Let me start by saying that the only things I have successfully kept alive are my three children.
You may have heard that I guilted myself into getting two cats for my youngest. I am truly afraid that when he goes away to college in the fall, they will die from my neglect.
I have never kept a plant alive for more than three months. I have even killed a cactus. A cactus that did not need anything from me; yet I managed to kill it.
Here is what happened to the garden, that my middle son so lovingly planted and tended to, when he left it in my care
Look, we all cannot be Martha Stewart.
I’ve had a few other things on my to do list.
So when I came home to find this flower blooming out of the graveyard that is my lawn, I was convinced it was a botanous miracle.(not that that is even a word)
Rest assured I have never, not once, planted a flower of any genus or species in my yard. As you can see, nothing but a weed or two is growing in my side yard where this flora sprang up out of nowhere.
And isn’t that a bit like life; Beauty from Ashes
I watched Moana last night. Yes, I was watching a children’s movie on a Saturday night. Alone. (Again, please hold your lonely on a Saturday night judgement for later) And it was AMAZING!
Bear with me. I’m going somewhere with this whole flower out of a dead yard and Moana thing…
Alcoholism stole my heart. My divorce left me wounded and took whatever self esteem I had and buried it deep; so deep. Hurt and failure slowly removed my heart a piece at a time and left me unsure of who I was. I believed I was my failures. I believed what the alcoholism told me about myself. That I was second place. That I wasn’t worth fighting for. That I was the cause of it. That if I was just more loving, giving, and kind I could fix it. If I was more than… If I was stronger…If I had a deeper faith… If. If . If.
Years later, I know in my head that the lies I believed were not true; yet my self esteem was still buried deep. The years of single parenting left me little time and energy for any real emotional recovery. It was survival mode at its finest.
But now I find myself in a season of healing; uncovering the wounds that were scarred over and beginning to replace my heart piece by piece. (Hang on the Moana tie in is coming)
Recently I started back to therapy and my very astute therapist quickly realized my self esteem was in shambles. It was obvious that I had many wounds that had not been properly cared for. Though my lousy self esteem was not why I went back to therapy, it was where we started the work. The first assignment my therapist gave me was to make a list of all the things I had accomplished since becoming a single parent. I was to give myself validation. I was to declare the positives. She couldn’t have asked for a more difficult assignment. I am way more comfortable dwelling on how I need to improve. Focusing on my weaknesses is my strength. I don’t know why it is difficult for me to give myself credit, but it is.
So that night, huddled under my comforter (appropriately named, by the way) I began to meekly write out my list of validations – my list of I ams and I dids.
And for the first time, I affirmed myself.
And it was powerful.
And this is where Moana comes in.
It wasn’t until she is affirmed by her Grandmother and sings about who she is that she gains the confidence and strength to go after her calling.
Sometimes the world seems against you
The journey may leave a scar
But scars can heal and reveal just
Where you are
The people you love will change you
The things you have learned will guide you
And nothing on earth can silence
The quiet voice still inside you
And when that voice starts to whisper
“Moana, you’ve come so far”
Moana listen, do you know who you are?
Who am I?
And then she belts out who she is!
And then, like the badass she is, she mends her sails and repairs her boat and sails on.
My therapy assignment was my Moana moment; reminding me of who I am and what I am capable of.
The end of Moana slayed me. Totally slayed me. Leave it to Disney to have me alone on a Saturday night sobbing at a cartoon.
I was that lava monster. I had let the alcoholism and divorce steal my heart and harden me. For years I let it define me.
In the end, Moana sings to the lava monster and restores her heart.
I know your name
They have stolen the heart from inside you
But this does not define you
This is not who you are
You know who you are
And then she turns her lava ashes into beauty
And my dead yard produced a flower.
And my wounded heart can be restored.
It is so hard to understand how good and beauty can possibly come from our wounds, our grief, and our hard. But somehow God promises it will; that He will exchange our ashes for beauty. And it starts with restoring our heart and declaring who we are.
So who are you? Declare it. It will give you strength and courage to go on; to keep fighting through your hard things. It will exchange beauty for your ashes.
But now for the real question regarding Moana. How did she keep her tube top up the entire movie? I mean seriously, the one time I tried to wear a strapless shirt I was pulling at that thing the entire night. Oh, the magic of Disney!
“The Ocean told you you were special and you believed it”