One Wild and Precious Life

Yes, that is what it is and so very precious.
This is going to be a long and wordy post. One filled up with all my raw emotions and thoughts. Deep sorrow followed by overwhelming joy all rolled in to one powerful moment in my life. I promise you, it all comes from a deep place down in my core. Thoughts that have been trying to get out, so here goes nothing.
This is where it began......
My cousin died. He died and it wrecked me. He wasn't just my cousin. He was my friend, my big brother. He loved me so much and I loved him and then one day he died. Its only been a few months. It makes my heart feel like its breaking a part just to type these words. I have been crushed to my core by his passing. But it doesn't end here. Actually, this is where it started. He helped me. He helped me when he died because he showed me something I had been hiding from myself. That I have a gift and its shouldn't be wasted. He gave me courage to move forward. His death didn't hold me back, it pushed me forward. It shoved me!
He was 47. He was young and alive and then he wasn't. The cancer took him away quickly. It crept in like a thief and stole his life. His one wild and precious life.
It happened way too fast. There wasn't enough time. Not even to say goodbye. It's changed everything about the way I look at life. It doesn't scare me to die but it does scare me to think that I could die and never have tried. Never had even tried to do what I could feel pulling at me all these years.
Why? Why not try? Why not allow myself to do what it is that I can do and that I know I can do well. I look back over the past year. I think of all the prayers I prayed to please lead me down the right path. The one that will make me a better wife, mother, friend, sister, but also where my soul can sing out loud!
I had no idea in saying those prayers how I would be lead.
I was scared. I was so scared of the what if's. I didn't want to burden my family in anyway at all. Things were good. Money was good and we had everything we wanted. How could I jeopardize all that just because I had an empty spot down deep? Was I being selfish?
I knew and still know to this day that if this giant leap in my career, in my life doesn't end up being all that I intend it to be. I will stop. I will find something else because my family comes first. But the thing is, I don't think thats going to happen. Instead of that pulling feeling in my gut its now this drive leading me to a better place.
The weeks before he left us, he was all I thought about. I could feel something stirring in me.
But I kept telling myself it will all work itself out and in a year we will look back and say
"hey remember when you were sick, thank goodness that's over."
In all of this chaos I had my little Instagram account. Keeping me busy and creative. I love IG but I have to say, I wasn't so crazy about the #WIDN.
In case you aren't familiar, its this little thing where you tag one another and ask them, What Are You Doing Know? I didn't ever really play along until a dear friend of mine tagged me, and because I didn't want to be a complete jerk, I played along, tagging the next person I thought of, it was Aedriel.
It gives me serious goosebumps when I think about it.
She played along because well, she also, is not a jerk. and this was her post...

Oh my goodness! My heart stopped for a second. This is what I needed. I needed to see this right then! I messaged her immediately..."I want to buy this print from you!!" "Will you sell it to me?!?"
She said, they would start to sell them soon.  I wasn't the only one that wanted it after she had posted this beautiful image of her lettering on a simple piece of paper. 
Her response...."I would be flattered to make something for you."
 What? For me? Flattered? I didn't know what to say.
We started messaging back in forth over the next few weeks. So much so that all of a sudden she wasn't just an acquaintance on social media, we were becoming friends.  We not only talked about the project but also about our lives, our families. How are husbands are sweet and kind and put up with our antics! We talked about God's grace and how we are lead if we truly want to be.
 If you don't know her, you are missing out. She is truly beautiful inside and out. 
She was there to lift me up with her words and her spirit when I really needed it. A perfect stranger reaching out. Not for any personal gain, just purely for the sake of kindness. 
The project was in the works and I was going to receive the first piece as a gift! 
 Oh my heart, it feels like it could burst with love and gratitude when I think about it all. 
It wasn't too long after this that my cousin passed away. It was a pain I had never felt and it brought me down to my knees. I loved him so much. I went back home to New York and spent a week with my family. It was healing and heart wrenching all at the same time. Anyone who has lost a loved one so suddenly knows what I'm talking about. Its tears that lead in to laughter. It's love. I could feel him there. We all could. I was able to talk to his wife, whom I love dearly and means the world to me. We were all alone and she sat on their bed with me and she told me he was so proud of me. I will never forget that moment, ever. 
Not too long after I came back home from my trip to New York and after I had said all my goodbyes this canvas was delivered to my doorstep from the House of Belonging.
It's amazing and beautiful and it was made just for me out of Aedriel's love and kindness for another. It is more then just a canvas hanging on my wall. It is in these words that I now live and love by.
I have gained a great deal of perspective over the past months. I have lost so much but I have also gained so much along the way. I'm no longer holding myself back from challenges. 
I won't allow myself to be afraid because I know deep in my core that this is my 
One and Only Wild and Precious Life!
A gift that I refuse to waste. It hangs in my office just above my desk to remind me very early, every morning, as I conquer the new day ahead... I've got this! 

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