I feel like I have spent most of this week in my car driving back and forth from place to place. During this time- in order to escape from the everlasting to-do list in my head, the traffic, the phone ringing- I have rolled the windows down, turned up my Brandi Carlisle or Amy Ray and just felt the nature around me. I have noticed a slight chill in the wind, the smell of fall and, you guessed it, the leaves are getting ready to change again. So naturally I would be reminded of last fall.
Last week, I was helping a friend through a hard time in her life. As I spoke, I continued to bring up lessons I learned from my "growth pain." These are some of the things I said to her:
1. First and foremost, you must be true to yourself. You cannot be a good wife, mother, daughter, employee, friend, etc if you are not centered. You must know yourself and respect who you have become.
2. The decisions you make for yourself are exactly that- YOURS. What might be good for someone else, might not be so great for you. This also works for your marriage. There are no two marriages that are just alike. So, why should every marriage adhere to the same values?
3. Making decisions based on who you are gives you true freedom. When you allow others' actions determine your response, you are bound to those people. Not free.
4. Being committed to your responsibilities determines your character. Do not abandon your responsibilities if your job there is not finished.
5. When faced with a difficult decision, choose the positive option. Choose the healthier option.
6. Friends come to us in many different ways. Beauty is having an eclectic group of friends that differ in beliefs, looks, values and style. Once this is realized, life is so much easier to forgive shortcomings and respect others.
7. While on the subject of respecting others, learn as much as you can from the people that surround you. There is surely something in their life that could be positive and healthy for your life. Unless it is their favorite pair of shoes, I am sure they would love for you to have it.
This list of life lessons is not exhaustive... exhausting, yes, but not complete. A year is a long time day by day, but when I realize what I have gained over the last twelve months, it seems fairly short. There were some very hurtful and hard times and also some very freeing times. I feel like I have emerged a better person for my faithful and sometimes confused family, my friends (new and old, near and far), my community, my sweet and patient husband, my God and for myself.
I send blessings of peace and thankfulness to my support system that refused to let me fall down when all I wanted to do was to fall be swallowed by the ground. You know who you are because you are the ones that were the most hurt during those times. All of you have left your mark on my life. I have bloomed into a better person because of all of you.