Tag Archive | true to self

My First Christmas Alone

green christmas tree with string lights

Christmas Eve had arrived.  My snow village was up, and the tree lit, with hopes of Christmas magic.  Holiday music was playing on the CD player.  The Advent wreath had all four candles glowing.  Smells of a home cooked meal lingered.  Drapes were drawn, bringing a safe, cozy-nest feeling in the living room.

I was home.  Alone.  My choice.  It was a good choice, despite my Mom insisting it wasn’t.  My three boys were with their Dad, and darling daughter was enjoying Christmas with her new husband.  Some of my siblings and their families were piled up at the folks.  I stayed home to breathe.

It was the three-month marker following a four-year tumultuous path to divorce.  My daughter and three sons had made it through the terrain of ups and downs, with their own medals of fortitude, grit and resilience.  Only time would unfold the layers of scarred pain and the healing needed through love, forgiveness and, for me, the gift of faith.

photo of rocks piled on top of each other

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It was the first time in forty-two years, I would be alone for Christmas.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine such a thing – ever.  Life has a way of happening.  Life shook me to the very core of my being, leaving me questioning love, life itself, and the depths of my belief in a church filled with rules and judgement that were becoming unbearable.  Good church people – yes, and heart-filled gratitude for them, for they helped keep me sane when I felt insane and loved me when I felt unlovable.  Bad church people – yes, in their gossip and judgments and keepers of the rules.  I was so grateful they were NOT the God I wrapped my faith around.  The God, who, in spite of everything, I rested in, prayed and listened to – and yelled and screamed at, in my darkest days and weeks and months – only to once again rest in … when I finally learned to be still and listen.

snow flakes

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I wasn’t going to church that Christmas Eve, even with the admonishment received from a very well-meaning and fear-of-the-devil, Mom.  I was staying home.  I needed to let this holy night, melt into me.  I pictured the bravery, fear, persistence, compassion and love Mary and Joseph experienced in the story of their baby, Jesus, being born.  Theirs was not an easy journey, at all.  They did it one step at a time.  One leg of a journey, and then another.  They asked for help.  It was given.  They were not alone.  They had each other, but I imagine, it was a long and lonely journey for them.  I like to think, their companion was faith, being true to what God was guiding them to do, despite obstacles.

For a while that night, I reflected on my last four years.  I wished I would have quieted myself and listened to God sooner.  I hadn’t wanted to believe what was true.  Our marriage was over.  My husband was leaving.  He was finally being true to himself, while I fought, argued, begged, prayed and fasted for a miracle that was never going to happen. I was my biggest obstacle in moving on with life.  The story I was telling myself wasn’t true.  The story was mixed up with rules, and teachings of a church and some of society that didn’t honor him, as a gay man.  God didn’t make a mistake.  We made mistakes in how we were handling a really hard situation.

Fear was anchoring us all, deeply.  Fear on so many levels. For a long time, it ruled us.  Emotionally, we were all taking a beating we didn’t know how to handle, but we moved ahead, as best we could.  I asked for help, knowing I could not do life without it.  I got it.  I was not alone.  The younger boys went to counseling.  The youngest got a Kinship partner, who, with his wife, created a vision for my son on what a happy marriage looked like, he was only 6 when life turned upside down.  With the help of a friend, who went with me to the doctor, I dealt with depression and thoughts of suicide.  I got into counseling.  I went through a Co-Dependency Program – twice, the first time, didn’t stick.  I went to Al-Anon.  I left a church filled with judgement and rules I could not follow, nor embrace anymore.  I took off my rose-colored glasses and saw Truth and Life as it really was.  Faith was my quiet companion, present, in the darkest dark and the dawn of days.  God never left.

red lighted candle

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So, that first, quiet, Christmas Eve night I spent alone, was hard, necessary and desperately needed.  Nestled in the quiet softness of the night, I could feel a flicker and then, a glow in my heart.  Faith was present. God was present. Unexpectedly, forgiveness began to seep into every round edge and corner of my being.  I forgave myself for being such a crappy Mom and began to see a Mom who really tried and didn’t give up.  I let tears flow and forgave their Dad.  Like me, he traveled mountains and came through, true to himself. The gift of time has been a friend through the years.  It has taken lots time and lots of years, for a friendship between the two of us, to rekindle.  And it has.  Thankfully, our kids have their unique love for both of us, too.

It was a magical Christmas Eve.  It was a blessing.  It was a new beginning filled with bravery, compassion, persistence and love for life, my children, my future and myself. Wisdom was present because of lessons I learned and experienced … wrapped in the gift of faith, and a gentle glow of peace and joy.

photo of gifts

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My Encouragement to You:

Ask for help when you need help.  Even if it’s scary – be brave and do it.  Trust your gut, it won’t steer you wrong.  I would have enjoyed life sooner, if I would have trusted my gut.

I know it’s hard, but … let go of what other people think of you.  Your priority is you.  Do what you have to do, to get healthy and strong.  I didn’t want people to know the secret I was living with.  I didn’t want to disappoint anyone.  I didn’t want to be judged.  I didn’t want to feel anger or fear … and I experienced all of it.  I pretended, I stuffed, I ignored and denied the stanch presence of Truth because of what others might think.  Pretending everything is ok, only hurts the pretender … and really doesn’t fool anyone. That energy is felt by those who love you.  Love your incredible self and take care of you.  You will have people in your life who will help.  Don’t let pride get in the way, like it got in mine.  Let it go, in order to move forward.

Forgive.  It’s a big deal.  Forgiveness is for you.  It’s a huge part of healing.  It’s a gift to yourself.  Even if you have to do it over and over again.  Forgive.

Let time be your friend.  Life is a journey through time. Every choice creates a lesson learned, a nugget of wisdom – a yay or a nay.  Thankfully, life is filled with practicing moments and days and years.  It’s how we become wise!

If you can, embrace the gift of faith.  For me, God is that gift.  A quiet knowing that in the whole big picture, I am not alone.  Thank goodness.  It is my wish for you.

Blessings and Love …

Debbie

Being Me.  Life. Stories.  Lessons.  Awareness.  Faith.  Denial.  Heartache. Truth. Wisdom. Love.

www.debendres.com

 

The Art of BEing …

I love early morning coffee time with God.  Quiet time.  Nurturing.  I never cease to be amazed at what comes though when I journal.  After being on a hiatus with this practice during the time of a whirlwind romance, Spirit was ready and waiting when I returned. (Note to self: Never let anyone or anything get in the way of these gentle moments. God wove around and about and through me during that time – I feel clarity and strength would have been recognized sooner with meditation and taking time to journal.)

And so … one early morning, as words poured out on paper, it was clear Spirit was prompting me to “put myself out there”.  What unfolded was a series of gatherings – for people to come together on a path of discovery for body, mind and Spirit.  It was to be called: The ART of BEing.  That was a WOW moment.  I’m one that needs confirmation … still, after all these years.  Like, I’m not imagining this … or am I?  If I were to do this, we’d need a space, so, God, you’re going to have to come up with something.  You provide the space, I’ll be brave and do this. 

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I took a breath, and started my day.  One of my “to do” things, was renewing my membership with The Crossing Arts.  An amazing art community, fostering individuals to create their own works of art! Be sure to check them out.  While I was there, I was offered the Art Gallery as space to hold gatherings for The ART of BEing.  How incredible is that?!  The beautiful, creative art – first imagined by the artist and then coming to reality, surrounding us as we gather … this is affirmation, don’t you think? Now, I’m being brave and holding up my end of the deal!  You can get more info at The ART of BEing!  A couple of wonder-filled things we will be doing: meditating, taking time to journal and share … I think Spirit is smiling.

What I know to be true … BEing true to myself, BEing still in the silence, BEing able to listen, BEing willing to be brave … are parts of God and the goodness that is waiting.  All of us are a piece of ART … BEing who we are … is our gift to the world.

Dancing to the beat of my heart …

Life doesn’t always play out like I think it will.  After a whirlwind romance, reality started its dance.  It’s hard when the rhythm and the beat aren’t synchronized.  No matter what my head and the heart wanted to say, my body was like an opposing magnet, saying “pay attention”.  The body has an uncanny sense of truth.  It doesn’t lie … “trust your gut” is what I tell clients … it just took me a while to practice what I preach.

The whirlwind romance is over.  I’ve learned alot about myself. I’ve had to think about what my life purpose is at this point in my life … and honor it.  Being true to myself, has opened a stream of music, that has me dancing and my feet tapping to the beat of my heart!  I love it!  Ideas are flowing, get-togethers are planned, energy is clear and bright as sunlight sparkles in the autumn air.

Someday, perhaps, I’ll have a partner to dance with …

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For now, Life has me encircled with incredible people, dancing, clapping and holding each other up, celebrating the gift we are to each other.

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How fortunate I am.