This morning shortly after arriving to work I became fixated on something my 8-year old made for me when he was in preschool. To think that that was just over 3 years ago is bizarre. On the one hand it feels like just yesterday. But on the other it’s as though it were so long ago. Who I was then, where I was, what I was doing was completely different. And in that time my son has grown in so many of his own brilliant ways most assuredly.
What the message reminds me of is a lesson I have found myself sharing with my son over and over and over again. Because yes, there are times when I’ll catch him feeling sorry for himself; he feels he’s been cheated out of something that someone else got and he didn’t. And what I’ll tell him is how important it is to focus on what he has instead of what he hasn’t got. It’s amazing to watch those little wheels turning inside his head as a shift in perspective begins to take place on his face and in the way he proceeds with his life. He moves on. He gets over it. He learns to appreciate what he already has instead of clinging to feelings of jealousy and insecurity. He remembers the love in his life. (And the ice cream I just treated him to perhaps!)
There is something for me to take away from this, too. How often have I pined away for a love that couldn’t be reciprocated? How often have I wallowed in sorrow, loneliness, and discontent? Or wondered why other people get to fall in love and live happily ever after and I don’t? All the while forgetting–even deliberately–that I am already surrounded by so much love in my life. And who am I to expect more than what is already given me?
Good intentions don’t always yield the results we had hoped for. I found myself spouting this tidbit to a fellow comrade this morning, realizing the relevance it has had in my own life lately.
Rejection tends to leave one feeling broken, weak, and powerless. Instinctually, out of the pain and betrayal I feel, I want to hide behind my fear and anger. And I have done this. But once the dust has settled, once the storm is passed and I am back in touch with the deeper meaning of my life, I choose instead to express love, kindness, forgiveness. Because I believe those are the only things that last; certainly, they triumph over every misguided or ill intention I may have at one time harbored. And unquestionably they are what give my life meaning. I could choose to remain bitter, I could choose to disown those I feel betrayed by, to cast them out of my life like a thorn in my side. But all that does is increase the likelihood of eventually stepping on said thorn, creating more agony and turmoil for me down the road.
Ignoring someone who has hurt us isn’t facing our fears; it’s running away from them, especially when that person is trying only to show us the healing power of love and forgiveness. When we run from fear we run in circles, ending up always right where we started. Progression, growth, these things imply a linear movement forward or upward. They are also impossibilities unless we relinquish our fears and reach towards the light that is the extension of someone’s merciful hand.
Some motivations to express kindness are self-serving. Behind these acts there is a desire to get what we want, to feel better about ourselves, to feel less rejected. I’ve been rejected in love plenty. I now have what you would call a thick skin. You could set me on fire and I’d probably not bat an eye. And yet, to those who I have been hurt by and regardless of whether the same generosity is rendered to me, in the end I will always choose to extend graciousness and benevolence, not with my ego, but with my heart where the purest of intentions coexist often with the deepest well of sorrow and discontent. And in this way, I’d like to think I am destined for growth and for true love.
The only thing that keeps me sane is the belief that only love will remain. When all is said and done, what was left unspoken will come down to one word: Love. That’s all there ever truly was. That’s all that will be left behind. Whether with me in form, they’re engraved upon my soul. Mates at one time at least. Lovers no more. But still so much a part of me; their stories becoming my own, an interwoven tapestry. Dreams of what we could be soothed by gratitude for all that we were. And for what it’s worth, what we were was Love incarnate.
Today I am grateful:
*for a sense of hope and clarity.
*that the sun is shining.
*we made it out of the house on time.
*we made it to our destinations safely.
*my pre-teen daughter told me she loves me
and smiled at me (sort of) even after a tumultuous couple of days .
* for sharing a laugh with my 8-year old son over
his Kermit and Piggy impression.
*he didn’t act embarrassed to kiss me.
*I still have a piece of the most delicious cake my
friend made which I’m going to devour for breakfast.
I’d say that’s a pretty good start. What are you thankful for today?
Last night after I saw that I gained a few new followers since the poem I posted yesterday morning, I couldn’t help but wonder at who those people are. Who are you? Where are you? And how is it that I am able to connect with so many different people out there who I know absolutely nothing about?
I’ve always been shy about sharing my writing, especially when I worry it will expose my vulnerability and all those emotions I’ve never been allowed to have. Anger? What is that? Resentment? There’s no need to address those feelings. You just grin and bear it or so I learned.
Except that for me, I found other outlets. And writing was one of them. Talking about my true feelings to anyone has almost always seemed impossible. But writing about it, that’s another thing. I’ve always kept it to myself, however; I am a very private person. I guess maybe it’s fear of rejection. Nevertheless, I finally got the idea and the nerve to put it all out there for you, my (at least somewhat) faithful readers. There are like 47 of you! I know in the world of blogging that’s nothing. But let me tell you, I am thankful for every single one of my 47 followers.
The idea that I have “followers” is an odd one. Like I’m some prophet or messiah whose words other people seem to hang on to, sensing that within them there is a truth to be endowed. I quite like this idea actually, but alas I have no knowledge to impart. Or do I? Surely there is some truth hidden in my musings or else none of you would even bother to waste your time considering them. (Although, people have been known to squander their time doing far more senseless things.)
The point I’m trying to make is that I am amazed at how we are each able to connect with perfect strangers from all across the world. Parts of me floating along across the airwaves and into your home. Incredible! I am grateful for you, whoever you are. Whatever it is you gain by relating to my writing, I assure you I also feel just knowing you’re out there with your own struggles, your own share of heartache, your own moments of light that keep you ever hopeful for a brighter tomorrow. This is all part of the human condition. And what greater purpose is there for writing than to reflect on exactly that: that which makes us human?
I input my thoughts into a robot and it becomes accessible to other robots which you, my fellow human being, can access and allow to enter into your conscious awareness. This is the 21st century at its best — Using the technology we’ve discovered to provide opportunities to connect with others. From one human being to another, thank you for being a part of my journey. I wish you all the best as you reflect and write about your own.