My daughter has recently discovered the word tempting. A week after Easter, when she had happily chowed down on a multitude of Easter eggs she found mine in the fridge perfectly whole, golden and shining. She wanted it. I asked her why. She said “It’s tempting”. So I told her just because it’s tempting doesn’t mean it’s yours to take. I thought about things that tempt me. Time alone, a brand new book, going to bed at 8pm, watching back to back episodes of Game of Thrones, wine, a new dress, oooh and a knee high pair of red cowboy boots I found on line that keep following me around on websites and popping up in my ad feed. I am lecturing her suddenly on all the things I need to hear. “Just because it is there, doesn’t mean it’s yours, this is a lesson for you in self-control.” I close the fridge and breathe out slowly. It’s Wednesday morning and I spied the half bottle of wine.
My sister messaged me about an issue and I text her back with some ideas I have about the path of discovery she is on. I can’t help myself, I tell her about life and loss and happiness and growth and send her some links to websites where she can find out more about the topic we were discussing. I suddenly want to share all my learning experiences with everyone. I send her a link on love and then realise that I should have read it as well as there are some things in there for me that I need to pay attention to. Everything is coming to me to teach me something. Nothing is said in isolation, nothing is brought to me without a reason. I know this. Sometimes it looks like a complete puzzle or shitfight or frustration and as I slowly untangle it I realise that maybe this lesson was about time, or slowing down or really considering an issue before diving in unaware. Sometimes it takes me weeks to work out. Then the light bulb moment happens. Oh that challenge was to test me, oh the reason for the internet being down for three weeks was so that I could reconnect with my kids, unplugged. Well, that and lose my shit at Telstra which resulted in them giving me four movie tickets to reconnect with my family, again. Underscored. Hello? Message delivered and received. Three weeks later.
I’m watching it all in amazement. I’m listening to myself say things like “I just want to feel supported and loved.” Then I’m back in my course surrounded by all my wonderful counselling students and my children give me random hugs and drawings and even though my husband still goes away a lot I get what I want from that too – precious time alone, to write, to study, to be, to answer texts, to email friends, to connect and help others along the way and practice counselling.
So if you do get a text from me or an email or a message on FB which is completely bizarre, it’s me trying to work it all out, trying to make sense of life and learning and pain and love and joy. I message my sister a lot of this stuff and website links and then I message her again and say “ How are you? Sorry about all the stuff, but you know I am a counselling student. “ I love predictive text. I never notice it, edit or review it before I send. I am so rushed I press send before preview. Some of my favourites have been “Obama running late” sent in a traffic jam. When I told my little sister in London I missed her voice she messaged me to tell me she now sounds like “Julia Minibus” which was supposed to be Kylie Minogue, but Julia Minibus is so much better. So I tell my older sister “I’m sorry but this is what you get from a counselling student” counselling student came out as “an acorn seller”. So there I am. An acorn seller. Not as large as I think I am and obviously, a lesson in humility. If I am an acorn seller, you get the gift of a potential tree. It’s yours to cultivate. It’s not mine. You get to plant it, water it and later you can phone me to come over and I will sit under it with you, and we can share a bottle of wine marvelling at how great you are. Sigh.
I am in training, I am loving these gifts arriving at my doorstep in the form of temptation, acceptance, loneliness, friendships, disconnect and connect. As my super-evolved friend Jasmine prompted me on the weekend as we lined up for vegetarian lasagne and some kind of revitalising juice, “What lesson is this person bringing to your life?” Then I see it. Loud and clear. The question just needed to be asked, gently and with support. So then I cry in a café in Rosalie in front of the waitress and the dog-walkers and the vegemite smeared babies and the paper readers and the café latte set. But I’m okay about it – I’m learning some big stuff and every time I let a bit of the old sadness leak out, I open my arms to embrace new joy.