I hear it the first time and say, 'oh, how nice' (90-year old Granny-style).
I hear it the second time and say, 'what a coincidence, I JUST heard that same message not moments ago.'
I hear it the third time and say, 'wait a MINUTE.'
I hear it a fourth, fifth and sixth time and say, 'Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, gotcha, Lord.'
And then I thank Him and really start processing and listening to the messages sent my way.
Alicia needs a lot of obvious communication.
I read a post on Glennon Melton's blog about pathways, and I loved it. At one point, I was teary-eyed because it resonated so well. She spoke of just living in the unbalance of it all, and I love that. I love that my boundary with sleeping next to Danny is so fluid right now. Some nights I feel safe, and some nights I don't, so my boundary is simply that I'm falling into the unbalance and going daily with my gut. Reading her words helped me to embrace the messiness of this journey and be brave enough to say, "At this point, I'm going to make decisions day-by-day, fully acknowledging and accepting this mess and where I'm at in it." I rested in Glennon's prayer that we not be proud or shameful. She says:
Don’t become proud that you are further along than many travelers or ashamed that you are far behind others. Your position on the path relative to other travelers has nothing to do with your strength or stamina or wisdom or cunning. We are all in different places because we all have different entry points to the path. Where you are and where everyone else is along the path is none of your concern or business. Let that go. You are exactly where you are supposed to be, always, and so is everyone else. The portion of the path you wake up to today was written for you. Everyone is EXACTLY where she is supposed to be. You are not your own or anyone else’s path-planner. You are just a traveler. You just keep moving. Trust the Path. Follow in the footsteps of a billion other mighty travelers who have walked and run and crawled the path before you. Fear not. Carry On, Warrior.
I took it to heart, felt the truth and loveliness of it, and then I set it aside and drove up to Utah with my friend.
We hadn't been driving but ten minutes before she related an experience she'd had while hiking.
She spoke of two miles' worth of ankle-deep sand, the effort it took, the difficulty it caused. Once she made it through the sand, her path intersected with a group of hikers who had been on flat land. They were fresh and had more energy, and though they were in the same place on the path, my friend was exhausted. She related what she'd learned in that moment... which is almost exactly what Glennon had said. "We are all in different places because we all have different entry points to the path... You are exactly where you are supposed to be."
The next morning, I had the rare and amazing opportunity to wander around Temple Square by myself. As a lover of anything and everything from the past (especially Pioneerish), I can never have enough time on Temple Square.
It's been months since I've felt true joy -that soul-filling joy that comes in random, unprecedented ways... when you see a breathtaking sunset or drink deep from humid, late summer monsoons. Between recognizing that I hadn't felt joy in a long while and finding myself dwelling on how content I'd be with death, I begin to recognize that depression has taken hold on me.
And as I wandered through Temple Square with no companions that next morning, I snapped a picture of some fragrant blossoms and found that the joy that had eluded me for so long was quietly... THERE. It wasn't overwhelming, but it was scrappy.
I entered the Temple, and there the message was powerful.
You are where you are.
And that's where you need to be.
God spoke with me about my own journey and His will for me. I basked in the architecture, the beauty, and the scene around me -filled with many, many people! Some sat alone and wept profusely. Some sat together and beamed. Some sat alone and beamed. Some sat together and cried. Some laughed, some smiled, some prayed.
I exiled myself to a corner to pray because apparently, I can't trust myself to NOT people watch long enough to let the Lord try and commune with me.
And boy -did I need communion.
A few hours later, I sat at the bottom of Ensign Peak with my brother and his new someone. We began hiking -something I've always wanted to do but never had the chance -living in flat land and now having a few children who make regular hiking, well... impossible.
But with no children or flat land in sight, I was able to hike. It burned and I wanted to puke because I've never hiked before and I'm currently going through inordinate amounts of stress.
God spoke to me.
Be where you are. It's okay. Don't worry that people are passing you. Don't worry that people are resting. Just worry about listening to your body and progressing.
And realized... GOD had been speaking to me all along: through Glennon, through my friend, and through his temple ordinances, and through the solid rock DIRT I kicked up with my worn out shoes.
Alicia, LISTEN! This message is for YOU right now in your life. I have sent it repeatedly so you won't miss it. Listen!
I will accept where I'm at.
I will pray daily.
I will forge on with consistency, expecting to fall, expecting to climb, expecting the mess and living with heart.
And then I'll wake up tomorrow and do it again.