Tag Archives: water

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Home

Home is a little word packed with meaning. It is what we call our physical address, the GPS coordinates that identify where we keep our “stuff” on the planet. It’s where we tell people we’re going when we leave work or school, the location we choose to rest our weary heads at the end of a long day. I looked up the word home in the dictionary and all the expected definitions were there: permanent place of residence, a family or social unit occupying a place, a house or apartment, etc. But one definition caught my eye: a place where something flourishes. Isn’t that true?

Talking about home at this time of year conjures up visions of families around the dinner table for holiday meals and the way people usually come together to celebrate the season. It also brings to mind those who, unfortunately, are without a place to call home – a sad reality that I wish I could change. Home is different things to different people, but I think it typically is a place of belonging.

The word home has been in my thoughts a lot these days. It’s not a big secret that I don’t like being cold, am not a fan of snowy weather, and prefer flip flops to almost any other form of footwear (second only to no footwear). So, living in Colorado has been a bit of a climate adjustment. Sometimes I’ve handled it well and other times I’ve cried or screamed (inwardly) about being here. It’s also been an adjustment because of the circumstances that brought me to this place. Going somewhere completely by choice is a far cry from packing up and moving so family can be around your loved one as he is dying. Colorado has it’s good points of course: the goodness of family and the comfort of people who care about me. And, by definition, I can say I’ve begun to flourish here in new ways.

There is only one place I’ve ever lived, however, that feels like home. That would be [insert drumroll] Florida. From the time I arrived there I felt as though I belonged. Even though we didn’t really know a soul when we pulled up in the driveway of a rental house we’d found online and rented without ever stepping foot inside, I knew I was going to flourish in that place. Fort Myers was truly the first place we ever put down roots and felt a sense of community. The sunshine, tropical temperatures, and proximity to the Gulf helped a lot too. Those are big draws for someone who doesn’t enjoy cold toes! When I think about Colorado or Missouri I have fond memories of fun family times and days spent with friends, but if I hear “home” attached to those places I picture the dwelling places – the houses and apartments we lived in. When I think about Florida I have those same fond memories of friends and family and times shared with people, but when I hear the word “home” it is far more than a house or a condo. I feel sea breezes, sand under my feet, the salt water on my skin, the sunshine and warmth all year long. I remember that there I share a playground with dolphins! I think of the sense of belonging I had. My home there was everything that surrounded me, not just the four walls that sheltered me.

Lately, my true home has really been tugging at my heart again, so I plan to get there in 2013 and re-establish those roots that were pulled up unexpectedly. Until then, I’m following some advice I’ve received, to enjoy where I am until the time comes to move on, cold winter weather and snowstorms included. So, I’ll work on blossoming and flourishing here until I can get back… home.

My Heart’s Home = Joy

Out of Focus Bliss

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This is me, one year ago today. October 14, 2011 in St. Augustine, Florida. I love this picture. Absolutely, positively, love it. Yeah, it’s out of focus and fuzzy, but that’s okay. I remember walking on the sand that cold morning, wearing my favorite pink Hurley hoodie, waiting for the sun to peek over the water and rise high into the sky! My bare feet squished down into the scrumptious wet sand and the air was crisp and inviting. My love affair with the water has been going on for years and I don’t foresee it coming to an end anytime soon. I’m hopelessly head-over-heels in love with the sea.

This picture captures a lot of the essence of me one year ago. Life was not perfectly in focus, a lot was wrong, and a lot was right. I was physically beginning to be in a healthier place while emotionally working through difficulties. The sun seemed to be rising on my life, though the air had a chill to it on some days. My smile was completely genuine, a reflection of what I felt inside that day, and on many days.

We cannot go back in time and relive our past, nor should we want to. But I would like to have more days where I’m blissfully happy, even if totally out of focus! I don’t think those days happen by chance all the time. Circumstances don’t allow for that. So I believe we can make some of them happen, indeed we must make them happen. Oh, it’s hard! Trust me on that one, fellow joy-seeker. Sometimes it takes digging deep, pushing our feet down into that wet sand to anchor ourselves. We can be happy. We can smile. We can laugh and dance and sing. We  can even do a celebratory cartwheel on the beach! We can be joyful. On purpose.

A Little Out of Focus, Yet Blissfully Happy = Joy

Riding the Waves

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I’ve been paddling along, enjoying the scenery, taking in all that is new and different. Or I should say, I had been. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, came a wave. It has not been a wave I can’t ride, but it’s taken some steadying, some muscle. It’s a new wave of grieving. The wave must have a long way to carry me, because I’ve been on it for days and days and I cannot see the shore. Others can sense it – I’ve been quieter and more withdrawn, as though I’m off in the distance.

One thing I know for certain about grief: there is no one way to experience it. Oh, wait, there are two things I know for certain. The other is that there is no wrong way to experience it. What I am experiencing now is just one more step in the long process. At first I tried to fight it, but that didn’t last long because I’ve learned over the last 8 months that it’s better to just let emotions come and embrace them. Doing anything else leaves you feeling lost. Facing the emotions is uncomfortable, for sure. This new grief has brought with it feelings of loss, longing, and love. It’s also brought a lot of tears, the kind that burn as they run down your cheeks. The kind you cannot wipe away fast enough, so you just let them flow and fall wherever they may. The kind you can still feel when you wake up, dried and salty on your skin, and you know you cried while you slept. There is, very often right now, a silence so deafening in my life that I can hardly bear it. A voice and a laugh are missing and I have to listen very closely in my mind to recall their exact sound. I want to hear the old sound, the sound of a healthy Brian who was living life as big as he possibly could. Sometimes I can hear that voice. But what comes more easily, though still quietly, is the voice that became a whisper and was slurred because of a combination of medication and cancer. I miss even hearing that voice and knowing that my life was still my life, not this uncertain (though, admittedly, often intriguing) new thing.

I don’t cry in front of people over this and I share very few words about it. The reason for that is not that I’m attempting to steel myself and appear stronger than I am. The reality is that the new grief feels so private and intimate. I can’t share the fullness of it; I don’t want to. I don’t know how long this new wave of grief will last. Will it be a few weeks, several months, or many years? I don’t know yet where it is taking me either. Far away or very nearby? I’ll continue to steady myself and put my muscle into it and watch for a new shoreline to appear. And I’ll ride the new wave with a mixture of deep sadness and expectant joy.

New Waves = Joy