Risk it, or not?

Life continually presents us with opportunities to take risks, to operate outside our comfort zone. The question then is do you take the risk, or do you stick with the familiar and stay in what is oftentimes the not-so-comfortable comfort zone?

I believe that the primary part of our life’s purpose is to allow God to operate in, through, and as us in order to “do something”, to intervene in not only our lives but in the lives of others.

I’m recalling the risks I’ve taken over the past several years, some of which I wasn’t fully aware and others to which I consciously surrendered.

Yesterday, the Universe presented me with the opportunity to take yet another risk: Letting go of the stuff that’s been stored in my sister’s basement since December 2011, or continuing to hold on to it for fear of not having it when I need it.

Here’s the thing. My sister is embarking upon an amazing journey herself and was moving her things from her basement to a storage unit yesterday. As we contemplated whether there’d be enough room for both our stuff, I considered letting it all go, except for those few boxes containing those items of sentimental value, e.g., my son’s first blanket, shoes, t-shirt, etc.; photo albums; the collector volumes of novels featuring my Grandpa Robin Bess as Adam; some limited edition artwork; and, of course, the two tool boxes brimming with my beloved tools and several power drills.

Just a few hours earlier, new friends had left with stacks of books that I believed I could live without. Strangely, though, a few of the books they didn’t select somehow made their way back into a box I’d previously taped shut. “How could I have put them in that pile in the first place?” I wondered.

Later, as a stood in the basement deciding the fate of my stuff and feeling excited at the prospect of letting go, I shared what I was considering with a few of my friends via text message.

My life coach friend Cassandra Nkem-Nwosu (@livingtheiam) shared with me her experience with having done the same: “I did something similar years ago…stored some things at my sister’s house, didn’t even bother to go through it–I just let it go!”

Shortly thereafter, a wave of sadness engulfed me as I faced the reality of no longer being able to dig through the boxes looking for those items I believed I couldn’t live without. Having my stuff, as little as it is compared to times past, gave me that familiar sense of security from times past and from which I had endeavored previously to detach. But here I was again, using stuff instead of God as my security blanket.

Cassandra added, “be present to whatever you’re feeling” as she also pointed out that our attachment to stuff oftentimes keeps us attached to ideas that no longer serve us.

My friend Linda responded with “….think I better let it go…let it go baby..looks like another love TKO….”, a line from a Teddy Pendergrass’ song, ‘Love TKO’.

My wellness coach friend, Star Waters (@grannygoneraw), responded with “That’s an amazing strength you have!! Surrender is awesome!!”, and I felt empowered.

My author and teacher friend Dianne Rosena Jones (@dijones247) weighed in with, “I know that’s right. “Let it go, let it go….” I’m singing the theme song from the movie Frozen.”

So, feeling empowered by having decided to let it go, my nephew John Micah loaded those six boxes onto the truck, leaving the rest to be dealt with later.

A few minutes later, my sister, nieces and I began the two and a half hour drive to the storage unit down near the farm and Mama.

On the ride back to Atlanta that night, I kept hearing “former life”, and as I thought about certain pieces of my stuff, I felt that I didn’t want to be surrounded by stuff from my former life. That whatever my new beginning is, I want it to be wearing a fresh coat.

Awake early this morning, I opened Bill and Beni Johnson’s book Walking in the Supernatural: Another Cup of Spiritual Java to the chapter bookmarked and titled, ‘He Gets to Do Something’, and it seemed to confirm my decision. Author Kevin Dedmon talked at length about how our pursuit of the seemingly impossible affords God the opportunity to intervene in our lives and circumstances by working on our behalf, which is precisely what my journey has been about since leaving my job, selling my house a year later, driving cross country for five months, living on the farm for nine, and with family and friends since then. What a ride it’s been!!

But instead of busying myself with getting rid of all my unnecessary stuff, I spent today reflecting on my decision, writing this blog post, and nursing this horrendous cold. Yes, I feel pretty miserable, but as another friend observed this morning, it’s giving “you the opportunity to get some much needed rest.”

Yes, I am indeed blessed!!

Included here are the few pictures I made while down home yesterday.

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Never too late for new beginnings

When nothing works out quite as I expected, oftentimes what happens instead is the good stuff.

I heard that this morning while watching ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’, a charming movie that reminded me that it’s never too late for a fresh beginning.

Sometimes all it takes to discover that life is grand is a shift in perspective; taking a moment to see the blessings instead of focusing on what’s missing.

Included here are pictures I made while exploring Roswell, Georgia. The Chattahoochee River runs through this quaint town north of Atlanta and provides a breathtaking backdrop for its scenic parks and walking trails.

On the road again…

June 26, 2014: Today has been reminiscent of a day on my cross-country road trip a couple of years ago. After being there for almost two weeks, I left the farm at 10 this morning heading back to Atlanta. It’s a 2.5 hour drive but after five hours of driving, I’m an hour and a half away in a Macon Burger King where I stopped for libations and to Google the exact directions to the Otis Redding monument.

Quarry

Quarry (?) on the US-441 bypass

I exited I-16 in Dublin to take the US 441 Bypass to Ivey. It was a typical drive on a four-lane highway until I reached that stretch of road called Culver Kidd Highway that runs through Irwin County. The views of the valleys, what appeared to be a quarry, and the puffy white clouds were spectacular. I snapped a few shots but couldn’t adequately capture the magic of the moment.

Several minutes later, I was crossing Lake Tchukolako bridge into Ivey. Pronounced ‘chew-co-la-co’, the pristine lake, spanning both sides of the bridge, sparkled in the sunlight and boy did I want to stop!! Laws being what they are, however, I kept moving and found a place to park across the street from Ivey General Store near the river bank, made photos, and inhaled the beauty. The cashier in the store had recommended the best spot for making photos but unfortunate for me, the gate to the “members only” club was closed that afternoon.

A half hour or so later, I was on the road to Macon when I passed a sign to Griswoldville Battlefield monument, a Civil War battle site. I made a U-turn and was making a right turn onto Baker Road a few minutes later. Nailed to a power line pole at the intersection was a sign detailing the history of Baker Road so I parked and made a photo before arriving at the monument three or four minutes later.

Baker Road marker

Baker Road marker

Except for the house with a car parked out front about 200 feet from the monument, the place, in the middle of open fields divided by the highway and surrounded by woods, was deserted. After reading the markers and making photos of the monument and scenery, I went back to my car to read more about the battle and upload pics to Facebook. As I sat there engrossed in what I was doing—and I hesitate sharing this—I heard what sounded like marching but dismissed it because, like I said, the area was deserted.

Battle of Griswoldville monument

Battle of Griswoldville monument

A few minutes later, I heard footsteps and thought it might be a park employee or someone from the house walking over to tell me more about the battle. When I looked over my shoulder, however, no one was there. I heard those footsteps several more times before I left but never saw a soul! It’s a little spooky to think about now, but I wasn’t at all disturbed at the time.

Next stop on my trek to Atlanta was Macon proper. I say proper because instead of going back the way I’d come, I followed the GPS along the dirt roads of rural Macon, first on Mountain Springs Church Road then on to Old Macon Road.

Having decided to check out the monument late evening or in the morning, I drove to the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail and found the river level so low that families had made a makeshift beach on the river bank. I, too, left my shoes on the bank and waded in.The rain came, but I wasn’t quite ready to let go of the magic so I sat in the car until it stopped and the sun reappeared. I walked over to a nearby puddle to rinse the sand and river mud off my feet before heading to Vivian’s for the night.

Otis Redding monument

Otis Redding monument

I was out early the next morning but not quite early enough to beat the hot sun that accompanied me on the half mile walk to Gateway Park across the river. So, while ‘Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay’ and others of Otis Redding’s songs played at the monument, I found a spot under his namesake bridge to cool off.

I walked the half mile back to my car, retrieved my tablet, found a shaded park bench on which to read and soak up more of nature’s magic. An hour or so later, I reluctantly relinquished my seat and headed back to the city to help prepare for a weekend long estate sale. And that, my friends, is how to turn a two and a half hour drive into a two day adventure.