Ok, so apparently my blogging skills are akin to my focusing-on-one-thing-at-a-time-skills…sporadic, silent or long-winded, and prone to fits and starts! But I’ve been writing this particular blog entry in my mind for almost 1 1/2 years now, and it’s time to pour it out. Grab a drink and get comfy…here goes nothing!
Picture me sitting in my crafty space – surrounded by half-finished projects and unhung home decor items, as well as piles all stacked and shifty and threatening to avalanche – and it’s my 40th birthday. Project-wise, I have always enjoyed the proverbial first big stroke of paint on a white wall…and have struggled with getting more than 90% of any task, of any size or difficulty, actually done. I just want everything that I do to be worth the time and energy it took, and to be perfect the first time. Is that so wrong??? ;-)
As I sat and stared, paralyzed by the sheer volume of the work before me (to make calm out of crazy, or to at least finish SOMETHING!), I got to thinking about turning 40…and I asked myself, “Um, self…the first 40 years have been great and all, except for the worrying thing and the perfection thing and the incessant need for significance and closure thing…but do I want the next 40 years to just be more of the same? And if not, what can I do / change / discover to help me to transform into the person I think I’m meant to be?”
This person that I’m thinking of, ideally, would keep some things the same. My laser-beam love for my husband and kiddos and family would not change – they are amazing! My passion for all things shiny and crafty and repurposed and homemade would remain – keeps me sane! And my need for God to lead me on this journey only increases with each day – this vital relationship that I have with my Father in heaven is oxygen to me. Well, that and Pepsi. And Snickers. Oh, and back scratches. Pure Oxygen!
Oh, but what about the way I pre-worry for events and trips and stuff…just to cover all the bases? What about the way I feel like the only way I can function well is to be prepared for everything, all the time? And what about that perfection thing – feeling like I’m expected to have everything in it’s place, properly nailed down and life-enriching and such. I was the kid who would cry when I got less than 100% on a test or assignment, asking myself repeatedly how I could have been so stupid! These feelings, in particular, are not making me a better person, and they put me on shifty, sandy footing in the big picture. Just not a sustainable path!
At 40, I could list so many things to be thankful for. My amazing husband of 18 years, four beautiful and healthy and amazing children, family and friends all around me and a happy-place to call home…and so much more. But on this birthday, I was missing my mom something awful. She passed away in December 2009, very unexpectedly, and many tears and feelings of loneliness and hopelessness would follow. And on birthdays, there’s just something special about a mom’s touch & voice & love that can’t be replicated. Not even by chocolate! (Please trust me, I’ve tried! Save yourself the calories!)
SO…there I sat, staring at my piles o’ crazy, when my focus locked onto this little glass jar that had been Mom’s. It was an Avon perfume jar of some kind, resembling cut glass or crystal. I use it now to hold beads. Beads from unfinished bling projects that I gave up on. Beads that fell to the floor before I could make something shiny with them, rescued before the vacuum ate them. Beads – most of them – from broken jewelry and tangled dangles and forgotten bits and pieces. Orphans. I could relate…
The questions flooded through my brain…Do I put them all ‘away’, into the many color-coded storage containers I had, knowing it would take forever? Do I give up and throw them away, hoping for a fresh start and a do-over? Most upsetting – How do I think I can raise a family and maybe have a crafty business and keep things happy and smooth, when I can’t even clean out my tiny ‘junk jar’?
And then I prayed. And then it hit me. And then the ‘What Ifs” (the good kind) came flooding in…
What if everything didn’t have to be perfect? What if life was more about what we do with all of the broken pieces, and less about making those pieces fit precisely back to the way they were? And what if, just IF, something new and beautiful and meaningful could be made from broken bits and pieces and unfinished dreams? (sounds a bit cheesy, to be sure…but wait – there’s more!) :-)
My heart was broken when Mom died, and it would never look quite the same. My approach to the way I deal with the future, riddled with fear and worry, has been broken for years. My attempts to make everything just so, the first time and every time, is a broken way of thinking that will only bring more failure. I needed a new game plan for the next 40 years, and when I prayed, I believe God answered me in the form of bling. It’s true! :-) And the Journey Bracelet was born…
My Journey Bracelet is made up of 40 beaded dangles – with every type of bead out there – from gemstones to glass to metal to Swarovski gems to pearls. The bracelet chain and clasp came from Mom’s seriously-old (vintage!) jewelry box, as if it was waiting there for me to bring it to life. I wear my bracelet all the time, and it’s gentle ‘jingle’ sounds keep me company. It’s my reminder that God truly does bring good out of the bad, and that this Journey that we are all on does not have to end when the pieces become broken. God has made something strong and shiny and beautiful in me, and my Journey Bracelets are my way of sharing that joy with YOU! ;-)
No two bracelets are exactly alike, and each one is made with the utmost care and attention to detail. My hope is that they would bring comfort and encouragement to those who are on a Journey – and that they would serve as a reminder that perfection is not the same as completeness, and that brokenness is not the opposite of joy. Each little bit o’ something that we gather along the way can be a part of the ‘something shiny’ and beautiful that lies before us. Hope abounds, and God promises that He is enough for the Journey!
What’s your Journey story?