Healing

That energetic little fox slipped into my life again today.  I never even knew I needed her. But there she was.

Allow me to explain. I have just recently been given the instructions and tools to begin a journey of personal growth. To finally hunker down and begin serious work to pull out and deal with demons of my past that have been chasing me through my whole life. I am to face them, address them, let them come to surface and then to honor them for what they are and return them to the earth. Release them so that they may release me.

Today, I was to go to nature and gather 5 stones. Stones of my heart if you will. I will put these stones into a box and close the lid. I will take each stone and label them with issues from my past.  I may write on them words that describe my feelings of that issue. When the time is upon me I will sit with each stone individually and do my work with whatever it is from my past that I have bestowed upon it. There is more to it then just that but the info suffices for this blog.

So as I made plans to ride along to our ground and wade the creek to find my stones, I received a text from my oldest son asking if his, Lilah, could come hang with us for a couple hours while they took care of some things. I laughed to myself and thought how fitting. My oldest granddaughter LOVES nature and being outdoors. She LOVES our adventures together. Of course, I readily agreed.

As she chattered away on the 10 minute ride to our piece of land, I searched the internet for the symbolic meaning of the fox. For Lilah, since I can remember, fancies herself a fox. She loves animals, strongly relates to them all but especially so of the fox.

Symbolism for the fox means that a solution to the problem is at hand. The fox has the ingenuity to solve any problem. It will lead you to solitude and silence until you see the way out. Which is just what I will need as I take this personal growth journey.  The fox also lets you know that you have all the tools and resources to adjust to new living conditions or a new job. So perfect!!

As I start my new job and am having the usual, well usual for me, anxieties, my foxy little granddaughter shows up to ease me through. And she does!!

We promptly take a big swig of water each and start down the trail toward the creek. The whole way Little Fox is oblivious to the real reason for our nature trek. She begins dodging under logs and over rocks throwing comments back at me constantly. “Grandma! Look at this rock!” and “Hey Grandma! I bet I can turn this flat rock into a shelf!” Sure enough she shoves a flat rock into the muddy ledge of the creek and quickly finds a special rock treasure to place on top of it. “Look at me, Grandma! I’m shelving rocks!!”

As I kept my head down searching for the right stones to begin my work, my eleven year old granddaughter is always step ahead of me, shelving all the stones she can find. “Look Grandma, we will be able to find our way back by following the shelved rocks!” I admired her shelving artwork and her shelving jargon made me chuckle. ” I love to shelve!” “I’m getting really good at shelving!” ” Wonder where I can shelve next!”

Soon we needed to turn back and sure enough her “shelving” reassured us that we were indeed on the right path. I began to think about her work. Shelving stones. It’s what I have done in the past when traumatic events presented themselves. I got “really good at shelving” my stones.  Always there was reason to shove them down and close the lid. “Wonder where I can shelve next!” I put those problems in a box and slammed the lid down as tight as I could. When the lid would begin to open, I couldn’t deal with the pain and I would slam it again and again. “I loved to shelve!”

Until finally it all came seeping out. Creeping into my life at the most unexpected times. Leaving me, every stinking time, wrecked and zapped of energy. Anxiety and panic attacks now direct my life.

Those old shelves were handy while I had no time to do the work to heal those emotional and physical scars. I could set those stones, those slivers and shards of my heart, upon those shelves and keep going on, for my children, for my aging parents, for my sisters, my brothers, my family and friends. Everyone needed me to keep being the strong woman I am. I needed me to be the strong woman I am. I thought I was okay. I thought I was fine and whole and healed.

But I am not.

I am broken, my heart and soul are broken. I have wronged my self. I have wronged others because of my brokenness. I have been burdened for a long long time.

But now, finally, it will stop.  I will journey my way back through my past. I will take each of those stones off their shelves. I will dust off the box I have shoved them into. I will hold each stone. I will caress it.  I will sit with it. I will feel it’s heaviness. I will open myself and I will wait.  I will visualize each stone as God shows me how to honor them and put them to rest. One by one I hope to toss those pieces of my past into the river and to let nature wash them, wash me, clean. I will return those stones to the earth where they belong.

~Sara Jane Rauch~   08/2018

 

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Mama’s Bible

Mom w/Andy and Dad w/me on laps. Evening with one of our priests. Becky and Peggy in the background.

We had a small family gathering this weekend. My sister, Amy, brought our mother’s bible and we all got a chance to look through it. This well-loved book was like an old familiar friend as Amy pulled it out. It had apparently lost its cover some time ago. The pages were heavily noted with her handwritings scrawled in the columns and passages underlined and sometimes triple underlined.  I came across three or four dried four leaf clovers pressed into the pages and had visions of her children and grandchildren bringing her piece of nature. How thrilled she would be as she would ceremoniously help that child find a book to press them in.

My sister, Peggy, and I took turns with mom’s bible. As we skimmed through, reading a noted passage here and there, we tried to understand what she may have been dealing with at that particular time. We were grasping to eek any little bit of knowledge from the writings. We wanted desperately for her to reach out from that old bible and give us some wisdom.  Just some little something that would bring a little piece of her back to us.

I can still see my sweet mother reading to us from that bible. After supper we were not excused from the table until we were all finished and she read us a passage. I remember the boys fidgeting but giving her respect and staying seated. I remember the girls with their heads bowed, resigned to giving an extra ten minutes before starting with the dirty dishes. I would follow along as much I could and try to discern what lesson she wanted us to receive. Somehow, my young mind would manage to drift but I was always secure in the knowledge that mom definitely had our spiritual back.

I remember her sitting in the living room when I came home from being with my friends at night.  With only one lamp lighting the big old house, she would be there, reading it again as she awaited her teens to make curfew and be safely home. The nights that I would miss curfew, she still would be waiting up. I would be scolded. “I know what you’ve been up to!” she would say. I knew just to hang my head and take my tongue lashing as I sat on that cold fireplace hearth.  I never really knew what she was talking about, which sin to confess too. Because truth be known, I was probably guilty of whatever she thought I was up to, that and more.  So I would just sit there quietly until she would tell me to go to bed. I would slink upstairs and stay below the radar the next day, cleaning the house and doing what I could to get back into good graces with her and be forgiven.

Sometimes she didn’t need the bible to be open. She knew it’s passages by heart. Dad always took us on two week vacations in the summer. What a great time we would have. Dad wouldn’t shave for two weeks, he would relax and even joke and tease with us a little. This was something to us. Dad was a man of many responsibilities. With twelve children and two full time jobs he didn’t have much time to relax. Plus, he had to shave daily for his job as a State Trooper and we rarely saw him with whiskers. Vacations were a very exciting time for us.  But before we would venture out in our old station wagon, laden with luggage on top and packed with kids of all ages, pulling the Starcraft camper, mom would gather us in a circle. There in the living room she would quote from the bible as she prayed for our safety and probably her sanity on this adventure. I knew she would have her bible along and would sit beside dad in the front seat and pass the time with her two old friends.

That old book was the map to her whole life. She used it to help herself and her family along on our journey. She used it to keep her children safe as they played and grew all around her and again as they gained their wings and flew away. She used it when she was hurting, when she needed clarity and guidance. She turned to it in her happiness and successes. It was an everyday study for her. It brought her comfort and peace. Her old bible was her friend, her teacher, her confidante, her love, her peace of mind.

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