The Children

Why did God choose me?

Three years ago she asked, “Will you love them like they’re your own?” And I answered, “Of course!”  Did I understand the consequences of my agreement at the time? Probably not!  I believe I just wanted then what I want now, and that is to be part of the proverbial “village” that is needed to raise the kids?

Three years of not being able to hug a parent, or play ball, or talk to them, or shop, or eat dinners, or believe that the security they provide is actually going to last?  These kids came to me broken.  They’re all riddled with the absence of constant attention. Their grades plummeted.  Their behaviors were horrible.  It wasn’t because their mom and dad didn’t love them.  In fact, what really matter is that the base of a good kid is in each one due to the fact that their parent’s adored them!  They’re all just sucking the life out of everything they can, because they each believe that people come into our lives, and then they leave.

In the process of becoming the authority, the responsible adult, the security blanket, poor Aunt Rebecca became the disciplinarian. Yes, and in doing that, I lost my fun Aunt Rebecca title and became, “mean Aunt Rebecca!” I have to tell you that the beginning was not as much fun as I thought it was going to be. In the end, though, this journey is proving to be an incredibly honorable experience. I’m not only learning about them, but the second turn of raising a set of kids is forcing me to learn more of myself.

There’s so much to do.  There’s so much to say.  There’s so many things that I want to teach them.  Much to prepare them for.  I’m up to the challenge. I am.  Sometimes, I fade into the despair of what it must be like to lose both your parents at once.  Sometimes I weep because they didn’t know how absolutely incredibly loved their parents were.

Here’s what I do know. I try every single day to be a better person. To be kind and put the frustrations of my inadequacies behind me.  I don’t show weakness to the children. I show them consistency. I know I am not supposed to be their friend, I am the person who puts them before myself, or anyone or anything. That’s my job.  I don’t take it lightly.  It is my belief that I am profoundly and irrevocably committed to their overall happiness and well being.

I’m no longer complain. I try to do things a little different and let go of my own expectations.  I’m not going to try and reason or understand because it does me no good. I’m not going to spend this year lost in the muck of pain and anger of what has been lost, or what will come when the ultimate loss is paid.  All I can do is push through to the good, the joy of what I see in the community around me. Take stock in the kindness of others and not ask what the angle is. To revel in the fact that I have the skills necessary to do this job and thank the good Lord he saw fit to prepare me for this journey.

I pray every day that I do a job that deserves praise.  I love them. Unconditionally. I may never know why God chose me, but what I do know, is that I thank God every day that he did.  Amen.

Inspiration

Making My Life Matter – 2015

I watch my sisters and my brothers go through some of the most difficult things in their lives. Mostly health issues that threaten their existence on earth. I wonder often, what I would do if by some chance tomorrow altered my reality? If I found myself in their shoes, walking their mile, at the end of my own life. Would I be angry? Would I be fearful? How come I do not ponder these questions as they open up to me? How can I listen better? Let them know they’re heard? That thought, that simple concept, makes me pause.

In the moments that come next, is the swell of pride, regret, joy, fears, and moments that make up what I call my life. Do I feel a sense of being alive? Did my life involve emotions that left every nerve open to new experiences? That’s what I set out to accomplish in my life. Cash nor security, no endeavoring to fit in, never enter into my equation. So did I accomplish what I set out to do, when I was such a young girl? The moments I can without hesitation say that this is true, is the moments I have felt the most joy in my life. Joy that comes from the depths of my soul knowing that I am doing exactly what I should be doing. Even if it comes with a little consequence.

I am a woman of introspection. I constantly self check to see if I am actually treating this wonderful existence given to me as the treasure it is, or if my doubts and fears about mankind in general taints my opinions or thoughts? So, I therefore ask myself if the things that bring me joy can combine with the audacity that it has always been part of my personality. The very same emotion that begs me to ask the question, “has any of the intense life I have created for myself impacted anyone else in a positive or profound way?” The answer scares me.

I believe in hope. In goodness. That common sense will eventually win in the end. That people are basically good although all of us possess some form of darkness that varies in degree. I believe in joy and not happenstance because that is merely moments of happiness. I believe in ever ending unconditional love. I care about emotions and passion, all of them that make us all who we are, down deep to our souls.

Having lived half a century I can tell you that without out a doubt I often feel invisible. As though my life, has only been an illusion. My thoughts and wishes do not matter. None of them will be taken into account and certainly if so, not for very long. The albums that store the thousands of photos I have chronologically placed in memoriam will not be shared, are not wanted? They’re my memories, and no one will share their importance, but me.

In furthering my ego, I often wonder if all the advice I’ve given my children landed on open ears. I would like to know if the love I provided my husband was enough to sustain him for his whole life? I would like for the books that I write to help women who are struggling come into confident valued people? I’d like for those writings to help the understanding of how to let the light in and let that remarkable action extinguish the dark. I would like for women to know they’re not alone. They’re not judged. We are all the same. Doesn’t matter what skin color or gender or race we come from we are all human beings putting on this earth to strive to something better than ourselves.

If today is the last day of my life, what profound impact could I have with some last words to my children? Would those last words matter? To my husband I would confess that I have been selfish. That sometimes my words are self centered and unfocused on love. I would ask him to forgive me for the moments when I wanted to give up on us. Moments when my respect didn’t come when it was warranted. I would tell him that the years that I share with him, are the best moments of my life. I want more of that, for all time. I would like to know him into eternity. I treasure the cards, the songs, the dancing, the meeting people, the sharing, the caring and all the things that have made us so happy all these years. When I look back, I can recall all the good and nearly none of the bad. That to me, is a successful relationship. Now, more than ever that desire to be with him, still resides deeply in my soul. It always will.

For my children, I have wanted them to be “happy productive members of society” but what I have learned is that is not a wide enough wish. I want their journey to be one of legends. I want for each the pain that comes from trying, the happiness that comes from unconditional love, the desire to try their hardest at whatever they choose to do, respect for each other and an abundance of friends who share their common interests. Ultimately forgiveness because that will be the one thing to keep their souls clear of the darkness that consumes the joys in our lives.

To my friends to know that the moments we’ve shared are real to me. That I sincerely feel blessed to know them. I am sincerely honored they call me friends. I’ve hurt so many people in my lifetime, because of my selfish desires, vanity, ego, etc.—that I cannot undo those things. I have lived with the regret of my part in all of that injustice to someone and forgiven all those who have unjustly accused me. So the end result is that I treasure all friendships close, far and wide. They’re gifts I take seriously. Every moment in that friendship means something to me, and as a collective accumulation of memories I could myself shocked, humbled, and ultimately thankful.

To the people I meet who I have tried to impart my knowledge, my experience, or my thoughts. Pay attention or don’t. This is your life not mine. Live it the way you see fit. I’m sorry I thought for one moment that what I have to say is any more powerful that anything you want to tell me. I should have listened more, and spoke less.

To the family that continues to love me despite my intolerance, impatience, or my apathetic approach to things I cannot understand. It’s my issue not yours. I have struggled with a path that God will see is just, fair and for Him. I continue that path. I continue to want to help. I wish for one moment that the family that I knew would see the woman I have become instead of the child they knew so long ago, for I am positive that if they did, they would know, understand that we could be close. The misunderstandings of yesterday would seem trivial, because each of us have our perspective of the rights and wrongs that we’ve felt. Everyone is at best, trying just to be heard, and I have been no different.

To the people I’ve counseled, supported, engaged with, lifted up, helped, fed, reached out to, etc.—Thank you for teaching me the gift of thankfulness, gratefulness and ultimate sacrifice. Without you, I would know the blessings I have been shown, and who to thank for it.

To my parents, who have set me on the course for my whole life. Without a doubt, you are who I have become. Regardless of my intent, what you were and how all of that was to me, is deeply engaged in all of who I have become. I value the lessons, I value the moments of great joy. I value you. Unconditionally, for I cannot do so without the expressed understanding that I have so many faults, erroneous decisions, moments of uncertainty or downright hateful actions of my own. I cannot throw that first stone. My love for you is abundantly unconditional.

In a few years post my death, no one will bother to visit, think of me, long for my existence. But I will know that while I was here, for the moments all that time is, that impacted others while I navigated through the space I was born into. That has to be enough for me. While in the millions of years the earth’s existence will continue, my life will mean nothing. I am merely an illusion, but for a small moment in time, for however short or long that is, my life mattered to someone. That gives me some peace.

Don’t take today for granted. Live it out loud, with joy. Leave the judgment at home, say hello to a homeless man, reach out to a family in need, pat an old friend on the back, and tell that someone who connects to your own soul how very much they matter to you. Talk to them. Tell them. Verbalize, because every one of us will meet each other in front of the pearly gates some day. We’re all on the same path to death, but there’s no promise that neither you nor I have tomorrow. May you truly comprehend the volume of that responsibility.

Inspiration

Learning How to Forgive Through The Pain

Forgiveness is not for the one who hurt you. Holding on to the hatred and pain toward that person only hurts you. The perpetrator is going about their lives completely unaware of the resentment you are harboring. Even if they know about it, they have already rationalized their behavior and probably learned to forgive themselves. So, the only one holding on to it is you.

Forgiveness is about releasing yourself from the pain of carrying the weight of an emotion that can and will rob you of your future joy.  It’s about learning to let go. It’s about understanding that forgiveness is a gift we give ourself.

I had the people in my life who I thought hurt me and I confronted them.  There’s a saying. When we have conflict we feel our own pain.  When we begin to define a resolution to our pain, we find their truth exists, our truth and somewhere in the middle is what really happened. If you’re a mature problem solver you can meet somewhere in the middle of that to earn some respect for both individuals.  Thats’ when the healing begins.

A friend came up to me and asked, “What if that person isn’t here? What if they died?”  To that I replied this simple phrase, “Forgiveness is about you, not them. They don’t have to be here for that.” That my friends is the simplest truth of the forgiving process.

Find a quiet place.  Take two chairs, and place them facing each other.  Sit in one and convince yourself that the person who hurt you is in the other.  Talk to that person. Shout at that person. Yell until you cannot yell anymore.  Then imagine that person getting up and walking away.  That’s what they have already done. Your closure isn’t important to them. You’re feelings don’t matter. How you remain in the pain is of no consequence.  Now, are you going to let that person have that much control over your life-for the REST of your life? Are you really going to allow someone to hurt you? To continue to cause you pain and harm time and time again? Are you going to allow them to steal your joy?

No! You’re going to then and there, decide to forgive them. You are going to decide that you’re NOT going to allow that person to give you one more days heartache over what they did to you. Deciding to take back your own feelings, your own pain, is a huge courageous step. It means you and you alone are going to be responsible for your emotions going forward. You can no longer “blame” anyone else. There’s no fingers to point.  You’ve made a decision to let it go and what an amazing decision it will be for you!

The shackles will break, the wave of relief will come and the light of your world will begin to appear.  I hope that if you have been harmed by someone, that this course of action will be the first thing that you do today. I would love to know you’re happy.

Everyone sins, just differently. Let’s all remember that. God forgives us when we ask for it. It’s important that we learn this graceful lesson to be forgiven my our Father in Heaven.  Do you think God sits around thinking of all your mistakes? No, he loves unconditionally. Learning to forgive yourself is a whole other blog. 🙂

Reba