There are certain profound life experiences that we share with others.
The sanctity of the events – whether joyful or painful – join the individuals in a bond that transcends time.
Parents welcoming their child into the world.
Soldiers united in battle.
Survivors of unexpected trauma.
Witnesses of a rare total solar eclipse.
There are life events we experience on our own.
While there may be loving souls who accompany us, and onlookers who know the facts, these experiences belong only to you.
No one will know what you’ve been through.
You may be blessed enough to feel seen and understood by another.
But the journey has been, and is, yours alone to travel.
The caregiving and death of a loved one.
Communion with the Divine.
A personal loss beyond description.
I’ve often thought of world leaders, the rare souls who intentionally and authentically dedicate their lives to serve the masses. Those times alone in their personal spaces with their own humanity – a universe apart from what the throngs believe. The emotions that must move through them. The decisions they must weigh.
I’ve contemplated the rock star that surrenders to an ocean of fans on any given concert night. A massive group joined in one-pointed focus upon something they love. Perhaps the closest thing to Oneness a collective of separate humans might hope to experience. And after everything goes quiet, the rock star is alone.
My twin daughter and son are leaving for college in 3 days.
Their father and I brought them into the world with so much love.
I became a single mother to them 7 years ago because life had other plans.
Despite the love and support of others, there have been many times I’ve felt alone.
I had expectations and plans about how I’d get to experience parenting.
Who doesn’t, right?
I wanted to share it with someone.
Celebrate the highs.
Be supported through the lows.
But despite the fact that the unpredictability of life is a common experience – the fact that it is my experience, or your experience, is what makes it sacred.
It’s not the sharing of it that makes it precious.
It’s the intimacy of it.
I’ve been given a gift that my soul has longed for.
I wasn’t able to name it for most of my life, but the longing is what fueled my relentless seeking.
To come home to myself.
This gift would not have been possible had I not been left alone.
It would not have been possible if I’d kept myself busy or distracted.
And it certainly would not have been possible if I’d been rescued from my pain or discomfort by the people that love me the most. Had they not shown restraint, or possessed the strength, I’d have lost the opportunity to grow.
I’d still be seeking.
This past year, preparing my kids for college on my own, has been a journey of focus, fortitude and emotional deep-diving. While I had an abundance of support, at times I felt alone and lonely on the journey.
This, I’ve learned, only happened when a part of me believed that I needed someone to share the journey with in order to capture the preciousness of it.
I thought I needed a witness, to help me mark it in time. To make it real.
Our babies are leaving the nest.
We did it.
I was afraid that if I didn’t share it with someone, one of the most important moments of my life would slip away as insignificant. The culmination of all my love, intention and sacrifice would go unnoticed.
As if it didn’t happen.
But, I was forced to go within. Be with me. Experience the giant celestial event of emotions with myself.
The uncontainable gratitude.
The overwhelming joy.
The depths of grief.
The life-stopping anxiety, and
The relief…. oh the relief.
Of knowing that everything is okay. Really.
This most intimate place within me.
Where I sit with myself.
As witness to the geyser of love that moves through me in a kaleidoscope of shapes and forms and names.
Nothing to do.
Nothing to fix.
Nothing to change.
Is what makes for preciousness.
September 17, 2017