Parents are the first homes for their children. We exist to welcome and nurture them–as the protectors of their souls. This is not a perfect job, nor one where you can take off when you are exhausted. We were chosen. Given an opportunity to pour purpose and breathe life onto their innocent, blank slates.
Slates that are always, always influenced by their surroundings.
Parents/mentors/extended family have an important responsibility to guide children away from hardship–but to stand firmly by their side when pain is inevitable. We are NOT meant to wound these innocent spirits with self-righteous ideas of who we THINK they should be. Especially, when their idea of who they are conflicts with what we were taught to believe.
If home is not SAFE, children will learn to outsource their needs. They will run–into the arms of others who may give them false information and take advantage of their hearts. They will lie and tell you what you want to hear when they think you cannot handle their truths. They will form guards against any connections to you.
I am reminded of children who “come out” to conservative parents. And parents who then attack the very thing they were meant to protect. There are parents who refuse to listen when their child is screaming for their attention. And parents who later blame themselves for the consequences.
I am reminded of myself. When I was younger I did everything I could to get away from home. I felt invalidated and broken. So much so, I delayed my potential for nearly a decade before I discovered that I was worth so much more.
Now I know that I am my home.
Sometimes, parents fail and we are left to keep our home safe. This is okay. Things like this happen to people everyday. We fall off our paths and run in a million different directions. We chase after things we do not need and leave our homes open without any security. We make mistakes then drag ourselves back in the game.
But with or without them you will find your way.
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– Jen Cosby
I keep my worries bound in a carefully tied knot, held in place to my everyday obligations. I want to be free of concern–to get a break from doubting that I will eventually get what I need. Because honestly, I recognize that plenty of people go without. There are an innumerable amount of people who have nothing. People who regardless, always find a way to be happy. People who stand up and decide to keep moving.
It is believed that the more you obtain, the less satisfied you will become. I remember the months and years when I had little of the material but still felt I had everything. I remember being jobless and nearly homeless with a 1.5 year old. How I lived in a 3 BR apartment with 4 other adults and slept in a shared bedroom on a twin sized bed with my daughter. I remember when my first brand new car was repossessed in the middle of the night with my daughter’s car seat & stroller in the trunk. I remember walking miles back and forth to the library to spend 30 minutes applying for jobs because I did not have access to a computer at home. Running 3 blocks to the bus stop with a toddler on my hip and 2 bags on my shoulder.
It was here I could have decided to give up and accept that life was going to keep throwing punches that I was never going to be able to dodge. I could have sat down in the mess I created and allowed failure to reign in my thoughts. I could have ignored the silent roar for better in my heart. But I continued to fight in spite of everything I thought I had lost.
I feel a familiar twinge of panic now because struggle has a history of infinitely repeating. We will not be free of trouble in this world and it is one of the few things that we are absolutely guaranteed. Now, instead of complaining that “life is not fair” or blaming others for my circumstances–I try to take full responsibility for the gains and the losses. I cannot blame other people for my failures or ignore the consequences when I make mistakes. I can however, opt to face my sorrows and behave with the utmost of integrity.
Right now, it feels like I am being pulled in opposing directions. I feel like everything I fought so hard for is in constant jeopardy. Truthfully, sometimes we have deal with the consequences of our past decisions for decades. Even if I learned my lesson the first time, I still have to make peace with the fact that I deviated from God’s perfect plan for my life.
The beautiful thing about messing up is that it does not mean that we are:
unable to fix our stuff.
It just means we have to fight harder, get stronger and remember to get back up.
I wonder what happens to beautiful souls who lose their courage to the bitter realities of life. A part of me knows decisions are made that subtract from happiness and cause undesirable consequences–but another part of me cannot begin to analyze the cost. Instead, I look out of my window at clouds that promise oncoming cold and heavy, relentless rain. Because even nature releases its burden before it starts all over again.
The cycle of life reminds us of how precious time is while we attempt to live out our plans and work towards individual designs. We are planners and organizers. Dreamers who spend hours thinking of ways to get the very best of everything. Yet sometimes, we intentionally procrastinate against the necessary hard work required of us. Turning our backs on the truth of who we are.
There are times of testing that give way to amazing moments that we could have never achieved without grace. In these difficult moments we forget what is important and get defensive when our ideal is lost. When I personally measured my commitment to others I found I could have done more when my friends were hurting. Instead, I chose to bury my head in the sand and act as if nothing was happening. I ignored those public posts and dismissed their agonizing cries for attention–assuming that a person who needed help would just come out and ask for it. But it is difficult to anticipate help when you are ashamed of your actions.
For the better part of a year I ran from every single one of my callings. I dug in deep with isolation and spent quality time in my own self-imposed rejection. At the time, I felt wounded by so many things that I became accustomed to and accepting of pain. It became a daily habit for me to wake up and go through the day like a zombie–oblivious to the hurt I was feeling. Eventually, that hurt became a part of the way I communicated. I lashed out and broke confidence with people who wanted more for and from me. Now, I realize I could do nothing for them unless I wanted more for myself.
Now that I want more I need to take consistent steps in the right direction. It means I cannot run from difficult conversations or fill silence with resentment and apathy. My calling requires me to be active in the pursuit of my emotional, physical and mental health. When I am wrong, I must admit it and walk down the path towards reconciliation and forgiveness. Likewise, if someone hurts me (accidentally or not) it is up to me to be honest about my feelings.
What they choose to do with my truth is NOT my responsibility.
Sometimes we grow apart from people we plan to know forever. We age, mature and take on new adventures that the ones we love can not explore with us. Sometimes, people are ripped from our grasp without notice. Like a midday summer storm they are torn from our presence and we can only watch helplessly as they go. And still, after this, some connections are broken down slowly over years. People we chose and who chose us seem to fade from our consciousness as we gradually consider them less and less in some unguided quest towards our happiness.
If I knew then what I know now there are a heap of things I would have done differently.
For instance, I would have done a better job of protecting myself and been a bigger supporter of actively pursuing my own destiny. Instead, I have given up time and energy running backwards without acknowledging the truth. I have quietly whispered bits and pieces of my story to people who could not care less about me. Building dreams I did not believe in for the sake of people who were never coming with me. I have no real excuse. Only a feeling that I knew but did not do, better.
Today, I acknowledge this extraordinary call on my life, in my heart, for my family. Not just in the dark spaces where the mind travels when you do not want to be fully seen. No, I run with a confident sense of urgency–to answer the call of destiny. Even if this means leaving some of the people I love, behind me.