A couple of weeks ago during my blogging sabbatical, I was contacted by an ex-boyfriend who from this point on will be referred to as the X. In as much as that little interaction drummed up at least a DOZEN worthwhile blog post ponderings for a future time, it caused me to return to the archives. Now not just the emotional memories of a life almost 20 years ago, but the actual archive files of paper letters and notes I have received over my life. Some people have accused me of being an emotional sadist or just plan CRAZY. Which then usually is followed up with comments close to WAIT you have notes and letters from ex-boyfriends… STILL!?!?!? Yes I am a form of a pack rat, but very organized pack rat. I mean I was able to go right to the box with the letters in them and it took me less than 30 minutes to be sitting with them in my lap in re-examination mode.
After I spent one almost sleepless night re-reading, did I discover some notes before and behind this particular set of documents that drew my attention to them. It was in these page turning documents that I found the most precious diamond a girl can ask for. There were many post its of encouragement, good job, great show, you’re a sweetie all of which I keep in hopes that I can remember when I am having a depressed day that at one time in my life I was cool. Okay well that just sounds way more self-deprecating than intended. It is more the idea that even though I am not hearing those encouraging and praising things NOW doesn’t mean that they don’t apply NOW. It is also a good exercise to remember that I was valuable and appreciated by my friends at times and if I don’t feel it now it shouldn’t devalue the positives from before.
ALRIGHT ALRIGHT already, what is the diamond you may ask amidst your anxious impatience… it was a note from my best friend at church during my teaching years. Yes I taught Jr. High and High School for 4 years in my 20’s. We were both teachers at the same school and bonded like the bestest of friends. We shared war stories, child conflicts, irritations with the administration, struggles with our love lives, and how to live this serving God Christian life thing often. So many of my closest friends are the ones I share my deepest personal issues with. I have learned over the years that one of my litmus tests of true friends are the ones who are willing to hear my deepest pains and sorrows, all the while sharing their deepest pains and sorrows. For some reason, I just don’t believe that if people do not share those things the friendship is not real, authentic, or trustworthy.
So there I was re-reading the archives of my life in print and living color (some people liked using colored pens back then). When I found a note from her explaining that she was going to buy me a stuffed teddy bear to bring me comfort. I can only assume I was having one of my lonely single seasons or depressed missing my mother moments at this particular holiday. When she was shopping she found a stuffed lioness on the shelf at the store and with a prompt pushing from (I assume) the Holy Spirit, she grabbed it off the shelf. With this precursor she said:
This is you, Christina, the Lioness, Proud, Beautiful, Nurturing, A little Fearsome when Crossed, and VERY playful when caught in the right mood. You are a special person whose friendship is not to be missed.
And there it was on paper… A short spirited synopsis of my identity. I had completely forgotten about this image she had of me. It brought tears to my eyes as if I were reading it for the first time. Such care was spoken of me by someone I trusted and believed in. How amazing an image this generates in my mind, and such a strong emotional connection I feel to the traits of a lioness. Even as I stood there in reflection of my life since there, I realized with stronger and stronger conviction that this had truly been me and is me.
Each of those points brought to mind different situations and circumstances in life in just the last few years where I had exhibited those exact traits… almost in instinctual response. Life has taken some interesting turns these last couple weeks and I have exhibited a strength and fortitude I never believed I had in me. A confidence and pride that runs soul deep and not just for show or performance. I am going to treasure this image as it was intended and allow the feelings of enlightenment to fill me with joy and recognition. It is such a joyful experience for me when I recognize something that is me as if learning something about WHO I AM for the first time.
As I have been challenging myself to change and get ready for potentially moving, I had a massive garage sale this summer and I remembered selling a stuffed lion, well at least now I still have the note. I had wondered where the lion had come from because my whole growing up years, my thing had been Koala’s (I must confess I do still have ONE)… what can I say I am a pack rat.