It’s a tradition that does not seem right to stop just because life has to change. For years, we have spent the two weeks of “dead period” where summer sports are suspended, traveling as a family of five out west exporting national parks. I built this blog around the concept that we connect as a family of five through the outdoors. This summer is the first exception. With Stuart graduating, work was his priority. Wilson had an incredible adventure camp and a trip to the beach with friends and Parker kicked off the summer with camp and has tagged along wherever we needed him to go ever since. This has been a summer of what I deemed splintered moments and second options. Really our only family photo of the summer was the above. It was our send off before Tommy hit the road alone to prepare for his bike race called LeadBoat. A grueling two days of 250 miles in the mountains of Colorado of cycling in rough terrains and high elevations.
A tiny tear in my spine and ruptured disc late June leveled me. It’s by far the most pain I’ve ever experienced, far beyond 3 childbirths. It has rattled my ability to do much by the way of fun (as I had envisioned) for over 7 weeks. I’ve tried to remind myself the goal is participating in life. I can now walk and sit for short periods of time (and got back behind the wheel after 5 weeks) but the pain has been persistent. I’m told time is the ultimate healer and I’m doing my best to trust the process and enjoy short walks to the garden and take in views (mostly lying down) at a much slower pace.
After wallowing for far too long in self pity, I’ve been taking notes of the views from lying down. More importantly, thinking about the lessons of being still. I thought I’d at least explore the innermost corners of my brain and where it has taken me this summer. It’s important to reflect on how we can still learn from nature in the shifting winds of change.
For those of you who know me, I’m not one to take life on lying down. I’m a doer. I’m always in constant motion. I like to take on projects and be the one to fix things. I’ve had to completely reevaluate my wiring when those things I love to do are taken away and not possible. I’ve resorted to organizing drawers and matching up socks. I’ve had to find the satisfaction in the simple acts I can complete to say I’ve done something for the day. It’s exhausting to do very little. However, in this time I’ve been taking mental notes about what is happening in my space and here are a few take aways:
1. Community shows up when you need it.
I was lucky to have several visitors who came to the bedside in the first few days and a husband who helped me do literally everything through a lot of tears. After a few days, I got some great smiles and laughter in, despite the pain I was experiencing. I have taken in a lot of family time lying on the couch, lying in a beach chair or time lounging at the pool. I’ve taken in listening to stories from camp, extended family trips and strolling memory lane before we took Stuart to college. Normally, I likely would have been fussing around in the kitchen cooking up something for the meals to be shared. Then, I would spend lots of time cleaning up…but these visits we ordered in food and lingered long, the way in which being present should be.
2. People do have my back, even if my own back let me down.
I have an incredible core team at the bakery who have been relentless in keeping the store going despite my no absence. We are very small business and feeling all of the thresholds of staffing shortage, life changes and team members balancing the unknowns. We are having to daily navigate what is best for our group. I’m incredibly grateful for each of them and I know they know who they are.
I also had to completely change the plans made to move Stuart into the University of Dayton. With no one way rentals available coupled with my inability to be in a car for a long ride, we rented the only Uhaul available and my in laws helped get the move done in 24 hours while my parents and Tommy’s cousins kept the little kids entertained. It takes a village and I love my village.
3. We learn best in a state of humility.
We are beings meant to rely on each other. We are not capable on our own and my faith reminds me two are better than one and a cord of three strands cannot be unbroken. God wants us to rely on His provisions -and they come in all shapes, sizes, and moments -and they are meant to uplift us if we let them. I was able to witness and attend the birthday of my Grandaddy who turned 100. For all he has accomplished in his war days, for all he has lost and sacrificed and witnessed in his many years, even he has had to understand the need for reliance on others too.
I am covered up in support. We all are. It’s all around us like the clouds moving above us telling us to look for something more. We have to be willing to bathe in the blanket of these great big skies and be still. We can rest assured a bigger plan is always at work.
I had a day at Shelby Farms watching clouds while he ran through the sprinklers with his cousin Guion and I was reminded how vast and wide our opportunities are even when feeling horizontal and motionless for too long.
Surprisingly, despite what people may say, you can take life on lying down. Sometimes, it just may be the best view of what’s to come.