Woman to Woman 8: Stop Waiting to Exhale

My day began with an email from a woman with a broken heart.  She can’t breathe.  She can’t eat.  She can’t stop crying.  “Nothing…and I mean nothing…will ever be the same.”  I wish more than anything I could allow her to gaze a few years ahead into the mirror, when her life might be full and happy, and the pain is past her.  It’s not just possible…it’s probable.  Broken hearts do mend…hurts fade…wish vision turns slowly to the realization that life goes on.  God gives to you grace and peace amidst your situation, if only you reach out for the hand that is reaching for you.  It might not be from the place you expect…but after the rain, the growth of green, the bloom of flowers, the smell of fresh, clean air…it’s worth the wet.  You will live to grow, be and love.  In the words of Dori the fish….just keep swimming.

Today was a sort of independence day for me ~ independence from emotional pain.  I have exhaled.  Heartbreak is not my game state. I am breathing.  Just to make this fun….I have a secret.  It’s not a particularly well kept one, or one that would shock you, but it is still part of my soul.  I am prone to buying shoes when I am excited, happy, nervous, unsettled…any real emotion, there is a DSW shoe run in my future.  Today was such a day for I was celebrating the freedom that I feel deep in my person, the joy that is flooding in my soul.  Life is not perfect, but it’s moving forward.  I love moving forward.  Perfect is overrated.

There were shoes……really great shoes.  I tried on about 30 pair of wonderful shoes.  I would wax poetic about why I got my $120 shoes (reasonably cheap if you’re considering designers) for a measly $60.00, but it still seems so much a waste…until you look at them.  They’re so comfy.  They’re tall, gold and the sparkle.  I love sparkle.  Every summer starts out with a pair of really great shoes…and major life changes.  Got the shoes, and here comes that change.

First change: friend that I truly love just moved back to Indiana from Washington, D.C.  I am stoked.  With him, he brings the chance to work on a statewide senate campaign for a guy I really like and respect.  Interview is Monday, and I am looking forward to meeting with this unique and dynamic group of people that I could work with for the next two years of life.  In addition, my beloved school is hiring for a position right up my alley – and I LOVE…did I mention LOVE…Anderson University.  Home.  ‘Nuf said. This job entails networking at a viral level to help place new graduates, as well as running a whole department of some really talented folks.  I am truly excited to be able to apply…and happy that my references include two deans, the VP of Xerox Latin America, and on and on.  Yea!

Three months ago, I was still on the floor in pain over the loss of my best friend in that sudden, unexpected ripping of life from life.  The lack of being able to understand why, the silence that you ask of the air where someone used to be, was stifling to me.  As a counselor, I am well trained in grief work…but it’s different when you are doing it on your own.  The death of all that I trusted, of his very presence, of all that I knew….it was nearly the death of me.  But loss fades after a time, as I have said to you before.  If you’re the one left behind, know that in time…shorter time than you’d like to admit…the music will return to your soul.  It doesn’t mean that you forget.  I will never forget.  But I’ve learned how to live, thrive and find happiness in what is alive and well in my life.

The most important thing that I can teach you today is that one thought.

Don’t let your past be your present…

don’t let your past steal your future.

Don’t let the lie that “you’ll never love or live again” or that “you will always be brokenhearted” rob you of the moments that make you smile.  I won’t think about  the loss this weekend at the Reds game: but I will enjoy the time, the hotdogs, the ballpark.  I won’t ache on the zip lines in West Virginia in a few weeks, or when I preach in Muncie next weekend.   I didn’t miss him in the shoe store today, I didn’t consider if he’d like my choice…although I know that he would.  He would have appreciated the dress, the hair, the smile…but not enough to live his life with it.  It wasn’t that important to him…and I have to be able to stare that down in the face.  He chose to leave this world.  It’s something that I’ve slowly come to terms with, given the help of an army of friends, a family that never gives up on me, the trust of my beloved Brian.  How does this help our brokenhearted friend?  Think of what you can do, what you can control.  Make choices that are healthy for you.  What I can control is how I feel, what I take from it, what I feel about life in general.  I have to much on my list of life to look forward to without devaluing it because someone acted…cowardly.  It’s real, it’s life…and it is what it is.

How do you confront your pain?  Are you wallowing in it?  Listen to me:  Knock it off. Where your focus goes, you will live.  It’s what you’re idolizing.  Yes, I know that you feel like dirt, and your chest aches.  I understand….obsession will not change that.  This is reality: you have a life to lead.  Try this:

  • Make a list … a real, adventurers list.
  • What do you dream of?  GO DO IT.  Today is the day.
  • Dress up, feel good about yourself, buy a new scarf or fingernail polish.
  • Smile at everyone you meet.  Give someone else a compliment.
  • Buy someone you don’t know coffee…or someone who is having a rough day.
  • Be kind to cashiers and waiters.
  • Help someone that needs a friend.
  • STOP telling your story.
  • Hire a life coach (or log onto mine at YouTube Channel “ShurrSuccess” for free)
  • Use your imagination about how you might change the world.
  • Volunteer at a hospital, retirement home.
  • Bake cookies for firefighters and deliver them.
  • Be someone else’s blessing.
  • Write your pastor a letter telling them how much you appreciate them.

Stay active! Your list should be about you…here is my immediate “do” list….and I love to be creative.

This weekend, I am taking a dancing lesson for free at Author Murray for ballroom….and I am going to the Vogue in Broadripple for a night of dancing.  Total cost: $5.  Sunday: Reds tickets, $25.00  Fun = priceless.  Get out, exercise, eat whole foods, drink clean water and move around some.  You’ll feel better.

Repeat after me……

I am no longer waiting to exhale….I’ve let go of what was before, and am pressing on to the future.

I now choose to live.

I am deliberate about it, with no anger, no remorse.

I am still alive.

I am beautiful, capable and worthwhile.

I am here….heart and soul.

I am still standing, off the floor now…stronger. 

I have great shoes. 🙂

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