Life is full of metaphors, or at least mine is.
I was once told by a dear friend that I have a great gift for ‘stating the obvious.’ To this day, I cannot say with complete certainty that it was intended as a compliment, but I took it that way.
I spend a lot of idle time reflecting, not so much because I like to live in the past. My reflections are often used to help me build my future. It never ceases to amaze me how life plays out, contrary to what I may have thought or wished. Somehow things all seem to end up as they should.
Take for instance my life in January 2010. My husband and I had just lost our house and 15 years post home ownership, returned to the status of ‘renters.’ Our savings was exhausted, paychecks were anticipated and simply put, we did not recognize the life we were now living.
Since I have never suffered an addiction or a life changing illness, I can say quite honestly for me this time in our lives felt like rock bottom. Middle aged and with two little kids looking to the future — a pity party was nowhere on the radar.
But this is not a poor, sorry me piece. This piece is to illustrate how even in the darkest of times, in the murkiest of waters — your life can truly be amazing.
This became painfully apparent to me recently after receiving a text message from a girlfriend. The message was simple, its contents sparse — a reminder of how she cherished me as a friend.
I would be lying if I did not admit, that those are the moments I live for. The times when people stop for five seconds to reach out and remind you, you are valued.
What I realized that day, is how rich my life has become in the past year. It is a richness, which cannot be measured in numbers or dollar signs. It is a richness of love and friendship.
As I reflected on the past year, I came to realize I had spent the past year not working on a house, but building relationships. Oddly many of these friends I have known as long as I have lived in Oakdale. Yet somehow in the course of the past 10 years, we barely had time to sit for coffee. Somehow, that has now changed.
I cannot recall one particular instance, which is more moving than another to illustrate the shift that has happened for myself and my family. I just feel as if I would be remiss, if I did not publicly recognize the amazing people who have been picked to be in my life.
Ears that have listened, arms that have hugged, tissues that have dried tears and faces that have shared smiles — and they were all here all along.
Thinking about all of this reminded me of the bottom of the ocean. By bottom, I mean the very bottom, also known as the Hadalpelagic Zone or The Trenches. This layer of the ocean extends from 6000 meters to 10,000 meters. The water pressure is high and the temperature is freezing. Somehow, despite these conditions life still exists there. Of the handful of creatures that can survive in such conditions are Star Fish.
So there it is — my metaphor for the past year of my life. Forced into the depths of the trenches. Faced by the darkness, the pressure and freezing. And in the ugliest of circumstances I was somehow able to be blessed by the beauty of some truly amazing Star Fish.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.