Hello Friends and welcome to August! Yes its true we are heading into the end of the summer – how the heck did that happen? For us over here it has been a harder summer in some ways and I am grateful for the freshness that a new month brings. But also with the flip of that calendar we have a variety of things going on the I am very excited about – including the privilege to share my experience as a caregiver for CF transplant through a few different opportunities. As I consider how to approach these I have had a chance to reflect on that unique season when being in the world of illness was our reality. It was not that long ago my prayer was for our marriage to survive that period of time and for us to make it to the other side. With all of life’s new adventures and challenges it can be easy to forget that our life in the here in now was once the thing of dreams.
Over the weekend as I struggled with the frustration of our efforts to experience the chapter of parenthood Danny gathered his courage and approached me. He agreed the pain this journey brings and he honored the fact that we both have felt hopeful, scared, unsure or hurt at different periods during this part of our story. Especially as the last six months we had poured our everything into a chance we thought we had to experience that world fell apart – he acknowledged how hard it is to move forward and the healing that is still needed. But then he said it – point blank “I need my wife back”. The words struck me by such surprise that I didn’t even have the ability to through up my defensive walls. He was gentle and supportive of my need to grieve, heal, and find my own path forward ….. but he laid out his fears of losing this precious time we have as just us.
I walked away from that moment promising to consider his words and grateful that we have lived through the sorta thing that demands raw honesty. How can I be mad when Danny is choosing to respectfully fight my emotions in an effort to win back the life we try to live: one of hope, faith, and love. Even if I wasn’t ready that day to jump up and be me…. I knew my heart needed to work hard to heal not just for me, but for us. I am part of an “us” and my marriage is the greatest gift I have ever been entrusted with…. so I have to love my husband for his honesty and the want to have me in his world.
Over the past few days the conversation has rolled around in my brain a lot. I have added a few books to my reading, some devotionals to my prayers, made sure my rosary was not to far away, and even made an appointment with a therapist I had seen last year when living as a caregiver. Taking steps forward felt really good…. but still I had my little cloud of emotion following me.
Recently as I listened to Rachel Hollis latest podcast with Jenna Kutcher I was intrigued by their discussion of accountability. Jenna has a group she meets with regularly to help her keep up with her business goals and it really got me thinking. So often I consider change or set up new ways to achieve goals… but I do not ever truly let others inside to help me. That would be crazy vulnerable…. and that would also mean I don’t really have the ability to make excuses – scary. Yet, is that how folks like Jenna and Rachel really do it? They rip off the protective bandaid and open themselves up for help and a chance at true change? Is that what I need to do to make things happen? The answer I think may be yes.
Danny had come to me asking for his wife back and so it was time for me to come to him and ask for help. We want to use this time for continuing to grow in our life and to do that it is going to take radical change. So I have gone out and found it: Health, Wealth and Happiness challenge. By laying out a theme with goals and specific steps to take an actual plan exists. Then I need to assure the action is happening – an accountability partner to meet with regularly and look at true progress. This partnership will allow me to receive feedback, discuss challenges, and figure out what goals are really for now and what are for another season.
Today as we talked through the details I really started to feel like me: hopeful, excited and ready for the next phase. Now partnering with the person who I live with, share everything with, and hope to make the most proud is REALLY raw…. so I am not quite ready to share them all here too. But if you are interested in how we approached the change here are the three categories and some questions to determine what would be our goals under each of these areas of focus:
Health: What changes can we make that will improve our bodies? Would you want to do a cleanse or just start tracking what you eat to be mindful? Should you give up a complete food group or just look to add a lot of water? Do you have a form of exercise you have always wanted to try or do you have an old running plan you would like to dust off?
Wealth:How can we improve the relationship we have with our finances? Should you install a no spending plan or just cut your daily coffee habit in half? Should you have the goal of seeking out a financial advisor or just commit to weekly budget meetings? Would it make sense to create a capsule wardrobe to cut out any clothes purchasing or just reorganize your closet to have a better respect for the clothes you have? What areas of clutter could you clear so you enjoy a little more minimalist living and find the peace in not spending?
Happiness: What changes can you make in your life to increase your joy? Do you have a big goal that you have wanted to achieve and left to “someday” or would you just like to turn off the TV at night earlier to read more? What things have you always wanted to try and never made the effort to research? Does your heart long to travel but your bank account says “heck to the no”? Could you start a travel fund or grab coffee with someone who has been to the places you want to go? Have you been talking about changing careers but never really researched what it would take?
Our goal is of course to achieve the specific tasks we have created under each of these headings, but truly it is going to be about action. What action we finally took…. how much time and effort is going into the change…. you can’t necessarily set out to run a marathon in just a month, but you could make a list of to dos that include research good reads or find smaller races to work towards. We can’t travel the miles without the first few steps and we will never truly know if a goal is meant to be part of our lives if we don’t ever start to tackle it. And the true truth – life is going to be full of hard seasons, unexpected disappointment – but if we can find the tools that enrich our lives despite the hard stuff… or determine the aspects of our world that offer centering – we all have a chance at a better life……. and that self discovery can start today. Join me – won’t you?
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!