I don’t know how your week has gone so far but mine, yes I realize today is just Sunday,no Monday, has started off rather emotionally charged and a bit off kilter. I for one did not go looking for this mess I seem to have found myself in, yet “it” found me all the same. To be completely honest I knew, deep down, I had my suspicions, but I wanted to dismiss my concerns as silly and frivolous. I ignored what I saw; turned an ear to such silly chatter when “it” made way into my ears from time to time, and yes I kept my mouth shut mostly because I could explain it away. Now the truth is front and center and I have a choice to make: first take a long, deep breath, second make issue of such silly nonsense or let it all go. So go ahead, imagine me sitting here at 2 AM in the morning, PJ’s on, yawning, hair this way and that, maybe even some let over dried tears on my face with my scale of justice on the table, balancing out what to do next!
The reality is sometimes we find ourselves at an impasse in our lives, with no real clear direction. Should we stay where we are, move forward, take a step backwards or honestly jump off the cliff in front of us and hope for the best? Surely we will land on our feet or at least find a way to tread water if it ends up too deep right? The problem is life can get complicated, become out of sorts; turn us inside out leaving our lives a bit unsteady if we really want to be honest. I for one will be the first to raise her hand; maybe even jump up and down to attest to this fact. To be real as they say, think about it this way: just when you think you have seen or heard it all the grapevine you thought you had dodged back in right field comes up out of left field swinging a bat with your name on it! Before you have a chance to duck, to run for cover or to at least get your glove up in place, the bat you saw out of the corner of your eye has flattened you on the ground leaving you breathless and practically unconscious.
If you ask me what I think about all this, I’d have to tell you its all part of the game we play, how we as human beings treat one another, good, bad or insane, we all sit in judgment sometime or other. Who knows maybe it’s even how the cards are stacked, I don’t know! It probably comes down to whether you are able to please everyone in your life or not. Personally, I wouldn’t advise trying to be everything to everybody all the time, myself. Why, well inevitably you end up the last person to see and to feel the bat swinging a fast pitch directly right into your gut!
I have always been one of those people who have lived her life on her sleeve, out loud, ready to give 110 percent. Now you would think this would this would be a good trait to have right? Well honestly, it’s been both a gift and a curse. The real gifts you will always find, receiving selflessly, are the souls you will meet, the lives which will touch yours, encouraging and inspiring you along the way. The problem with walking around with your heart on your sleeve or even just trying to be brave in a frightening situation is that some will not understand your intentions. They will see you as a threat, someone to be leery of, or sadly someone looking for an angle. Maybe the truth is they cannot face their own fears, their own insecurities but whatever their reasons you become an easy target. The whole curse part of this insanely ridiculous situation is that while you are nonchalantly walking around with your heart on your sleeve, chatting away trying to bravely face the monster sitting in your driveway waiting to jump you the moment you arrive, is that you have to plan ahead for and duck friendly fire trying to get into your own home! This is another reason why I suggest keeping an emotional and spiritual first aid kit on hand at all times friends. The only other suggestion I have for you is to be sure to add a bit of humor inside your kit as well because you never know when laughing at yourself will come in handy believe me!
If I am going to really dig down deep, to share a bigger piece of my own crazy jigsaw puzzle of a life with you I would have to fess up to the fact I really struggle with how I see myself or at least how I did for many years. From the time I was a little girl I have had to face many obstacles, chronic illnesses, and the harsh opinions of adults who could not understand my resolve in the face of such turmoil. I can tell you most people either love me or they can’t stand me. I choose not to use the word hate; though I am sure a few along the way would beg to differ with me, because it’s such a strong word, carrying a weight most do not really care to burden. I honestly believe it’s not so much hate as much as a misconceived understanding and preconceived biased which causes the infamous “them” to rally the troops in an uprising, followed by pitch forks and chants to burn you out of your hiding place . I have faced many who would begrudge my family blessings God has provided, truly shocked anyone would find us worthy, see a hidden strength they cannot, even becoming angry when life seems to turn around, growing more vocal as God’s plans begin coming together . Once I developed breast cancer, I coined these few my ever loving, always challenging, fully engaged, very vocal cancer bullies. Sadly sometimes these attacks on our character come from people we would never expect it from, as they voice their thoughts, opinions and all out assaults on what they perceive as “wrongs”.
So how does one deal with this kind of battery? Well what we need to understand is that sometimes these folks get caught up in the woes of life. They cannot see the forest for the trees; to them their view is blocked when ours may be wide open. It’s hard I know when those times arise, as they hold you responsible for turns in life you have had no control over. I would say many of us, especially those who do wear our hearts on our sleeves or provide them as open books for all to read, have been down this road a time or two in their journey through life. From my own point on view I believe those few have seen me as an escape goat, I am sure you could say the same in your life as well, if you relate to my set of circumstances that is. Do I believe these folks mean us ill will deep down? No not really, but they do seem very determined to dig up a few extra pot holes and throw a hurdle, or two or three in our way along the journey all the same. Yes I could show you my scares, my scraped knees or bruised shins from these hazards which have left me in need of roadside assistance often enough but where does that honestly lead us?
Why this has been the course of my life or of yours, I cannot tell you, but the truth is these ups and downs, emotional detours, torn fabrics and rough edges have shaped me, refined me, made me into the woman I am today. Many times I have longed to right a wrong I have thought was done to me or prove myself in another's eyes, but I have finally learned this lesson. Maybe one the Lord above has been trying to teach me all my life and that is this: my worth and my ability to do something great with my life is not found in what a select few may see in me. No, my life, your life, this open book that we have become, is a work of God and it is His hand which guides us through all the dark corridors, the frayed bridges and yes even over the cliffs! My life is a work in progress, a life continued, one full of promise even if it has been torn open, at times to shreds, battered and scared along the way.
I still question the where and the why’s in my life. I often ask God what His purpose is in all these patches left for me to sew onto this quilt of life He graciously continues to afford me. I even cry myself to sleep some nights worrying I have not done enough, failed someone He has guided into my life. But the truth is this: I am not perfect; I am simply a patch worked quilt, made of His design, forged in the threads of life. I try as I may to be a super woman, to rise above the turbulence, but honestly sometimes we have to fall flat on our faces to appreciate the grace we have been given.
Life is not about arriving in a perfect body or having lived a perfectly played game, no truly I have learned life is about the small, little moments of defeat, of getting back up on your feet and trying again the next day. Personally having my breast removed, watching the red devil, a poison true to its name pump through my veins and still finding a way to pull myself up everyday strengthened me, taught me what is worth fighting for and what is not. Cancer showed me what was real and what is honesty fake. If living life with breast cancer has taught me anything it is this: we have today, this very moment to offer ourselves to those we hold close to our hearts, to love them, to provide our hope and our friendship to those our lives touch. “They” may not always accept what we have to offer, they may even talk you down behind your back, but understand this my friend; the giving of yourself, of your life, of your love and of your hope to others ultimately fortifies your own ability to endure whatever obstacles blow through your life, even if those gusts are hurricane strength! This is the bottom line: If you have shown those who hold you to standards above reach your unconditional love then know you have given all you can, no more or less than you can afford to offer. One day, even if you do not see the end result come to fruition with your own eyes, those few who have bullied you will see this unwrapped gift, they will know you loved them with all your heart, and will even make note of this small, wrapped, unopened package long after your journey has taken you into the unknown.
So my dear friends, take heart, do not worry, and do not hide yourself away because you fear you have faltered. We all face defeat, we all fail, and we all rise above to start anew, the real secret is in how we respond to the next pitch, to the next work of art, the unending, constant thread and the continuing design in God’s plan for our lives. The truth, I believe, true to my own life is actually found in how we learn to forgive those we feel have done us a wrong while continuing to find infinite hope in this journey we call life. So tonight, or should I say morning, I surrender myself and my need to race and jump off the emotional cliff in front of me. Life is a journey, not a destination. I am pretty sure if I put myself to it I can avoid doing a cannon ball into the choppy water below. Besides who needs any extra bumps and bruises from an insane, silly jump and dive over an emotional cliff anyway?