Thursday, June 23, 2011

Winds of Change

Change once again looms. It hovers over me. Sometimes, I sense change before it happens—I feel it in my spirit. I will tell my dad, "The winds of change are blowing" long before they occur, and he realizes that I'm feeling an anxiousness about something that I cannot explain.  Other times, life surprises me. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by life over the past year, as changes swept in and altered my world. 38 has been a good year for me. Some of the change was internal, and some was external—some chosen, and some not. Much of the time, change just happens, and we adapt to it. Life throws us opportunities that are both toilsome and freeing. Some of the changes over the past year were difficult, but they were for my best. Sometimes I don’t see the positive in situations until years later—I can look back and say, “I’m glad it happened, even though it hurt at the time.” But the changes this past year had immediate effects in my life. They led to greater growth and happiness at a fast pace.

The upcoming changes have been looming in my mind as an option for a different future for myself and others. I had hoped for a transition.  Maybe not exactly this way, but “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. True?  This time change hasn’t begun with anxiousness in my spirit or keen senses on my part, it’s a change that I have had to initiate and to want to happen. I have taken the first step, and feel at peace.

I am nervous. I am excited. I am planning and scheming and mulling over the preparations. I feel as if so much of the past few years have led up to this time in my life. The personal growth, the job security, the house, the stability, the family, the friends—it has all been for purposes outside of my own personal fulfillment.

I am embracing this change, and it has me full of anticipation.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Father's Day Reflections

Circa 1973 -  Mom and Dad were 23
 When my father was my age, 38, I was 16.  I saw him as wise, strong, stable.  I saw my parents as old, and wondered who I would be and where I would be at their age.  Oh, the naivety of youth.

I realize now that my dad was likely just holding on.  He was making life work, not having all the answers, but faking his way through it anyway.  I have found a new stability in the past year and a half, and I wonder if he had found that yet.  I have no children, and although part of me still feels 18, I appreciate the wisdom that has come with age.  I wouldn't relive any of my past, because life was hard enough the first 38 years.  But those experiences made me stronger.  Having 16 and 17 year old daughters, did my dad feel 18?  Likely not.  Did he have it as together as I assumed?  Likely not.  But I believed in him.  I knew he would make everything OK.  As long as I had my dad, things would work out.

I now see my dad's white hair, his tired eyes, and the scar on his chest.  One day he will not be here, and I will still be OK.   He has taught me well.  I can take care of myself.  He has seen me through financial, relationship, workplace, and religious caverns.  Because of my dad's consistent love, devotion, care, and respect, I have learned to be the strong woman he had hoped I would become.   His example has shown me what integrity is, what devotion is, what respect is. 

Me and Dad around 1995
I needed my dad at 16 for financial, emotional, and religious reasons.  Now, I need him for wisdom.  I gleen what I can from him.  My favorite times with him are when we are alone, visiting, going over our hopes, our disappointments, our dreams, our failures.  We analyze each others' dreams and each others' experiences.  His knowledge is vast.  Yet he is willing to listen to my take on things.  At these times, our relationship is not just father/daughter.  It's friendship. 

My dad made mistakes.  He wasn't perfect.  But his devotion to us--his family--overrides all of those errors.  His consistency in my life has been priceless.  He believed in me when I didn't believe in me.  He prayed for me when I told him not to waste his time.  He doesn't have to be harsh with us, because we know him well enough to see when we have disappointed him.  That is punishment enough.

I am blessed to have a father I respect.  I am blessed to have his example in my life.  I only hope I can one day be such an example in the life of a child.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Hope

When I was young, I was going to conquer the world.  I was going to prove something--to myself, to my family, to the world.  Then life happened.  And I continued, but held onto those dreams.  I was meant for great things.  I was going to do something BIG one day.  But slowly, life took twists and turns, and waiting for this or that opportunity to arise became lost in the day to day grind of survival, finding myself, and growing.  And as I entered my mid thirties, my dreams had completely changed.  I was no longer expecting to be great--I just wanted to survive.  My expectations lowered, my joy was drowned.

I now realize that doing great things or being a great person can happen, small moment by small moment.  I will not be President.  I will not change the world.  But I can change my own world.  I can change the world for others through my own willingness to help, to love, to be the person I was made to be.  That is as great as any wealthy, powerful person.

I am now seeing how many of my hardships have built my character.  They have prepared me for this moment.  They have calmed me, solidified my values, and led me to my current path.

I am not rich.  I am not going to make the "most beautiful" list.  I am not going to bare a child.  I may never win the lottery.  But I do have a new hope.  But a different hope from my youth.  A hope for the future that involves stability, companionship, and love.  I am able to use the gifts and the experience of my past to be the person I need to be at this moment in time, for those people around me who mean the most to me.

I am blessed.