For today’s Spirit Sunday, I’m continuing my take on some of the wisdom shared two weeks ago from Melody Beattie’s book, “Journey to the Heart.”
I have been especially moved by her daily thought this week entitled, “The Best is Yet to Come.” Breathing in her wise words got me thinking. These words are hitting me at a time when I am clearly in a place of transition, both personally and professionally.
I am in a new stage of life. Closing out some past chapters, while eagerly and a bit nervously facing new paths and explorations.
For thirty years, both my career and my personal life have been driven by all things impacting the reality of parenting a child with a disability, losing that child, and then sharing what I have learned in the hope of helping other families face the challenges with less angst and regret.
With the hope their children would have better lives as a result.
I did a lot of this on a national stage as a speaker and author and I was beautifully received by many others trying to find their parenting way, too. After thirty years of hard work as a change agent, some people still pay me no mind. Fortunately, I thrive when others underestimate or ignore me.
I am proud of that chapter of my life and the groundbreaking work that I’ve done.
Some of the moving parts are still in motion: the music therapy camp in my son’s name that honors his legacy. The book and countless articles that I’ve written to help other families find their way on this dicey parenting path. A cutting-edge documentary now in the editing stage that will wrap up much of my parenting story and advocacy that should be released for public viewing next spring.
All good stuff.
But after all this time, emotion, advocacy, and healing, I now welcome new adventures. Perhaps not as intense as in the past. I’m a bit tired from all the parenting races run, and still unsure of what those new adventures might be.
When I was much younger, and not nearly as wise, I dabbled in this. I dabbled in that. I wanted to be a model and a journalist and rescue the cats I encountered roaming freely on my daily country walks.
I did become a writer. I still love fashion. I have rescued, loved and found purpose with several cats and a shelter dog, with whom I became a beloved certified therapy dog team in schools for more than a decade.
But there are new voices in my head speaking loudly on how to live today and in the future, giving me permission to exit more gracefully from other roles that I have embraced for three decades. They are granting me permission to take a look at all those other dreams I once put on the back burner because of my deep love for my son and trying to right more than a few disability wrongs. An effort of love that took most of my time and energy.
I will celebrate that important role until my final exit. It was and remains that important.
When all the dust settles, I am first and foremost a writer and I have been since I tried to put thoughts to paper as a child. I’ve always been someone that weaves words into action and tries to make a difference in other’s lives by using them well.
I did just that as a disability activist trying to create needed change, acceptance and awareness of my son and others with disabilities. I’ve given it my all, with passion, and drive, and unspeakable love. I feel honored to have been gifted with a confident speaking voice welcomed and heard by others.
It has been the toughest and most rewarding work of my life. But now, it’s time to focus on some new dreams and revisit some old ones, beginning with this question.
What do I still want to write about?
This year, I finished a children’s book that is now making the publishing-consideration rounds with my new agent. I’m currently working on a memoir of my life with my son and my adopted Aussie that interweaves a complex, painful and beautiful tale that requires telling so many things I have yet to voice.
I’ve shared many honest words over the years to help heal others. Now, I’m writing to heal myself.
My love for fashion and gardening and photography have resurfaced with more time to indulge. My cherished role as a grandmother to three beautiful grandsons, and the responsibility I feel to help them walk through this uncertain world knowing how loved they are, is more meaningful than ever.
The past has been incredibly challenging and fulfilling. Perhaps, some of my best work is yet to come. Time, reflection and an openness to new experiences in this last chapter of my life will tell. The past has taught me well. I’m beyond grateful for all the gifts this remarkably journey has given me in my life
I’m proud, and a little surprised, that I have survived it all.
But a new future awaits. Can’t wait to see where it all takes me. No doubt, more prayers and sacred spiritual guidance will again be needed to help me find my way. It’s how I’ve gotten this far.
What new dreams are you currently chasing in your life?
Peace be with you, too, as you pursue those dreams, large and small. Be kinder to one another, and to yourself.
I wish you Godspeed in your journey.
Jena Hovey/McShane Photography.