Two questions I despise… “Where do you plan to be in your ___________ (fill in the blank) in five years?” and the ever intimidating “What positives have come out of your current situation?” This latter question seems to be asked when your life has fallen to hell! I‘m never sure what people expect you to say to either question. I find these as bad as doing role play at trainings. Really folks, if you have nothing to fill the air time with, just sit quietly or move on to the next topic!
Recently, I was asked the second question by a peer. Had I been a cartoon character in that moment I’m sure there would be a picture of me and the thought bubble would read “Are you freakin kinding me? What a question to ask! This has got to be a joke!”
I had 4 brain bleeds in August and a 5th sometime in October. No reason, no diagnosis, no way to prevent another from happening. Basically, just a lot of unknowns and the recommendation to not engage in stressful work. Not a lot of positives there! Umm I know my blood type, at 60 I have no cancer anywhere in my body, believe me they scanned every inch, and I have mild to moderate arthritis everywhere! Before you go there: Yes, I’m grateful to be alive, all though, that’s not what I was asked.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a “glass half full” kind of person. However digging for positives out of a brain bleed are stretching it even for me! At the time of this conversation, I came up with some life affirming answer, which appeased for the moment, allowing us to move on to other topics.
Since then, I have come back to this question several times. What I’ve landed on is a better question to ask and explore:
“How has the current situation changed your focus?”
I am focused on the here and now, today, not tomorrow, not yesterday, not 5 years from now (see I told you I dislike that question). We are not promised tomorrow, only this moment. I want to be present right now in what is happening in my heart, my soul, my family, my community right now, today. How can I be a beacon in the moment? How can I make a difference right now?
All these questions have lead me to ponder a few things I had forgotten: At one time I was a say at home Mom: I lived in the moment, cherishing every book read, every child and adult who crossed our threshold and every second spent together. I remembered how much I love being with people; in the good times, for celebrations, birthdays, holidays, book clubs, bible studies, bringing music to nursing homes, arts & crafts and play. I remember how deeply I felt drawn into the bad times too; the heartache of homes damaged by storms, children lost to soon, sickness and death. I remembered how drawn I was to the rhythm of life lived well.
If anything good has come of my brain bleeds it is this: I am pressing into that life lived well again, looking to expand my horizons so to speak. Making time for family and friends, study, tears, joy, art, singing and dancing. Tomorrow can wait, if I wake up I will seek the joy it brings. For today I will live well, drink that hot cocoa, eat a cookie, hug a friend and be grateful for each breath.
Where will I be in five years? Who knows, who cares? I’m here now and I want to live it to the fullest! I want to take others on the journey with me. I want to walk a path towards today, walking with others through life. In my office I am creating a space that is welcoming and offers hospitality to all who wish to journey together. I choose to not look back except to inform today and not dwell on the ‘what if’s’ of tomorrow.
Being in spiritual direction with a companion helps me do this. Spiritual companioning helps me see what I miss on this journey, ask questions that make me think. Most of all I’m able to focus on God in the midst of life, the divine goodness that is life, the creation that is now and forever shall be. It is my hope in the weeks to come to be more regular in my writings here. I wish this blog and my business to be a beacon in the dark and a fellow traveler in the light of today. Drop me an email or comment here if you wish, I have time, I will make time for all who wish to walk this day together.
It’s all I have to bring today—
This, and my heart beside—
This, and my heart, and all the fields—
And all the meadows wide—
Be sure you count—should I forget
Some one the sum could tell—
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.
~Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886
There must have been
sugar in her tears
with every heartache
She stayed soft
and made the world a little sweeter
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. ~Matthew 6:34 The Message
There is a way between voice and presence
where information flows.
In disciplined silence it opens.
With wandering talk it closes.
~Excerpt from the translations of Rumi by Coleman Barks, There is a Way