My fingers and cuticles are stained a deep pink from hours of manipulating beets. Washing. Scrubbing. Cooking. Peeling. Chopping. Pureeing. Testing. There may be spinach and/or fennel fronds in my teeth, and I’ll be sure to check before heading out the door for an afternoon meeting. But my skin is clearing, my snacking includes a medley of nuts, seeds and jerky, and my motivation to incorporate more of the Whole 30 principals into our family’s eating rhythm increases as the challenge days pass. David may be even more committed than I am. While our health needed these changes, I think our souls craved the fresh page even more.
Ironic though it may sound, the Whole 30 challenge has been good for our marriage. (Leave it to NOT indulging to bring us closer together! LOL!) We spend long periods of time prepping meals together. We cheer each other on to stay strong in our resolutions, as one of us craves berry pie and the other one craves dark chocolate. Mmhh. I can taste it now…
But, I digress. We needed something in this season of our lives – this season of transition, unknowns, financial insecurity, and the relearning of faith – to bring us together. Who knew a food elimination challenge would do the trick? (If you want to learn more about Whole 30, this click on this link.) I think the food challenge, though, was just the conduit for conversations in which we needed to and still need to engage. “How do we want to eat for the next 30 years?” is just the tip of the iceberg. The deeper questions include: “What do we want to prioritize with our finances?” “How do we want the next 30 years to be characterized?” “Who is our family, and what are our individual roles?”
No longer do we have the naivety to believe that all of our expectations will come true. Quite the opposite. Bitterness has threatened to snuff out our hope and has stolen our joy for weeks on end, as we fail to see our dreams come to fruition. We are approaching the ages of 30 and 32 without having “attained” or “achieved.” We often feel powerless. So, instead, we work on “accepting,” “adjusting,” and “acclimating.” I realize our initial goals all involved financial stability, and, honestly guys, we thought that was a given. We had no idea how difficult David’s career path would be nor what the cost of living in Colorado would do to us. But, now we re-assess and give thanks that we are doing life together – as husband and wife – for richer and for poorer. I have been given the greatest gift in David, the greatest gifts in our children and in the responsibility to love and shape them, the greatest gifts in family members who are rallying to make an adventure out of what could be a very scary situation, and the greatest gift in a vibrant community of friends who hold us accountable, keep us laughing, and continue to remind us of our faith.
I’ve been angry, but I’m choosing something much sweeter now. A perspective that allows me to see the precious value in those things I just listed: marriage, children, a supportive family, the best friends a girl could have. I am rich.
Now, I am also set adrift. I have no idea where we will be living in 3 months. I don’t know what job is right for me in the coming season. I don’t know how to raise children. And, I don’t know how to be the kind of friend I envision. I’m relearning a lot of basic skills. How to prioritize. How to rest. How to say “No.” How to say “Yes.” How to eat well. How to love my husband. How to love my Jesus.
But, I am rich.
Let that truth sink in. Close your eyes and say it over and over to yourself.
We are rich. Each one of us. We may not have the marriage or the kids or the family or the job or the house or life we expected. But, we can have something deeper. We can choose gratitude, allow joy to bubble up in rocky ground, stand in Love, accept that Love, be changed by simple, small things, and be overwhelmed by the magnitude of Eternal things.
I think beet hummus and roasted veggies are just vibrant symbols of an overarching rainbow of promise I’ve been glimpsing and yet shying away from.
I wanted the mythical rainbow with the pot of gold at the end. The rainbow that makes life magically easy. I didn’t want the rainbow that comes after destruction and storm and rain and heartache. But, yet, that rainbow shines just as brightly – perhaps more so. All is still. All is calm. All is NOT restored. The broken branches and ruined roads still must be repaired. But, all is at peace for those still standing – drenched with purifying rain.
So, I will be sweetening my coffee in September. But, our family is not returning to our haphazard eating or activity style.
And, if you follow me on social media or have talked with me recently, you know that I’m reading business books, using children’s nap times to make plans, and currently launching my essential oil wellness consulting business along side my doula business. Truly, I’ve been given a new passion for seeing other family’s empowered by the chemical-free living model I’m embracing. (Please, if you have any compassion, let me take you to coffee and give you a glimpse of what I’m dreaming up 😉 It’s big!).
But, at the end of the day, this new business, these current dreams, and this haven we have found with family are still only small parts of the new rainbow I’m allowing myself to see. A rainbow I wanted to ignore until we had the house and the jobs and the security. But, I’ve not been given those.
Instead, I’ve been given a rainbow of riches of a different sort. Tokens of promise. And, tonight, I’m grateful.