It was 4 a.m. last Tuesday. Eyes closed, I cringed at the idea of tackling the day’s list on so few hours of rest. Why can’t I go back to sleep?
The moment I asked the question, I was overwhelmed with images and phrases that were not mine. They were scenes from my gramma’s life and stories I’d heard her tell hundreds of times.
What’s this about? I knew that she was on hospice and it looked like her transition was imminent, but why would her spirit wake me up and show me all of this?
Unable to sleep, I started my day, still constantly distracted by new images and words. Three hours later, I walked away from my desk, clear that work was not going to happen until I figured out what I was supposed to do with all this.
Maybe I should write this down.
Suddenly, I remembered words she’d said dozens of times: “You know, now that you’re working on books, you should really write the story of my life. I survived some crazy shit, Amanda. It would make a good book.” And I could still see the odd mixture of frustration and desperation on her face as she said it.
And in that moment, I knew: OMG, my gramma has been asking me to witness her story for the last 7 years!
I went back to my computer, opened up a new document, and started writing the first scene she’d shown me.
Little girl running across the freshly-cut alfalfa field…
I see the blood dripping from your bare feet and splashing up on your rag of a dress.
I hear your little heart pounding with terror.
I feel your confusion.
I see your wide eyes, scanning for help.
I see the first angel that opened a door of grace.
I sat back in my chair and sighed as a tear escaped the corner of my eye, Wow.
I wrote for the next 3 hours straight, watching her story unfold from the horribly abusive childhood, to a grief-stricken young adulthood, to marriage and painfully challenging motherhood, and ultimately to being a grandmother who got a second chance in life for a few years…and then crashed back into all of the pain she was unable to heal. The last few stanzas were the hardest to write because my family and I were living with and caring for through everything but the last year of loss, desperation, confusion, and isolation.
By the end of my writing session, I wondered if it was actually to help me heal my own story as a young woman, granddaughter, and caregiver who had been buried under these generational wounds and stories, and had dug herself out and figured out how to write her own ending.
My mind drifted back to those scenes several times over the next few days, feeling it was incomplete. What is it missing?
Friday night, I was lying in bed, unable to fall asleep, when the last line of that first scene floated through my mind: “I see the first angel that opened a door of grace.”
Suddenly, I knew exactly what was missing and shook my head at the divine timing and orchestration as I walked downstairs to my computer.
How many times have I heard myself say this during interviews, workshops, and coaching sessions in the last few weeks—that more often than not, when people look back at their story and its defining moments, they see the path of pain…and the divine opportunity and invitation of writing one’s story is to witness how those moments of pain are actually connected by moments of Grace…
I opened my computer and added all of the moments of Grace.
I see the second angel that brought you a glimpse of childhood joy…
I hear your sigh of relief as you remember
the angel that forced him to send you to school…
I watch an angel sibling take you in…
You have an angel partner you trust now…
We were angels for each other…
I see you gather yourself and decide to live your life,
and travel and play with your crew of widowed angels.
And I cried as I wrote the last few…
I watch you and Aaron roar as you play Uno and Dirty Marbles.
Two angels, playing dirty, while this angel searched for her wings.
Soon, you will be my angel again.
And I promise to always be yours.
Gramma made her transition the next day.
As I sat at the table, looking at the text, “She’s gone,” I wondered, Maybe she was afraid that there would only be more pain waiting for her on the other side. Maybe she needed help seeing the Grace in her story, so she could let go… and go back to Grace.
Again, I find myself in awe at the divine timing of it all…
Here I am, thinking about writing my next book, and digging for the courage to tell the world that it’s coming… and this happens and brings me right back to my WHY.
WHY am I writing this book?
Because Grace found me in a dark moment
and woke me up to Its presence in my story.
Because Grace inspired me to
share a message and become a messenger.
Because Grace rapidly changed the trajectory
of my storyline forever when I said YES.
Because Grace brought the allies and resources I needed
to grow beyond the Character to the Co-Author of my life story.
Because Grace wrapped Its arms around me
as I revisited and healed the pain story.
Because Grace dared me to dream
and move and launch my business.
Because Grace has shown up in and through every client, message,
and event I have facilitated in 10 years.
Because Grace is the only way to hold our messy human
and our masterful messenger at once.
Because Grace is why we are here.
You’ll be hearing from me soon about the book and all of the stuff Grace has in store for us, including online workshops where you’ll actually get work done, an online course I’ve been dreaming about for years, an online TV show, and more.
You can’t make this shit up. As I wrote that last line, the song “Dare You to Move” cued up on my playlist. Think The Wind is giving me a message? Ha!
“I dare you to move…like today never happened…
The tension is here…between who you are and who you could be…
Between how it is and how it should be…
Maybe redemption has stories to tell…
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell…
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here.”
Like I said…