As most of you know, my youngest sister died only eight months before my sweet Johnny did. While tidying up my computer desk last night, wondering what to post about, I came across a copy of the Christmas gift I'd created for her. The contents blessed her, but me as well. It is my prayer, that sharing the gift may bless some of you as well. I'll be posting this in two parts.
These pages are my contribution to your Christmas. Along with the enclosed mood tape, I hope you'll pencil in some quiet time for yourself, so that you'll be able to meditate upon the contents of this gift.. Were I like you, honey, I'd attempt to create a special drawing, but my talents are not in pastels, oils- artists paper. Consequently I'll be relying upon memory, vision, feelings, and beliefs, in order to create a special gift of my own.
Please remember to read these writings from time-to-time so you'll not forget how special, how unique you are, how loved; so that the words contained upon these pages become part of your days and nights, part of what your private world consists of.
A- Always be yourself.
Those that truly love you will accept the person you are: those that cannot will cheat themselves out of something precious.
B- This letter stands for Beauty.
We see ourselves negatively when displeased with our lives, or with the reflection we see in the mirror. But in truth, we're not what we feel, not what we look like either: that's just the wrapping on the package. Who we really are is what our words, actions, and desires reveal us to be.
Rejection by another person isn't always your fault. Sometimes it's simply that that other person lacks knowledge of what love truly is; sometimes it's a sign of immaturity and selfishness, an unwillingness to respect your rights.
C- This letter stands for Courage, Caring, and Calmeness
You possess great courage, even though you don't recognize it as that. Courage will eventually get your life back on track, turn your dreams into realities, and enable you to do what must be done.
Caring for yourself is as important as caring for others. Nobody understands your needs better than you do. Taking time for the person you are will ensure that you have strength to care for those you love.
Calmness is the ultimate high. You know this from time spent listening to music by Mozart, Bach or other musicians, know it from moments spent alone near the ocean. Calmness midst chaos is a mighty weapon; one that seldom lets us down. The letter C, also stands for the small child within you: give her back her life. That child is entitled to laughter and sunshine, humor, respect, and a lot of love. (I love that little girl).
D- This letter brings to mind Duty and Day.
Duty requires doing necessary things, but our duties are not always what others claim them to be. We alone know where to place the boundary- the safety line. Place yours, honey, wherever it needs to be in order to protect you. Keep yourself safe.
A Day is 24 hours of moments given us to spend however we wish. Don't allow other people to pencil in your life moments; don't allow them to tie up your time taking care of things they are responsible for. I wish you success in learning how to "live in the present moment."
That is what God's love for us is; that's how my love for you will always be. Not all things last forever. Seasons come and go, in spite of our wanting them to stay; changes come- and will continue to come, many of them leaving us devastated, angry, alone, sad, frustrated, and fearful. Fortunately, though there is no security found in people, places, or things, we're always able to call upon God, who is always home for His children.
Our perceptions of what family is will differ according to background, beliefs, nurturing (or lack of). We cannot choose the family we're born into, but do have the capability of making our family as special - as close as we wish to. It is wise, I think, to consider what family once meant to people, then strive to have that for ourselves.
Time passes swiftly, and it is our choices, after all, that determine what our last days will be like; who is in our lives or out, if we have comfort or not, or even a hint of understanding. I love your family. They have helped fill the deep hole within my heart.
Of heart. You're always reaching beyond yourself in order to do for somebody else. You have given to me and my children many times, almost always when you really didn't have it to give. I thank you for that; for loving my children so much....and me.
Hope is the flame that keeps us alive; keeps us creating dreams, building towers in the sky.
I thank God for the hope within you, however dim that hope may be. I am aware that it is the hope that keeps you here. Don't let go, sis, no matter how discouraged you become. God has planned your life- is with you at all times, loving you more sweetly, more fairly, more unconditionally than any human ever could. I cannot explain this, just know it to be true.
I- This letter is self-explanatory.
Most people's lives and sentences revolve around themselves, while you and I, Sis, have had to teach ourselves to care for the person we are. It's been difficult for us to recognize that we're entitled to the same kindness, compassion, love, and patience that we extend to others. But we learned! You are important- Do matter. Never forget that.
There isn't much justice around any more, I know. I know too, that life hasn't always been fair to you, nor have those you loved and trusted. But when you think about it, you can know that you always went the extra mile for people. Oh, I know, as you said once, "My anger gets in my way." We all have flaws. Mine has gotten in my way too at times. It's okay. It will all balance out in the end. I promise! I know this, because God has, and is still, setting straight the crooked paths in my life.
Keep on keeping on, no matter how steep the hill; the rewards are always greater then the trial just experienced. Keeping on is a form of control. Nobody else may view it that way but for us, it's true. You've kept on, Jackie. You've climbed when you wanted to sit, worked when you wanted to rest, lived when you wanted to cease living. You may not be aware of it, honey, but you're winning.
It's not always what we need it to be, or there when we need it; at least that's the way I've felt at times. Love is always available, but not everybody recognizes that it's love we're needing. Their perceptions of love may be distorted because of their life experiences. What we have to remember honey, is that sometimes our needs are greater than what other people can cope with; the void within just to huge for others to fill.
You have the love of this family always. You may have whatever we have, if you need it, and always have us, whenever a need arises.
A maybe is better than a no, better than giving up. I've many times told myself "maybe I'll try writing it one more time." or "Maybe I can hold on for another five minutes." Maybe, if I give it another day." Keeping a few maybe's on hand is helpful. It leaves life's doors wide open to new things, new beginnings, new choices.
Saying No is good for the soul. It took me most of my adult years to learn how to say the word without feeling guilty, sad, or bad about myself. It took years to learn how to incorporate it into actions that would lower my stress level while raising my low self-esteem.
You deserve to experience peace and joy too. Do whatever you must do to get it. Using the NO word will lower your stress level, put you back in control of your life, and raise your self-esteem. Try it. It isn't easy but I know you can do it.
There are always signs telling us we're taking on to much. I'm learning to pay attention to those signs, though obeying them comes a bit harder. Still, I persist, do what needs to be done in order to be healthier. You're entitled to a good life, Sis, a better one. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you. Forgive yourself and just start over.