For years I didn’t wanted a dog! Its not that I don’t like animals, but only lately I have found out the true reason why. Not, it’s not the hours of exercise and caring that I had to get use to-although that was a concern, a more deeper reason bothered me. I found out that the fear of one day loosing our beloved pet was the real motive of resisting that thought. The heartache and pain that that event would cause to our family made me resist that idea.
We do the exact same thing with our friendships. We are afraid of building deep friendships for fear of getting hurt by friends or they leaving us. We refuse to love because love can be crushing. We forsake our dreams our deepest desires because hope has been deferred, disappointment is a bitter pill to swallow? So, we ‘take control’ of our lives by suffocating our hearts. By limiting our opportunities and reducing them to more ‘manageable’ ones.
We buy a goldfish, we love partially, we dream small…….. Then we wonder why with each passing day we extinguish a little. Why the spark of life gets dimmer and dimmer.
“The desires of good people lead straight to the best,” says the proverb. That’s how we know if our hearts are open, if they are awake: by the nature of our desires. Do our desires lead us to the ‘good enough’ options for our lives? To they lead us to ‘acceptable’ ones? Or do they guide us to the best choices we can make for our lives?
If we sense our lives shrinking, closing in- would it be that we have reduced our desires, what we really long for to manageable sizes? Have we perhaps build a dam to contain them and keep them checked, safe?
If the answer is yes, can you feel the walls beginning to crack lately? Don’t be afraid! Let the dam burst. Let the excitement and life bubbling desires run through our hearts again and let us sprint wild with them. “Ask and I will give you the nation” is what welcomes us to the other side. Desire expands our lives, despair shrinks them!
“Oh @&%*! What are you doing?” Those were the first words out of the gentlemen that I knocked down as I lost control on the skiing slope. We (my class and I) were crossing through a very busy piste and in a flick of time while checking if I was free to go or not I had lost control. I was slipping uncontrollably backwards downhill. My efforts to stop only slowed me down a bit but didn’t stop me crashing into the man and his family as they were taking a break.
All of them fell down and understandably were not happy. I was prepared for a response full of anger and frustration but the repetitive words that were spoken by the couple took me by surprise. “You stupid you, you have not place in skiing, I will have you arrested!” Between the accusations, crying and pain I tried my hardest to apologise. “I am so sorry sir, it was an accident, are you all ok?” The man continued to shout and his voice like a war siren had stopped the whole piste activity and people were watching, listening.
A French skier came close handing my ski pole and with a broken English tried to help by saying to the angry gentleman that it was an accident, that things happen and that was not need to shout because all of his family were fine and not hurt. Trembling and crying I walked out to find my class, but those words spoken had done more damage than I anticipated. Fear creeped inside me like crazy and for 3 hours on the piste I fall, lost control, cried and could not ski at all like the day before. The day before I had been fearless, fun and daring, today all that confidence castle was smashed to bits. I tried very hard to ‘be that girl’ you know the one, the-one-that-forgot-already-those-spoken-words-and -moved -on-with-a-brave-face… I couldn’t.
How do you build confidence when all of it is knocked down and destroyed? How do you gather yourself and show up living when you are in pieces? How do you love when love betrayed you? How do you build friendships when the wounds of a ‘friend’ are still fresh and burning?
At the end of my lesson, tearing up and still hearing those words repeatedly banging in my head I knew I needed some help to start and put those broken pieces together. I met Nath at our ski dropping place and told him what had happened and that I was in need of a walk. He hugged me hard and let me go.
I walked slowly in the village buzzing roads and tried to understand why that episode had effected me so much. His words have not only made me feel a skiing disaster, but that I in fact sucked at all things in life altogether.
I walked around pressing snow underneath my feet and letting my mind cool. As I ascended a little hill in Val d’isere village the tower of St Bernard de Menthon church stood up in front of me and I felt safe and drawn to enter there. It was empty, the only person inside was a gentleman playing his guitar and singing. I sat there looking at all ikons, smelling the candles burning with my eyes glued on the centrepiece. A big statue of Jesus on the cross! As I stood there wiping tears and whispering ‘help’ I felt my heart starting to beat slower, be less jumpy. I could not understand a word from the song the vicar ( I noticed now that the gentleman with the guitar was wearing a collar) was singing, but my soul understood every single note. Little by little that hurricane of feelings, fear and unsettling was clearing up and I was able to see and gather some of the shattered pieces and start building up again. How?
Jesus hanging on the cross in front of me spoke of my value as a person, that value before I even make or think I am a mistake.
Before people call me stupid He had called me a masterpiece. Before I was told I had no place in skiing, God has given me a place on his table, his family.
I had to lay the foundation of my confidence right there before I even was ready to start and build again. Before I added bricks and mortar I knew I had to have the right foundation to build.
I wish I can tell you that all was great after I left the church, that I felt confident and strong again after a few hours. I am sorry, that is not the truth. Those words spoken that day still came rushing after I left the church, they shout even now as I type and try to be loud in my head, try to tell me who `I am’.
They still want to convince me that I am that shaky, stupid person, but I am fighting back, I am building that confidence wall little by little on the right foundation. I have noticed that when we hear constantly what people say we loose sight of who we really are, but when we listen to what God says we find the true us.
We are never going to be brave with our lives unless our confidence is build little by little on the right bedrock. Every other building ground is shifting sand. All the ‘self’ help, people opinions, ‘self’ control, success, fame, money ……. will eventually crumple at the pressure of life. But when we have a strong foundation we can build something strong and unshakable every time when the walls of our confidence are destroyed, we can do that again and again.
So, I am back on the horse that threw me back (skiing). I am back facing that fear, and while there I am gathering pieces where my conference was shattered, I am adding new ones also so that I can build up an even stronger confidence wall!
I know how much rejection hurts and the fear of being vulnerable again is real, still show up in life and live. The agony of living a safe, protected and pain free life is more deadly than the pain caused by living in the midst of people who might and for certainly disappoint again.
I know relationships are hard work, love doesn’t feel welcoming every day. Still fight for love. I don’t know any other more worthy cause than the ‘love fight.’ The battle to exist in someone else’s heart and mind fulfils our soul deepest longing and it’s worth any sacrifice.
I know you already feel like all your effort to be a good person are wasted. Still, keep waking up and trying. For that’s what being good is — showing up and putting oneself fully out there. After all we are not called to be perfect mums, wives, business women … individuals, just devoted ones; who wake up every morning with the cry ‘help me Jesus’ then smearing lipstick on the lips go on doing their best.
I know you are disappointed with God. He has been unfair, mysterious and absent. Still, keep believing— who else is out there that breaths life, sheds truth and colours the world with beauty? A lot of us know that He can be trusted. He is not tamed, but he is so kind.
I know some days you feel like a failure. Keep showing up. Do what makes your heart sing. Press forward, even if the process is slow. We aren’t meant to dance to other people’s tunes. We were created to write our own story, sing our own melody, paint our own picture. Be brave. Show up daily, fully, intentionally!
Fat snow flakes dance in the air and exhausted land on the frosted earth. The scenery here it’s breathtaking, very much like a winter wonderland. It’s our first time in Val d’Isère and I am already in love with the place. Did I just say “I am in love with a place?” We use the word ‘love’ loosely these days, but tomorrow it’s St Valentine (the day we people celebrate love!) and I have not bought a gift for Nath yet.
The first Valentine gift I ever got was when we were engaged. Nath is the first and only who has given me Valentine gifts. Before that I use to hide on Valentine’s day. The sight of red roses and small boxes tightly wrapped up use to make me feel the loneliness girl around. The day of Love was the more Unloving day indeed.
When you think of the story how St Valentine came to be you soon understand that love is sacrificial before it’s romantic and that love starts as a decision before is expressed in feelings. Yes, receiving roses, chocolate and jewellery is beautiful but things given on that day only will not maintain love. So, a couple of years back I decided that before running to find a gift for Nath I must walk slowly deep down inside my heart and look for this one thing to give.
‘Am I prepared this year to not give up on us?’ I ask this question on Valentine season because I know the answer can be the best gift I can offer to Nath. I know that every year our love will have a chance to grow and as result get tested, I just want my heart to be prepare for that. Before running to find the right gift I have to slow down and find my will to love deeper. I want Nath to see the promise ‘I won’t give up on us’ before he sees the material gift. I know that any gift wrapped up with that kind of promise will make a beautiful Valentine day. So, that is what I have been doing this early morning on February the 13th, preparing my heart again. I want intentionally to think and be willing of ways how our love can grow deeper and better than has ever been.
Tomorrow morning though when all family is a sleep and dreaming I will sneak to the near by boulangerie and see what I can find to lavish Nath’s stomach with. The saying ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’ has proved many times to be true and a good start of this day gift .
Happy Valentine friends, the day to promise to not give up on Love, never!