Man, if you live long enough, life will throw you curveballs. It will give you tests you don’t pass, it will break your spirit. We all have stories.
Life came at me and my family hard in 2009 in the form of a drunk driver hitting us head-on and changing our lives forever. Changing me forever. Broken legs, ankles, feet and now a knee has been added to the list. That evening the doctors told my husband that they’d try to save my legs, but no promises. Too much damage. I woke up and they were there, but I was in for a LOOOONNGGG hospital/rehab stay. Away from my family, my KIDS! And life went right on. During those long, often lonely months I chose to use most of my time being angry at God, plotting revenge on the idiot who hit us, and thinking about all I’d lost.
Fast forward to 2015. Finally getting away from seemingly endless surgeries and doctor visits, horrible debt from being out of work for many years and finally feeling secure again…sort of. For the first time in our married lives, our money was starting to get right, we had a new business, building our dream home after years in a small rental that we’d planned to be in a few months, our kids were great…then..divorce. Betrayal. Terror. ANGER. Boy, have I got that emotion down.
It took me many months, over a year, ok so I’m still working on it. Everything I did was motivated to show them they wouldn’t get me down. I’d make more money, I’d finish this house, I’d be the best parent, I’d be the one with the least sin. Don’t get me wrong, those feelings that pushed me to these goals had great outcomes, but happiness was escaping me. True peacefulness.
It’s been over 2 years since I said I was done with my marriage. Nearly 8 years since I thought I probably would never walk again. It’s taken me that long to realize WHAT is important. It wasn’t a job, or a bigger bank account or a new house and it certainly wasn’t being without sin…because I never managed that one. The only thing that is important is your people. That’s really it. As long as you have people in your corner, your kids, your family, your friends, your church…you have it made. Your tribe. Oh…and the toughie…Forgiveness. Yep, you gotta do that.
But here’s the thing, you do have to let it go…but you don’t have to STAY in a situation that is bad for your health…mental, physical, emotional. You can love someone and still realize that you are worth being treated with love and respect. THAT is my way of respecting the gifts God did give me.
Forgiveness is something I had to try and try again. It took me a good long while to get the hang of it. But a good friend told me that this didn’t mean I didn’t get upset, didn’t stand up for myself, didn’t have to leave. I can do those things too, and then forgive the behavior, the person, even if it isn’t asked for or reciprocated. That’s what God commands of me. I can’t say that I’m “religious” but of that I’m certain.
It occurs to me with all that’s going on in our world right now, why do we let statues get us riled up? Why do we let a group of misguided people get us so bent out of shape? Why do we (I) let our president make us want to fight with our friends or family? Forgiveness: you gotta do it. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but I can’t even begin to tell you the burden that has been lifted off of me. I feel like I can live again, I can BREATHE again.
I have friends whose children have cancer, who have battled it themselves, friends that have lost children, spouses, loved ones. Don’t waste one more second on emotions that don’t bring you joy. As a REALTOR I tell people to depersonalize…as a friend I’m telling you to hang up whatever pictures you need, wherever you can to remind you of why this life is precious and truly what is important. The list is usually short. It ain’t things.
Oh, and full disclosure…I still sin, still get mad. The other day a dude didn’t give me a turn signal and I got so mad I called him a name. Few seconds later my phone rings. Turned out it was my neighbor, who apologized profusely for not using his turn signal. So, God allows me to be humbled quite often when I trip. And guess what? My neighbor forgave me 🙂