It’s all in Your Perspective

by Chloe Jeffreys · 17 comments

in faith

In honor of 2015, I thought I’d host a little bloghop on the topic: “Your Guiding Word for 2015”. If you want to participate all you gotta do is grab the linky code (yes, that’s what it is called) at the bottom of this post, insert it at the bottom of your post in the HTML code section of your blog’s editor, and join in.  If none of that makes sense to you then here’s some handy-dandy instructions from someone who took the time to explain it: http://www.blogaholicnetwork.com/profiles/blogs/how-to-add-your-link-and-join-a-blog-hop-1)

May I have a Word With You?

Road NarrowsI don’t know what it is about Christmas exactly that leads me to reflect, but it seems that my life turns around this time of year.

I was born five days before Christmas. I got engaged to my husband on Christmas. We had our first child on Christmas Day. I conceived our second child on Christmas Eve. Then there were all the Christmases of my children’s childhood. Those were the magical years when they believed in Santa and woke us up at 4am to open presents. I have enough sweet memories from those years alone to fill even the longest and loneliest of old ages. Four Christmases ago my mother died in my home. She always loved Christmas.

Christmas seven years ago I didn’t realize that our little nuclear family Christmas would be in fact our last. I made cioppino that year and we went to the evening Christmas Eve service at the church where we all served. My husband and daughter and son performed Silent Night and Mary Did You Know? while I smiled beatifically–okay, and maybe with just a little spiritual smugness–from the pews. On that Christmas I was still the dutiful conservative Christian evangelical homeschool mom, my husband was the deacon, and both of my children seemed, at least to me, still firmly tucked under my wing. Only God could have known that one year later I would leave our Southern Baptist church in a feminist outrage, my daughter would be married to a man who came out of nowhere, my mother and her hefty sack full of financial and health problems would be living with us, and my son would be forging his own way far from my heart.

If I’d picked a word that Christmas seven years ago that I would have thought could speak to the coming year it might have been ‘service’ or possibly even ‘purity’. Who knows? Regardless, it would have been the wrong word because I had NO IDEA what was coming.

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Three Christmases ago I thought my husband and I were finally figuring out life together in our empty nest. Maybe that seems melodramatic, but it’s not like the Christmases after the cioppino had been easy ones what with the wedding, a terrifying teenage rebellion, and a death, but we’d put up a tree that year, bought new pajamas, and accepted that we’d both turned 50.

Or not.

New Year’s Day of 2012 would bring unhappy surprises for both of us and a marriage crisis that took us to the brink of divorce.

If I’d picked a word on December 30th, 2011 that I believed would speak to 2012 I would have sold my year woefully short. I couldn’t have possibly imagined how horrifically magical 2012 was going to be.

By Christmas 2012 my husband and I were down to seeing one therapist and I was almost entirely healed from my hysterectomy and vaginal vault reconstruction. Together we made a wise decision about our upside down mortgage, I quit my terrible job, and my husband and I went to Puerto Vallarta to celebrate. That Christmas the future seemed so bright I bought a new pair of Dolce Gabbana shades.

Help! My life is being eaten by my Blog!

In 2013, towards the end of the Generation Fabulous freight train, while sitting in a hotel room in Atlanta at the Type A conference, I accidentally published a rambling, partially-finished, incomprehensibly nonsensical Xanax-fueled draft of desperation. It was something to do about what happens when your dreams all turn to shit. I’ll admit it. It was probably a cry for help. I know I was terribly miserable and I’d reached the end of the money I was willing to throw away so that someone else could sit at the cool kids’ table. I also knew by that point that if I didn’t keep performing as the dancing pony for their show that there would be a serious emotional price to pay. Despite the tears of 2014, I am happy I paid it.

Turns out, a blog, which can be a very useful and fun tool, is a terrible task-master.

Rule #1: Blogging should never take the place of a real life.

And so in 2014, armed with the knowledge that I was not put on this earth to live for blogging, I set out on a journey towards living a purpose-driven life. I took up travel nursing, and we walked away from our house.

2014 has been a year of discovering purpose and meaning. I cut my losses, and my husband and I made substantial plans for a stable future. This year has been about strengthening my marriage, becoming a grandmother, and exploring what it means being a better mother of adult children.

2014 has ended on a high note. But then that’s what I would have said on Christmas of 2006 and 2011.

Perspective–Use it or Lose it. Richard Bach

It’s snowing tonight and my heart feels as light and free as these snowflakes floating down into my yard. Long time readers know that there was a time in the not-so-distant past when a snowstorm could propel me into bleak despondency.

What’s changed? Certainly it’s not the snow itself, which is as cold, white and quiet as ever. But the fact that we had so precious little of it last year here in Northern California certainly has had an impact on my perspective about snow. California can’t have another year of no snow without facing very serious environmental consequences. Therefore, with a new perspective about the importance of snow to the state’s water table, and a deepening appreciation for my own relative unimportance in global meteorological matters, I rejoice in this snow and pray and hope for more to come. Lots more.

And maybe some more double rainbows. 2014 brought me some of those, too.

Double Rainbow

I open my arms to 2015. I have no idea what is in store for me and mine in this coming year. What I do hope is that I will embrace it with the sort of perspective that one can only have after living 53 years. I know from hard-won experience that sometimes the shittiest things that happen to us turn out to be the best. God is always in the business of turning the burnt ashes of our dreams into something beautiful. And useful. Always useful, because a life that is not useful is not worth living.

God, I pray that in this coming year I will live a life that is useful.

To you and yours, a Happy New Year! God bless.  And if you’ve written a post of reflection of the past or hope for the future please join in by adding your link below.



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Andi-Roo (@theworld4realz) January 18, 2015 at 12:42 pm

I have read that 2014 was a really shitty year for a great many people. My 2014 was both ends of the spectrum. So extreme that I can’t say it was completely horrible, but nor can I say it was terrific — and it certainly wasn’t humdrum, by any means! So I’m not sure how to characterize it beyond saying it was quite eventful. The one thing I learned — which I already knew, so maybe “reinforced” is a better term — is that my husband is my very best friend and that regardless what life throws at us we will always be each other’s home. So with that in mind, I feel completely safe making my one word for 2015 something that is kind of boring: Completion. I intend to complete my book this year. And complete my TBR list. And complete some projects I’ve been putting off. It only occurred to me in writing this comment that the word completion is somewhat retroactive, too. 2014 saw me complete a large part of my growth cycle, in that I am now completely done with being angry at certain people, and being scared to grow creatively, and allowing others to bind us emotionally. Maybe while I contemplate what it means to work toward completion this year, next year’s word will be something about fresh starts, clean slates, new beginnings. I’m not opposed to that.
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Carol Moore January 7, 2015 at 5:48 am

Love all that you shared in this post, Chloe, because as usual you share from the heart and that’s always the best writing. I have to admit though and I don’t know if you edited, but the ‘Perspective – use it or lose’ it quote – resonates so deeply – priceless! How often do we gain perspective and not actually use it to better our lives? Quite often I think. Well, no more. Great way to start the new year!
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Nancy Andres January 2, 2015 at 2:29 pm

Dear Chloe,
What a great idea to blog hop about our word for the New Year. I appreciate your honesty and courage in facing the twists and turns in your life the way you have. I applaud you. My word for the coming year is growth. As the author of a new interactive journal, “Colors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss,” I’ve learned much about writing and the publishing process. My goal for this year is get my book into the hands of as many women as I can, without sacrificing my serenity, personal life, and wellness needs. Please visit my website if you can to learn more about me. http://www.nancyandreswriter.com

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Nancy Hill (@Nerthus) January 2, 2015 at 1:26 pm

Chloe, my friend, we have such different paths to the same place of understanding. It always amazes me when this happens. Grateful too to see that life is infinite, complex, and has beautiful patterns and templates with which we can live unique, beautiful lives. Smiles to you in this upcoming year of green wooden goats, my sister in word-weaving.
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Judy Dunn January 2, 2015 at 12:13 pm

Chloe my friend,

Once again you have written a beautiful, heartfelt post. “Perspective fits you perfectly as your new word. because the view changes depending on our vantage point at any particular time. You have been through many changes in 2014 and will probably see many more in 2015. Enjoyed reading about your year! I shall link to my post.

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Connie McLeod January 1, 2015 at 10:12 am

Chloe, your post inspired me to write one of my own. Change is hard, but we do indeed grow from it. It is a joy to follow you on your journey. I wish you the best in 2015.
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House Crazy Sarah December 30, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Your posts always give me inspiration Chloe – even if you have to re-hash difficult things in your life.

Thank you for letting us come along on your journey!
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Chloe Jeffreys December 31, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Thank you, Sarah. I appreciate you coming along for the ride.
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Pam Houghton December 30, 2014 at 12:46 pm

What a wonderfully written blog post, Chloe! You are a WRITER…keep on writing.

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Chloe Jeffreys December 31, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Thank you, Pam.
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