Hello to you lovely readers from our new home in the beautiful southern Oregon.
If you missed my husband’s guest post, let me catch you up in real time. In the last 8 weeks we gave feet to [and sped up the timeline for] our plan of leaving Southern California, researched destinations, chose a new city, packed up our belongings, said some very hard goodbyes and made the trek to move our lives to Oregon. All in the midst of illness and some heavy grief.
We split the travel into two days, knowing my body couldn’t make it all in one without some dreadful aftermath. Tooka would like you to know that she enjoyed her view out the window and loved every rest stop she was allowed to explore/stake claim on. She slept most of the way and I wished with every ounce of my being I could sleep as well as dogs!
It’s hard to believe we have been here three weeks already. Moving when you are this sick – or married to someone this sick – is a huge feat and we had been hanging on for these weeks of rest. No more packing. No more moving prep discussions [or arguments].
Devoid of any concrete plans, we have enjoyed quiet days and short scenic drives together. We live in a valley, surrounded by beautiful foliage-covered hills and mountains, some we can see from our home. It is quiet here, calm. Quite the difference from nightly Disneyland fireworks and the train that shared our street back in Anaheim. Both of which would literally shake our walls. 😉
My parents visited us this past weekend from Northern California to help us dress a few of our walls, reassemble the sauna and put together some Ikea magic (flat boxes that transform into tables – you know the drill). It was nice to have the extra help and to feel like our new house is beginning to look more like our home.
As I’m writing this, I am struggling with this sense that there may be expectations others have upon clicking to read this post. Maybe to read that there’s some new great hope, excitement, or news that I’m about to share about my health or our situation. That moving to Oregon has already been this miracle shift for us and, whether or not I say so, one may assume things have improved significantly for us.
Our reality is pretty close to our weather lately: most days it’s cloudy with scattered showers and a few breaks of sunshine in between. This past week was an exceptionally hard battle with my health in my fight for wellness. Symptoms and pain level were heavy and sleep was far from possible most nights. Trev has been wading through the adjustment and grief of leaving his home and so many important relationships from the place he called home for most his life. We are resting because we need it.
As a whole, our culture has some learning to do in walking through the hard stuff with others. We aren’t good at sitting in the moment, truly feeling the weight of the load of our neighbor. We like to speak fast and listen half-heartedly. We rush to point out the things we think are the “good parts,” the aspects of the trials we want the person facing hardship to focus on because otherwise it’s too uncomfortable.
While it may not have been intentional, I have at times been made to feel like my level of hope isn’t enough. It’s either insignificant or it’s “unseen.” In the level of openness I’ve embraced in sharing my story, I’ve been met with some great moments of compassion and understanding. I’ve also been critiqued and given a list of “to-dos” and shiny phrases that should boost my hope and positivity meter.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about hope over the last few months. What it looks like for me. How other people view it. The expectation and pull other people have for me to always “cling tight” to it…and in the way they think it should manifest in my life, in what I share, and how I present my honest struggles with Lyme.
My understanding of hope goes something like this…hope isn’t always bright and lively, vibrant with color and clarity. I’ve seen hope flicker in the quiet moments. The moments when we are all alone and hanging on through one more moment, one more year of singleness, another day at an awful job, one more seizure, or another piercing migraine.
My hope often feels like the pebbles on the right. Kind of gray, rounded, messy. Perhaps not full of light and life in the traditional sense, but they ground me. The real, calloused, unrefined hope I embrace may not make sense to you, and you may not be able to see it if you’re looking for your own version of it. But it’s there, softly blazing in the corner of my heart.
So today I’d like to say this: It’s okay if your hope isn’t a bonfire ablaze. Others may want to impose their understanding of hope on you, but your hope is important and beautiful. You wouldn’t still be here if you weren’t hanging on to that hope uniquely yours.
Keep embracing those ounces of hope. Whether they’re gray pebbles or bright blades of fresh green. They’re valuable and significant.”
We know we aren’t the only ones facing a hardship that has rocked us to our core. Life can hit us like a ton of bricks, without warning. In the moments where we feel weighed down by the weight of a heavy burden, our hope can look much different than many people expect…but it’s here. Softly blazing. Flickering in the corner. Holding on.