I searched for my soul but my soul I could not see.
I searched for God but he eluded me.
I searched for my brother and found all three. Anon
This was heard last night, spoken by a new friend. I had to ask him to repeat it, as it took my breath away, literally. As a woman who just moved across country, alone, I found myself feeling a bit isolated one evening. All of the anticipation of this move, all of the excitement of a fresh start, a new career, and unlimited potential, slipped away for one short evening. However, that short evening felt like an eternity as the reality of my life appeared before me.
I came here to the mountains for many things. But the most important thing which I was seeking, was serenity. I prayed, hoping to find answers, and hoping to seek my soul that I had believed was hidden deep within the chaos of my life back home. But it is within me, waiting to be brought out. I thought I might find God, here in the mountains. But the truth of the matter is this… when I can connect with another human being, on a spiritual level, I have the opportunity to see my God and my soul…. maybe they are one in the same.
So, I will not isolate. I will continue to get out and say hello to every stranger I meet. For it is in connecting with another human being that I will find for what it is that I am looking. This cannot be misinterpreted as meaning that I will only find happiness in another. I believe we, as humans, are meant to connect with others. We cannot survive in isolation. We crave the human touch. We crave that personal connection we find in others. So I will seek those things daily. In so doing, I hope to find all of the wonderful things I have hoped to find. Truthfully, I don’t need to live near the mountains to find it, but it sure makes it more fun for me! 🙂
~ Patti Crowley
Last week, I piled everything I own on a truck, hooked my car up for the tow, and drove from Chicago to Arizona. To say this was challenging would be putting it mildly. However, the real challenge was leaving behind my kids, who I hope will eventually join me permanently. My 22 year old son is already out living on his own, but my 18 year old daughter will be staying behind her first year to attend her freshman year of college in IL. She is planning to move to AZ next year to attend school here. But for now, this is the hardest thing I have ever done. I did not realize how much I would miss her. I kept saying to her, “Meg, it’s okay. It will just be like you are leaving me to go to college a little early.” The truth is… I was the one leaving her.
I was in my 30’s, married with children, when my parents decided to pack up and move to Nevada. I was devastated, and thought they were being selfish. But as time went on, I understood that it was something they had desperately wanted to do, maybe even needed to do. They spent the last years of their lives enjoying life in the mountains.
So as Megan and I packed up all of our things, we had different boxes for her. Some were labeled “Arizona”, for when she comes to visit, and others were labeled “college”. We sat on the floor of her room packing those boxes, and I believe that is when the reality of it all set in. I always worried that I would have such a rough time when my baby left for college, but here I was doing the leaving first.
Saying goodbye was heartbreaking, for both of us. But it isn’t goodbye… just see ya later! As I drove away, with tears in my eyes, hauling everything I own in that 20 foot truck, I realized what I carried on that truck was just STUFF. What I really have is love… love for my children, love for the friends I left behind, and love of the life we have all built together. None of that goes away… life changes, relationships change… but they don’t end. Meg comes out to visit this weekend, and I cannot wait to see her! When she leaves to go back and prepare for her first year of college, it won’t be goodbye. We will just say, “See ya later”.
~ Patti Crowley
Take Peace in the Lord-
The world is no substitute
It comes from Spirit.
– Betty S.
This haiku was written by a good friend of mine just this morning. Sometimes I have to stop and marvel at the timing of things that I see, read, and experience. Just yesterday I was having a pretty deep philosophical discussion with a wonderful new friend. I was trying to express what I have been feeling during this week I am here in Arizona as I look out at the mountains, and watch the sunsets each day. Here is what I have discovered.
It isn’t so much the beauty of my surroundings, the fresh air I breathe in each day, or the clear blue skies themselves that bring me a peace I have never known. Instead, this beauty causes me to feel deep within some sense of KNOWING. Now here is where it gets difficult to explain, but I will make the attempt. When I see something beautiful like the McDowell mountain range which I drove alongside yesterday, I was nearly brought to tears at the beauty. But it was the feeling inside when looking outward that made me pause. Maybe it is because I felt like a child again, seeing Mickey Mouse at Disney World. That feeling of wonder and excitement that we rarely experience as adults. Or maybe it was just a recognition of WHO I am deep down.
I know that for me, I have spent a lifetime wondering how people view me from the outside. I never saw myself for who I am. As strange as it may sound, looking outward at all of this beauty somehow made me look at myself in a different light. There is a feeling that the real me is emerging. My heart is open, along with my senses which are so receptive now, for possibly the first time since I was a child.
So in the words of my dear friend, Betty, I see that “the world is no substitute”. God, as I know Him, is not found in the mountains, or in the sunsets, or in the clear blue skies. Instead, He is found in the “Spirit”… my Spirit within. Magnificent!
~ Patti Crowley
In less than two weeks, my youngest will be graduating from high school. As a divorced mother, I can do one of two things. I can either be distraught, cling to her tightly, and cry myself to sleep at night, or I can do something else entirely. I can dream of all the things I will be able to do in my new awesome empty nest.
The possibilities are endless! I can dance naked (okay, okay so I’d never be naked at my age) around the house listening to the music my daughter hates. I can cook all the things I avoided because my kids didn’t like them. Oh, I can’t wait to smell up the house with pan-seared tilapia, asparagus, & brown rice! I will actually have complete control over the DVR for a change. It will not be filled up with One Tree Hill and the Voice – although I admit that I kinda like the Voice so that one can stay. The second bathroom will remain clean – what a concept!! There will be no dirty laundry strewn across the floor of the loft outside my daughter’s room to step over. There will be adequate space for my shoes by the back door instead of four different pairs of Converse in every imaginable color.
With no one waiting at home for me, I can run to the gym after work without hurrying home. Without anyone to need a check for the myraid of senior year activities, which are causing my wallet to feel a little thin these days, I can indulge in spending on ME. I can turn the second bedroom into an office, or a guest room, decorated to my liking. With no one else parking in the garage, I don’t have to worry about anyone opening their door into mine when parking too close.
Who would have thought the day would actually come when I would be an empty nester? The idea of it should be cause for celebration. I should be doing the happy dance right now. So why do I sit here typing with tears in my eyes? Why do I long for the days of little chubby arms wrapped around my neck whispering “Mommy”? Why do I wish that I could have one more day of sitting on the floor watching Barney with my little ones, while dinner is cooking in the kitchen? Why does my house already feel quiet and bare? I have a few more months before she leaves for college. Will I celebrate when she leaves? No. I will kiss her goodbye, watch her leave, and thank the dear Lord for placing her in my care for 18 wonderful years. I will pray that I have taught her well, and that she will continue to grow into the beautiful, kind, and generous young woman that she already is. I will pray that no harm comes to her, that she makes many wonderful friends, and that she thinks fondly of her time with me. I pray that one day I will actually feel like celebrating, and you will find me dancing (almost) naked through my empty nest.