I love how different parts of our lives converge and either show us we are on the right path...or we need readjusting, if you believe that sort of thing. When the girls and I visited my son Chris in NYC he told me that I had the craziest idea of religion he had ever seen.
I took that as a compliment.
I've reached this point in my life where I take a lot of different pieces of a lot of different pieces of life and pull them together to make sense for me. Chris noticed I believe in some Catholicism, Law of Attraction, and kidded me about loving tarot cards.
Pretty observant, though he did forget I believe in manifesting and healing touch, too. :)
Since Nick's head trauma and Kath's diagnosis I have gone through many different ways of trying to deal with what life throws at me. When Nick ran into the wall during gym class 5 years ago he had: two seizures; he broke his first right rib; chipped his sternum; broke his left clavicle; punctured his left lung; bled blood and spinal fluid from his ear; and broke irreparable bones in his ear (constant ringing), but we were so relieved he wasn't paralyzed. However, this past year he has been diagnosed with post-concussive syndrome, which brings another whole bag of worms to his 22 year-old table.
Then came Kath's stroke diagnosis. Cerebral palsy. Mirror damage on both sides of her brain. Speech delayed. Vision impaired. Cognitive delays. Tons of therapies, specialists and remapping of our lives.
A week after Kath's diagnosis, Roger flipped his car during a snow storm and ended up with 6 staples in his head, and a totaled car. A few weeks before we had taken the collision coverage off that car to save money. We were already magnificently behind in bills from the past several years of my job sharing, and a few other unfortunate events, so financially we spiraled even faster and deeper.
For a long time I was afraid. There was a metaphorical elephant sitting on my chest. It hurt to breath. I couldn't write. I was stuck in a rut. A serious rut, spinning my wheels and not gaining any ground...even though we had friends who reached down and tried to pull us out...even though I knew that in order to help my kids I would have to pull myself out. I tried to 'fake it' for awhile, but it was exhausting to be afraid every second. I was always waiting for more bad stuff to happen.
One night I found on the internet, a mom who blogged about her daughter who has CP. I was able to follow her story for two years, all in one night. I felt some chest tightness release. I found some hope.
I also found a group of women on a list serve, from all over the world (Children's Hemiplagia And Stroke Association) who helped me to see Kath's future could be pretty terrific. They also showed me the power of women, and their strength, especially when having to find/make a path for their children.
A high school friend (Monika) introduced me to a concept I had previously been exposed to. This time it took. (I didn't have anything to lose.) It is the Law of Attraction. I chose my words carefully, I try to envision what I want, and not what I fear.
Another friend introduced me to Healing Touch (Doris). I saw Kath's reaction to it. It was powerful. Life changing.
One day I found I was able to listen to music again. The radio station said it was "A Positive Alternative." Turned out it is a religious station (Air 1). Somehow it helped me to take bigger breaths and to pray again.
I also found myself surrounded by an amazing group of 'old' students and fellow teachers who grounded me and helped me stay focused on the positives. And who reminded me of what I do right.
I have pulled together all of these pieces of my life and found a way to get through. My faith might seem like a giant stew of Faith, but one of the most important 'bottom lines' was that I had to reopen my heart to friends. For awhile it just took so much energy to stay positive for Kath and Nick, it took so much energy to do research to understand and then also see the possibilities ...that I just could not deal with anything or anyone else.
It took me awhile to pull together this quilt ( I prefer that image rather than stew :)) of Faith that I wrap myself up in. It took me awhile to realize that as Lynne McTaggart said, we have a 'necessity of establishing bond 'pods' - small communities created with our human values restored.' It took me awhile to realize that it was okay that I was using what I needed from a variety of sources. It also took me awhile to realize that it was okay that it was taking me awhile to get back on my feet.
When I felt strong enough to reach out I found the hands of some friends still waited for me, waiting to help me up. Willing to walk with me on this path I found myself on. I found that I couldn't do it by myself, I needed those 'pods' of trusted friends.
Regardless, my patchwork Quilt of Faith has taken me to this point where things are coming together, the writing is flowing more creatively and fluidly (hope you agree too :)), relationships are building and my smile is genuine. It's a summer of re-energizing and faith and reflection.
Here's to believing, leaning, persevering and the friends not afraid to get messy. Hope you have found your own quilt of faith that gets you through too.