Challenges and opportunities

I’ve blogged lately about how wonderful it is being home on the farm. As great as it is, though, my visit here has also presented a few challenges that are giving me the opportunity to resolve some issues. It often feels like I’m walking back in time learning things I missed the first time and unlearning a few things that I did.

The challenge isn’t a problem most days but on the days that it is, I find myself asking, “What am I supposed to take from this experience?” The answer is clear but the process isn’t so easy. I won’t go into detail about it but sometimes I resent having to go through it. I know that once I do, though, it’ll be behind me and I’ll be a step closer to my destination.

I spent yesterday cleaning the deck and chairs then washed my car. During that time, the challenge showed up and rather than confront it, I distanced myself from it. That in itself was a switch because previously, I would’ve cussed and fussed about it. Now, I choose to maintain my peace instead.

I got up a bit later than usual this morning and decided to spend the day away from the house. I didn’t go to a park but found inspiration instead while reading a paper my son asked me to proof for him. I recall not so long ago when he, too, was a challenge. I worried that he was ruining his life by not following the path I’d laid out for him, and I did all I could to redirect him. After months of unsuccessful efforts, I finally accepted that he has his own journey and “let go and let God.”

It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done as I witnessed him go through things I didn’t think he needed to experience. I was tempted many times to rescue him and recall one night in particular when my resolve was tested. I won’t share his story but what I will say is that it was the dead of winter and right after declining his request, I started formulating a rescue plan. Before I could complete it, though, I fell asleep. When I awakened the next morning, I trusted that things were as they should be and was at peace.

I had planned initially to leave for my cross-country road trip during the spring of 2011. As fate would have it, however, a few challenges delayed my leaving until January 2012. The first was my mother’s sudden illness and the second, my son’s return home. But here again, these challenges turned out to be opportunities.

We brought Mama to Atlanta for medical treatment and since I transported her to many of her doctor appointments, we spent quite a bit of time together. My relationship with her had been strained for many years but her being here provided me the opportunity to see that I really had released much of what I’d carried for so many years.

During our drives, we talked and laughed; we admired Atlanta’s skyline, something I’d taken for granted the 26 years I’d lived there; we admired the foliage, lunched at various restaurants, and sat by the Chattahoochee River. We even visited my favorite lake at Indian Springs and she met my good friend Diann Wilhot, owner of Mrs. Lee’s Stagecoach Sweet Shop.

Mama’s being in Atlanta was also my first opportunity to let go of what I refer to as my long worn Wonder Woman cape. I had begun to feel that my road trip would be delayed indefinitely, or at least until Mama had fully recovered.

I was feeling especially down about it one Sunday afternoon when a good friend telephoned. She sensed something was wrong and before I could even finish explaining what I was feeling, she stopped me. Diedre (Jenkins Rankins) went on to remind me of the time when, at 14, I began repressing my needs and that it was time now for me to live for me. I will always thank her for remembering my story and for saying what I needed to hear that Sunday afternoon. After our conversation, I was at peace and knew that not delaying my trip was as it should be.

As for Wade, I initially saw his return home as the continuation of our earlier challenges. But what it really did was afford us the opportunity to heal our relationship before we both embarked upon the next phase of our journeys. As I read his “Introduction to Victor Thomas” today, I saw that he has embraced his journey and found the “spoils of war” that my friend Dianne Rosena Jones wrote about in her book, Tragic Treasures: Discovering Spoils of War in the Midst of Tragedy. His goal, he said, “is to touch lives and help as many people as I can both financially and spiritually.” What I also saw today were answered prayers. Again, I was at peace.


7 comments on “Challenges and opportunities

  1. Ava says:

    Awesome and touching! Everything in its own time!


  2. Serita Conaway says:

    I am so overwhelmed with happiness and joy for you! I love reading your blog and I am looking forward to reading many of your books in the future. You have not only matured but have gained so much knowledge to share with me and all those that know you. Keep up the writing!!!


  3. Teresa says:

    I felt more at peace just reading your blog entry. You inspire to me to continue on in my journey and keep choosing to be at peace and in the mind frame I want to be in. Much love to you.


  4. This blog reminds me of the emotional response that people have to rejection. Many times the “No” that you hear is really an opportunity to get the fullness of your blessing in whatever God really has in store.

    Sometimes when challenges hit us, we forget that all things work together for our good. I’m so glad that you and your mother’s relationship were able to be restored, and that you discovered forgiveness during your interactions.





  5. Lydia Bess says:

    Reblogged this on My Cross-Country Road Trip & Beyond and commented:

    I came across this post this morning while “reviewing my life” on Facebook, the last couple of years of it anyway, and decided to reblog it. Why? First, because it still tugs at my heartstrings and second, because it reminds me that inherent in every challenge is the opportunity for the grandest effort or the smallest step, either of which moves us closer to our God “manifestedness”. It may not be the easiest thing we’ve ever done, but it is possible to relinquish the mask, burn the cape, and embrace who we really are, flaws and all.

    And in this grand life of mine, the journey through the good, the bad, and the ugly continues…and it is good.


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