I spent the last six months on a couch. I would show up once a week, every week, drawing closer to whom I wanted to become; whom I knew I was- buried deep within something forgotten and covered up. I was determined to find myself on the other side of pain. I wanted to do the hard work; pay the dues; figure things out. Lord have mercy on the sweet soul sitting across from me week after week saying just the right things and nudging me to grab on to those "paddles" and do the work that needed to be done. You know who you are and I thank you!
Had you told me the "outcome" six months ago, I would have laughed at you. Let me share this personal journey with you with the intent of encouraging you to grab your own version of a paddle and get things moving for yourself whether that be with me or someone else whom you trust.
Going through a separation shortly followed by a divorce and suddenly learning to live alone was similar to what I imagine the Navy Seals endurance test and dunk tank feels like. I was adapting a tiny bit and relying on the comfort of my dogs. My sweet Pumpkin suddenly died with the most random diagnosis of dog IMHA and she was gone in 24 hours. I had severe vertigo, stomach viruses, Covid and a cancer diagnosis for my other furry baby, Riley, whom I had to put down just seven weeks after I lost Pumpkin.
It was a struggle. It was real. It was hard. I was lost. I was alone. I was scared. I was faithful. I was prayerful. I was alone. I kept showing up. I kept coaching all of you. I kept setting my alarm and my coffee pot to brew my coffee like a super special little magic fairy every morning at 6 am.
I evolved. I found myself. I felt the things I didn't want to. I worked through things with a determination and a fire within my soul that I had missed.
Let's fast forward to this past week and to the wonderful hike my soul had been seeking (did I mention it's one of my favorite parts about being a Coach.. ? I will hike with you until you are ready to do it on your own.. yes, for real, not just literally...it's the interactive element I offer for my locals).
I started this hike in a little hidden gem of what used to be a small town with the intent of finding the "river" that was promised on the trailhead sign which told me it was .75 miles away. I hiked and I smiled and I got my heart rate going and I walked super fast to find that river. I noticed off to my right, a very stagnant and very "less than beautiful" little creek but I kept walking with determination to see that river but it occurred to me that I might just be missing the promised river alongside me with the hopes of finding something more beautiful. I stopped at that very moment with the awareness and the analogy of life. I placed my water bottle down and I slowed my pace and took a deep breath in and noticed all of the beauty around me. I saw a purple flower I had missed. I looked up and saw a red bird staring at me and I saw majestic trees towering out of the stagnant stream. If this was the promised river, I was okay. It was enough. The beauty was all around me but I forgot to look because I had tunnel vision. I then saw a tunnel I had to crawl through to keep going on the trail.
My creativity was alive. I felt like the things I wanted to say and do were gently, yet abruptly shaken awake again. What are you doing to create that "shake in your soul" sweet sister?
I kept going. More analogies kept pouring in. I realized there were tree limbs everywhere for me to grab on to during my journey should I need them. Trees had fallen from storms past but offered perfect resting spots. Strong trees still stood and offered a guidepost to hold on to as I navigated rough terrains. I was reminded that the Park Ranger had advised me not to go too far this particular morning because of the heat advisory and the steep terrain. I almost laughed and wanted to tell him the endurance testing I had just gone through. I realized as hard as it was, there was a path so I wasn't scared. That's like our faith, isn't it? We blindly get through and follow the next step in front of us all the while trusting it's going to lead us somewhere.
I realized that I had a good grip on my phone, a backpack attached to my back and a water bottle for hydration. I was set. I began to wonder what would happen if I slipped. Was I prepared? Would I be able to handle the fall? I put my phone in my backpack and felt more secure knowing I could catch myself with two hands instead of one. Another beautiful life analogy.
I knew I was about to be at the end of the trail; the turnaround, and I had accepted that the "river" was just a creek that I had forgotten to notice... but then I saw it.
A million times I've reached out to God. I've prayed and I've cried and I've worshipped and I've mourned and every single time I envisioned a river and a place where just the two of us sat and sorted things out. It was at that very moment that I saw through the trees, the river I had seen so many times before. The trail actually did take me to the river. I was there. The tears started right on cue. I was alone, but I wasn't. There wasn't anyone around me that morning but the presence of something greater than me was significant. I took it all in. I spotted a large baseball mitt shaped rock and I climbed it and I gave a lot of things and people to God. I thanked him for my journey; I cried for the losses I had endured and I prayed for the ones I loved. A heavy breeze started up and I knew I had found THE river.
After a long and beautiful moment, I began my journey to the car. I came across a young family who was headed to the river. "Are we close?"- the mom asked. "Keep going" I said. "It's worth it."
In an instant I had evolved from the tourist to the tour guide. Let me help you along the way. I've seen it.