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Spring Branches Lead to Summer

by Lyn Carr

Driving to my Saturday morning Lifestyle Makeover group, I gazed at trees ready to pop with new life. I kept trying to picture them with deep green leaves instead of that yellow green fuzz that surrounds the branches as the tiny new leaves emerge on the tips. Earlier in the week, the buds expanded, growing larger with expectant life. Finally, yesterday, the buds split and green peeked through the white and black. I feel like those buds.

During the winter and early spring, I've pondered what I will do with my life this year. I've explored classes, a bible study on spiritual gifts, and began to swim two times a week. As I explored, I took a class on oil painting with a new teacher. Books from the library filled my house in unexpected places, and I read them, thirty or forty, perhaps. The topic ranged from the basics of oil and watercolor painting, to Suze Orman's The Courage to be Rich. I peeked into Dr. Phil McGraw's Life Strategies, read a chapter, and found it good for me. All the while I kept wondering why nothing was coming to me. What do I do with my life? I watched Oprah, explored her web site and found many resources for change and growth. On top of the exploration, I went back to work substitute teaching in the district from which I retired. The need for quality substitutes is enormous here, and I dipped my foot into the waters of the middle and high schools nearest me.

Working again was a pleasure, but working eight days in a row felt totally overwhelming. Brimming with my exploration, accommodating others, and a new work schedule, I felt as if I had no time for myself, and spent a couple of days crying and feeling quite anxious. I literally felt as if I would explode if I added one more piece of information, one more possibility, or one more thing that had to be fixed. I felt angry and irritated at the least thing. Watching the film Wit brought a paroxysm of sobbing that went on for at least an hour. I thought it was because the protagonist died alone. It wasn't. It was the way she was treated as a non-person by her doctor, as a patient undergoing experimental chemotherapy for advanced ovarian cancer.

My anger and reaction to what was going on around me was a clue. I was being too accommodating in my life. I worked for the district to earn money so I could see my mom. I talked to her often that week, to help her. I adjusted my eating, entertainment and time to a friend who didn't seem to appreciate my accommodations. I joined the Lifestyle Makeover group because I wanted to quit putting myself last and, unknowingly, had done just that, again. The importance of living life fully was brought home to me with that film, and the feeling that my life is too short to be angry and frustrated like I was. I felt stuck and unable to move forward one inch.

Walking and driving along the streets, I'd look at the trees. In one week they went from bare and gray to color-filled branches with different buds, and the bark changed gradually to rich blacks, whites, reds and yellows. Then, the fuzz appeared on the tips of each twig softening the colors of the trees and giving them an overall shape. Last week, green began to show itself, almost as if I could watch it happening. Driving home two hours later from a meeting, bushes and a few trees had popped, as if by magic. I kept thinking, this all happens. The tree doesn't push, or fight, or make itself green out; it happens because it is natural and the way life is. No matter what shape the outer part of us has, the life is in there, waiting to make itself known when it is time. I kept thinking, this has something to do with what is going on with me right now.

So, I did what I always do when I am stuck and can't move any more, and the more I fight, the more stuck and angry I feel. I rented videos and went to movies. I watched my taped Oprah and Jerry Yarnell shows. I saw my therapist, and let my mind wander and go wherever the walks, movies, and videos took me. I quit thinking about anything except what was in front of me, let the feelings and ideas flow, began setting boundaries, and allowed myself to bud naturally. My summer is going to be full and rich with painting, growth, and a certainty that my path is where I am supposed to be. I am making time for me, just me, one day a week, for now.

I still get caught up in the idea that there's going to be this one point where everything is going to be clear and I'll be certain for the rest of my life. What is true are the trees and their buds and the seasons. Summer gives me the opportunity for applying what I know and have learned this spring. I'll see the ripening of the ideas that were upon the seemingly bare-branched seasons of winter and spring.

With a degree in Education, Lyn Carr has taught for 34 years until her retirement in 1998. "I've been called a renaissance woman by a number of people because of my broad interests. I love being an entrepreneur and operating my own custom floral design business out of my home. I'm a clutterer, love people, nature, flowers and anything to do with the creative process."

Author e-mail: paperpaz2@aol.com


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[ Spies in Disguise: The Feminine Side of Patriotism and Liberty ]
[ Comma Living ] [ Spring Branches Lead to Summer ]
[ Fallow Time ] [ Looking Both Ways ]


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