Friday, December 13, 2013

Where is Waldo?

Brave is the outpouring of my soul, my person, my pain and suffering. I am so glad you have come. I am so young, so little, so unwise and yet this is my attempt to share what I've found. To share what I see after I've been given another go at life. It takes so much courage to live thoughtful, careful and helpful lives. I am here and glad you are too.

Where Is Waldo books are so wonderful! I keep telling myself I need to order some for my kids because they are so timeless. And I think they teach us the value of seeking. The object is to find Waldo, to find his red and white striped hat and scarf and sweater and then to turn the page and find him again. The reward for finding him is.... Well there are no candies handed out, there is no monetary gain, there is no physical reward of any kind. Except that, we congratulate ourselves inside when we've found him. Achievement! I wish I would look for good and hope and chances to be brave in the same way. 
I probably wouldn't have minded when my daughter peed all over the dinning room chair AGAIN today (as in three times by noon....). Because we are potty training at our house- or as her sister says "on the potty train". I would have been thrilled that her big sister is "on the potty train" with her, running around in their panties together, cheering each other on when they get to the potty. I should have celebrated that their sisterly bond is so amazing. The potty train will arrive at some point! I can have hope because those two giggly sisters will catch the train together!
How much effort do I put into seeking to see what is amazing? If I created a  Where Is Brave book it would be amazing. Think of all the blessings I could hide in between daily life pictures. I have FIVE children! FIVE perfect blessings that all love me. I have a home to sleep in, I have plenty of food in my fridge. And then there are things like- I will not get hurt today, I will not cry due to unkind and hurtful words today, I can express myself freely and I can love my children, family and friends. Oh the blessings just go on and on! Waldo isn't wearing a red and white hat in my life, he is just the blessings I can choose to see! And when we know our blessings oh from there we can be so Brave.

Dark Corner
In the winter of 2011 I took a class at work to learn how to drive and operate a forklift. It was not a long class, the instructor showed us what to do and then let us have a few practice rounds and decided if we were a danger or whether we could operate the forklift without incident. The instructor of the class was fun, a few coworkers watched and offered humorous judgement and tips in regards to our progress. It was fun- and I wasn't as bad as I'd expected. I felt pretty good about myself that day. I went home. The house was tense... the air was stale it was that tense. It felt like the air was gone from the house. Gone. I did not want to be there. I did not want to go upstairs and see him, to try to get dinner made in the half hour he allotted, to try to nurse the baby while making dinner, to try to get my oldest to work on the school work they hadn't done.... I just didn't want to do it. I wanted to go back outside and pick up the "I had a great day" feeling again. But I'd shed it already, they all knew I was home. He was mad. He challenged my attitude the minute I got upstairs. I started to feed my daughter. He hit the back of my head. My daughter started crying, her food was being interrupted. I slid her to the couch as I was pushed to the floor. He hit my back again and again. He challenged my mood calling me arrogant and proud and continued telling me I should die. He made me tell him why I was arrogant. He decided I was being unfaithful and called me a whore. His foot caught my collar bone. Not hard but it was a pain I hadn't felt before. It felt like my chest was being torn off my body. I will stop my story there. I did not die that day. I was able to feed my daughter. We no longer live in that fear. That is the important part. The Waldo of this story is that I learned what Bravery is. 

Life is this big learning opportunity. This hope and bravery that I write about- good grief they are not learned lessons! I've taken big brave steps, I hold hope most of the time. But often as I write I am learning more, growing more and hopefully being more of what I write about! I want to be Brave! So what do we do? Look for the Waldo blessings in our lives. Look for the ones that sit right next to the hard things. Yesterday was hard- I had a friend to call, Two years ago on hard days I didn't have the ability to call anyone. YAY!!!! Be Brave! 

If you are one of the 12 million men and women that are being hurt or controlled this year- be BRAVE! There is hope. There is help. There are other men and women that know the shame, know the fear and know that there is hope. Find them. That may be at work, that may be a local shelter or police station or maybe a domestic violence help line. I can't tell you the number of times I was going to just pull my car over to the side of the road and call the police- to show them what he had done the night before, to tell them I was terrified of going home. I should have. It would have spared me so much hurt, tears, time. It would have kept my children from witnessing as much as they did, from being subjected to watching violence to their mom and living in fear. I can't go back, you can't go back. Today though- there is help. I can't implore you enough for I know until you believe there is hope my words cannot persuade. But there is hope. There is HOPE! Be Brave! 

If you are in the US and need help: 
http://www.thehotline.org/
1-800-799-7233
They can help you with a plan or give advice or just listen.