Thursday, March 4, 2010

Something Happened on the Way to the Courthouse (Part 3)

wake-up-call2Before you read on, be sure you are caught up on Part I and Part 2 of the series.


So here we are. The last four years have presented many changes and challenges for me and my family. Two boys with two homes. A career change. A dieing mother. It’s enough to drive any sane person blind with madness. On the contrary though, my vision seems to be clearer today than ever before. I finally feel like Dad’s prediction may be coming true.


I can recall talking with Dad about this process throughout the years. Now that I am a parent, I recognize his efforts to help me avoid some pitfalls or obstacles he may have experienced. Like most of us, he too had to learn from his mistakes, and his experiences make him the person he is today. He warned me I would find out who my true friends are at some point in my life. He also told me I can’t fix stupid. Not that my friends are stupid, mind you. This is just his way of saying I can not change people and more importantly, I can't control them. I can only control myself and how I react to people and situations.


The last few years have taught me a few things I wasn’t really ready to admit until recently:

  • I refuse to let others make me feel inferior. In fact, I took charge of the way I feel about things and myself. What others think of us does not determine our worth.

  • I am ok that others may not like what I do or say. This will not, however, stop me from saying it. Silence breeds contempt and I will not be silent anymore. This is not to say I will speak my mind or do things at the expense of others. I am simply owning my opinions and taking responsibility for my actions.

  • I am ok with the fact that I am not perfect. This may come as a shock to some of you, but you are not perfect either. May I suggest you not judge others based on your opinion of yourself? Remember others have opinions of you too. Admitting our imperfections actually makes people like us a little more. Who wants to be friends with the perfect people that just make others feel inadequate anyway?

  • I am more like my mother than I ever cared to admit. As I watch her die though, I learn all too late that I should be so lucky.

  • I have been shown by two friends what it means to be a true Christian. They have both offered unconditional love and support without judgment. The sad thing though, is these two friends have also magnified the fact that my other “Christian” friends may need to brush up on the scripture they spout off regularly at me to condemn me. I think they must know a different God than I do.

  • Perception is not reality. This theory works a couple of ways. What others perceive does not mean it is true. It also means that I will never know what others deal with in their lives or be able to understand what they are going through. Remember that when you find yourself about to judge others.

  • I learned to like myself again. It is easy to pick out the people that don’t like themselves for one reason or another. You can do it too; who are the people in your life that are full of judgment or fall off the planet when you are in need?


Going through this process and coming to these conclusions was not an easy task. Some of these ideas are those with which I still have a hard time admitting. There was a point in my “awakening” I wondered how much one person could actually handle at one time before breaking. I truly believe, however, we are never given more than we can handle. The alternative would have been to have these things trickle in one at a time. Imagine a slow leak that you don’t even know is present. You look up one day and see a wet spot on your ceiling. The next day the roof caves in. I think I will go with the all at once method. At least I can try to avoid loosing my top if possible.


One more thing. If you happen to see my Dad, do me a favor. Don’t tell him I said he was right. I want him to hear it from me. One day I hope that my boys will say I was right about something. I hope at some point in their lives they will realize I knew what I was talking about. My boys teach me something everyday; teaching them something is the least I can do for them.

1 comment:

jg said...

Can I tell you what my favorite part of evolving with age has been? LETTING GO. Finding a way to not just accept myself but to no longer feel a need to assign blame. To have the grace of understanding that even when others hurt me it has so much less to do with any intention on their part and so much more to do with the fact that they themselves are just trying to muddle through this crazy thing we call life. Letting go is one of the hardest things we have to learn to do. Maybe it's letting go of the need for control. Maybe it's letting go of a need for perfection. Maybe it's letting go of someone we love as they journey onward from this life to the next. It feels like learning to let go has been the most empowering thing that has happened to me in my adult life. And yet, somehow I have a feeling that even though I feel like I have so much figured out right now, in just a few short years I will look back once again and realize that I didn't really know that much at all. And I welcome that opportunity...because like you said, I like myself now. How cool am I gonna be then?