My Leap List

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Year of Golden Repair and the New Year of Meraki

     In 2014 my life broke apart, but on New Year's Eve, I declared 2015 to be my year of Kintsukuroi or Golden Repair.  I vowed to focus on the beauty of the golden repair and not demean myself for breaking.  This year the cracks made life challenging especially when not feeling smart enough and my perfectionism threatened to keep me to from finishing my dissertation.  Thankfully gold made the broken places stronger.  The gold shone in the support of my friends and family when I wanted to walk away.  There was gold in the eyes of the children that loved Olaf.  It was in the words, "Congratulations, Dr. Cooke."  It shone in the acts of kindness everyone did for my birthday.  I found it in sharing the summer concerts with my daughter, and in the laughter of the kids I see at work.  It was always in serving others.  

     This year ushers in Meraki.  It is a Greek word that means to do something with soul, creativity, or love.  It is when you leave a piece of yourself in your work.  This is the year of living life to the fullest; of leaving a piece of me in everything I do and everyone I meet.  Here is to the new adventures that await in 2016.  

Friday, December 25, 2015

Blessed on a Homeless Christmas

     John struggles with mental illness that changes names with different doctors and medications and diagnoses.  It lies somewhere between an atypical version of bipolar with severe depression to schizophrenia.  The truth is so much more than the labels.  I have learned so much about what it truly means to love someone because of loving him.  In moments of weakness he tells me that he knows he would be homeless if it weren't for me.  It has nothing to do with me, but so much to do with his illness.  But in my weak moments, I know how easy it would be to let go.  I understand all too well why many people with mental illness are left on their own.
     Long story that my friends and family already know to explain why today meant so much to me.  I was lucky to have the chance to help deliver clothes to the homeless shelter today.  There were almost eight inches of snow on the unplowed roads and my car doesn't have snow tires.  John wasn't feeling well.  Holidays are rough for him, sometimes.  There were so many reasons not to go out today, but I wrapped my arms around him and told him, "Remember how you said you would be homeless without me?  I have to help the others who aren't so lucky because we are so lucky to be here."  Without a word, he got up and got ready to go.
     We stood out in the snow and running water for an hour.  It was cold, my boots leaked and my feet got soaking wet, and my hands were numb, but my heart was full.  Everyone was so grateful for us just being there.  One woman told me that we were sent from the Lord to help them today.  I found shoes for a man and helped him bag them.  He told me that this was the best Christmas he has had in a long time.  Another woman wrapped the pink scarf we brought around her little girl and asked her if she liked it.  The little girl smiled shyly.  A man told me how happy he was because he was going to go call his daughter.  When I asked him about her, he told me that he loves her very much, but sometimes the alcohol wins over a phone call.  Then he smiled and said, "But today I don't have alcohol so I am going to call my daughter."  He was looking for clothes in her size to give her for Christmas.    
     Today reminded me what Christmas means.  I am so blessed to have enough to share with others on this holy day.  Here's to many more years of love, peace, and light for all of us on this beautiful world.