Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

Links to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimages are on the navigation links to the right of the web page.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Last Day of School, First Day of Summer

Today's the last day of school for Stephen, my husband. He says goodbye to his second-graders, his kids. And he gets to rest and figure out what to do during summer vacation (don't worry, he'll be busy).
New journey. First shave since May 18, 2016, when
I walked out of Lourdes on my 3rd Camino (the 620 miler)

This day is also marked by something else.

My life really hasn't been in much turmoil in comparison to those of many whom I've met through the years. Sure I've moved around a lot as a child, but I seemed to adapt and find my way. Whether it was new homes, new schools, or new countries, I'd face the reality of change and get on with it. I'm a quick learner I'm told, so that probably helped.

I wonder why, as adults, change becomes so much more challenging than when we were younger. We become set in our ways. I've started to think that, despite our best intentions, the things we do become more important to our identity than who we really are. Even though I don't want to think of myself by the activities I enjoy, the work I do, or the habits I can't kick, I fall back on defining myself by these very things. It's quite the opposite of my aspirations, but I do it like everyone else just the same.

Most of us prefer stability. We might be on a gentle simmer, but we know what to expect. And we can find happiness, peace, or satisfaction out of that predictability

Until something upends that stability.

Until we can't do what we've always done, what we're accustomed to, what we see as "us"...

It could be a job change. Or a relocation. Or a changing or failing relationship. Or an illness or death.

And then seemingly all of a sudden, we experience massive stress and anxiety. So much of that anxiety arises from that lack of continuity. And for many, it seems, it leads to a loss of identity.

A parent dies, and suddenly we face a thought that we aren't the eldest child of Mrs. and Mr. So-and-so, aka Mom and Dad. Our long-time job evaporates and suddenly we aren't sure if we can find another job that allows us to maintain our identity. When my ex and I split, I didn't know how to think of myself as an individual person. All of these are based on relationships, on things we do with others. It shows the importance of the relationships in our lives.

All of these things have to do with activities, too. With things we do. With things we've enjoyed doing. With the people we know.

But they aren't who we are as persons. I cannot imagine God created us, saying "You are an insurance adjuster at XYZ Corp." I think God's plans for us have to do with how we were created, not because we filled out a job application in time, or did good things, or made mistakes, or continue to make mistakes.

Thank God.

I'm going through some big changes in my life. Enormous really. For much of what I do hasn't changed significantly for decades. There are things I own and work I do and habits I enjoy that have lasted longer than my first 18 year life-partnership or even my 16 year friendship with my husband, a husband of a mere 4 years.

I've owned this business for 26 years. I've worked on it full-time for almost 22 years. I haven't had a boss in all that time, other than in my customer's requests, demands, wishes. But business hasn't gone well enough for us in the past couple years. We've tried, but we just can't go on. 
So today, after months of discussions with different companies, I've completed the sale of the software and contracts we've developed during the past two decades. I'm having to lay off employees, employees who have worked with me for two decades. And next month, I'll be an employee of the company that is buying these assets.
And I'm lucky. I've known this New Jersey company for over 20 years. They're actually current clients. We've become friends during that time and one of the employees, well she has gone to Broadway musicals with Stephen and me. And I can continue to stay in Pasadena, continue to work from home.
There's new life springing from the darkness that has haunted my work life. I haven't felt this comfortable and, frankly, confident about my work in several years.

But the emotions are mixed because things are changing.

Today's the last day of school for Stephen, my husband. He says goodbye to his second-graders, his kids. And he gets to rest and figure out what to do during summer vacation. AND... soon he will see them again, in third grade, in other classrooms, with other teachers, with wiser eyes, with more to learn.

Today's the last day where I define myself by what I've done for two decades. I say goodbye to my software, my babies. And starting next week, I get to enjoy a new life with a company I respect. AND... soon, I will see my software again, in this new company, with other owners, with my eyes wiser, with more to learn.

So, though I've been struggling with change and who I am, I sort of know better. I can say goodbye on this last day of school.

I know I'm loved unconditionally and expansively and without boundaries and without my comprehension. It's ok to be anxious and fearful and mournful as I face these changes, because arching over those feelings is this love.

And thankfully, be it incrementally, slowly, or sporadically, I turn to people around me and appreciate - really truly appreciate - that I'm loved. I share the details of my fears and my mistakes and my story. I let the tears fall on my face. And they love me nonetheless.

And if they can love me, God loves me even more.

And that's all I really need to know who I am.

And I can face the summer knowing that new adventures await on my journey, a journey that I can experience without having it define me. A journey with adventures that involve new friendships, new things to learn, new challenges. And for all that, I am grateful, oh so very grateful.

And I can rise to a life made new.


  1. Powerful. May you have peace and joy flow abundantly!

  2. I can just imagine all of the emotions and thoughts running through you. It's a milestone change, and it seems, this is what you needed. Because, it's permission to see your adventure as new again, to let go of the past, to gain a new perspective, and grow. I'm so very excited for you Mel.

    1. If I replied about all my emotions, it would need every emoji on the keyboard. I'm so glad you see that a big part of this is giving myself permission. I tried to make a good effort and it worked but in the end, I had to say I'm allowed to start brand new. I appreciate you so much and you were one of the people I most wanted to chat about this at length.

  3. Wow! Talk about a major change. You will take it in stride and be as happy there as you have been with your own company because you are a well adjusted person who knows how to make happiness wherever you are. Good luck and God bless you in your new ventures!

    1. Thank you Mimi for the blessing. All blessings and prayers are most appreciated

  4. I hear you! a big change, Mel. But it is going to be a great future!

    God bless you and Stephen!