Category Archives: Life change

Weather Wise.

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The weather in the past week has been, alternately, absolutely gorgeous and bloody awful.

No sooner do you think the cold and rain will never end (shouldn’t it be Spring by now?) than the next day dawns in peerless glory.  Only to be regularly followed by a return to said cold, miserable wetness.

We go from this

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To this

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Then back to this again

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The thing I hold onto is that it does keep changing.  On gloomy days you know it won’t last forever, on bright ones you know to enjoy it while you can.

So like life, eh?

Recently moved back from Los Angeles to leafy Surrey, I miss intensely the warmth, brightness and surety of California sunshine.  I miss the feeling of warm brick under my bare feet in the backyard as I wandered out to sit in the sun with my morning coffee after the school run.  I miss the sun soaking into my back.  I  miss my hammock swing where I could sit in quiet tranquillity watching the hummingbirds feed on our honeysuckle and the birds nest in our bougainvillea while my toes toasted in morning sunlight.

Last week, the cumulative losses that come with such dramatic change all fell in on my head.  As I watched delivery men struggle up the driveway with a new fridge in cold wind and lashing rain, I suddenly felt I couldn’t bear it any longer. “I can’t stand this weather!” I wailed. “I hate it all!  I want to go HOME!”

But of course California is not home anymore.  Not for the foreseeable future anyway.

Then the next day dawned and it was GORGEOUS.  Absolutely breathtakingly lovely, making it hard to dwell on just how dismal the rain and cold have been.

So like life, eh?

No one wants to think about rain when the sun is shining and, conversely, how crucial it is to hold onto the reality of the sun when you’re in the midst of pouring wet.

The key for me is to remember that all weather changes.  In Britain often three times in twenty minutes.  And moving back here I am struck by what a profound difference good weather makes.

I said to my son last week as we drove to school surrounded by shimmering blossoms under a bright blue sky with scudding clouds, “It’s really impossible not to feel your spirits lift on a day like this! You can’t be sad when it’s sunny.”

“We had bad days that were sunny in California, Mom,” he said.  But of course we did.  When almost everyday is guaranteed sun, it’s the given.  It doesn’t hold as much power to transform the context of your life.

I never thought I’d be grateful for British weather but, in some ways, I am. A gorgeous day truly does lift my spirits and I don’t take it for granted because it’s not standard.  Everyone I meet on my walk on gorgeous days can’t help but enthuse: “Ooh, gorgeous day isn’t it?” Knowing, grateful smiles abound. There’s almost a chuckle.

Of course all the rain is one of the exact reasons Britain is so lovely in sunshine.  All that fertile, bursting-with-new-life-green-and-pleasant-land is only possible because of the amount of rain.

So like life, eh.

On rainy, cold, foul days I have to put on more protective layers to keep warm, do activities appropriate to the conditions. Hold on.

On sunny days, I have to get out AND ENJOY IT!  It would be a crime to stay in. I must embrace it and breathe it in and rejoice in it and gasp at its loveliness! Because the sunny days make the rainy days doable. And on rainy days remembering sunny ones keeps me bashing on until the next appears.

So like life, eh?

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So like life.

 

jsg/March 17

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The Gate of the Year

‘And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.’

I believe it.

I believe it and I cannot see what’s ahead.

I believe it and I have placed my hand into the hands of the only Redeemer.

I believe it and there has never not been a dawn.

I believe it and I am facing forward because the way on is the way through.

If you have nowhere to turn, no way to go back, no sight going forward, no clue as to the whys and hows and wherefores — put your hands into the hands of God.

I can tell you myself.  It is better than light.

And safer than a known way.

God bless you in a New Year.

Bash on.

 

 

jsg/dec 31 2016

*photo taken early morning 12/29/16

More and Less.

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This morning, a friend had to cancel a breakfast date. Initially I thought, “I can go home and get all those things done with the extra time.” But it’s been a tricky week, and I’d been looking forward to girl time. So I went on my own with my journal, and it was wonderful.

Becoming a single mother, I have discovered that I have both more, and less. I have less manpower to raise my kids (literally). I have less intimacy (zero).   I have less time to read at night (if I manage to stay awake).

However today, having an artist’s date with myself and realizing how many years it had been since I was free to do something so luxurious, I recognized again the more.

I have more social life. I have been to more movies in the past eighteen months than in the past 14 years. And I have had more one on one time with friends both married and single.

I have more time to think about myself. This can be good and bad but, on balance, is better. I have time to reflect on my response to things. I have time to consider my options.  I can plan knowing only me and the kids are (mostly) my parameters.

I have more responsibility. Knowing I am truly self-dependent makes it much less scary than it was. I need to find the money? I’m going to find it. I need to help the kids? I’m going to sacrifice other time to do it. It’s down to me only, which it felt like it mostly had been anyway but it’s official now – and freeing.

I have more discretionary time. This is not more free time, but being independent means I have more choices now as to how I’m going to spend the time I do have to get done the things I need to do. I am not needed by a spouse. In some ways, I’m sad. In other ways, WOW.

A favorite professor at Yale, Lee Keck, used to say, “I have more on my plate than I can say grace over.” If I look at my life as a plate, it is easier to see things and see where the spaces are.

I can see when I’ve overloaded my plate and what I need to shift.

I can see the spaces where things/people have been taken away. Experience has shown me that those spaces are not filled by simply letting other existing things bleed into them.  They just veil the space and provide the perfect environment underneath for moldy resentment to grow.

This morning I asked myself, what if I were to look at new spaces as opportunity as much as reminders of things lost?  To let them sit open until I know how I want to fill them?

What if I turned my question from, “What am I going to do now?” to “What am I going to do now?” And then look for opportunity?

I am less available practically to run errands or mercy missions for others now I’m a solo parental unit. But I am now more available if someone wants to discuss something with me or go to a movie/opening/event when I don’t have my kids. I am more available emotionally and spiritually to a wider circle than I ever could have been before.

Don’t be fooled, I recognize the less of things. I weep over them.  However I am sticking my pickaxe into the opportunity of today and holding on for dear life to discover what I can see now.  

My plate is different, and it can be as full or as less-full as I choose it to be.

So my revelation over coffee this morning (because I took the time to have it) was that perhaps the most compelling more of my now, is the greater freedom I have to choose.

Jsg/sept15