Each Tuesday I gather with a group of women at Daybreak for our Sister Circle, a time of sharing and caring and listening. I was so looking forward to today, especially since I had to miss last week due to my little guy having a tummy bug. I always learn something or hear a bit of wonderful wisdom to take with me when I sit down with these amazing women. These are women who may be in the midst of a battle or a survivor of addictions, homelessness, or in need for a day or a season.
Today did not disappoint. We talked about the ways life can toss you up in the air, chew you up and spit you out. And we talked about birds. What we see that birds do–they fly, they sing, they nest…..and they are in community.
We could learn a lot from the birds. That whole community thing is pretty powerful. They need each other just as we do. And they build nests so they can rest and regain their strength before stretching their wings and taking off again to do what needs doing. Beautiful.
When Miss N and I were visiting at the beginning of our time, we talked about what it would look like if we could do just that–stretch our wings and fly. And we talked about what is holding us back from doing it.
“Not being in the right place,” she said quietly, as is her nature. “Or having the right folks to help me.”
Ah yes. We need the right support network to step out and try sometimes, don’t we?
Miss N is an artist. We shared paper and markers and drew or wrote about what our lives would look like if we did have what it would take to “fly.” Miss N drew one with her paying bills on her own, another with her having friends over to her house, and then this one. It spoke to me the most.
If she had the resources and the support and encouragement of those around her, Miss N would “hit the street. Go places.” She would love to travel. Go wherever she decides to and see what she wants to see. Thus the road plays a big part in her picture.
But what drew me in was the stoplight. She’s at a juncture in the drawing. And there is the stoplight looming overhead. So many times in my life, when I’ve hit a bump or been completely knocked off the main road, it’s hard to know if I can keep going. How will I even be able to take another step?
I guess that’s what I feel like Miss N is asking in this picture. Will those twists and turns and one way traffic signs stop you, give you pause, or will you keep on keeping on?
And actually there’s a place for all three, isn’t there? There is a time and place for each one of those lights to shine in our lives. In grief it’s important to slow down and sometimes even stop completely for a time so you can regroup before rejoining the community and the flight pattern. Other times, when evil is attempting to prevail, it’s best to just green light it and keep on walking. It’s not even worth stopping for and getting tangled in that web of mess.
Then there are the happy moments–new babies, graduations, promotions, books being published, goals being reached–that also call for yellow light and red light moments–time to stop or pause and savor every single moment of the precious time while you are in it.
Before we left today, we also talked about balance. Tonight I was thinking about that. Whether we ever get in a vehicle and head down the road or not, we all have red, green, and yellow light moments in our days. The goal is that there are no solid green light days–that kind of “on the go” can wear a body and a spirit out. Fast. Nor do we hope for all yellow light days. While those can get some books read from the stack you may have collected (sigh), those days can also be frustrating–always waiting, being put “on hold” as life decides to answer you. The red light days can make you feel lost and like you’re spinning your wheels. And that’s the key to it all being okay. Balancing out the doing and the resting and the contemplating and the wrestling with life’s big issues. And then letting it be what it is.
That’s about as far as we got. How to work towards that balance and how to keep it once we get there, we were all a little fuzzy on that. How can we keep from letting the bumps in the road send us into permanent red light mode? How do we keep from laying on the horn when folks are in the way of our green light go, go, go mode? I don’t really know one hundred percent. But I have a feeling it has a lot to do with that community thing the birds have down pat. Taking care of each other and surrounding ourselves with good folks, those who will fly on ahead and lead the way when they see us getting tired and those who will nudge us out of our nests when we just want to give up. Those are the kind of folks we need to put ourselves in the midst of.
Ah yes, relationships. Community. There they are again. I haven’t done any research nor do I have any facts to back it up except for my own experiences, but my guess is that Miss N is very right. To live out our dreams we need to be in the right place–physically, emotionally, spiritually–and we need to have folks around us who will help and encourage and support as we “hit the street and go places.” That’s the only way to fly.