Do you believe in fate or divine intervention? Are ironic occurrences serendipitous or just a coincidence? Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?
I know I’m a bit late to this party, but I recently (and finally) watched the movie The Shack. I read the book years ago, but needed to wait until I was ready for a good, ugly cry before I could commit to watching the movie. Now usually, the book is way better than the movie, but I think they did a great job making the adaptation. There was a moment in the movie, that I don’t remember from the book, that really resonated with me in a very positive way. No spoiler alert needed here (I don’t think), but it was the scene where the main character was in the garden with Sarayu (the Holy Spirit). The beautiful spirit shares with the guy that the garden was a reflection of him and his life. The garden was a complete mess. There were some lovely things growing in it, but there was absolutely no order, it was overgrown, neglected and just a mess. But when the camera raises up to give a view of the garden from above, it was a gorgeous, orderly design. It took my breath away and I think back to the image often. I try to remember that is what my life is. It might feel like a giant jumbled mess, but it’s actually a collection of lovely things, and not so lovely things, that are designing a beautiful bigger picture or life. I had a little reminder of that recently.
In my journey to recreate myself, or I sometimes feel a more accurate description would be my journey to create myself, I’ve been exploring new avenues and experiences particularly centered around writing. The sequence of events that have happened in my life this year, looking back, have been laid out perfectly. And not of my own doing, except the first step.
Let me start at the beginning. For reasons that I still can’t explain, I decided to start this lifestyle blog. I know almost nothing about technology and, at the time that I had this crazy idea I didn’t follow or even read any blogs. Writing for my blog has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It turned on something in me that I didn’t know was there, and I liked it. Couldn’t get enough of it. I worked hard at it and loved every minute. Best year of my life.
Early on in my blogging career, one of my Guest pieces caught the eye of an editor of a new local magazine. She liked my work and asked if I would consider being a profile contributor for her magazine. Damn straight I would!
I did it! I took the offer, showed up for my first assignment sweating with nerves. I was so fortunate to be given the unique assignment of interviewing a person who had the rare career of farm to fashion. Yep. This lady was a shepherd who would spin her sheep’s wool into yarn and turn it into garments. As luck would have it, I got my bachelors degree in clothing and textiles. I’m not kidding. (And I haven’t worked in my field of study for over 20 years) It was a match made in heaven. And I’m beginning to think that those type of occurrences really are! I understood her industry. (Ok, maybe not the shepherding part, but I knew textile and clothing manufacturing.)
The editor was pleased and hired me for more. I became a regular contributor having several more articles published. Ironically the amount of money that I earned writing for the magazine allowed for me to be able to hire an illustrator for my children’s book that I had been wanting to have published, nearly to the penny. Besides my own fears, hiring the illustrator was the one piece that was holding me back from going for the dream of getting published.
The process for publishing my book started in earnest. I’m the first to admit that I don’t know a thing about self publishing. Simultaneously to all of this, I had rekindled a friendship with a very talented photographer in our area. I featured her story on my blog, and because of how pleased she was with that article, she asked me to write a cookbook that she was working on. As part of her own publishing journey, she joined a Facebook group to help learn the ins and outs of self publishing and invited me to join the group as well.
I began the month long workshop with the group. The first exercise that we had to do was to friend all of the people in the group and several other groups of our choosing. I’ll admit, I did not want to do this at all. I was uncomfortable opening up my somewhat private life that I have on Facebook with complete strangers. I did it anyway and incredibly reluctantly.
Meanwhile, in the rest of my life, I had been suffering with a frozen shoulder along with tendinitis for months (and when I say months, I mean since before Christmas…a long@$$ time). I’d been seen by several medical professionals to try to resolve the problem or at least minimize the excruciating pain. (I’m gonna tie this in, I promise). I had literally been tortured for even the hope of the tiniest bit of relief. I had regular acupuncture treatments, chiropractic appointments, steroid injections as well as voluntarily withstanding two treatments of gua sha which is the Chinese practice of using a thin polished stone to scrape away scar tissue. It’s not for the faint of heart, nor for anyone who can’t tolerate extreme pain.
It was after one of these treatments that I found myself in deep reflection. I was emotionally and physically tapped out. I can remember driving home from the last gua sha session trying to understand and unravel what was happening to me and how I could change my focus so that all of this was for a higher purpose. I can even remember exactly where I was, as I was driving home, when I had the analogous thought (which I do a lot) that I am like a teacup. I started thinking of the attributes of a teacup and me.
- I was strong
- I was capable
- I could definitely withstand some serious heat
- But if dropped the right way, I would break
And I was damn near the edge of the proverbial tea party table.
I found satisfaction with this new association. Say what you will about me, but I can endure significant pain for a very long time. (I think it might be my super power!) I was not just tough, I was super tough and I felt good about this realization. I’d been blinded by the pain for so long that I didn’t see that it was bringing to the surface a very admirable quality that was in me; is in me.
That afternoon, after the self-empowering moment of thought, I was cruising through Facebook and a post from one of the new strangers turned Facebook friend popped up. She had posted several pictures of the most colorful and gorgeous teacups that you’ve ever seen. I nearly sucked all the air out of the room with my audible gasp of surprise. (And let’s not go into the tear fest. Kind of a given if you know me at all.)
I felt compelled to reach out to my new “friend” and tell her this story al beit the Cliff Noted version. It was a stunning collection of pictures. A total wave of acknowledgment from God (or the Universe, whatever higher power makes sense to you). It was a stunning reminder that God sees me, and is always with me, and that even when we are the most fragile, there can still be great beauty.
So I am a teacup. Strong, enduring, but occasionally fragile. I will keep on keeping on and am grateful for those close to me who nudge me gently away from the edge and help to keep me whole.
1 Pics from the 2017 motion picture The Shack