Saturday, June 09, 2007

Getting Away...

I found a T-Rex in a rock today... a kind of rorschach ink blot test with moss waiting to pounce on me as I walked through the woods, midway through a half day retreat. Can't you see it right there?

Let me back up.

This is a crazy time of year and this year seems crazier than most with all that’s going on. Since I sit on the committee that helped organize this women’s half day retreat, I couldn’t really hide in bed this morning or go with the rest of my family to watch Nick in his Dragon Boat races... so I headed off with all my craft gear in tow and many of the other supplies to a little church right on the edge of town.

I had a WONDERFUL time! I feel so much more recharged than I did this morning and so much more in touch with myself than I have in a long time!

The retreat itself was all about change, new beginnings and learning to live with chaos. Sounds perfect for my life right now. The leader told a wonderful Creation story common to all faiths by looking at where science and faith overlap to sing the proof of a world that did not just happen by accident. The whole timeline was also represented by circles of fabric that stood for different parts of the story. What a perfect thing to get a creative pattern person to look at. At first, I kept thinking about how badly everything was going to clash as all the circles were placed randomly on the floor. Soon I began to see how all of the patterns actually echoed the incredible diversity of culture and species that we have on this marvelous planet of ours. It made me think of this quote:

‘You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.’
Friedrich Nietzsche
German philosopher (1844 - 1900)

So after listening to the Creation story, we headed out into a warm sunny Saturday morning with paint chips to try to find the same colours in Nature. I love a challenge, so instead of taking one, I took quite a few. The textured one was actually the easiest to match...

The brown gave me a bit of trouble until I found some older leaves...

The olive green didn’t quite match the moss, but that was as close as I could come...

The vibrant green was all around me in more vivid shades than my paint chip, but I loved the look of the fern leaves against this chip...

Amid all of this wonderful Nature walk, I found a reminder that really spoke to me. In the middle of a rotting stump where a tree had been cut down many years ago, new life was springing up. Not the same... not as a replacement... but new life none the less.

Life is all about cycles, about endings and beginnings, about new and old, about new possibilities out of something that seems dead. Then on the walk back to the church, I found the dinosaur in moss on the rock. The rest of the retreat was filled with good food, fellowship, hilarious attempts to follow a very gifted yoga leader and the making and trading of ATC (Artist’s Trading Cards) as part of the closing. It was a great day, a teaching day and a reminder about living.

It really is a Circle of Life kind of thing.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What a Guy!

Nick walked into my Weight Watchers meeting this morning on the way back to his school from a meeting at the board office with a lovely bouquet of roses, a hug and this note. Not only did he make me tear up, but half of the ladies in my meeting now think that I am the luckiest leader out there to have such a husband (and they thought he was REALLY cute too!)

At first, everyone thought it was my anniversary. Then I explained that the note said he loved me through all life’s madness, including the chaos of the past few weeks, the pressures of a school year closing and the fact that someone I love (not Nick or the girls, but still family) has cancer.

We have always joked about my husband being a founding member of the “He Can Do No Wrong Club”. That random, special, touching gifts or acts like this add up so many points in his account that when he does mess up, he can’t get blamed because all those good points wipe it out. I think that today just made him a Lifetime member of that club in spades. To see him come through the door on such a busy day for him with those flowers meant more than I will ever be able to put into words... except to keep telling him and showing him right back that I love him too.

You are one in a million, Nick!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Letting Go In Pieces...

I’m not sure if I could actually be pulled in any more directions tonight without shattering... but I am learning from all of this. Each day is a new adventure. I find things to treasure and things to let go.

Erin was in tears tonight over the upcoming Provincial Assessment and wanting everything to be “perfect”. Sigh! This is what happens when two type A personalities breed. She was disappointed with a test that she brought home that was only a 37 out of 40. I kept trying to tell my amazing, wonderful, bright, funny, athletic, empathetic daughter that it was OK and most of it still fell on deaf ears.

“Just do your best!” I urged. “We love you no matter what! Our love has nothing to do with marks or how you look or what you want to be when you grow up.”

“I want my best to be perfect!” she wailed.

I don’t think that there is such a thing here on Earth.

Nick is trying to wrap up his first year as a Principal with a school that is now almost bursting at the seams with enrollment for next year, new teachers to hire and a mountain of paperwork to get done amid all the graduation activities, retiring teacher banquets, end of year meetings etc. I want to help in any way that I can to make his days less stressful... but I cannot walk in his shoes.

I made this little plasticine picture at StoryFest last year. It was fun to play as I chaperoned a bunch of kids from Erin and Bethany’s school. It has sat in our kitchen on the top of a cupboard for a whole year. It has been dropped, dented, squashed, poked etc. Plasticine is fairly forgiving, but it was also gathering dust and slowly getting out of shape. Rather than keep the object itself, I took a good photo of it, remembered the fun I had making it and then let it go into the trash.

You have to know when to hold on, when to let go and when to just wait and see.

How can I teach this lesson to my two girls?

How can I make myself listen when part of me wants to just run around yelling at the top of my lungs that life is not fair?

I have just learned that someone I love very much is going to have to battle cancer. I can only add my strength through prayers and wait. I am not ready to let go.