Soul Stories: Long Afterward I Came up on it Again

Long Afterward, I Came Up on It Again…

The trees cascade by on the winding road as we head back home.  Its been a long luxurious day of talking, hiking and skipping rocks with a pizza lunch thrown in the middle. 
25 years ago, I would have considered myself an avid hiker.  I made my way to the mountains almost every weekend.  The mountains felt like a spiritual retreat.  Though I couldn’t tell you what I needed to retreat from back then.  Mostly it was about fresh air and exercise.  I just barely committed to my relationship with God and it felt pure.  Young. Limitless.

I liked my job as a retail manager.  I was mom to a sweet little boy and though his dad and I were no longer together, we were amicable with each other. 

But at some point, I stopped hiking.  It began when I got tangled up with someone who I let take me away from myself.  Someone who I gave up my peace for.  Hindsight is 20/20.  I literally carved something sacred out of my life to entertain something detrimental.  And I don’t know why.  Except maybe because I thought I was trying to form a life that I was told was supposed to be the ideal.  But honestly, I really was already living an incredible life.
The hike today was different from those hikes before.  Because so many experiences are bookended in between.  My heart needed to get back to the mountains.  It was different to be in the mountains today.  There was more intention to it.  A recognition of what I had lost.  Or should I say carelessly threw away.  There is more power this time.  The power is defined as rest.

Soul Stories: Write about Small Change

A clay stained hand of a potter engaging in a craft work of pottery or molding

Write about small change.

Life does not seem to fall together in a straight line.  It’s more like chess.  Or what I know about chess.  Because I don’t know how to play chess.  But I think its about strategy. And Luck.  Its sometimes looking like you are losing and then suddenly seeing a path open in front if you.  It’s struggling so long that you forget to even think about when the struggle is going to end and then realizing you are past it.  It’s losing someone or something and finding out something about yourself.  Its seeing that the win doesn’t even matter because of what you had to lose to get the win. 

I used to think that life was clean.  And clear.

Now I know that it is messy and complicated.  And has no map.  That sometimes multiple choices are equally good.  That there is such a thing as a ‘no win’ situation.  That sometimes you think something it over and then slowly it revives itself.  That love does come back.  That you really can let go.  That you will live and not die.  And that some scars that you think will never heal somehow do.  With enough time.  And patience.  And release. And quiet.

Soul Stories: Write about the Making of Beds

Messy art supplies in bowls and plates on wooden table with ruler in pot 

Write about the making of beds.

Every morning without fail my bed was made.  It was a rule in my house.  You did not leave your room until your bed was made.  I did not question the rule.  I just made my bed every morning.  When I grew up and moved away and lived in my own space, I made my bed every morning.  I like how it felt to start my day that way.  And intention for the day.  A prayer.  Smoothing the sheets, fluffing the pillow, turning down the comforter.  Give us this day our daily bread.  Give me this day what I need.  What did I need?
Stability. Comfort. Peace.
I don’t make my bed much anymore, except sheet washing days.  I married a man who stays in bed. Longer than I do. Always.  So, he makes the bed.  Every day.  Without fail.  We have never had a conversation about this.  I don’t know what the rule was in his house as a kid.  It was a house full of boys, so I could assume they had no such rule, but his dad was in the military so maybe they did have that rule.  My dad was in the military too.
My husband has been in the military for over 20 years so perhaps that is why he make the bed.  He is a creature of habit and a lot of the ways he handles things are inspired by those times when he has to be away for months at a time on deployments.  Like the way he folds his socks or the way he packs for a trip. 
Maybe he makes the bed to be helpful.
I know there is something about seeing the bed made that gives me comfort.  Makes me feel loved somehow.  That even in the hardest seasons of our lives, he makes the bed.  And somehow that act nudges me to see love in it.
This is where I went wrong.

I admire you so much that you look for the jobs that interest you.  I said this to my daughter in law one time and I truly meant these words.  She worked as a baker’s assistant because she loved baking.  She worked at the kennels because she loved animals.  I thought this was so sweet.  A bit naive.  Dare I say lucky, I mean I haven’t really worked at jobs that I hated.  Other than a collections agent but it was kind of a bait and switch situation and I needed the money, so I stuck it out for 119 days.  Yes, I counted the days. In 10-minute breaks and 30-minute lunch breaks. 
Right now, I am taking classes to become a paralegal.  It feels a bit scandalous. And indulgent.  50 years old and learning yet another skill. I have a certification as a life coach, a Montessori teacher and degrees in business and theology.  Yes, I like to learn but not this much and certainly not with this price tag. 
I have looked at this paralegal certification a few times.  I am interested in law.  I have been all my life.  I don’t remember much about my childhood, but I remember when I was 8 years old I had one of those little fortune teller paper games.  And I remember one day choosing the perfect life: 25 years old, driving a jeep, a lawyer in Colorado, married with 2 kids.
I started the paralegal certification about 2 weeks ago now.  But I am kind of keeping it a secret.  Again, with school, Robin?  But the thing is as I am learning all the legal terminology, it all feels so familiar to me.  And memories are starting to come back to me.  Like one of my first jobs was at a law firm as a file clerk.  And I got promoted to legal bookkeeper.  But then I got pregnant with my first child and I needed to make more money. So, I waited, hoping for a raise.  18 months in and still no raise.  The office manager said there was a freeze on wages.  So, I started to look for another job.  And I became practical.  I now have been trained in accounting.  So, I started doing accounting jobs. Then I was promoted to supervisor. So, I started taking on roles as managers. 

I got a glimpse of my path again about 20 years later.  While I was at the collections job, I had plenty of time to think.  So, I looked on Craig’s list and found a job for a law assistant. I applied all starry eyed and felt the winds of change.  Until the manager reconfigured the position to tax assistant instead of the promised role of legal assistant.  And then my oldest suddenly got married.  And then my dad suddenly died.  And I was kind of paralyzed.  So, I quit that job and began hobbling something new together. Art. Teaching. Another wrong turn?  Who’s to say.

I don’t know what this next step will look like.  I am not assuming the answer is paralegal because the world is such a different place and this step can mean so many things. But that talk I had with my daughter in law rings in my head that there is nothing wrong with doing something you like to do.