Put your behind in your past…

At least that’s what Pumbaa said.

Man, I sure know a few of us that need to turn our heads forward sometimes.  I honestly wonder how we get around at all with our eyes firmly fixed on what is behind! You’ll notice that I am including myself in the mix.  It’s a pattern I can quickly fall into if I’m not careful.  It’s the pain.  It’s always what hurts that keeps us turned the wrong way.

images

We have a ridiculously fat, old cat named Rhetta.  She is embarrassingly large — so large, in fact, that she can no longer wash her own back and has mats that form in her fur.  We call them dreads so as not to make her feel ashamed.  We feed each of our cats the same amount of food per day.  Rhetta, however, is sneaky and discovered the dog food years ago, and helped herself a bit too often.  She is also scared of everything.  She’s been kind of a nasty personality for years now.  You just never know when you’ll get bitten — even if she seems pleasant.  She HATES the other pets and prefers her dark, little corner of the world where she hides and growls and spits at anyone who gets too close.  We think the addition of each pet and each life change (including the 12 hour drive to a new home a few years ago) really messed with her.  She just seems broken.  We just love her and shave her back now and then and try to get her through.  Sad, isn’t it?  She just can’t step out of what hurt her into enjoying even a little bit of life.

I look around and realize we all have things that scarred and tried to break us.  Tricky mommy and daddy issues, folks who promised to love us and didn’t follow through, physical and emotional abuse, folks who pointed out our flaws and created ugly thoughts that seem to stay on repeat, the loss of someone we loved deeply, insecurity…this list could go on ad infinitum.

No one is immune.  But some have found a way to move on.  Have you noticed that?  Some folks seem to take it stride or heal faster or something.

As I’ve looked around with this in mind, I realize that folks tend to use their pain to either justify their behavior or as a catalyst to change.  Yeah, that’s tough stuff, but if we’re being honest, we know it’s true.  Either we repeat patterns or we break the chains.

I have cross-country skied since I was three years old.  It has always been just for fun and I’m too out of shape now to want to let anyone see me trudge/glide along.  I had stopped for decades and recently came back to it thanks to my kids and their gift of equipment.  Then some stupid health stuff gave me excuses to sit instead of ski.  My husband got me out the other day and in the middle of a winter weather advisory, we went for a walk/ski together.  We got about 16 inches of fresh snow that day.  The plows couldn’t keep up, and since we live in the middle of absolute nowhere that was no surprise.  Our area is mountainous.  I was on the last day of one of the worst colds I’ve ever had and had been coughing ridiculously for days.  Perfect set-up to get back into things.  Haha.

A half mile in, huffing and puffing, I had a decision to make.  I could turn around and go home (which sounded mighty good).  Or, I could commit to the next three legs of equal length and make *the square* which would bring me back to my driveway.  The square consists of huge inclines and I was already sucking some serious wind.  But darn it, I wanted to have proven it to myself that I could do it.  So I committed.unblazed trail

I've got this

halfway

{I had to document it with photos because I could just feel my thoughts brewing as my lungs burned!}

This journey we are on is daunting!  Pitfalls and mountains and the overwhelming-ness of it all can make us just want to go back to somewhere safe and easy!  Sometimes, we gloss over the pain of our past and live there emotionally just to not have to face what is in our front view!  Often, it’s just too hard to breathe where the path hasn’t been broken for us, and we quit and take off our gear and camp out.  I get it!  I’ve done it!

But the past has passed!!!  It’s just our catalyst to a great story!  It’s not a dwelling place or a camp or a place we even want to stay!  The mystery, the beauty is in the new trail!

The triumph is in only the glance back where we see our tracks and rejoice in the accomplishment!  When we see that there was always at least One Who walked alongside us, cheering us on!  When we get a new story — a renewed sense of victory and hope.

a glance back

No one wants to continue to hear my sad stories.  I have a million.  They’re getting old though, and it feels just like stench at this point.  Those stories are just my stepping stones into who I stepped up to be.  Yes, they hurt, but I worked hard to survive and I am determined to look forward to the new, unblazed, fresh and beautiful path into who I am now — despite and because of those obstacles!

I glance back only to be thankful for how far I’ve come.  I refuse to trip over them any longer.

Anyone with me?

 

Of the Herculean Sort

I have some people I love dearly in absolute crisis at this moment.  My texting thumbs are screaming in pain, but also in proof that I have their backs no matter what.  Each of these women are going through situations the likes of which could make up the stuff of best-sellers.  Seriously, we’re talking about folks going through heartbreak that is monumental.  They’ve all been betrayed in the worst kinds of ways, and my heart breaks with theirs.

As I look at each, I am wowed by their exquisite beauty and strength even through the worst.  These women are made of the toughest stuff, and I swear I can see their emotional and spiritual muscles forming before my very eyes.  There are things they have experienced in the last year that no one should have to survive, and I can promise there were moments that they thought they couldn’t — but they have.  They’ve not only survived, but they have turned positively Herculean.

Beautiful brutes, all. Don’t even mess with them now.  :o)

I know how it feels on the flip-side.  I hated my extreme growth period.  Hated it.  But, wow –I earned the crap out of those spiritual and emotional muscles!!

I have these bum arms.  Well, especially my right arm.  It’s been giving me grief since I was a teenager; not sure if it was the car accident or the dog bite, but something hasn’t been right.  In my early thirties, I was told I’d never regain feeling in my fingers.  Through much massage therapy, I do indeed, have feeling.  I also have really bad spells with lots of debilitating nerve pain, swelling, and numbness.  It gets worse the more I use it which is kind of a big bummer since it’s my right hand and all.  But, life goes on.  My family helps pick up slack for me when I’m in a rough spell, and I really vacillate between the *screw the pain, I have stuff to do* mode and trying to let it rest and heal.  This last year has been the worst with it, by far.

I have been also dealing with some, ahem, later-in-life-female-stuff.  This has caused some weight gain and screwed with my metabolism.  In an effort to get that revved up a bit, I’ve been doing this neat metabolism-boosting workout program.  Pretty stinking proud of myself!  Day one, the agenda included about 50 push-ups.  I almost laughed out loud at the absurdity of these arms doing ONE push-up — let alone 50.  I used to be pretty great at them a few years ago.  Wait.  Maybe that was a couple decades ago — oh well, who cares how long ago! I was, okay?  But when workout guy told me to do some push-ups, I was committed to the process and I just got down on my mat and did the stupid things.

And I kept going.  I was doing push-ups!!!

The next workout, with the sorest pecs of my life, I did more.  And I added some fancy, scoopy moves to my push-ups.   My arms did not rebel!  They maintained their position.  No better, but no worse.

Man, I’m stronger than I thought!

There were some moments on some epic hikes we did last summer where I found myself waaayyyy stronger than I thought possible.  Something about being out in the middle of absolutely nowhere with no help available and camp on the other side of a mountain and maybe even with a fever in the rain with eight more miles to go until you get help, makes you dig deep and find some deeply buried something that you didn’t know you owned.

There are moments in life were you are 110% convinced that you just can’t — but somehow, you can and you do!

Last fall, I brought a dear friend of mine on too long of a hike.  She didn’t feel well to begin with, and she hadn’t conditioned with crazy, stupid hikes like I had all summer.  We went way too many miles up and down mountains (she’s a flat-lander, geographically), and in order to get to the car at the end of the loooooong day’s hike, we had to literally climb a mountain.  At the top was going to be the view of a lifetime.  I knew this.  At the top, we would finally get to the car and a drink and a snack, and be done walking.  But first, we had to hike some serious switchbacks.  Looking back, I’m surprised she still loves me at all.  The last 15 minutes were rough.  She just looked at me and I think she was pretty sure she couldn’t go any further.  I decided to give her some visual goals.  I would walk ahead to a tree and stop and turn to her and ask her to just make it to me.  She did.  She would stop when she got to me, and breathe, and I would go on ahead and do it again.  This is how she made it victoriously to the top.  Once there, she took an epic picture with her arm showing her muscles as she overlooked a mountain range.  She looked weary and a little glisten-y, but she looked absolutely beautiful and positively Herculean.

Australia

It reminds me of a verse about finding strength.  “I look to the hills; where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.”

He put it in us, friends.  He gives us just what we need when we need it.  Like manna-food from the sky that comes out of nowhere, He gives us strength and courage and wherewithal that we would’ve sworn we didn’t have.  Just when we’re ready to call it and not only throw in the towel but douse it and burn it, we get some muscles out of nowhere.

We might end up all glisten-y and not smell the prettiest from the fight, but you cannot PEEL that victorious look off our face or SCRAPE that smile off or DAMPEN the light in our eyes.  If you’re fighting for all of your worth, look to some hills.  If the hills seem too big, look to the next tree and put that shoe in front of the other one and just step.  You’re going to love your new muscles and the view from the top.  I absolutely promise.