“This is it!” I sighed as I took a deep breath. “This is really it!”
It was a steamy hot and humid day in early August. The Midwest is known for its erratic weather, and today was no exception.
We had hit the wall about four hours earlier. Sweaty and exhausted, there was absolutely no more room in the trailer I had rented to pack anything else. Items I had planned to take with me lay strewn across the driveway. Clothes, pans, and even my bike, were just sitting there, looking at me as if to say, “See, I told you this was a crazy idea!” My boys were staring at me expectantly, waiting for direction. “What was I doing?” I said to myself. Panic rose and I swallowed it down. No turning back now. I couldn’t let my children see the fear I was feeling.
I had decided earlier that year that it was time for a real change in my life. A quantum leap change of sorts. I had grown weary of the long cold winters in the Midwest. I had gotten to the point where I detested the cold, gray, frigid days. And at 44, I had decided that I had had enough. My house had been sold, my career was not really heading in any forward direction, no relationship holding me in place, I decided the time had come for me to move on.
As a young girl, I had always loved Florida. My father would take us down there over the holidays quite often. The feel of the tropical air, the brightly colored birds, the smell of citrus, and the beautiful white sand beaches with their hidden shell treasures, had always held a special place in my heart. And the sunshine! The sunshine! Day after day of bright beautiful sunshine.
No one believed me at first. No one believed that I was really going to uproot and head south. They laughed it off. Told me I was crazy. Told me to come back to reality. But I knew the time had come. I knew in my heart that I needed to do this. And when I truly decide to do something, I set my jaw and plow through.
So there I was on that hot August day. Trailer packed, exhausted and sweaty, and still no end in sight. “Was I doing the right thing?” “Was I crazy?” The questions kept running through my mind. “Was I going to screw up my children’s lives more that I had already??” But in my heart, I just knew I had to go. The time had come. Now or never. And it was now!!! I had no idea what adventures lay ahead. But for the first time in a very very long time, I felt an excitement in my heart that was absolutely exhilarating! For I was making the choice this time. I was in charge of my destiny! I was striking out in faith toward a new life!
I had no idea what was going to happen. And in hindsight I am sure that was a good thing.
We often have ideas that come to us. Desires that repeat in our hearts over and over. Our spirit telling us something that we need to hear. And it’s fear that keeps us from honoring this inner voice. Fear of the unknown. Fear of what others will think. Fear of stepping outside our tiny box of comfort and security.
But when we heed our inner voice, when we give ourselves the time we need to see what it is trying to tell us, isn’t that really what life is about? Is life really about being comfortable? Is it really about just maintaining status quo? If we have learned all that we are supposed to learn from a particular experience, isn’t it time to move on? When we feel our spirit racing with excitement and our eyes light up with anticipation, isn’t that what life is really all about?
I don’t ever advocate making impulsive irrational choices. I have done that enough in my life to know that they usually backfire. But if in your heart, that message keeps coming back, telling you to honor your path, whatever that path may be for you, I suggest you listen to it. You don’t necessarily need to make a quantum leap as I did. Your message may be much quieter. It may be as simple as joining that writers group that meets at the library. It may be finding the time and courage to audition at the local theater or singing in the church choir.
The choices we make for ourselves, that honor who we are, that use the gifts and talents we have been given, will only help us to grow and enrich not only our lives, but all the lives around us. I know how difficult it is to find the time to honor your spirit. As a single mother, we often put our needs last. Bills need paying, homework needs helping, and dinner needs to be made. But if we don’t take the time to honor our spirit, we end up resentful, depressed, and exhausted. It is so much better for our children to see us as the confident beautiful women we were intended to be.
I did get rid of the rest of those items on the driveway. The Cancer Society came and took away the last of my earthly possessions. I also had to leave behind my oldest son Ben. It wasn’t time for him to go yet. And it was the hardest goodbye I have ever said.
But I knew, I just knew that in order to save myself, in order to honor my spirit, I had to go. I needed to leave behind all those years of heartache, challenge, and pain. For I had nothing to contrast it to. No way to be objective. No distance to be reflective. It was one of the biggest decisions I have ever made, but I turned my face upward, placed my life in God’s hands, jumped in my Highlander, and pulled out of Illinois.
So if your inner voice has been speaking to you, my advice to take some time alone and listen. If the time is coming for you to move on in a life experience, have faith to do so. Change is scary, but it is truly where learning occurs. Pack up your trailer and move on so to speak. Forward Ho as the saying goes. Find one thing, today, that is going to bring a smile to your heart. Connect with yourself and honor your spirit. And in doing so, you will be honoring not only your own unique beauty and talent, but you will also be honoring your children, your world, and your purpose. And that is COOL!
Written by Debbie Brown