

A few months ago, my older sister and I spent a weekend together and we got talking about how life is in seasons.

We concluded that you can have all the hopes and aspirations you want; you can believe for great things; you can hope for a wonderful life but one thing that is constant to all people is that life will always certainly have highs and low. It’s the basic tenet of existence.

It’s a fallacy to believe that life will be a constant high. And a lot of us struggle with this because whether we say it or not, we have a sense of entitlement to a ‘good life’.

And don’t get me wrong, we do deserve a ‘good life’, whatever that is for you but it’s not an entitlement – it happens by grace.

The older I get, the more I am able to master the changing seasons. When I was younger, I viewed them as a sentence being meted out to me. I would often ask why is this happening to me? What have I done to deserve this? Why does it always happen to me? When is it going to be my turn? Why, why, why, why, why, why,  why? However, after going through a fair number of seasons you learn to ride the waves – maybe even control their impact on you or your reaction to them.

I hope to God I do not become an expert on changing seasons LOL but I have come to understand that if you can be still in the storm, it will pass. If you can stop yourself from making decisions when you are desperate or scared, you’ll make better choices for yourself. If you can look at the season not as something being done to you but a process of refinement, then you might just learn something through the process. If you can try your darnedest not to see the season as a reflection of your esteem but see it for what it is – a bad time. And if you can yes, hold on for that ‘good life’ it will come – even if it does tarry (oh I sound ancient now).

The opening line of one of favourite songs by Maxwell is, “I was reborn when I was broken“. Only seven words, not a very long sentence, but they speak volumes to me. A different perspective perhaps to pain and disappointment. Lots of people talk about how they go through a tough season and come out of the other side a different person. The loss of a loved one, the loss of a home, redundancy, divorce, a betrayal, an unexpected diagnosis; so many different seasons we find ourselves in; often without warning. Can we be reborn as we pass through them? Perhaps the season may take a part of you and enable a different you to surface. I was reborn when I was broken.

Maxwell’s response is to “take it one day at a time”. Those sound like wise words to me. Maybe he’s walked through a few seasons too. The season always has a byline. It has a knack of revealing it usually at the end though. If maybe at the turn of a new season, we could learn to turn the volume down a bit, we may hear the whispers of the byline; the story it seeks to share. Then perhaps we too can we say, “we were reborn when we were broken”.

 

I am really determined to learn something new in every season. Almost like a do your worst, I’m-going-to-grow-through-this-sort-of-growl. As long as there is life, I can be stronger and say I was reborn when I was broken. I may cry a little but I will be reborn.

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Let It Be Known, You Can’t Please Everyone

No matter how good you are or how solid your intentions are, there will always be people on the face of this earth that will disagree with you or even see your good actions in a negative way.

You can’t please everyone so you can only be true to yourself and act with the sincerest of motives.

If people are not going to be happy anyway, you might as well make sure YOU are happy with your actions. And in the future if you think differently, you’ll amend your actions accordingly.

And as I type, this I’m well aware that this goes for those I disagree and agree with. That’s life.

Do It Afraid

One of my son’s best friends had a diving party yesterday. The day after we got the invite, my son told me he didn’t want to go to the party. It was very strange to hear this as this is one of his close friends. It was indeed odd. So I asked why and it turned out that he was nervous about diving.

So I spoke to his friend’s mum to get some more information and she said there would be a low diving board if he was apprehensive and flumes to keep him occupied if diving wasn’t his thing.

I mentioned it to my son but he didn’t sound convinced it was the right thing to do. As expected, we had three or more conversations about how he didn’t think he wanted to go. By the time I realised he was really looking for a get-out-clause it was too late to cancel. So we struck a deal. If he didn’t feel comfortable about diving he didn’t have to do it.

We got to the party and there were about twelve children. I watched as child after child got on the diving board and my son stood on the sidelines observing. In an ever-so-gentle-tone-disguising-the-inner-tiger-mummy I asked if he wanted to go in. And I got a firm no and a look that told me it was non-negotiable – we had a deal.

After about ten minutes he ran up the stairs to the top of the flumes. And I waited for ages for him to come down. I saw one of his friends and asked what my son was doing. Turns out he was observing again. And then about five minutes later I saw him slide down.

And up he went again and again and again and again AND again bypassing his diving friends each time. I must mention that he ‘claims’ he’s afraid of heights so going up to the flumes was actually an accomplishment of some sort.

As I sat watching the other kids go for it with gusto I made a mental note to talk to his about overcoming his fears. Perhaps I was being overly concerned but that’s what mums do. I spent too many years being scared of doing so many things and have had regrets – I don’t want the same for my kids.

As if God heard my soon-to-be-articulated prayer, I saw him walk on to the diving board. I actually thought I was seeing things. Then his sister yell confirmed it, “mummy, he’s going to dive”. And I responded, “shhhhhhsh”. I just didn’t want to make him self-conscious and jinx it.

And then one-two-three, woooosh. Into the water he went and then swam to the stairs. I clapped – silently- and beamed outwardly. I have never been so proud of him because I knew how nervous he was about it.

After that dive, he went back on the board over and over and over AND over again. It’s a pity he only plucked up the courage in the last ten minutes but he did it. He was afraid – but he did it. And he has that memory for the rest of his life. It was an instructive moment for me.

Of course I had to ask what made him change his mind. My poor children, I’m sure when they are teenager I’ll be assaulted by eye-rolling over our chats and my psycho-analysis. 😂😂😂😂😂😂
Anyway it turns out that all his friends were telling him how amazing it was and he simply didn’t want to miss out on the fun. That’s the sort of peer pressure I love. 😉

It’s Monday morning! Whatever it is you’ve been putting off, do it even if you have to do it afraid, just do it.

I’m Listening

Three years ago I went on a retreat or a getaway I should say on my own. My husband had the children whilst I spent fours days in Southampton just to clear my head.

While I was there I got a idea which I wrote down. So excited was I by the idea that I couldn’t wait to get home I called my husband as soon as I could to talk about it. He was quite encouraging which if you know my husband at all, is high praise. He’s just one of those guys who is never overly enthused about anything. If something is good he says OK. If it’s fantastic he says it’s alright. If it’s super fantastic he says good. This day I got a good which was in itself an encouragement.

In between writing down that idea and now, life has just literally taken over. I’ve changed jobs, moved to a new city, changed schools for my children, changed careers, moved house, got out of one business, started a new business – a lot has gone on. Slowly and surely I forgot that idea.

Restlessness is a sure sign that something needs changing or a great reminder of something you already knew. I’ve been restless over the last six months or so, particularly the last three. And I have been soul searching again. Two years ago I would have gone on another retreat but I couldn’t do it this time. So I decided to use the opportunity of Advent to prepare myself for next year and kind of listen out for what next.

Best laid plans! It’s three weeks since I decided to do that and life seems to have suddenly gotten even busier if that’s possible. Although I couldn’t take the time to be still, I’ve been thinking a lot about it- just going through questions in my head. So last night I couldn’t sleep and I found myself tossing and turning an hour after I got to bed so I thought I might as well start my advent journey, 20 plus days later. I picked up the journal from twos year ago and read through it. I couldn’t believe the amount of detail I had then. Maybe it was too much to process at the time or I wasn’t convinced or I was scared and kind of put it off. Who knows? Two years later, the same idea is still reverberating in my head. I’ve come full circle.

It think it’s safe to say you should never say you don’t know what to do, it’s more like we aren’t listening. Or perhaps we are not in the frame of mind to listen and do something about it.

The universe is always saying something, in my case I believe God is always guiding us, but we are way too busy to listen. Sometimes we miss it but sometimes, out of share grace, we get a second chance and we hear it again.

One of the many things life has taught me is that, the ‘universe’ will not keep speaking forever if we do not jump in
when the waters are stirred. If you are restless at the moment or want your life to take a new shape or direction in the New Year. Take some time out to listen. At the very least you confirm what you already knew deep down.

Listening is a lot harder than talking. It takes time, patience and determination but yields better results all the time.