There’s a part of our story that I haven’t shared with many. It’s probably the hardest part of our tale, the one I avoid and skip over when I’m sharing our journey with others. It’s the part about how this all came to be. The true story. This won’t be the frilly, fluffy fancy version where I talk about the bright and shiny parts. It’s actually the part I still have the hardest time with.
You see, this part of the narrative is something that can still put me on shaky ground. When I think too deeply about it, I feel a rumble in the earth and my knees get wobbly. I sometimes feel unsure and abandoned if I let it rest too long. I think there still might be some trauma clinging onto me in the dark and quiet parts of my mind I try to avoid.
Yes…. Jon was fired from his job in the Twin Cities 17 months ago.
Yes….We were asked to leave our home in just 7 days and negotiated 14 days.
Yes….We sold all of our furniture and most of our belongings and packed what we could fit into a U-Haul truck.
Yes….We made a plan to move our whole lives and start over completely in WI.
Yes….We were “homeless” until about 2 days before we had to leave our apartment.
Yes….We borrowed money from family for rent and we were blessed with a year of living in a beautiful country house and my business has grown and Jon found work and my brand is in retail stores and it’s all been given to God and we are on our way.
But the “how” of all this still haunts me to this day. Jon wasn’t just “let go” from his former job. That was the easier message to relay when people would ask. It made it so much more tolerable to swallow when it was coated in a smooth and safe story about being laid off. And it wasn’t really a lie. It was true. But that version was more like the seed on the strawberry, resting nice and pretty on top….but not nearly the whole fruit.
The whole story starts with someone very close to Jon…someone he worked with and who he considered a friend, betraying him. This person was someone Jon had known for nearly 15 years or more. They were friends before they worked together. This person actually got Jon the job with the company. But as Jon succeeded, and his promotions happened, this person was driven by jealousy and pure greed and wanted my husband’s job. They wanted to make more money, they were secretly plotting against our family. This person was close to us, as close as a friend can be. They attended family dinners at our home, I photographed their family, and we were invited to each others children’s birthday parties. Ultimately this person ended up calling the HR department on Jon, and turned him in for a minor policy violation which got him fired. This person literally hunted, stalked and watched my husband waiting all along for him to make a mistake they could catch and have him punished for. And it worked. They accomplished their goal. And it ended up changing the course of our destiny forever.
The reason I’m ready to unveil the truth finally after all these months is actually more for me than anyone else. I’ve been on a quest you see, a crusade which I have been avoiding my whole life.
I’m on a voyage to forgive.
And I don’t just mean an easy, light and breezy kind of forgiveness. I mean I really want to forgive this person. I want to forgive this person in a way that makes me seem absolutely berserk. I want to forgive this person in a way that is so packed with peace that the world would have to put their Blue Blockers on to even look at the light shining from my soul.
I want peace.
I want peace because it is my birthright to feel it. Peace in my heart is directly linked to the very source from which I am made of. I want a holy kind of soul depth that can only come from the work it takes to grab the sides of your heart and shake it will all your might as you look for any scraps of humanity in the person who wronged you. I shook and shook and shook my heart over the last 17 months looking for the last puffs of dust I could find to forgive. I twisted it and turned it and wrung it out like an old dishrag looking for the final drips of forgiveness I could squash out of it. There were some dust and drips. But not as much as I’d really need to get to where I want to be. So I kept trying. Week after week, day after day I would try and try and try. And sometimes I was still too mad, so I’d let it rest quietly until I was ready to pick it up and try again.
When someone can erase your whole world with just one phone call and a sprinkling of jealousy….you can’t just “get over” it. I have had to slowly peel back layers of ache like a summer sunburn. Layer after layer I’d find out more pain was below that I didn’t know I had. The betrayal would rise up and I’d peel that layer, and then…tucked in the creases and folds of the next layer would be the anger, the hurt, the fear, the terror, the angst, the resentment, the hatred, the hopeless-ness. And each one would take a turn bubbling up at the most un expected moments.
My knee-jerk reaction to this was to make a general assumption that people are bad.
People are mean.
People want what you have.
People can take what you have.
People will hurt you.
People will ruin you.
People will see you working so hard and want that for themselves and they will plot a vengeful way to get it all from you and leave you crumbled in a pile of rubble while they dance on your bones.
I would pray to God about these feelings and assumptions I was having. And during the quiet moment’s when I’d finally let my mind turn off and I’d tune into the inner spirit which is where God has always whispered to me, I heard Him say, “Please don’t give up. Please just trust me. Will you just let me guide this ship now? Don’t count people out just yet.”
So I made a choice, somewhere along the way that I would give Him my trust. It was really born from my sheer exhaustion from struggling so hard to control and manipulate all my situations so we could feel safe again. I was so tired. I prayed that he would take my paranoid angry point of view about the human race and that he would show me the kind of folks who I could feel the light in them warming my face again.
And do you want to know what happened? I suppose you assume that all the people in my life changed? And the truth is…no one changed. Not a single person changed.
But I did.
And guess what? Because I changed, down in the deepest marrow in my bones….I started to attract the kind of people I have always wanted in my life because of the energy I was giving out. That is how God works friends. You draw in what you are. You just do. I was drawing in people who were negative, jealous, spiteful, hateful, angry, and competitive because on some level, that was the exact energy I was giving off. Now that’s a tough pill to swallow- huh?
When I changed the internal closets of my soul, and rearranged and shifted my perspective and decided to truly become a student of pure peace…that is when the magic started to happen. The toxic people drifted into the abyss. And then the stars began to show up in my life. And these were the people brought me back from the brink. They were literally like twinkling lights, just hopping onto my path….sparkling away waiting for me to join them. And now, I visualize all these “stars” I’ve met, standing side by side in my life, holding hands and resting on one another and God has given me a twinkling universe of people who love me and believe in me.
And sometimes I get scared. As Sugar Wood begins to grow and my brand is launching in new exciting directions…I do fear that someone will become jealous, come in and erase all my life’s hard work again. So then I pray to God that He reminds me how no one can take my spirit. The very thing which created all of this in the first place is something that can never be stolen from me. I finally see that now.
“You see sweet girl, you had the power all along.” is how God described it to me.
My humble heart has now expanded 100 times what I ever thought it could hold. And I’m on the path to peace. I’m not all the way there yet. I’m getting closer every day. It is a mission of mine I will revisit plenty of times in my life. This particular challenge is a doozy and is going to take some time. But I will tell you that when you make the room in your heart to finally let go and just trust that you are being carried, miracles happen. I’ve seen them over the past 17 months and this is just the beginning.
What I do know for sure is from Miss Oprah herself:
“Forgiveness isn’t saying that what the other person did to you was right. It is letting go of the hope that the past could be any different than what it was.”
I am letting go of the hope that things could have been any different. And I know in the innermost of ways that I will spend my lifetime squeezing and shaking this heart of mine until forgiveness erupts from it like a broken pipe. Because the only way new fresh pristine energy can flow through me is by getting rid of the clogged pipes in my heart.
Now- I’m no plumber.
But I do have to say…I will be going to school for this task of soul plumbing and I plan on getting a masters degree.
Because these two fancy ladies deserve a mama who lives with her whole heart wide open. I will lead by example in this home. And even if I never get there, they will see me try, fall down, get up and try again. And I hope that message sticks under their fingernails for the rest of their lives and they carry it with them when they trek into the world.
I won’t give up. We’ve come so far. I’m right where I’m supposed to be. And I am so grateful.