In between writing blog posts and taking care of everything else that comes my way every day, I sometimes think back to times when my life seemed either very blessed or very unfair. I know you’ve had those same moments; whether they are tucked comfortably far away in the past, or events which still haunt you to this day, or things that are going on right now, there is nothing wrong with looking back on times in life which left you shaking your head. It’s okay if life hurts.
Sometimes my life feels like Alice down the rabbit hole . . . where did it lead? Let me tell you some of my experiences:
There was a hairdresser I knew once, Vanessa, (not her real name) a young girl, who always got super excited when Christmas was right around the corner. She would say she got her love for the holiday from her mother who loved making it the best time of year for her family.
Once Christmas was over her mom went in the hospital for a knee operation. Everything went fine for a few days; then her mother unexpectedly went into cardiac arrest and died while still recovering in the hospital. Then Vanessa’s father began dating someone else; someone she didn’t like. Nothing was the same anymore.
A year or so went by and her younger sister had a baby with a boyfriend. By the time this little one was 2 years old, her sister was pregnant again by another boyfriend. When I had come in for my hair appointment one day, Vanessa was not there and her replacement told me what happened.
A few weeks previously, while on the job, she got a phone call from her sister, who was nine months pregnant. She told Vanessa she was having trouble breathing; Vanessa told her sister to hang up, she would call 911, and she was on her way home. By the time she got there, her sister was dead. The baby in her womb died soon after.
So, Vanessa was left to raise her sister’s little 2 year old son. I ran into her while at a doctor’s facility one afternoon; I was getting on an elevator and she was coming off of it with her sister’s little boy in hand. You can’t make these things up; because they are REAL life.
I remember many, many years ago, I had bought a really nice Christmas present for someone close in my family. It was a designer plate that you could display or hang; it was from HSN, which was a new home shopping channel on TV, and this gift was something that I thought would make this relative happy. She wasn’t the easiest person to buy for. You know!
We would all open our gifts together in our home after eating; and with 17 people in the house, it was a crazy mess, but a fun mess until it was all cleared away. I kept watching this relative and when she got to my gift, I couldn’t turn away. She opened it, moved the gauzy paper out of the way, then made the biggest face of disgust I’ve ever seen. I can still see that face in my mind’s eye even today! She looked around to see if anyone was watching her, then stuffed the plate back into its box. I never saw it again.
Meanwhile, one of her daughters gave her a marionette clown. You know the ones, with satin costumes, black and white, with strings attached to its arms and legs and that creepy smile? I’ve never liked clowns; they have their place in circuses and that’s it.
Well, this relative went wild for this creepy clown! And I’m thinking, what is the attraction? I mean, what do you do with a marionette clown? And her raves and thank you’s were so loud and meaningful; I can’t recall being thanked at all.
But, I’ll never forget that moment in time; how she stood opening my gift, made a face and stuffed it away. She didn’t see me looking at her. I think it was at that moment that I vowed never to buy another gift for her; a check every Christmas would do. And that’s what I did.
But, the hurt never went away. The disappointment I felt seemed larger than life. Because I let it bother me.
That’s mistake #1.
Disappointments are a part of life. There’s no getting around it; they exist and some days seemed filled to the brim with them. Ever had a day that started out GREAT, the sun was shining, your bus was on time, you finished the project ahead of schedule, you’re looking forward to that special luncheon with friends or co-workers, THEN you find out your job has been eliminated or that you’ve been written out of the will?!
Here’s another personal example: I never knew my maternal great-grandfather. His name was John Marzcak. According to my mother he and my great-grandmother had three daughters, one of whom was my grandmother, Stella. At one point, I’m thinking before the start of World War I, they all visited Poland to see their relatives there.
While they were in Poland, my great-grandmother gave birth to a son. The family had to get back to New Jersey, so they left the son with relatives in Poland. He would be brought over at a later date. Once back in NJ, my great-grandmother was crossing the street one day and was killed by a car. So, the little son they were all expecting to have join them, never came.
My great-grandfather raised his three daughters on his own. My grandmother recalled how she went out to work when she was about 13 years old. My great-grandfather would receive letters from his son, but there was no possibility of him joining the family in America.
Then, as war loomed large again, my mother told me how my great-grandfather would sit in the living room listening to radio reports of what was going on in Europe in 1939. In Poland in 1939. If you aren’t familiar, Google it.
My great-grandfather died in 1940, probably of a broken heart.
His son lived on, becoming a doctor, but never having much money. He would write to my grandmother, his sister, every Christmas. She would get one letter in broken English, another letter in Polish. She always sent him money for which he was eternally grateful. I wish I had known him!
Disappointments. Betrayals. Life not working out the way you imagined it.
Should you be mad? You bet.
Should you feel betrayed or disappointed? Yes! But, not for long.
What happens when your diagnosis is cancer or a brain tumor? When someone comes to re-possess your car or your house? When your child dies unexpectedly from a drug overdose? Or your spouse is killed in a car accident, swerving out of the way of a deer?
I’ve had things happen in my life; unexpected occurrences that you couldn’t imagine in a thousand years. I’ve listened to others “advise” me; STUPIDEST thing you can ever do!
Listen to your little voice, like Thomas Magnum always used to say.
I was married two days short of my 21st birthday; who gets married in their 20s anymore? Who gets married! I always had low paying jobs, things I took just to keep money pouring in, nothing special; yet there were good memories from those years.
When you have responsibilities (listen up all you Millenials living at home), raising children, bills to pay, you have to do something. You can’t WISH your life along.
Meet it full on.
Even in my most recent years, I worked in a restaurant and a Christmas shop. One job was in Port Jervis, NY and the other was in Sandyston, NJ. I loved those jobs; money was always coming in, even if it wasn’t overflowing.
But, you know what was overflowing in my life?
My sense of ME.
How I handled ALL that was thrown at me. And I mean thrown. Like you-know-what. There were days when I knew I was handling it wrong; allowing fear, repression, wasted energy get the better of me. Worry was a big activity; because you can always go back there and pick up where you left off.
I needed to trust myself. Not someone else, me.
If you need more on this subject, here is a place to visit. She is Mary Demuth and she has this covered! Mary will help you discover the place of pain in your life. Just like it was in hers and in mine and in every one I meet.
Don’t obsess on all the negatives, look at your strengths. What do I do wrong, but what is right?!
How is my life getting bigger?
For those of you who like a little faith thrown in with your good works, here is a wonderful book by Jean Heimann; her newest book entitled “Learning to Love With the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir“. Jean will take you all through her life and as she did, you will come away with a renewed sense of who you are.
Isn’t that all we ask?
Because no one knows when tomorrow will not come. This week was the 39th anniversary of Elvis’ death. He has been dead almost as many years as he lived! He seems bigger now than when he was alive. Will that be our story too?
There are ways to re-write your life. To stop doing the things you’re doing now. To close the cover, to turn the corner, to think anew.
It’s not just for someone else, it’s for YOU too.
Yes, it’s okay if life hurts.
It’s supposed to. Because the hurt makes all the sweetness of life that much better.
And if you’re living like everyone else, doing things because everyone else on your block is doing them, STOP IT. Now. For years, I was fooled into that way of thinking.
Trying to keep up with everyone else is another mistake you’ll make. And it will NOT lead you to a simple life. Quite the opposite.
What do you think? Tell me here, or comment on my Facebook page.
Because this is just another example of :
“Homekeeping Inspirations for Crafting Your Best Life!”