I’ve had many dogs in my life.  I grew up with Tootsie who was purely an outside dog.  We fed her and now and then played with her and that was about it.  One day she got sick and my dad took her away never to return.  After her there were a string of other dogs.  Maggie, Murphy, Sam, Bronte.  Even a couple of cats; Vincent and Jack.  There was Elvis (a hound dog we rescued only to learn quickly why it needed rescuing).  And Henry.  And our latest editions Oliver and Lucy.

Lucy is a rat terrier – persistent, loving, and energetic..kind of like me 🙂

She and I have become quite inseparable in the last few days.  Oliver had some terrible, bad habits and only listened to my ex.  So to the ex’s house he went.  Now during the days when I’m alone and working, it is just me and Lucy.  It’s quiet and peaceful and she is seriously at my side every minute.  Watches me as I shower.  She tells me when she has to go out and I talk to her.  She is brilliant which means I have to stay one step ahead of her and there is a part of me afraid one day when she gets out of the yard she will never return.  She is what I always wanted in a dog.  And she is the first dog in my life that I picked out for myself.  I knew people who had dogs they bonded with before but I never did.  I truly love Lucy.

She loves to play fetch and will until her toenails bleed.  Sometimes I throw the ball a little further or in the wrong direction than she thought and she loses it on the hill in our backyard.  It’s fascinating to watch her find it.  She starts running a pattern that I’m sure is ingrained deep in her DNA.  It almost looks random but it’s not because she methodically covers all the ground until she finds the missing ball.  She’ll take off to the left, then up, then down, then left again, then down, then right, up, right, left, down.  All along I see how close she is to the red ball and I yell, “Lucy it’s right there!”  But she has to do what she does.  There’s no other way for her to find it once she has lost it.

And it got me to thinking that I’m much the same way. When I’ve lost something there is nothing that anyone can say to make me feel better until I process through it myself.

I was told I was beautiful, that it wasn’t my “fault”, that I was worthy and valuable.  That I would find my way out of the hole.  They could see it but I could not.  I had to get there myself.  And while I don’t think the journey is over, it is making more sense to me now.  Having risen from the hole I can now see things I wasn’t able to see from down in the pit.  I was lost for a while wondering which move I would make next.  And now I don’t cry when I’m home alone for an evening.  I don’t feel desperation.  In fact I am in a very different place.

I AM HAPPY.  Excited about my life and my future.  Martin doesn’t even have a job in the states and I don’t care.  He doesn’t live here but I don’t care.  I realize we have more than most people ever have living 6000 miles away.  How did I get to this place?  Sometimes I go back and read old posts to see how my life has progressed over time and I remember.  It’s unbelievable.  And I know you who have been reading all along have seen this woman who is happy but also still pondering and thinking about what she can trust and what is best.  I’ve been in Livvy-mode, like my dog Lucy.

Each time I’m faced with a new problem, a hurt, confusion, worry, fear, I go into this mode automatically.  Reviewing in my mind the past year, things we’ve said to each other, moments that are branded onto my heart.  A journey is plotted like Lucy’s path as my thoughts go from one memory to the next and from one feeling to another.  Sometimes its bad and I’m a little frantic thinking I will never reach that place of “knowing” I’m in the right place with how to think about a particular issue.  But most of the time when I least expect it I see the ball and head straight for it and my mind is once again settled.

So most of you have read these little panic attacks I’ve had and watched me sort through what to do until I became focused and clear again.  And each time I’m a little more sure.  Maybe this is what it means when I wrote the first day with my first entry on this blog that I’m finding my way through the twists and turns of life.  That is exactly what I’ve been doing.  I’m learning, everyday, who I am, what is important to me, and who I trust.

As Martin and I were talking yesterday; I am finding out that I am pretty much who I’ve always said I was.  Just more accepting of who I am.   No super new revelations.  Who I saw myself to be on the inside has remained true and unchanged even through I’ve transformed from a caterpillar to a butterfly.  On the outside my entire life is different.  I see in color, with music.  But foundationally I am the same.

I’ve noticed something about myself lately.  I’m saying “I’m sorry” a lot less.  I used to apologize for everything like all of it was on me and me alone.  I don’t do that so much anymore.  I think because I am surrounding myself with people who do not require it.

It feels good to know who I am.  And this new found sense of myself, and sense of happiness I feel has been like the early morning hours of a new day.  At first only a glimpse of light.  But as the sun comes up over the trees and the shadows aren’t as many or long, my eyes focus in on the light and I see more clearly than ever this new life I have to live and I like what I see.  And if I were the kind of person to wake early enough to actually see the sunrise as I have a few times in my life; I would see the hope in it and in my God who has been so faithful to me and given me more than I could have ever dreamed.

Lamentations 3: 21-24 (ESV)

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

What a crazy wonderful world that is organized and defined by renewal.

When I was destitute and lonely people told me I would find someone new who was worthy.  They  told me one day I would be happy again even if I was alone.  But I didn’t believe them.  Maybe it’s cheating to say I’m alone now even though practically I am.  I eat dinner alone, go to bed alone, spend my days alone.  However I know someone loves me.  For the first time in my life though I am enjoying the time I have by myself just as much as when I’m around other people.  I enjoy my time with Martin even more.  But miraculously I CAN be alone and not SAD.

These past three years have taught me three important lessons:

1.  Finding a true companion in life only happens when you know who you are.  You can try to fit their mold but you won’t be truly happy unless you are true to yourself (think Runaway Bride and the way she make eggs 😉 ).

2.  When you find that person you will click and you will know it.  It will be almost like you have no other choice.  You will see eye to eye on more than just how and when to kiss.  It will be one of those things that just happens to you without you trying to make it happen.

3.  Some people are better off alone or at the very least without you.  Let them go if that’s what they want.  It was the hardest thing I ever did.  But it was the right thing to do given the circumstances.  Being alone is far better than being with someone who does not respect or love you.

Once you heal, when you least expect it, you will find yourself waking up happy and wonder how you got there.  You will be smiling more than crying and you will appreciate where you are even more for where you’ve come from.  And in your time alone, do nice things for yourself.  Allow yourself time to think about, like and learn who you are. 

Like finding our ball, it’s a process and none of us will do it quite the same and we won’t be able to see what others see until we find it for ourselves.

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