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

Cultivating Fabulous Friendships

When you’re my age it’s a remarkable pleasure to look back on your life to view the milestones.  Thoughts of what I have or have not done parade around my mind as though they own the space in my memories.  The key to unlocking them is by listening or talking to the friends, colleagues, or family who knew you way back when.  Add a little music and it’s as if you’re walking through a video of a past you’ve long forgotten.  If you feel a little self conscious about the memory you have the powerful truth that whatever it is; it’s behind you.  It’s like dancing through time with all the power to turn it on and off.  It’s very addictive to some of us who use that walk in the past to propel our behavior into whatever it is that we think it should be.  Retrospection is a tool i use probably more than most, because I am in a continuous state of trying my absolute best to be good enough to get into heaven.  To be kind enough for people to say nice things about me. To leave enough of a legacy of love that is what people remember when I am gone.

What I have learned however, is that some people; especially family, will always see me as weird, confusing, odd, off balance, untrustworthy, etc. The list goes on and on because sadly, once you make a mistake and you know the same people all these years; they never let you live past it. They never really learn to know the you that you have become.  They only want to remember the you who disappointed them. The you who hurt them. The you who isn’t perfect and that taints the perspective upon which everything you say or do is judged by them.

The good news is that as I have grown I have learned that all people make similar mistakes that I have. I have learned that every friendship has bumps of disappointment.  Some would ask why it has to be that way and the answer is simple.  None of us are perfect and we set all of our expectations unrealistically. When we’re hurt we forget that adjusting those expectations could lead to a happier relationship, but we’d rather just accuse, stand on some made up moral high ground or list our “principals” as the reason for our inability to forgive and move past things.  It’s a sad day when we expect others to be more perfect than we hold our own behaviors to be.

Another thing I have learned is that friendships are a gift. They don’t come easy. Long term friendships seem insurmountable to some. They take reaching out to remind someone how much they mean to you. Doing that and many of the accolades that people require from other people may cause a sense of being vulnerable to many. I believe it’s in this human interest where true love comes from any relationship. Where bonds are truly formed. Where the love lies.  It’s in our ability to feel and see others as fallible where we all reside in the company of each other than lifts or encourages us to be better than even we think we can be.  Thats the bond that separates acquaintances from that inner intimate circle that few get to see.

It’s so worth it to have friendships that take effort. The reason is because when you see each other, there’s a familiarity that is only due to faithful friendships. People who care enough to reach out. That’s just me. I care. It was important to be to write all those Christmas Letters. To reach out with phone calls. To keep in touch and be there through the saddens and the glad.  That has value in my life so I take a great amount of my time and I cause action to let someone know I remember, I admire and I still care.

Today when you’re thinking about that friend that just upsets you so, remember friendships are a gift. There has to be a way to save that relationship. To make it mean more to you.  Every season requires a moment to pass and that should too. Remind yourself that people need someone to lift them up, believe in them and to be their cheerleader. If you begin to do that for people, they in turn, will begin to do that for you.  It comes full circle.

I want to say thank you to the woman in my life and the men who have impacted me in profound ways. Either positive or negative means very little because at one point you had direct meaning in my life.  I am honored you call me a friend and blessed to have you in my life even if our friendship hasn’t lasted as long as we wished or is as strong as it could be.  I cherish friendships. You are important to me. I’m thankful to know you.

Inspiration

Feeling other’s pain

Did you ever just feel the pain with the total understanding that it’s not yours?  That’s where I am today. Just emerging myself in other’s pain and feeling the empathy that cuts through my heart like a jagged knife.

I’m constantly working on me, evaluating my behavior, improving who I believe God wants me to be.  It’s not easy. I find often that I do things not because I want to or don’t want to but because my sense of right and wrong tells me that I have absolutely no choice.  Living a life with the belief that I am on the path to my maturity and learning from my lessons is not easy. Self perspective is difficult especially when things hit so close to home that it shatters.  The point is when I expect others to be just, fair and decent I CANNOT do so without insisting this upon my own character.  This works well for me, until empathy creeps in and all is lost in the emotion of the pain.

I am struggling right now with several factors. 1.  My novel is not getting the attention I believe it deserves. 2.  My family “appears” to be distant and I miss them.  3.  I just learned my bio-dad is not the man I thought, (that’s not such a bad thing) except no one believes me and I cannot find him to prove it.  4.  I am watching people I love go through the worst horrific circumstances of their lives and there isn’t anything I can do about it.

Today I cried. I sat and I sobbed because when it rains it pours. One friend doesn’t have faith in their abilities, another doesn’t have trust in others, and yet another doesn’t feel anyone hears them.  One friend is struggling with cancer, another still in the closet and yet again… one more cries alone believing their depression is without any understanding.  How do I deal when I feel as though there is nothing I can say? No words beyond “I love you.” No words.

There’s a line that is crossed when a burden is taken on that no one knows. That’s the weight of the world no one sees is piling up because although one person is going through their torture unfortunately they’re not the only people I know walking down the path of despair.  It’s unfortunate they don’t know of each other or their pain may increase, but where does that leave me? I am stuck in the middle trying to decipher where I can make any difference whatsoever with my lack of verbal content. I show up. I do but is that enough? To be the listener?

At what point I ask is the burden too much. My answer? Just as Jesus said to Paul, “Until you can stand no more.” Since I am a pretty tough cookie and I know God knows this of me, all I can do is cry. Because tomorrow I will make that call and I will listen. I will show up. I will wait until I can be needed. I will understand the anger, feed the hungry, organize the weak. I will be whatever it is they need if only for a moment because it is not enough. This is not my pain. It is theirs. I can cry all I want but there comes a time to wipe those tears and get back in the game. Same as I expect from them.

Inspiration

It is Tough to be in Pain

Sometimes I forget that life can truly be painful when it’s not so much for me. Pain is a relevant thing in my life… that being said, it isn’t a constant but I have had tremendous burden of it throughout my whole life. So, for someone such as me to admit that I am one of those ‘take a pill and get over it’ individuals it is not because I haven’t walked a mile in your shoes, it is because I am not currently walking in them. Speaking to you about your woes pulls me back into my own and like a crab trying to get out of the water while other’s pull them down, I run the opposite direction. Shame on me.

There is a moment when we realize maybe someone could feel less wounded if we took a minute not only to share our burden but to life someone else’s above our own. The loss of a child, a man, a job, may seem merely an obstacle for some while for other’s it may be their biggest burden. The measure of main is indescribably difficult from person to person and it shouldn’t be up to those of use who have endured to sit in judgement of what that actual affliction should be.

It is with powerful reverence that I can even utter this retrospective conclusion given that my admission to the offense is certainly evident, however, I will pause to give a forlorn gaze upon you as I whisper, “You are not alone. I am ready to hear.”

There are moments when people want to know that their worries are held in high regard. The one denominating characteristic is that they want to be valued. How dare I not give credence to that basic acceptance we all feel?

I do value yours as you have mine. I do see you for what you in see me. I hate the things in you that I hate about the things I see in me. I am you, further, distant, different having past through the torment you currently suffer. I am hope, and light, and forgiveness and you in the infinite wisdom of time healing all wounds will be resolute in the completeness of knowing that you too will one day erect from whatever feeds your life a living hell right now, much more victorious than I should have ever or ever will be. For you have the benefit of acknowledgement and affirmation and that my friend is the first step to the momentous climbing out of the depths of despair you find yourself in.

You are worthy, admirable, and possess great strength and courage. All things are possible through these actions. I do have faith in you. You should too.

To learn more about me, check out http://www.RebeccaNietert.com or catch me on one of my social sites through twitter: @RebeccaANietert or Facebook: BexNietert