Wednesday, March 7, 2012

We fought each other for dominance like ants climbing a mound.

An Essay By Lisa Thielen Ekanger

There isn't just one moment when I realized or understood the meaning of love.  For me,
love has revealed itself slowly like the low tide pulling back glassy sheets of crystal
water allowing full display of the glistening shells and rock treasures below. Love always comes to me in completely unexpected and in fragile moments.  After I delivered my first child, I lay awake crying most of the night. Not crying with happiness, but with a deep sadness that is the very evidence of loves existence. I was visited with visions of my tiny newborn baby as an old man.                    Like in the movie, A Christmas Carol, I saw him when he was at least 80 years sitting 
in a chair, staring out the window. I thought, "What have I done?"  "Who will take care of this beautiful creature, this perfect little son of mine when I am gone?"  The magnitude, the weight and the sheer volume of my new responsibility was maternal love in its rawest form.
Another distinct memory I cherish was when my elderly Grandma and I were going
through her attic looking at her collections of shoes and matching handbags when she
turned to me and said, "Lisa, you might find this hard to believe but men used to find me sexy."         I was taken aback because I really didn't know how to respond, but when I looked into her eyes I was immediately pulled into the deeper meaning of the moment. I immediately understood her journey. What a precious relationship Grandma's and Granddaughters have; ours was about discussing her history ~ she would weave stories that held important life lessons for me and our love was about laughter and mutual affections, but yet at the same time Grandma knew how to tweak the stories of life's scars, tragedies and struggles so as not to wipe away my enthusiasm. I learned about matching accessories and making a peach pie from scratch.  We talked about celebrities and the craziness of the world, but on this particular day, I saw behind her thick weathered glasses, past her tired lids and straight into her soul. Her spirit said, "Look at me for what I was. Look at me for the beauty I once owned. Look at me for what I accomplished as an independent woman who fought for the right to go to college, to have a career and who could command the attention of the crowd."  Her spirit was saying, "Remember me when I was on top of my game ~ remember me when I was at my sparkling best."  I spent the rest of the evening thinking about her life and her importance in mine; I was flooded with love and admiration and also the pressing feeling that time was ticking by too that day and in that moment, the torch had been passed and the depth of our love was written somewhere in the ages.

Love sometimes meanders like a soft fog leaving a dewy film on everything in its path; it also bounces and pelts like hail during a hard driving rain. It can also be flexible and the strength we receive from its generosity can be as solid as the mighty oak swaying during life's worst storms.

Recently I traveled through a huge 'life' storm; I transitioned into a new career where I was reeling with insecurity and self destructive thoughts. Working on 100% straight commission as a realtor (in the state of Michigan) is about as tough of a go as one can have, and my lack of confidence affected my marriage, my ability to parent, my happiness and worst of all my self esteem.  Then one day about six months into my new career I met a person who would introduce themselves to me as my business mentor. This person ended up as so much more than that ~  becoming more of a life coach.  The struggles were numerous and our discussions long; we fought each other for dominance like ants climbing a mound.  Instinctively this person who really didnt know me, knew me (and what I was made of) even though we had just met we knew that I liked being in a helpless place because it was much easier and more comfortable than taking a risk and walking through my fears. Somehow my mentor could see right through me and just wouldn't let me off the hook.... tough love would be the only way to get me to listen ~ knocking me off my 'know it all' golden high horse and then catching me with a stretchy net right before I hit the floor.  Some days I cursed the very ground this person walked on but I never DIDN’T appreciate the message.  Sometimes life throws you a curveball and you can decide to swing or duck ~ with my mentor at my side I had no choice but to swing.  It's amazing when you meet another person who just 'gets' you from the instant you meet each other, like some kind of cosmic dust that pulls millions of like particles into the shape of a star, we belonged together.  This sort of understanding is a basic and important element in everyones life and I'm just sorry I didn't get to experience it until I was already well into my 40's. Oh the magical things I could have achieved if I had experienced this pure form of human love earlier.

Another one of my early life storms came in the package of a mentally ill and homeless
father. The goal was to find him a psychiatric hospital for treatment; we located him and we carefully walked him to our automobile ~ he wasn't happy and began pleading with my newlywed husband to help rescue him.  During the entire ride to the ER he chanted my hubby's name and when he became uncontrollable during the intake process the clinicians placed him in five point restraints. My father began to cry and as he lay there pinned down to a rickety gurney (dirty and disheveled, hardly the slick salesman I had grown up with) I began to cry too. This was not the way things were supposed to go.  This is not written in any fathering 101 book or in any Hallmark card. My new husband, the love of my life, could clearly see that I was completely distraught and overcome with anxiety; he went to my father (who was still chanting his name as he was being wheeled into a room) and calmed him and when he was done he quietly spent time trying to calm me. 
He told me, "Lis, everything is going to be O.K." 
That was 25 years ago and guess what? He was right, everything was  O.K. and the rock of his stable and loyal love is still the centerpiece of a beautifully set table called my life.

Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Trainer!

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