It has been a while since I last posted on this blog. It has been a long winter, spring and summer… Just before Christmas, I had a major fall due to the fact that my legs refused to hold me up. Since then, I have not been able to stand or walk, and have become wheelchair bound. There has been a great deal of grief and adjustments as my family and I figure out how to live in a new way. It is amazing how many things must be done differently when you don’t have the use of your legs. However, we are adapting… we’ve taken off doors so the wheelchair could fit, made major changes to the bathroom, and have had to rethink how things are stored in the kitchen so that I can reach them when needed – especially when home alone.
With every adjustment and change brought a new wave of grief. The toughest has been the not knowing if this will be permanent or not. This new twist in my journey has invited me to spend a great deal of time in reflection, prayer and discernment. However, I recently became aware that once I lost the use of my legs, I had stopped writing; I had stopped all creative means of expression. I recognized that this was one of my “poor” coping patterns in grief… becoming silent, withdrawing into myself and shutting the world out – it was just too painful to face or feel.
As with most sources of grief, it comes when we least expect it, and it comes without asking first if it is okay to bring this loss into your life. I find that these times can be a crossroad of opportunities, as we have many choice of how to respond to our grief. Once I recognized (with help from family and friends) that I was in a cocooning mode, I knew I needed to make some changes. The first was allowing creativity back into my life. On one sleepless night, I laid on my bed tossing and turning – hoping I would fall asleep. When sleep wouldn’t come, the first thought that came to me was, “I have not used my water colors for over a year, it’s time to paint again.” Once the door to creative expression was opened, I found that I was beginning to write again, to gather ideas of things to write about. Then came the tough part – actually doing it and living it.
Sometime this summer while I was praying, God placed the word “authenticity” on my heart. I was struck by the power of that word, and was reminded how I wrote in my book, Grieving Hearts in Worship, about the importance of being authentic – bringing our whole being to God in worship and prayer. Being authentic is learning to embrace the fullness of who we are – including those areas that are broken, or wounded, or in need of healing or releasing. I realized that when I lost my the use of my legs, I stopped being authentic, I stopped embracing myself. This led me to ponder anew on the fullness of who I am, who God created me to be. In response, I wrote the following poem:
© Michael Landon 2014
Listening deep within
Sacred path traveled
Creative wholeness within
Dreams secrets revealed
Open, accepting, embracing
I am continuing to sift through the pieces of my life, slowing releasing the barriers and obstacles that have kept me bound in fear, and embracing each piece. Grief – regardless of the source – is a lifelong journey of discovery, or embracing and releasing, of learning to live life as true and authentically as we can. There is no time-table for grief, for we are the one’s who determine how fast or slow we must go. The most important thing I have been reminded of on this journey, is that we do not travel this path alone… God is with us and within us, and places people and nature in our lives at just the right time to help us see more clearly, to hear more openly, and to love more deeply; and in the midst of it all there is a deep abiding peace.
I invite you to join me on the path of authenticity… knowing that I continue to hold you in the healing light of God’s love…