Right now, I'm sitting alone in my two-bedroom house listening to Andrea Bocelli. The breeze is floating through my kitchen window, teasing my no-heat curls.
There is peace in my home.
There is a strong sense of peace in my mind.
My life is calm.
Three years ago, I was crumpled up on my bed feeling out of control and absolutely crazy. I was angry at my husband. I was sad in general. I was jealous of everyone else and their marriages (or lack of marriages, honestly). I was feeling fear of the future, shame for being a terrible mother, shame for being a terrible person.
I felt pressure to get information on addiction.
I felt pressure to get better -to simply STOP being angry and sad.
My life was chaotic and tearful.
I'm sitting in the same kitchen I had then. I'm married to the same man. We are parenting the same children (plus the tiny, cute, perfect, wonderful one we just happened to add a few months ago).
I maintain my brave, naked baby status. I'm shedding all of my defense mechanisms -if they are not God, I do not need them. I've abandoned the idea of earning my salvation. I've stopped trying to save myself and my entire family. I am not the captain of this ship.
I'm not St. Alicia.
I am no saint -except in the sense of belonging to a church titled "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."
I'm not perfect, I'm not putting off that I am, I'm not holding myself to the standard of perfection, and I'm not holding you up to it, either.
Do you want to mess up? Do you want to yell at your husband? Do you want to peel potatoes all over your kitchen floor in anger? Do you want to slam cupboards?
It's okay to mess up.
I know that now because I am safe.
I'm safe enough and strong enough to let myself mess up.
Three years ago, I was scared to mess up. I was scared to do anything that wasn't "right" by the standards of the books and experts. I was in a constant danger zone, and I was unwilling to protect myself.
Like the uneducated tourist, I stood up tall in my canoe.
In the middle of the pond.
In the middle of a lightening storm.
And my Savior stood bravely by my side. I didn't run to Him for cover and I hardly ran to Him for comfort. My canoe rocked, rain thundered down,
and lightening eventually struck.
The education came after the lightening strike. I learned important educational things (like what lightening looks like, how it reacts to water and humans, and why we should avoid putting ourselves in it's angry path) but I learned something far more valuable:
The Savior is there for me -to comfort, shield, protect, warn, love, and listen.
The water is so attractive. I love the water. It gives back -it provides me with entertainment, food, even pleasure. I found that even after lightening struck, I wanted to go back in. Yes, EVEN when there was lightening. Even when it was dark. Even when the water was dangerous and I wasn't safe.
I was always struck.
With each strike and each hurt, I would bury myself in my Savior's arms. I would release only to bury myself in books. I would educate myself. I absorbed every new concept that kept me safer.
I built a thick-walled cabin where I could run when the lightening came.
After identifying lightening, I was more vigilant about avoiding it. I became so aware, I even began to notice storms BEFORE they hit my water. I could see them coming... feel their approach in my gut, see slight evidence in the change of the sky, and barometer.
I would hit my knees BEFORE the storm hit, climb into my cabin, surround myself with my hobbies, my music, yoga, hot chocolate, my copy of The Philadelphia Story, and I would wait the stresses of the storm out.
The water reached out of the storm and tried to fasten a hold on my cabin.
It succeeded once. My Sanctuary made of wood became warped and damaged.
Once again, I learned. I turned to my Savior. I turned to education, and I applied about three gallons of protectant to my sanctuary.
I had tasted the bitter pain of lightening -the suffering, the hurt, the awful helplessness.
And now I have sanctuary.
Now I am safe.
I have no control over the lightening storms. I have no control over my water. All I have is a worn, rusted canoe, my Savior, my cabin, and me.
The only thing missing from this picture is patience.
With patience, I can remain not only SAFE but SANE. I need patience for the storms. I need patience for the water. I need patience to pair up with my serenity.
Staying safe is all well and good and wonderful. Staying safe means I'm LIVING again -it means I've set aside the crazy-tourist-in-a-canoe lifestyle and adapted a more self-reliant life. I've taken my safety and happiness into my own hands, standing up to the lightening even when it scares me... finding refuge in my Savior and my cabin.
But I'm not patient with the water. If I can develop patience in my situation, oh how sweet will my safety be.
The Savior has calmed me and He has the ability to calm the water.
I have the ability and education to know how to remain safe.
The water has the ability to choose.
So do I.
And I will safely, safely wait.