Pivot! Piv-ot! Piv-ot!!
If you are a Friends fanatic like I am, you said pivot just like Ross while he attempted to carry his brand new couch up the stairs. You envisioned the scene in your mind: Ross annunciating “Piv-ot!” louder and louder at Rachel and Chandler in an attempt to motivate them to get the couch around a corner. The couch would not fit no matter how many times Ross screamed it.
My life could be symbolized by this scene: a new couch, choosing no movers to carry it up the stairs ourselves and forcing it forward no matter how much it won’t fit. I cannot do it alone and I cannot force something that does not work.
I am metaphorically and literally unable to move forward in my intended direction unless we adapt. I adapt.
January 6th, 2023 will be a remembered day for our family. We came home to one of the most horrific things a family could see. Black smoke billowed from the roof of our home while rescue workers lined the street. The fire left our home standing but took everything else in its wake. The road ahead to rebuild and redo is long and arduous. This event is something awful that I have not experienced, something I cannot run from or protect my children from. It’s something we are going to have to trudge through together.
It has required us to reach deep into our faith and band together like we have not done before. We have had to rely on others to help us through.
And maybe that was the point.
Because if my life has taught me anything, it is that there are no coincidences. My natural instinct is to try and understand the reason for things.
Every time I have made a big move or changed my path, it has only been with faith that it has worked out. Not because I had it all planned out or knew how it was going to go.
It was because I was listening to God. I had a deep knowing of what I needed to do. A feeling. Whether I have wanted to follow and do it or not, whether I understood it or not, I knew I had to do it.
Our fire has been an event in our lives to catapult me to deeper understanding. It does not define us, but it is a big part of our life right now. And this big part has shown us many things.
It continues to be difficult to make sense of it but there are slivers of understanding. These things are shining through the tragedy…
Finding rest and peace.
Our homeschooling start has been rocky to say the least. The timing was unplanned and it has been tumultuous for the boys. While I have wanted it for a long time, they had no idea it was coming. I had a plan to start in the fall of 2023 but God had other plans. So we left in the middle of a school year. I have agonized over this and tried to understand how this could have happened so abruptly. But then the fire happened. And I understood I needed to be home with our children. I needed to wrap them in love after this event. I needed to stop worrying about school and set it aside to truly ‘be’. Because I could do little else. I could no longer worry about whether they are ‘on track’ or doing things that look like school. Whether they learn something from this or not. I just needed to let it all go and survive. Get us through this while feeling it all. And feeling takes a lot of work, rest, and time. Since we have nowhere to rush off to, we can hopefully do this work well.
Time to reflect and figure it out.
I have the time to do this work. In the first weeks, I needed to be able to spend countless hours on the phone to deal with insurance and inspectors and contractors. We had to figure out a new living situation, calling rentals and going to see them. I have no idea how one does this in the midst of being at a full-time job. Life literally has made me pause. Now that we have some of this settled, I have more time to continue my reflections and build my faith. There are no excuses not to do the work.
Pausing through the distractions.
The pauses and interruptions are for me. I feel like God has told me to stop. And I struggle to listen. I don’t mean to, but I know I do. One of my top intentions for homeschool was to just have fun with my kids, to get to know them as humans, and understand who they are. This only comes through time spent with them. So, while I thought I was making this choice by choosing to homeschool, I was still caught in trying to change what learning can look like. I was not stopping to really listen to them; I tried to forge forward to find a new way to learn. Now I see I need to allow time to pause and decide what is important. And what is important is them.
Continual release and surrender.
I have had to surrender myself over and over again. Every time I think I know where I’m going and what I am doing, something comes up to show me I cannot do it alone because I do not know it all. I continue to release unwanted emotions of anger and sadness. They bubble up and I let them come. I am no longer suppressing them. I do not hide my tears. I cry most openly at church. One of the last times we went, Brayden went to get Dax from Sunday school and he came back to find me crying. He exclaimed, “You’re crying again!” as he gave me a hug and smiled at me. I think my tears are mostly an expression of the overwhelming emotions I feel. Sometimes it is in awe or happiness and others it is in true sorrow.
Growing and sharing my faith.
I have always thought of myself as a faithful person. I went to church every Sunday growing up, taught Sunday school when I was in high school, and have felt like things will work out not because of me but because of a higher spirit. Making big career moves and following my belief has only been possible due to my faith but now, I have reached a new level of faith. Only as a result of the fire have I had to delve even deeper into it.
The amount of people who called, texted, messaged, donated time or money to my family is abundant. It showed me how people can take care of one another. While I have always thought of myself as a kind person, I’m not sure how generous I have been in the past. I have been selfish over my time and money. I can only understand this by observing how many people responded to our need. I didn’t know the extent of people’s caring. Or maybe I forgot along the way. But I remember now. My faith in the good of people has been amplified.
Through all these shining slivers and life lessons our family evolves for the better. We pivot. We will not get our couch up the stairs; we will have to find a new way. We continue to find peace and live in rest, faith, and grace. Our pivots are showing us this is where life is meant to be lived, in the hard and messy. It’s not fun but when we understand this, we know we can make it okay and sometimes fun. We know we are loved by people and by God. For we could not have felt people’s love without God first. We go forward with more empathy, more blessings, more life.