Baby steps, baby steps. But sometimes, there are giant steps forward.
On Friday, I was only at school for half a day in the morning. My darling first graders were performing at our all-school assembly to advertise our school's Read-a-thon associated with Reading is Fundamental. We wrote some cute songs and poems you can see here, and performed them to a full house. The crowd went wild, and the teacher left after lunch for a solo trip to Houston.
My first stop was to see a very special friend. A lifetime ago, my children and I ended up living in the Family Cottage Program of the Texas Baptist Children's Home, when their dad suddenly left. This is a program that helps out mothers and their children during stressful circumstances, and gives them the gift of time as they figure out the new Plan B for their lives. We lived there for 18 months, and have stayed very connected with this program. When D passed away, we asked that donations be made to this wonderful organization in his honor. My friend, Debbie, who was the director, has now moved to Houston to begin a similar program there. The vision is for 4 different campuses on each side of Houston. I was able to tour the homes and meet many of the mothers and their children. I know that this program is a godsend to each one of them. Several of the mothers are using this respite time to finish a degree or to get a head start on saving for a new home or car. The campuses housing these families are just amazing and you can read about them here. The tour of homes was finished off by a dinner at Pappadeaux's and a lengthy catch-up conversation. What a perfect visit!
The next morning, I headed into downtown Houston to meet a special new friend. This summer, I began receiving the most precious comments from a reader of this blog after D died. Lynn had also lost a husband, and she was far enough down the road to healing to reach her hand out to help me. We began emailing, and I cannot begin to tell you the blessing she has been to me on my journey through grief.
WELL, she had flown in from her home in Canada to attend a Beth Moore Conference, and I met her at her hotel when it was over. We had a wonderful lunch and visit, and she continued to fill my heart and soul with her wisdom and kindness. I listened very carefully, because I knew in my spirit that there was something very helpful I was going to take away from our meeting.
She began to talk about a few moves she had made in faith after her husband passed away; she just knew she was supposed to move. And then she repeated something that Beth Moore had said earlier that morning, "Sometimes in life, you just have to step out. Do what sounds good to you. Go where your joy and your heart are."
That may sound very obvious to you, but you are probably... how do you say it? A normal person. I, on the other hand, feel as if I fight through fog all day long. Those words seemed to light up my spirit. It began dawning on me that I could have a new life down the road. A good life. A happy life.
We finished our lunch with hugs and promises to stay in touch. (You can read her blog here.) (I am just all about links today...) Anyway, I kept thinking about what she said the entire ride home. (Except for that little stop in Brenham where I bought Blue Bell Ice Cream...)
The short version of my epiphany? I realized I can leave my home for a more reasonably-sized house in the future. Downsizing and change started sounding good to me. A home with a smaller yard and square footage to take care of could be a good thing. A very good thing. Are you as surprised as I am that change can be in my future?
But wait: there's more. A member of my grief class asked me to come to her church Sunday morning, and I did. It was easier to be an anonymous face in a crowd, and attending was so much easier then it has been. (And the church is in the town that serves those amazing gingerbread pancakes I've mentioned a time or twenty.) (And, yes, I did have one.)
A great Sunday afternoon nap, followed by a visit from a friend bearing tortilla soup.
All in all? A perfect weekend. Three days full of fun. Fellowship. And future plans.
Because the future is becoming a little clearer each day.