Monday, January 12, 2015

Dark Hallways and Locked Doors

There are days when I feel like I am walking alone in a dark hallway lined with doors and it is up to me to find the right door to open.  So many are locked and so many have been labeled incorrectly.  It is up to me to be knowledgable enough to know which door is the one I am supposed to open.

I've opened a couple of doors on my new journey.  One led me to a new church and another reintroduced me to a healthier lifestyle.  Don't get me wrong, I've opened just as many (if not more) wrong doors.  One made me realize I have developed trust issues, another was filled with self doubt, and another was full of loneliness.

What I need to constantly remind myself of is that I am the one with the power of choice.  I get to decide how long I stand in the doorway, if I cross the threshold, or if I close the door and walk away.

I'm not used to allowing myself to have the freedom of choice.  For me, choice has always been associated with guilt.  Guilt for allowing myself to be happy.  Guilt because those around me aren't as happy or won't allow themselves to become happy.

I am free from most of the guilt that I carried with me in the past. I just need to give myself permission to to open and close more doors in this now unfamiliar hallway.  I don't have to stand in the wrong threshold anymore.  I just need the confidence to walk away and try another door.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Is a broken crayon worth saving?

I find myself asking one form of this question or another on a daily basis.  Am I smart enough for the amazing job I have?  Am I good enough to be their mom? Am I a valued friend?  Will it ever be easy to trust another again? Am I worth loving?

The answer seems like a no brainer.  The problem is believing enough in yourself to know it's true.

I'm a work in progress.  A broken crayon of sorts.  I still work, but who wants a broken crayon when there are so many new ones still in the box?  Kind of a depressing way to think.  The beauty is, being a broken crayon isn't necessarily a bad thing.

As a teacher, I have a habit of collecting broken crayons.  There is something mysterious about them. The way they are impossible to get a good grip on for coloring; how little hands tear the paper off of them so their true identity remains a mystery; how tiny bits of other crayons always seem to stick to them.  But there is something special about a broken crayon that not many people take the time to consider.

Broken crayons have the ability to go through a transformation.  For years I've melted down my broken crayons, and with the help of a variety of molds, turned them into new crayons.  They've become rainbow hearts, glittery stars, letters, and about a gazillion Lego people (the most popular with the little ones).  I've even had friends ask me to make customized sets for them to give as gifts.  Never once have I used a new crayon.  I can't justify busting up something so seemingly perfect.

You might be asking yourself why I'm spending so much time talking about crayons.  Bear with me, we are almost to the good part.  If you were to place a brand new crayon, a broken crayon, and a heart shaped rainbow crayon on the table and let someone choose only one to keep, which do you think would get picked?  Think about it.  In fact, put them in order of how they would get picked from most desirable to least.  

I can let myself feel like a broken crayon.  It's ok.  I've been through a lot.  I used to be new and brought happiness to everyone that I helped.  Over time I lost that nice right out of the box point, most/all of my paper is missing, and I've been pressed to the point of breaking.  But it's ok, it's not permanent.

I am a special person because I can see the good in a broken crayon.  I know how to transform it.  I have the ability to turn it into something even better than what it started out as.  I've been doing it for years.  

Was it the worst day of my life?

September 15th.  It's a day I will never forget. That was the day my husband of 19+ years came home from a trip and without looking me in the eyes said, "I can't do this anymore."

Less than two years earlier we moved our family of four from the heartland to west Texas.  It was a journey we made out of faith.  Hubby was offered the job of a lifetime, the kind you can't turn down.  We knew zero people in Texas.  The closest family members lived more than ten hours away.  We had to rely on the strength of our relationship and our faith.  While he was going to work for the university, I knew I wanted to continue with my teaching career.

Making friends has never been difficult for me.  I love meeting people, trying new experiences, and learning about what life has to offer. My husband was always a bit of an introvert.  His job was rather isolating; he definitely wasn't as social as me.  We would always joke that whenever we went out I would warm up the crowd and he would join in when he realized it was safe.

So when he said he couldn't do this anymore, I thought he was talking about the job.  I was wrong.  After more than 19 years of marriage and twenty-one years together he told me he wanted a divorce.

I'm writing this blog not to talk about the events that led to divorce, rather to talk about my new journey.

My name is Lisa.  I am divorced.  Just thing those three words brings tears to my eyes.  Not because I am sad and long for what is no more, but because I don't want those three words to be what defines me.  I am more than that.  There are so many things that I gave up as a wife, a mother, and a partner because I was trying to make the lives of others happier that I neglected myself.  I was so used to putting the wants and needs of others before my own that I allowed their happiness to become what made me happy.

Don't get me wrong, I will always live my life for others.  I believe I am here to serve.  I am responsible for the lives of two beautiful boys.  I thank God every day for allowing me to be their mother.  I chose the life of a teacher because it allows me to help others strengthen their lives and develop the passion for knowledge through learning.  These things will always be a part of my life.

This is my journey to help another important person. A person who I never thought was worth the attention.  A person that didn't deserve the qualities I worked at developing in others.  A person that was easy to overlook.  A person that has been lost for a very long time.

This is my attempt to find myself.