In the Midst of Solitude

Yesterday, when I arrived home, I just sort of shut down.  I found myself at first annoyed by something, and then ultimately angry.  Over the years, I’ve learned how to be significantly more self-aware.  As part of that, I know that, when I’m that angry, I should just be quiet, so that’s what I did.  I put myself in time out, or in the “corner.”  The corner is the place I go to just be quiet.  It’s where I have to sit myself until I am in a much better mental state.  And I don’t think of the corner as a bad place.  In my mind, the corner has great snacks, a Tempurpedic mattress and all the comforts I could ever want.  It also doesn’t have other people.

As I rose this morning to start my day, I still felt a little bit of that quiet mode.  The difference is that now, it isn’t about frustration or anger.  It’s just about being still.  Sometimes we go so much, move so fast, have so many things going on that we don’t take time to just sit still.  And I don’t mean sit still and watch tv or veg out.  I mean just flat-out be still.  We have iPods and phones and televisions and video games (and the list goes on), and there is always movement.  But what happens when you just shut it all off and sit still?  All of those things are distractions.  Let’s be real, there really isn’t anything on tv right now.  Most of the shows won’t have new episodes until the fall, and the shows that do are, for the most part, “reality tv” where I can feel my brain cells leaving (yes, I do watch some of it, but it doesn’t make it right).  So what’s the point?

Last night, I shut it all off.  I plugged up my phone, grabbed a book and had a nice relaxing bath.  I kept reading my book until I convinced myself that going to bed really is the best thing.  And you know what? It was a very peaceful and quiet night.  I read, but I also listened to the thoughts (not the voices, the thoughts) in my head, filtering through the randomness that plays through my mind to get to the things that really matter.  I found myself with a renewed sense of energy and determination, and, when I woke this morning, looked forward to the solitude that this morning brings me.

Take some time to enjoy the solitude.  A lot of times we fear it, when, in reality, it’s just what the doctor ordered.  Perhaps a trip to the corner isn’t so bad after all.

Feel Like a New Woman

A few weeks ago, I talked about being in a space where I had to make some tough decisions (Spring Cleaning).  Well, over the past couple weeks, I executed on those things that I needed to do.  I think the anticipation of walking away was more daunting than the actual exercise of doing so.  I was nervous, my stomach was doing turns, but once the necessary conversations took place, I felt silly for being so nervous.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as it seemed it would be.  But, then again, when you are doing what you know you need to do, isn’t that usually the outcome?  You’re nervous but God has already ordered your steps, so the end result is much better than what you tried to anticipate in your mind?

Here I am, 2 weeks after that, and I feel like a new woman.  The decisions I made, albeit tough, were for the purpose of spending more time with my family, taking care of them and our home, and also working on some projects that I’ve had in my heart to do for quite some time (they’re still secret for now, but don’t worry, I’ll tell you about it later).  The past few days, I cleaned my house, did ALL of the laundry, and even did a little advance cooking and preparation for the week.  I got disciplined about the things I know I have needed to do for a while, for my personal, physical and spiritual health, and I’m excited about what is in store.  My mind is feeling clear, and I know that, soon and very soon, some more things will fall into place.

I believe I’m in a new season in my life.  I know about some of the things that are in store, because God has been laying them on my heart for a while now.  But I don’t know all that is in store, and I’m simply excited about it.  I continue to search for the better part of me, and today, I feel like a new woman who is continuing down that path.

To borrow from my brother, Be Real, Be You and Be Easy.  Have a great week!

I Just Can’t . . .

Anyone who has ever experienced a devastating loss knows that there is nothing more debilitating, more heartwrenching, and more painful.  I don’t mean losing a game if you’re an athlete, or losing your keys and being locked out of the house.  I’m talking about a great loss; the loss of a parent, a sibling, a spouse, a best friend or, in my case, a child.  I mean the type of loss that feels like someone just punched you in the gut and knocked every bit of air out of you; the kind that hurts so much you’re not convinced that you can fall asleep at night, or worse, that you will wake up the next morning.

I’ve been there.  The night after we found out our son, Caleb, had gone home to be with the Lord, I remember going upstairs to get into the bed.  My heart hurt so much, I didn’t know if I would be able to fall asleep that night.  Even more difficult, I wasn’t convinced I would wake up the next morning.  I got into the bed and prayed one prayer:  “Lord, please let me go to sleep tonight, and let me wake up in the morning.  And Lord, please give me peace.”

I know what you’re thinking:  “Not Rasheeda.  The one who has great faith, who trusts God in everything.  Proverbs 3:5-6 is her favorite scripture, after all.”  Well, you see, that’s the thing about life.  Sometimes you get dealt with a dose of reality that causes you to sink or swim.  I wasn’t sinking, but I didn’t feel like I was swimming, either.  I was just there.  I didn’t know how to explain what I was feeling, though.  I just knew that, well, “I just can’t.”

“I just can’t” meant so many things to me.  I just can’t talk about it.  I just can’t explain how I feel.  I just can’t get out of bed today.  I just can’t leave the house.  I just can’t stop crying.  I just can’t be around people.  I just can’t talk to anyone, even if it’s small talk. I. JUST. CAN’T.

Can’t was never in my vocabulary.  Philippians 4:13 tells me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  What do you mean you can’t?  You can, and you will.  You have to.  Right?

Eventually.  But in that moment, for that period of time, I couldn’t.  And I learned that it was okay.  It was okay to be weak.  It was okay to hurt.  It was okay to feel like everyone around you was either pregnant or just had a baby.  It was even okay to be upset that a teenager was having a healthy child, but you didn’t.  Your child was gone.  It was okay to be angry, disappointed and all around upset.  And it was okay to allow yourself to work through those emotions.

But you know what else I learned?  I learned that, eventually, I would stop saying, “I just can’t.”  I learned to name my emotions.  I learned to share my story.  I learned that, in my greatest moments of pain and weakness, I did not lose faith; in fact, I gained it, because I had just enough presence of mind to call out the simplest prayer and ask God to help me.  And He did.

Since that time, my prayer in times of loss either for myself or others is always the same:  May God strengthen you, encourage you and give you peace that passes all understanding.  May He carry you until you’re strong enough to stand, may He hold you until you’re strong enough to walk, and may He be beside you when you’re strong enough to run again.

Even when we “just can’t,” God can.  And He will.