remembering the important things

I took a long time to learn a very simple truth. I thought I knew this truth all of my life, and I did – in theory. Unfortunately the honest truth is I don’t grasp theories easily. Ideas and concepts are so very intuitive and abstract.

I learn through the concrete. I need examples. Then I travel through the example to find my way to the theory, the concept, or the idea. THEN I understand.

Maybe the reason the many examples of this truth failed to penetrate into my soul is because I thought I had the theory grasped. No matter what the reason all I know is that it took me a painfully long time to understand that I am loved. And that it is okay for me to let that love in. All the way in.

But now I know this to be true. I am loved. The problem is, I often forget. Not because I try to forget. I think it is simply human nature to forget that one is loved. And then to operate as though the entire world requires something from me in order to get something in return. Including love.

Because of this propensity for forgetting I am loved as well as a human resistance to letting that love all the way in, I set reminders for myself all around my home. Some silk flowers in a decorated yogurt container from one of my son’s preschool classes. A homemade card sent to one of my children from a dear friend.

And pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.

Mostly my home is adorned with pictures of my immediate family. The piano is a shrine to my sons. Pictures from my wedding are scattered through the entire house. There is even a picture of Phil and I when we were dating that peeks out from behind the dishes when the stack gets low enough.

Tucked behind the glass doors of the china cabinet in between a few stacks of plates is where pictures from afar get stashed. They change every so often but there are a couple photos that have been lingering there for quite a while now.

I have two women who have poured into me during my life more than I can say. One opened her home and her family to me in the confusing teenage years when I desperately needed both. Another has listened for countless hours to the ramblings of a young mother trying to find herself.

And every time I go to get my camera, which perches on top of the china plates behind these pictures, the pictures fall out and I have to readjust them. While my hands fumble to rest the unstable treasures, I am reminded that I am loved.

These are safe people who have been faithful to me when I have been a mess in return.

And that is true love.

And it is okay to let that love in.

All the way.


Why do I always need reminders? Don’t get me wrong, I know one gigantic reason is that ½ my brain cells were lost with each baby I gave birth to (and let’s remember I have three children). But I need reminders about more than just, “Where are my keys?” and, “What time does karate start?” and, “Which night is open house again?”

I need reminders about the important things in life. That is why I love reading Francesca Zelnick’s blog so much. She reminds me that there is beauty and love in this world. Because for some reason I am prone to forgetting.

My reminders often come in unexpected, seemingly random ways. Except they seem to be timed just perfectly for what I need when I need it. Funny.

Like a few days ago when I dropped my middle son off at school. I took my youngest to give his daily hello and fist bump to one of our favorite teachers and she had eggs hatching in her room.

I know. So cute, right?

Those new little chicks were a desperately needed reminder to me that new life is just around the corner. I never know when that egg will crack and something beautiful, in an ugly sort of way, will come out and warm my heart.

Once the chicks get fluffy, they are irresistibly adorable. But before that, when they first emerge from their shell, their feathers are wet, their heads are floppy, their feet are well too big for them, and they can’t seem to stand up straight.

And they are so very sleepy. Breaking out of the shell that once was protective and nurturing but now is cramped and restrictive is difficult work. The poor things just look exhausted.

But they are born.

And I am like those chicks, struggling to get my true self out of the shell. There is always something new birthing inside of me. And sometimes there is so much struggle involved in that process. It can feel endless.

So I soaked in those chicks this week because they reminded me. Hope.

Because sometimes, I simply forget.

My new life is around the corner, too.