10/14/2015

Snapshots of Change

Changing seasons as the months go by,

Changing voices as the years can’t lie,
Changing desires as our bodies become needy,

Changing goals as our minds become greedy.
 Some of the changes we embrace are good,
Some are totally misunderstood,
As long as we get back on track,

When, in life, we fall astray,   
And continue to grow
Being humble to God in every way.
Our growth will continue until we are called to come home.


Years ago I reconnected with a dear friend of mine I had made when our children were little. We were both young married couples, part of a Catholic parish in the area. We were both highly involved, both stay-at-home moms at the time so it was a source of social involvement, giving back and showing our small children Christianity at work.  Our relationship developed into so much more than a typical friendship, more like a sisterhood. The amount of time we were together is immeasurable. We saw each other through kid’s first communions and both went through divorces. We shared quite a bit over many years of our changing philosophies towards everything including religion, faith, child-rearing, marriage and life. Oh yes, even towards ourselves as well.

Both being in unhappy marriages, I think God planned for us to meet. He gave us each other, that human connection so that we could see in each other what unconditional love felt like, the comfort of looking into someone’s eyes and knowing, no matter what you said or did, they would still love and accept you.  We both needed and deserved that in our lives.  And, honestly neither of us had that in our young marriages.  We had children who looked up to us and should have had a better example of what a healthy marriage is.  Somewhere along the line our relationship splintered when we both moved away from the area and we lost contact. 

As luck would have it, or rather as God would plan it, we reconnected several years ago at a time when, once again, we were both going thru some life changes.  Yes, she was in the process of going from empty nester with her wonderful husband and being a grandmother to a small grandbaby to adopting her oldest grandchild with her husband!  It was a lengthy troublesome heart wrenching court proceeding. It was made even more agonizing as they had been raising him since he was a small baby. At the same time we connected, I had finally put my cancer treatment behind me, noticed some long-term effects of that treatment were beginning to show but was trying to acclimate to life after cancer.  Ah, looking at a life ahead being a grandma now not fighting cancer and embracing a new future! 

Here we both were, at a crossroads of sorts, reconnected at a special time in our growth period again, as women, sharing our thoughts, feelings, and fears about where we were and what lies ahead.  We wondered aloud how best to prepare for it, what steps to take and what to simply put in God’s masterful hands. 

Life was good but naturally had some pitfalls also, new anxieties for both of us but that unconditional bond was there between us, that magic we shared. However, this time, we both had a lifetime mate, we had each found a man that provided us with what we had so longed for all those years ago. We were so happy for each other and yet realized what we had was a different dimension of our womanhood that also needs nurturing from time to time.

With time, those issues sailed away working their way through change. Her and her husband/best friend received full legal custody of their darling son with absolutely no visitation of the mother with major issues.  My life also seemed to be coasting along merrily.  We, this time, made certain, even with distance, we stayed connected feeling certain God made this re-connection for a reason, some divine plan or maybe just because it was pleasurable!

Well, just when the boat didn’t seem like it was going to rock too much anymore, a storm blew through.  It hit both of us, equally hard, but in different
ways. She lost her riches, so much financial backbone they had as a cushion to enrich their life in a few disasters was gone. And I in another horrendous experience lost what I thought was one of the richest things in my life, my relationship with my firstborn grandson, the one born within days of my cancer diagnosis.   At the same time, my trust and relationship with my daughter blew away like a flame on a candle, blown out and all the sudden it was dark never to be light anymore. 

Both of us went through major heartbreak, pain and making adjustments. These were changes thrust on us that seem harder because the older you are, change is not quite as easy but still important to undertake as it is part of learning and growing. Learning to let go of what you can’t control and moving beyond is important, even when it hurts.  Everything you do, as you age, sets an example for those younger than you, it is your legacy.  We simply must show what you can’t control you must accept and change only what you can, yourself. 

We have heard each other’s hurts, each other’s disappointments and each other’s revelations during this time much as we did in all the other times in our lives. We will listen again when more changes come our way in the future and will gladness in our hearts knowing change is, overall good, a sign we are living one more day of God’s overall plan before he brings us both home.  Through the change, the pain, the upcoming winds of change is that pervasive knowledge that I will hold her as a very dear friend tightly, if she needs me and throw her extra oars, and she will toil my line if I need her too.  She has a lifeline and I do too in our husbands. We know we are survivors, in so many ways and stronger for having known each other and tapped into each other’s strength. 

I think many feel the same kinds of winds of change we experience throughout our life at various times, the why me, the you have got to be kidding me’s, the where is this going? But in the end, you have no choice but to button up your
bottom lip and deal with it. As another friend says, shit happens. Good relationships matter, not several, not many at all, just quality ones.  Decide where and who they are and foster those relationships!  And remember you are one of them, yourself!  Take care of you.  When a wind of change attempts to blow you over, reach for a lifeline if you need it, pray to God for added strength and remember always, someone else out in the ocean, just beyond the horizon is going through exactly the same thing.   You are and will be stronger and closer to God’s image if you grow with it!