Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Next Big Step

I wasn’t sure what to call this post. “Time to take out the trash?” “The reaping?”

A few months ago I filed for divorce. It took a few years to get here. It hasn't been pretty. But it is what it is, and I'm so glad I finally got to this point. It's time to move forward.
When I was working out in the yard today I felt like writing this post. It's been over a year since I've blogged here, but I'm letting go of the perfectionism (as much as I can) and just writing from my gut. I don't have anyone here to please.

There are some mini rosebushes out front. Ever since we moved in they haven’t been doing so well. I tried a few things to care for them, but then I discovered they were diseased, and the only thing to do was to pull them out. They were infested with a disease that apparently stays in the soil no matter what you do.

Before I realized all this, my first response was to turn to the interwebs. I asked, “how can I save these? I don’t want to pull them out. Help.”. The advice came from all over - and the contradictory suggestions were abundant.

“You can treat it. It would be a tragedy to pull those out, you need to do whatever you can to save them.”

“Dig them up. Burn them. You can’t ever plant roses there again.”

For awhile I decided to do what I used to do best. I ignored the problem and told myself I’d figure out something, or maybe they’d come around on their own. Then I tried fertilizing them. Other times I’d spray them, and if they died I did my best. I was still ignoring what seemed to be the only solution - accepting there was nothing I could do and they weren’t getting better. Every time I walked by them it was a nagging reminder that something had to be done, but I didn’t want to be the one to do it. I didn’t want to be the one to give up, to say there was nothing left worth saving. But looking back, I needed that time of indecisiveness. Of discomfort. I needed it to bring me to a point of action. I just needed time.

Because one day I was ready.

I was done letting these plants steal my peace. I was done with it all. So I grabbed a pick-ax and some gloves and headed outside, in the 95 degree heat.
All the reasons not to do it came up.

Maybe I should wait until a better time to do it. (There’s never a good time.)

The kids would be so upset. (They were. But I knew it was still for the best, and someday they’ll understand.)

It’s going to hurt. (Oh but it does. But unfortunately you can’t avoid pain. And the pain can take you places you couldn’t get to any other way.)

So forward I went.

I started to take a few awkward swings. Sometimes I missed completely. Sometimes I hurt my hand. I started to sweat. I was hot, tired, and this was hard. At one point it became hard to breathe and I had to put my pick-ax down, step inside to catch my breath, and have a glass of water. I slowed down my breathing. I gave myself time. I knew I was going back out - there was no rush, I could take my time doing this. But I wanted it over so much. I wanted to be on the other side of this. So I headed back outside to start again.

As I dug out most of the roots, until there were a few strands hanging on, I grabbed hold to pull it the rest of the way out and it fought HARD. I grabbed thorns, I strained my back pulling as it held on with everything it had. I let my anger fuel me onward for awhile. Sometimes it was all I had so I held onto it like it was my lifeblood.

Doesn’t he, I mean “it” know I need this?! Doesn’t it realize how hard I worked to try and save it, to no avail? It was time to take back my peace. My happiness. To make room for something new and healthy. Something that can thrive and bloom. I never wanted this. I’m just doing the best I can with what I have, after having tried every thing in my power to hold on. The time for explanation was long gone.

As I pulled it up the diseased roots crumbled and tiny insects infesting it poured out. Angry, disturbed, wanting to stay comfortable in their hollow home. Wanting to go on pretending everything was fine. Wanting anything other than to acknowledge their path would end in destruction. Anything other than letting go of their destructive lives.

With a triumphant release of my breath I tossed the diseased root into the garbage can and hauled it out to the curb. I did it. As I looked at the gaping holes in the soil, I knew that from an outside perspective it would look worse, a big, gaping wound in a pile of weeds. To most it might seem that despite the weeds, it would have looked better to have the diseased roses sitting there instead of holes. But they also wouldn’t have noticed before that the troubled roses were rotting, and their spotted leaves were falling off. The shoots growing fast and riddled with thorns but no blooms. And they would never have seen the infestation growing beneath the soil, silently eating away at any beauty that might have been left behind.

It was a lot harder than it looks.

But I knew. I knew that there was more work to do, it would just have to happen over time. Now that the roses were gone I could work to start pulling the weeds. Once the soil was fresh and whole again I would lay down a barrier to prevent any new weeds from growing up. Rich soil would be added on top. I would place new growth in the soil and nurture it to see what grows best. I’d learn as I go, and keep building something new and beautiful, until eventually you wouldn’t see what used to be there - diseased, life sucking chaos.

Although I knew it would take awhile to get to the new normal, I smiled to myself as I thought of all the possibilities. I would take steps towards this new beginning, I already was taking those steps! It was okay that it wouldn’t happen right away. I knew it was worth it. I decided to stop there for now, leaving the big gaping holes and weeds in all their terrible glory. It was a big step to take and I needed to rest and replenish before making plans for the future. I’d learned it’s okay to care for ourselves along the way, to not expect more than we can give.

I took a slow, intentional breath, and released so much more than the air in my lungs. I felt peace. Beautiful, previously elusive peace. I headed inside to recover from the work.

I knew I’d need to be ready for the next step - there was more work to do and I was going to need everything I had to finish it. The worst certainly wasn’t over. But I had a new goal in mind, and I was going to get there no matter what. I would stumble as I ran toward it, and that thought made me cringe, but I’d stumbled before. Besides, I would much rather crawl my way towards joy than sit with the daily reminder that there was no where to go if things stayed the same.

I never know what to say at the end of these. I always feel pressured to have some thoughtful, inspiring last few words to part with. But this time I really don’t.

I’m just so over it and ready to be almost anywhere other than here.