Perusing the free lance writing opportunities the other day, I came across a contest for a magazine article that was topic driven. The beginning sentence read,”I never in a million years thought I would........” There’s that never say never decree, which I am trying to eliminate from my vocabulary these days! Samples were cited to engage creativity. Like, I never in a million years thought I would get divorced; or, I never in a million years thought I would go back to school. Hmmm.....Check mark. Check mark. I have truly done so many things in my half a century on this earth; most people don’t get to experience them in several lifetimes. How could I select a single experience, or just one life changing moment? Looking back, many of the changes that made a difference, I entered into kicking and screaming, guided by an invisible set of hands shoving me in a direction I was either too scared to venture into, or, just flat out didn’t want to go. I am not the best at selecting the path of what’s best for me. Quite frankly, I vacillate between charging ahead like a bull with my fingers in my ears, past the voice which screams "HALT". Or more often, ignoring the one that whispers, I know you’re scared and can’t see the benefit of this path, but take it anyway. My second thought was, a million years is a really long time. With so many lifetimes ahead of me, (God knows I need all of them for corrections to be made) I didn’t want to jinx my karmic bucket list and cherry pick my future! I’m sure the magazine was looking for the transformational choices we make in our lives, but it still was impossible for me to choose just one, or ten, or even twenty.... So, I didn’t. All of my “never in a million years” acts have helped to form the person I am today.
I can easily think of about a million tiny things (well, maybe hundreds) I never thought I would do.... like, eat escargot, bathe a deceased person, cut my hair short, dance on a bar, wear a bikini again, date someone 17 years older, date someone 15 years younger, go a day without makeup, wear ugly comfy shoes or elastic waist pants (horrors), selecting comfort over style. Getting naked in a spa in Europe was a big one as well as jumping out of an airplane. As we age, and grow-up emotionally, we do tend to stretch our adventure wings more because our experiences have shown us that risk-taking and exploration are the best path to aliveness, freedom, and growth. We learn through the process of success and failure that if something doesn’t kill us, it does indeed make us stronger, and braver.
On a larger scale, I never in million years could imagine being able to forgive my parents for robbing me of my childhood, essentially abandoning my needs, and then later, establishing loving relationships with both of them, growing to accept and appreciate their humanness before they died. I never in a million years thought I would hear my mom’s wisdom coming from my lips, or mirror my dad’s work ethic and careful frugality. My God, I didn’t want to be like them at all. I never in a million years thought I would have just one child. I wanted a posse of kids. My one child's spirit and nature became the biggest blessing in my life. I never in a million years thought I could take such good care of myself and her as a single mom. I never in a million years imagined I could get sober and live in freedom from the bondage of addiction, one day at a time, building to 23 years now. I never in a million years thought I would have to bury my love, survive the grief of his death, and still be able to remain open to possibility of loving again. I never in a million years thought I could take so many risks, move beyond the numbing comfort zone of a steady financial dependability to pursue dreams or engage in some once in a lifetime opportunities that forced me to make the choice between security, or honoring my heart.
Looking back, so many mountains climbed, risks taken, sadness and joys experienced: moving forward, no matter what, through the fear, metamorphosing into the unique woman my Higher Power asks that I be. How is all of this possible? I guess if I had to pick the one "never in a million years" I would feel authentic writing about, it would be that I never in a million years, would have believed I could confidently relinquish control and have enough faith to know my life is playing out exactly as it should, no matter what. When I turn my will over to my Higher Power, on a daily basis, the adventure begins. The bottom line is, it’s all about trust. That's the key that opens the door to limitless possibility. I'm like a toddler, wide-eyed with disbelief and wonder, taking its first stumbling, wobbly, steps towards a Higher Power who beckons me to just keep walking in His direction. I just know He loves me enough to not let me fall any harder than on the padding of my bottom if need be. Sometimes, we need to fall... to learn how to get back up, step more carefully, or take a little break. Trusting that anything can happen tomorrow, in six months, one year, or ten years. I CAN safely dream and believe my story is unfolding beautifully. My predominant role is to stop, pray, hear, and step forward confidently in the direction of my God, who wants so much more for my life than I could ever in a million years, imagine.
What's your never in a million years?