Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Buckle Up: The Journey to Transcendence & Grace Has Road Hazards

My Eckhart Tolle quote torn from an O Magazine that's on fridge where I keep a photo of my best friend Ann Marie from High School who passed this month from an automobile accident in 1997.  The photo strip was taken in Ocean City, MD at the boardwalk.  It was our Senior trip just before our graduations and her move out of state.
When I was in high school I was blessed to cross paths with so many diverse people.  I attended a large school that held over 2000 students.  Out of those doors would come a handful of friendships that would last a lifetime and bring to it a worth unmeasurable by tangible things.  One of my closest friends post high school would come from my ever revolving peer group there.  She has been the one who has taught me the most about transcendence and grace.  She also taught me a lot about forgiveness and faith through her own walk as well as the support of my own. 

In school she used to have the most spirited debates about life with our peers while interacting with everyone, even cheering for the school a few times on the squad.  Raised the youngest of three sisters to an active Catholic family who wanted for nothing, she was also one of those rare gems in high school that didn't belong to a click or judge other people.  Even during her wild teen years God was her rock to dry out on between swims of acting on emotions and feelings.  By the time we would graduate high school she would walk away from an abusive relationship and welcome her first born to her journey.  Just this June he graduated from high school.  Talk about time flying fast.  

Despite being only 17 years old in 1992, she had the strength to leave an abusive boyfriend she loved and do it all alone (father signed away rights) with her family and her faith.  By 1996 she would create a new life, one that I was lucky enough to be a part of regularly from that point forward.  Come that time of her journey she'd welcomed her second born and would marry his father.  Anyone on the planet can tell you that being young and married has its challenges but they stuck it out as best they could and for as long as they could given their own lack of life experiences to date.  She taught me a lot back then about when to quit and when not to quit. 

I also remember it like yesterday, holding her third born on my chest in her old townhouse in Woodbridge, VA.  She was so tiny and precious, much smaller then my own Tristan when he was born in August of 1999.  Then came her number four and my own unplanned pregnancy.  Her faith and strength is what allowed me to face that chapter of my life with my head held high.  She was the first person I told besides my friend who was there when I took the test.  My relationship with her and what I learned between 1996 and 1999 is what allowed me to bring forth my son into this world under my own traumatic and difficult circumstances. 

She would later in life divorce, get back together with her husband and then split again.  It was during their second round of togetherness that their world fell apart.  You see, five years ago today she lost her fifth born child at the age of three months and twenty-one days.  Life would never be the same for her or the rest of the family and friends who love them.  His passing would eventually lead to blessings beyond measure for the lives he touched.  His short and precious life was not without its lessons, even though he was only here for a brief time.  Watching and supporting her through the last five years, including the birth of her sixth child, has shown me that the universe will beyond any shadow of self inflicted doubt, give you whatever grace you need to transcend tragedy and the other road hazards along the way (divorce, illness, abuse, low self worth, depression, etc.).

Watching her walk has showed me that God really does have a bigger plan for us than we can realize even for ourselves sometimes if we'll just lean on him and listen to the voice from within.  Her tragic circumstances along the way are but steps to her family's glory and as messed up as this may sound, when I'm faced with my own tough and overwhelming circumstances, I always tell myself these words....."If she can put her baby in a box in the ground, pick her self up, fix things and go on with life, I sure as heck can get through whatever lemons I'm trying to make lemonade out of.  No excuses, no matter what." Love you from the bottom of my heart girl for those lessons. You know who you are.

So yes, the journey to transcendence and grace will have road hazards along the way.  Buckle up (read: be prepared) but be ready to roll down the windows and enjoy the ride when the grace and transcendence appear on the journey.  Don't worry, even if you got a bad map or are lost, it will come.  Remember that.  I love you.

Copyright ©2011 Nita Clewis
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