2 Funerals, A wedding and a Pandemic – Lessons of Life
Where do I start? Well, since the pandemic begin I have buried my father, my father in law, and saw all of the speaking engagements on my calendar “postpone”. (I refuse to say cancel) LOL On top of all of that, we have been planning my son’s wedding which is July 25th. To say this has been a “character building” time in my life is an understatement.
When my father first started getting sick it was just as nursing homes and hospitals were shutting down due to the virus. We were blessed that after one 2 week stay in the hospital we were able to bring him home for 3 weeks before he had to be admitted back to hospital. He suffered a slight stroke, had aspiration pneumonia and was also dealing with dementia. He graduated to Heaven the day before Mother’s Day. I was able to get to Mississippi just hours before he passed and was allowed to be in the hospital to see him. In a small community, it was so hard to have a funeral where the people who have known him for decades could not attend. But, what I saw was that people find a way to do what they need to do even when it’s not like it’s always been done. As our small funeral procession came up the hill to this little country church there were cars and trucks everywhere. My daddy’s friends had shown up to pay their respects and socially distance at the cemetery. It was so touching to see them all come to honor him. I learned more about my Daddy in those few days than I had ever known. I heard the stories of the people he had helped and the things he had achieved. My daddy was a part of a generation that worked hard but showed few emotions. It is very accurate to say that I didn’t really know him. As his 85 years on this earth came to an end I began to get to know him through the stories and the eyes of other people. I loved hearing about him and all they he did to help the people there in that small community. It was such a blessing to me.
I lost my 96 year old Father in Law almost exactly a month later. He had every detail of his funeral planned and had for the last 15 years. He had pushed through the greatest of physical challenges and struggled so much but, his attitude was always in gratitude. It wasn’t until the last few days of his life his language changed and he knew the end of this life on this earth was coming to an end.
Two very different men, with 2 very different outlooks on life who both taught me in death more about living. As this pandemic has shown us over and over again, we are not guaranteed anything more than right now. Yet, we live so much of our lives, hoping for tomorrow or regretting the past.
For me it was not only loss of life but also feeling the loss of my purpose. I found myself paralyzed when all of my speaking engagements started to vanish (for now). I had worked so hard to build my business and I was about to have one of the most prosperous months and years that I had ever had. It hurt, it made me sad, it made me feel powerless as it all began to change. Yes, the financial toll has been huge but bigger was this feeling that I could no longer follow and share my “calling”. The work that I do is not just a career, it is truly my calling.
As I allowed the sadness and fear and frustration to wash over me I realized and suddenly knew that the pandemic can change the way I “operate” in the career space but it can NOT rob me of my calling. I realized I had allowed all of those emotions to simply shut me down. I will admit I have been slow crawling out of that “I don’t know what to do” mind set. I know that in order to keep doing what I am supposed to be doing I have to push toward more virtual technology. Trust me when I tell you, NOT my gift!! :) But, I can either complain about it or do something about it. I had to step back from the emotion of all of it and get on the War Path. The war path to battle the doubt, the fear, the loss and the lack. I had to lose my excuses and find more discipline. I was basically letting exterior circumstances beyond my control start to challenge my beliefs. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have problems, challenges or frustrations. It just means they DON’T have me. I realized I can’t be innovative and depressed at the same time. I am choosing innovation.
So, what am I doing about it? I’m showing up! I am showing up in new ways and in ways that are not comfortable for me, yet. I am going to show up here more and share information on this website, which I have NOT done in the past. I am learning a new Virtual Platform where I can continue to add content and put it out in the world. I am being lead to other creative minds to co-create with and find new ways to continue to add value. I know in my soul that focusing on what’s going wrong is not going to lead me to something going right.
I have NO idea when I will be able to be out there doing what I really love from a stage. But, I am going to choose to create that stage from wherever I am. I have felt lost because so much of my work with my audiences is a co-creative experience. I miss all of you. I miss your faces, your energy, your laughter, your participation in the work that I do. I know we will all be back together again someday and we will never take for granted again those sacred times we can all come together.
I challenge you to to look at your own personal life and ask what are you pushing against during this time? What can you do to do things a new way? How can you expand and grow? How can you keep following what you are supposed to be doing even if it’s in a new way?
So here are the take aways. Acceptance is not resignation. You may have problems, but they don’t have to have you. You can’t choose innovation and depression at the same time. Face your excuses and find your discipline. Look for your revelation and let it lead you.
Thank you for taking the time to be part of my day by reading this blog!! You make my world a better place!