Fall is approaching. My favorite season of the year. This fall, 2015, is the launch of my life as a “empty nester”. After a year of transition for my quadruplet college bound young adults, they are all moving forward with independent living. I will be home with my golden retriever and my precarious cat.
I have never lived alone. This is especially challenging to me as a single mom. We have created a life for ourselves for the past 19 years and have all our traditions. I depend on those daily routines and interactions more than I realize.
As a life coach, I have taken time to prepare and process this new season. I have a weekly ritual where I take a run at Austin’s Town Lake to a bench along the water. I sit and pray and contemplate my life, asking for wisdom. This week, I began to make a mental list of all I have been through over the years.
I pictured the pain of infertility, I saw the devastating divorce, the broken heart from betrayal and abandonment, the lies, the broken promises, the financial challenges, the loss of confidence and self-esteem, the fatigue, the fear of the future, my dads death, challenges of moving (3 times) and building a new career, lost love, grief, depression, serious illnesses my children experienced and treatment of those illnesses and the empty nest. I saw it all like a movie on fast forward, flashing from event to event.
Then I realized that my past is a collection of life experiences that have a purpose. I pictured all the experiences piled on each other in a huge treasure chest. They used to be my “baggage” full of burdens. Now they are treasures. Do they have any value? I began to see that each of my experiences has been transformed into jewels of beauty. This transformation has come slowly and meticulously through hard work, school, reading, journaling, support groups, prayer, love and empathy of others, through community, faith, and sheer strong will and focus, they are now treasures to be shared. Each piece can be worn by someone going through a similar experience. They can “wear” my jewel as a source of strength and comfort, encouragement and wisdom, as they walk through a valley or a storm. It is a rare collection of jewels that is meant to be shared. It is a reminder that there is hope and a second chance to flourish. It is time for me to open this treasure chest and behold the “ashes” of my life have become beautiful treasures of great worth to open hearts.
I see now that at age 52, my collection is large and I am in a new season to open up my treasure chest and allow others to come find the jewel that fits just right. That brings me JOY.
"To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair."