Monday, August 8, 2011

This is a requested former post from 2009

Hope your morning started as wonderfully as mine did. It wasn't sunny, and I didn't win the lottery. But I woke, for some reason, greatly appreciating my life and all it contains. Whenever I experience this, which is quite often, I find myself taking a memory walk, wanting to reconnect with  people who inspired me, encouraged me, lifted my spirits, taught me something, or made me feel loved and special
(people whose belief in me enabled me to believe in myself).
     I shared Gingerbread and hot chocolate with my Mother, my heart filling with admiration as she shared her life experiences, speaking softly, as always she did, about how love can go wrong, how important it is to remember that people are more important than things, and that doing our best is always good enough. Our last conversation left me with words that literally changed my life.
     "If you can be honest with yourself," she said, "about yourself, you'll find the quality of your relationships will improve. Why? Because when you look at another mans faults you're now able to see your own."
   She has been gone for many years now, but sometimes, like today, it's as though she never left.

The second person I visited on my walk was my father. As in all families, and within each relationship, not all is perfect. It was so with us. But I've never focused on the hurting memories. Better it is, I discovered long ago, to focus upon the good in life, as well as in people. This being so, I revisited Sequoia National Park; ate cold watermelon as I observed my father, who stood leaning against a Redwood tree, gazing upwards while sipping a beer, looking happier than I'd ever seen him.
   "Nothing could be better than this," he said, smiling at me.
     I've never forgotten that moment or the sights, sounds and smells of it. My father taught me many things (though not by example). The  most important?
1- Never take life or people for granted.

2- Learn to control your emotions - don't allow them to control you.
3- Everybody deserves a second chance.

Next to visit was Tommy, the first love of my life . I rode his maroon bicycle again, danced with him, went horseback riding, and felt his strength when he held me for the last time. "It's okay, Princess." he whispered, while brushing away my tears. "Don't worry. I'll be back.   He didn't come back, but what I learned from him kept me strong, has helped me through many a storm. He was unique, had the heart of a poet, was so tall in my eyes. He taught me, by example, the true meaning of loyalty, friendship and  integrity; taught me that I'm stronger than I believe myself to be, and able to do whatever I set my mind too.
    I chatted with Pastor Joe, who introduced me to Jesus Christ, enabled me to experience somebody actually living what God says love is.
    I spoke with former friends, spent an hour  sitting on an old tire swing, then revisited the treehouse Tommy built for me. "For when life's too heavy." he said.
Oh, but I loved that treehouse; spent so many hours there doing nothing but think about life: about how unfair it was, the way it  put heaven in your hands only to snatch it from you when you least expected it, how hard it was to understand parents sometimes, and myself; how noisy the world was- how  difficult to find a quiet place. I thought about the present day, wondered  what tomorrow would bring(if it would leave my life as it was, or change it into something I would hate). Mostly, though, I would think about Tommy ( wishing, praying, hoping, as his dad did, that we'd be together always).

But life goes its own way, dragging us right along with it, whether we wish to go or not. And the years pass, each one confronting us with truths we weren't quite ready to face like:  waking up one day, realizing that not only has youth left us, but we are no longer in the middle-age bracket either. It takes longer now, to do those things we once did so quickly. And we're  not always comfortable with the stranger in the mirror, nor with our bodies, which far too often seem to betray us.
   But  we are always going through some kind of transition, whether big or small.

And not all changes are bad. Like many of you I am facing difficult things: two sisters, both with serious health issues (diabetes complications and cancer), a daughter who is going to lose her home, a son whose marriage is failing, a sister with Parkinsons, whose husband's heart is bad, a brother -in-law whose heart is bad too, a son who has removed himself from family, and the list goes on.
   So many hurting people in the world, but even so...we are all blessed. Every one of us. As I so often say, Be brave, Have courage. Every trial comes to its own end. And remember that it isn't who we are, but WHOSE we are.

I wish you all good things: love, hope, joy, laughter and peace.
Talk to you soon.

Love you much.

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