Wednesday, April 11, 2012

You Live, You Learn

You ever hear a song which just sort of kicks you in the booty a little and reminds you that all is exactly what it should be?  Yesterday I drove with the girls and Joshie to Grand Junction hoping to find myself a little something new to wear for my trip this weekend.  That proved to be a big failure, but that's beside the point.  We had a great time together, the three of us, as we finally found some items at JCPenney for the girls and Josh so sweetly and patiently followed us around with the little cart, holding everything as they tried on shirts and shorts, discarding some, keeping some. We called him our little Concierge and he was uncomplaining the entire time...not even a sigh of discontent!  That little guy is so helpful.

Anyway, on the long drive up, we were listening to various old CD's Angela grabbed from our cabinet, some of which I hadn't heard in years and years.  She asked if she could put in Alanis Morrisette, and I said "Sure, I haven't heard her songs in forever!".  Yea, I know, some of you are stunned that I even OWN an Alanis Morrisette CD as it totally doesn't sound like something you'd necessarily pair with Cindy LaJoy.  I am full of surprises, aren't I? Haha!

I wasn't paying too close attention when I then heard "You Live", and it almost took my breath away as these long ago familiar lyrics had such new meaning to me.  Popular in 1995, in many respects my life as I know it hadn't yet begun.  I was 29, childless, married 10 years, just in the process of moving to Colorado and stepping forth into rural living from my Southern California upbringing.  I had already been through a tragedy or two, still had another to go.  The life I have today is so far removed from anything I even imagined, it is almost stunning.

My Matt Matt hadn't arrived, but would be born a mere 4 years later.
My Sweet Joshie poo had yet to be born and abandoned.
My Tokie Man (Kenny...birth name Toktogul) had not been held by his birth mother whose heart may have broken at seeing his birth defect and realized she couldn't help him.
My darling Angela and Olesya were safe from their own personal heartaches and horrors.

1995, and I had really not yet learned to live in the ways the song suggested.  I hadn't figured out the role faith had in my life, but at least I knew God and walked behind that Jesus Dude, trying to get a clearer view. I didn't at all have friendship figured out, I was hardened in ways I can't explain...jaded prematurely by a world that seemed so callous. I was not the Cindy I am today.  There are remnants of her left behind that co-exist with the Cindy I am now, but as I placed myself back into my 1995 life I barely recognized myself.

What's the difference?  I have learned what the song lyrics really mean...

I recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone
I recommend walking around naked in your living room
Swallow it down (what a jagged little pill)
It feels so good (swimming in your stomach)
Wait until the dust settles

You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

I recommend biting off more then you can chew to anyone
I certainly do
I recommend sticking your foot in your mouth at any time
Feel free
Throw it down (the caution blocks you from the wind)
Hold it up (to the rays)
You wait and see when the smoke clears

You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

Wear it out (the way a three-year-old would do)
Melt it down (you're gonna have to eventually anyway)
The fire trucks are coming up around the bend

You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

You grieve you learn
You choke you learn
You laugh you learn
You choose you learn
You pray you learn
You ask you learn
You live you learn

Alanis, I finally get it...and it only took me 17 years.  We haven't lived unless we have had our hearts trampled on a time or two.  We haven't lived lived if we haven't stuck our foot in our mouth a time or two. We haven't lived if we haven't cried, bled, screamed, lost, grieved, prayed, asked, choked or laughed.  There are those who would give anything to avoid the very interactions and situations that save  them from grief, loss or tears.  It's safer, it's thought to make you "happier", but it completely removes us from the richness of being human.

You know what though?  It doesn't make you safer, and it sure as heck doesn't make you happier.  True joy comes from having experienced the sorrow inducing, painful, heartaches...and then finding you actually can still breath afterward.  I've also discovered that taking the "safe" route also doesn't make you stronger.

My favorite line though that is so fitting for where I was the day before, or heck, where I am at in my life 17 years later is "I recommend biting off more than you can chew to anyone, I certainly do."  God knew I needed a reminder after my Personal Pity Party and Angela sensed the need to grab that specific CD.

I really DO recommend biting off more than you can chew!!  It leads you places you would otherwise never visit, fearful of all kinds of things...fearful of failure, fearful of loss of respect, fearful of changing.  But once in awhile biting off more than you can chew is the most enlightening, fulfilling thing you can ever do!  It is what leads you to those moments where you grieve and learn, where you cry and learn, where you choke and learn.  Biting off more than you can chew sometimes is what really leads to LIVING.

A couple days ago, I forgot that.  I was lost in a sea of terminology, diagnosis, remedies and modalities.  I forgot the growth and delight that comes from biting off more than you can chew!!  I forgot that you pray and you learn, you ask and you learn.  I was sort of stuck in you scream and you learn last night :-)

It is marvelous how God uses such a wide variety of "modalities" to teach ME!  Alanis Morissette wasn't something I would have thought might have been used to work on my heart today, but God knew what I needed, and how I needed to interact with that reminder...I needed to sing it out with gusto, I needed to wipe a tear from my eye while looking beside me at my the son of my heart grinning back at me.  I needed to fully take in all the living and learning I have already done simply by being willing to take a little bigger bite of life.

The years ahead are not going to be easy.  Who am I kidding, TOMORROW isn't even going to be easy!  But would I trade an "easy" life for all that I have had offered to me through grief, prayer, blood, and tears?  No stinkin' way.


It's hurt, it's been wonderful, it's been challenging, it's been nuts, it's been Spirit filled, it's been laughable, it's been powerful.

So, tomorrow I break out that report of Kenny's again, and I dissect it piece by piece.  I will start to create a plan of attack in my head, seeing how I can re-imagine school looking yet again.  I will remind myself that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and we are already at least a few feet down the road.  I will examine my family with a loving eye and try and remember life without them so that I can have an even greater appreciation that very moment for those beautiful faces starting back at me.  I will bop myself on the head when I hear myself saying "This is impossible!!  I can't do this!" because I will recall all that I have already managed to accomplish that was against the odds and draw strength from it.  I will stare at that report and think of where Kenny could be were he not with us, and I will smile as I remember his first moments in our family.

I will move from "I have to do this" to "Of COURSE I can do this!!"

Because I have already proven I can.

It won't be easy, no way.  But then when you live, you learn, right?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." A philosophy professor at Colorado College said, "The unlived life is not worth examining." You go girl!