Yesterday I shimmied out of 32 and suited up in 33. I celebrated the way I needed with lots of indulging in the things I love and give me life. I woke up early on my birthday, wandered down the 14 wooden steps, gave the cat my usual side eye good morning greeting (I will never be the feared stereotyped cat lady, because I do not like cats, but I tolerate Eddie), put the kettle on, and tried to select a tea from the pantry, excitement swelled from within. “I’m still here,” I whispered.
I’m still here. Emphasis on I. Things that are core to who I am, how I see myself, life, the world, and how I choose to engage the world, are still intact. The parts of who I am that have taken a brutal beating this last year have not been obliterated, erased, destroyed. My heart, new fractures, but still intact, still beating. My dreams, shaded by hues of grey often, still have bursts of pinks, greens, reds, purples, and blues, still bringing me life and pushing me to breathe life into their process of transformation to reality. My convictions, especially about treating people well , with dignity, justly, and loving them, rejected, retaliated against, hammered, yet still solid, firm, defiant, and smiling slyly. My faith, tampered with, picked at, tried, is still rooted, unrelenting, here. And my joy. Lord my joy. A year full of joy stealing miscreants who nibbled and chiseled, but never got away with my joy. I’m. Still. Here.
The period at the end of that phrase looks good. “ I’m still here.” It reads as a complete sentence. No need to edit, rewrite, or consult a thesaurus or dictionary. It’s just enough. It even sounds good. Go ahead and say it out loud. I’ll wait. Sounds good right? Oh wait. Say it again and emphasize the I. Sounds really good right? Focusing on you, giving yourself a verbal high five of validation, that despite all that you’ve got going on or been through yourself, you are making it. You are still here.
As I sat on the front porch slowly sipping my tea looking at my street welcoming the day with swaying trees, chirping birds, and couple of squirrels being coy with one another, “I’m still here” was followed by “Now what?” I’m still alive (Thank you sweet baby Jesus and grown man Jesus) so how am I going to actually live?
I gave myself permission to ponder that question not only in the moment, but the rest of the day, and the coming days. I had survived the last year and all of its offerings. I had even tasted moments of thriving. Knowing the difference between the two, is what kept me from shying away from the now what, what’s next, and instead delete the period after I’m still here and continue it on. Develop it. Dream it out, write it out, draft it, edit it, and continue. I know that a huge part of my “Now what?” is moving back to Pennsylvania and returning to being a counselor with a private practice that also allows me to do some consulting with organizations. I know it also includes being a way better steward of all of my gifts and talents, but particularly as a writer. I love to blog, but I think there’s a book in me waiting to come out.
I am still here. You are still here. We, dear one, are still here. Take the emphasis off the here and shine the light on you. Shine the light on all of the things that make you you. Zero in on all that life has tried to borrow, barter for, steal, snuff out, drown, strangle, or destroy but couldn’t. Those are your strengths, your gifts, your talents, that have been helping you survive. Revel in that. Smile, high five yourself, pour yourself a glass of bubbly and toast yourself. Then use those same things to delete the period after “here.” Use those core attributes of you that are still intact to wade, tread, crawl, walk, run, leap, into what gives your soul life, transforms alive to living, and surviving to thriving. xxoo