A few days ago I was looking ahead to a pretty difficult day, not just for myself, but also for my husband. We were dealing with some family issues on top of his Grandma passing and the funeral was later that same day. About 6 weeks ago I committed to starting my day with reading something that would help to connect me to God and my Higher Self more. This could be anything from reading the Tao te Ching to the Bible.
I have always tried to start my day with connecting to God and my high self but I hadn't always done it through reading so it was a new fun challenge. As I read through a bible study that morning titled, "Here be Lions" I checked in with myself and saw how much I was desperately wanting to avoid today. I was desperate to stay in bed, watch TV, eat food, and basically do anything to distract myself from the funeral that was to happen in just a few short hours. As you know from previous posts, grief has been a big part of my life and my development over the last 5 years. It has taught me so much despite how much it hurts. At the end of the bible study it goes through the verse that it is based off of, and then this time it actually asked me what "God was saying to you" and it had a little place I could type it into my phone which I thought was neat (the whole bible study thing is new and fun to me). Before I could even think about it, I heard this voice say, "Lean In." Before I knew it, I typed it into my phone and sent it to who knows where into the ethers of bible study internet. I sat there and paused. "Lean In..." What does that even mean? As I contemplated what I had just heard and done, I started to get ready to go to the funeral and to help my husband get ready. Without going into details, lets just say it was a rough start. At one point I was so mad at him, we were running late, and I saw how easy me trying to blame him or be mad at him for something so stupid would be, as well as such a great distraction to myself and my fear at the moment. Before I said anything, before I could act on that stupid self righteous anger, the voice said again, "Lean In..." With instant humility I looked at him and said, "I know this is hard, and I know this sucks, but I'm here for you today no matter what." I realized that I was wanting to lean away when really, I needed to "Lean In" for him and for me. I tell my clients all the time that we have a choice with our emotions and our actions at all times. At first, they never believe me but eventually begin to see what I mean. This was the same choice I made in that moment. My husband and I without any fighting or arguing got into the car and headed to the funeral. Once there, the tears started. I kept seeing myself want to run, to hide in the bathroom, to not smile or say hi to family members. It was actually impressive the level of my desire for avoidance. I watched myself instead stay with my husband and hug family and smile little smiles of encouragement to everyone. The service started and everyone did a beautiful job honoring my husband's Grandmas memory. During a slideshow they played a picture of my husband's father and grandmother together. My husband lost it and started to sob really hard. (My husband's dad passed away 5 months after my dad passed). I felt this hideous tug in my heart and wrenching feeling in my soul and the voice said again, "Lean In." So instead of wanting to desperately run to the bathroom and hide at that moment, I sobbed with my husband and held him. Toward the middle of the service, they opened the floor for anyone to say a fond memory or story they had of his Grandma and many people did. I was totally and completely floored when I saw my husband not only raise his hand, but grab the microphone, stand up (many had just stayed sitting), and walk to the front of the room to face everyone. Now, for those of you who don't know my husband, he is a massive introvert who doesn't even like to order food over the phone, let alone stand up in front of a room full of people and talk! He told the most beautiful story in the most beautifully amazing way. I have never heard him speak like that before. It was as if my husband had transformed and here stood before us a professional speaker that moved the room to both laughter and tears. My mouth was literally wide open as he sat down and the room mirrored the same. After the service, nearly everyone came up to him to thank him for sharing his beautiful story and that he had such an amazing way with words. As I watched person after person compliment him I realized he "Leaned In." He leaned into the fear, the discomfort, the pain, the anxiety, and he did it anyway.
The voice telling me to "Lean In" has continued since then. Always showing up when things feel impossible, or fear rears its ugly head, or anxiety threatens to take my breath away. As I contemplate these words more, I'm moved by how important they are for our society right now. We are so afraid to "Lean In" anymore. Our senses are constantly distracted by social media, TV, You Tube, etc. It is a rare day when we have silence and no connection to a device of some kind. As uncomfortable as things can be in our worlds, we need to "Lean In" more. When we "Lean In" we can begin to face the fear. "When we "Lean In" we can hold space and compassion for each other. "When we "Lean In" we give ourselves the chance to feel, to heal, and to have Grace.
Tabitha enjoys living in Tucson, Arizona with her husband Jared, and her adorable doggies Shadow & Scooby. Stay tuned for Tabitha's upcoming book Serendipity in which she takes us through her time in Africa.