I am learning

I am learning to accept the feeling of unease that frequently settles in the pit of my stomach. I am learning to live with uncertainty, with fears, with doubt. I am learning this because in the last few years I’ve experienced:

~ living far, far from family

~ my son’s deployment to Iraq

~ my daughter’s miscarriage of her first pregnancy

~ my father’s battle, and loss, to cancer

~ the death of my grandmother

~ family torn by divorce

~ stress, stress, more stress

~ distress in my marriage

~ uncertainty about work and income

~ a house for sell that didn’t sell

~ the struggles of my adult children with jobs and life decisions

and life continues. This is my list since 2006. I’ve counted other losses and difficulties before. These are the major markers since we moved to Alaska.

And what do I say? What do I do? What can I do? I pray. I feed myself the sustaining, nurturing words of wisdom that encourage me when I need the spark of hope. I believe in belief. I believe that above all, there is goodness in the world, there is joy in the morning, there is comfort for the downcast. I count the ways I’m fortunate, and the joys that fill my life even when I’m anxious.

I tell myself that life works out. It will be all right, whatever “it” may be. Have faith. But sometimes, I falter a bit. What if it doesn’t work out? I see others whose stories don’t end well, whose lives have not worked out according to plan. What if I, or those I love, have the same experience? What if?

I face the fear, feel the physical sensation in my stomach. We’re old friends now, this sensation and me. I recognize it for what it is. It feels good to be stronger than this feeling. This isn’t a sign of bravery. It is a victory of strength, strength I didn’t know I had, strength I am growing day by day. It comes from recognition. I can only do so much, I can only do what I can do. I, who avoid conflict, am learning to confront.

Back to first principles. Do your best. Do your part. Don’t give up. Appreciate what you have. Share when you can. Believe.

Last weekend I found a site that expresses this eloquently. If you are looking for encouragement and a call to be thankful, grateful, joyful, this may speak to you.

A Holy Experience

I am learning to rest, to have peace, to keep my joy…I didn’t have to acquire it, I came here with joy ingrained in my being. But I’ve struggled to hold it, through some of life’s question marks. And even as I write this, I know that I’ll have to do this again tomorrow, and the next day, and next.

Saturday night, hearing the tsunami warning sirens, racing to throw a few things in the car before evacuating, some of these thoughts were flashing through my mind. I thought of family, plans, dreams, impacted by unseen force of earthquake. How do you plan for earthquake? For tsunami? The answer is, you really don’t. You can do so little. But you do what you can. You evacuate when you’re told to. You follow instructions. You hope, you pray. You thank God for the people, the good things, filling your life. And when the rush of the moment is over and you realize there’s no life threatening emergency after all, you promise yourself you’ll remember that flash of insight. I have so much.

I am blessed. I am grateful. And I am learning.



  • October 29, 2012, 9:55 pm  Reply

    And, through your learning – we, YOUR readers, are blessed, grateful and learning so much about ourselves!! Thank you for being authentic and transparent! God bless you on this journey called — LIFE!!!

    • October 31, 2012, 10:46 pm

      Thank you, JL, for your nurturing support. I don’t know that I have anything to share that will really help others, but writing helps me to sort my heart, and if that touches someone else, then I feel doubly blessed. I would be honored if that is the case! ~ Sheila

  • October 29, 2012, 10:52 pm  Reply

    You are not alone. Thank you for sharing, God bless you !

    • October 31, 2012, 10:43 pm

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog, and for taking the time to comment! I appreciate your sweet words! ~ Sheila

  • October 30, 2012, 3:03 am  Reply

    Blessed and learning with you, Sheila. Powerful piece of writing, yes it is.

    And thank you for the link/resource, I will most definitely check it out.

    I’m reading Joel Osteen’s “Every day a Friday” right now – one of his sayings is to not let others steal our joy but also to not give it away — I’m one who has done that.

    Bests to you!

    • October 31, 2012, 10:42 pm

      Thank you MJ! I find some of life’s lessons I just have to learn over and over. And the funny thing is, every time I think I’ve finally got the message! Regardless, the realization of how blessed I am is always comforting. And makes me want to do better, be better. ~ Sheila

  • October 30, 2012, 3:07 am  Reply

    Oh dear, you’ve certainly had quite a bit of stress in your life over the past few years. I agree: this is a powerful post. So glad that your faith has become stronger than your fears. That’s all we can ever hope for.

    • October 31, 2012, 10:37 pm

      Thank you Dianna! Some of life is difficult, but I know many have had harder things to bear than I! It is good to take stock now and then and count the blessings as well as the hardships! Nothing like a little tsunami to help you focus on what’s important! And I would bet you have similar feelings after the hurricane that has so traumatized the East Coast. Hope you’re well! ~ Sheila

  • October 30, 2012, 7:27 pm  Reply

    The need to express our feelings…can be quite awesome at times…Isn’t it freeing when you do!…Incidents trigger these feelings I’m sure…and rightfully so…The Lord needs us to remember what our beliefs are…and sometimes our paths need to be straightened…It’s all good!…I’ve never written down a list of things that I have almost succumbed to…maybe I should…To see how strong I was during those times…and remember who gave me that strength…
    Great truthful post…mkg

    • October 31, 2012, 10:35 pm

      Thank you, Marilyn! I know everyone has a list of difficulties, some much harder to bear than what I shared. But regardless, I recognize I am blessed, and part of the strength to work through the hard experiences of life comes from that knowledge…the comfort of knowing God’s love is there, his grace is there. ~ Sheila

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.