One Step

It’s just around the corner, 5 more seconds, you’re so close, you’re almost there, let’s go up to the next landing, we’ve already come this far…

These are the words that kept me going. The first I can remember was when I was in 3rd grade and I was hanging straight armed on the pull up bar trying to hang on long enough to qualify for the Presidential Physical Fitness award. I told the person in charge of monitoring that I was too weak and wouldn’t be able to last. She was a heavy set woman and her smile was life giving. This was my 2nd try. There I was hanging and said I have to let go. I looked at her and she smiled that smile and told me I could do it and that I only had 5 more seconds to go. Her next words: she told me I did it- I could let go. What I found out later is that I really only had 2 seconds to go. I let go and she swooped me up into her big smushy hug. It felt like I was being wrapped in a pillow of love. I will never forget that hug and her encouragement. I was also the proud recipient of the Presidential Physical Fitness Award.

The picture you see here was the, “let’s just make it to the next landing”. Well about 15 more “just to the next landings” we arrived at what we thought would be the top. It was a long steep climb that offered bits of relief as the path leveled out along the way. What you can’t see and what we didn’t know about was after we arrived at the supposed top it appeared that just around the bend we would arrive at the top.  It was about another 15 “just around the bends” and several steep climbs Later that we finally arrived at the top. Oh my goodness-the reward was so amazing. I was so captivated that I forgot to take pictures.

Another journey was to a waterfall. I LOVE anything that involves water so off we went. Ok, so I’m going to be very transparent here. I love nature but I have a very healthy respect for it. We got a bit of a late start and it was around 4pm. As we got deeper into the woods and farther from the safety of a shelter I began to think it must be about feeding time for the critters. I figured I probably looked like a good meal since I had too much meat on my bones. So just as I was thinking about giving my husband the alert that we better head back because “it is going to be getting dark soon” a spry smiling couple walked by and told us we were almost there. We kept going and the “almost there” was like 2 and a half miles away. I learned that day that “almost there” is a relative term. But…when we got to the waterfall, I was so grateful for the words they spoke that kept me going to the beauty I beheld at the waterfall. Of course I did pick up a pretty good sized “walking stick”for the walk back to protect me from the hungry critters.

I’m so grateful for these experiences and others like it because for the most part it is myself  and my faith that keeps me taking that “one more step”. The people in my life tend to be very black and white, very logical, very “got it all together” people and they really don’t understand what it’s like to live with anxiety. How that what appears to be life or death for me is just a mere blink for them.

I am here at my “one more step” moment in life and will keep taking that one more step, make it to one more landing, go around the next bend, walking for the “almost there” and hang on for 5 more seconds because it has always brought reward and beauty beyond anything I could comprehend. That is my hope and my prayer today.

Alone

This picture  is obviously a picture of a man  at the beach.

I went to California on a vacation with my husband and one of my dogs, the only dog we had left. We were planning to have both of our dogs with us but our beautiful Daisy girl passed just weeks before. She had liver problems and while we were waiting for our vet to come to our house and let her go peacefully, she passed with her head on my husbands lap. She wanted it to be a private passing. It was as if she knew and she wanted only family around.

Sadly we drove to California with our other dog Precious. She was definitely in mourning along with us. She was normally a very active dog in the car but this time she sat quietly in the back on the little bed we put there for her.

We got to our rental; it was a nice place with  french doors that opened on to a patio where we could sit or brush the sand off our feet before going inside. Precious would sit here and stare out the window. Almost like she was waiting for Daisy to appear.

There was a larger patio about 30 yards away that we could sit at and watch the surf. I sat there quite often and stared out into the ocean looking for answers.

I also did a lot of walking. That’s what I do-that’s who I am, I am a walker. I walk when I am anxious, angry, happy, sad. I walk to get into my space; away.

So, I am walking one day with my husband and our dog Precious. I see a man in a long black trench coat with black pants and black shoes. It appears he is standing on a ledge that drops in to the ocean. He is standing there and letting the waves break against him and drench him from head to toe. It appears he is going to let the waves pull him into the ocean and carry him out to the sea. He just keeps staring, looking out into the endless horizon. Wave after wave keeps crashing over him and drenching him. He doesn’t even lift his hand to wipe the droplets off his face. I stared at him as he stared at the ocean. At first I thought he was attempting to end his life  I realized he was just in his world of whatever created the need to be washed by the ocean. He was there again the next day and the next day. I was alone the last day that I was walking and I stopped behind him. I didn’t want to interrupt him so I just stood and watched the waves with him, behind him, as I looked out into the ocean for answers. He turned to me and asked me if I was enjoying the surf. I said, “yes, I really am”.  I turned around and a mother and her son were stopped in a car staring at the man in the long black trench coat. She mouthed the words. “is he ok?”  I mouthed back, “yes, I believe he is.” This was the 3rd day I saw him out there in the same long black trench coat, with the black pants and the black shoes. This was his daily ritual. The next morning my husband, myself, and our dog Precious went down to the beach by our rental and allowed the wind to carry some of our wonderful Daisy out into the salty sea air and into the ocean. That was three years ago but I think about this man often. I have pictures of him in the room I call our beach room; it is a guest room. I’m not sure why but I do think about him. I try not to imagine who he is or what his story is but I do. What intrigues me most is that normally I would have gone up to a person like this and asked if he was okay. For some odd reason I knew that that would be a violation of some sort of unwritten rule.

I  envy his ability to stand out there like that and not care about what anyone might think about it. I want to go back and stand in his spot and let the waves drench me from head to toe and wash away my weaknesses, my sorrows, my hurts, and my past that tries to make me believe I am worthless.

Today, I am focusing on trying to find an answer for a problem that does not belong to me but is creating so much anxiety and fear that I feel like I am trapped with no way out.

I have always been able to find a way but this time it seems impossible and I don’t feel like I can handle the outcome by letting it happen. The emotional pain is excruciating. I am praying for answers and a solution. You see the problem is not mine but is so closely related to me that the fallout will affect me.

And here I sit at what feels like rock bottom again but this time it’s not because of a chemical addiction and again I feel very alone.