Tag Archives: regret

Before You Know It

Happy Monday, folks. Well, I’ve had my coffee and have succombed to the morning, so it’s happy, but more so because I say it is. Plus, I woke up. That’s a bonus.

It seems my emotional state has been heightened lately. Maybe that is partly from not living on our own yet. I love his folks but not having your privacy takes it toll. And maybe part of that is being away from my kids. Maybe not being away, but realizing that they are all adults now. They don’t need me like they use to. They still need me, of course, but now it’s different.

I became a grandma in September 2012 and again in April 2013. Seeing my boys with their own children…that’s just a crazy feeling. People tout how great it is being a grandparent – and yes, it is all that but there’s another level that is often overlooked: seeing your child become a parent. The look in their eyes when they hold their child. The concern in their voice. It brings back memories of when I held them. And now, look at them, holding their own.

Missouri-139-v2 Mom use to tell me that you always worry about your kids, no matter how old. Man. Was she right. I pray for their marriages, for their kids, for their health, for their jobs, for the ability to make good decisions and cling to their faith. It’s never ending. And yes, Mom was right. The worry gets bigger as they get bigger. It’s no longer just a matter o worrying if they will scrap a knee or get their feelings hurt at school…

We also hear oh so often how “I’m turning into my mother/father”. Well, I definitely feel like I’m looking through different lenses. It’s like I’ve crossed another threshhold. Like when I watch my kids with their kids; I think to myself “So this is how my Mom felt.” It makes me miss her. My older siblings do not know how blessed they were. I was 33 when Mom passed. (And in that instant, I turned 5 again.) She didn’t get to see my grandkids. She didn’t get to meet Dave. She didn’t get to see me overcome my addictions and really make something of my life. I believe she is still around me. Albeit not the same, I find comfort in believing that she visits and knows how happy I am and how far I’ve come. I believe she sees that all the prayers she prayed for me, worked.

I guess what has gotten to me is, the realization that time doesn’t stop. Some threshholds are bigger than others… I can recall hollering for my mom to watch me do flips on the clothesline pole. I remember her opening the back door and hollering for me when I didn’t want come in from the rain. I remember her disappointment when I was caught playing sick at school and she had to come pick me up, when I stayed out past my curfew, when I dropped out of school. I remember her walking into the hospital room the day I gave birth to my first child. I remember her in her wheelchair, being there for my first college graduation. I remember that call at 4am that she had a stroke…I remember seeing her. It didn’t look like her. I remember her hospital bed in the living room and sitting on her bedside, crying when she asked what I wanted after she passed. Some day that will be me…I can only hope that I have a slue of grandkids, a book of stories, and all the aches and pains that come with age. And I can only hope that I’ve instilled good values in my children who will pass them on to their children, who will ultimately carry it forward after I’m gone. Maybe that’s why I’m so into photography. It’s a way you can stop time. Capture a memory, share it and relive it.

So, what’s the moral of this post? Heck. I don’t know. The old cliches just don’t seem to cut it anymore: ‘Live life to the fullest’, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’, ‘Give it all you’ve got’…when we reach the end, who knows what happens next. All I know is, we will all makes mistakes. We will all have some type of regret. We will all fall down and hopefully, we will all get up better than we were before. We will all have good memories and yes, they will be sprinkled with some bad. I guess the moral is, own it. It’s yours. Take photos. Document your life. Leave behind something good. Be grateful for today, be grateful for yesterday and for as many tomorrows as you can get. Embrace the good and the bad and all the treshholds of life. It’s over before we know it.

Bigger than the Biggest

So. I feel like blogging…so many things to blog about. The hard part is picking one. It’s the day after Christmas. Just got off the phone with my second oldest sister. This topic seems appropriate. For those who don’t know me, I’m the baby of 8 full-blooded siblings. My folks were married almost 50 years. I’m the youngest. Sixteen years separate me from the oldest. All but me and a brother are married and every one of us have at least 1 child. You’d think our Christmas would be filled with merriment and joy and family upon family. But no.

This blog will not be filled with happiness and joy, nor oozing with holiday delight and moments of love and cherished memories. No. I’m pissed. I’m pissed that I have such a large family and we don’t take the time to be together like we use to. If my Mom were still alive, she’d be pissed too. Oh yeah. We are getting together, on New Year’s Day. No food. Just stop by between 2pm and 5pm. I doubt everyone will stay 3 hours. Several nieces and nephews won’t be there and half of us live out of state. I wonder if everyone is going out of desirement or requirement. (I know it’s not a word. Sue me.) What gets me most is, back in the day, it was “we eat at noon.” You could show up early but rarely did anyone ever show up late without cause. And while it was hard to find a day when no one had committments with their inlaws, most stuck around until it was dark. What the hell is 2pm-5pm?? Having a beginning and ending time sounds more like a meeting, not a gathering of family. Maybe I should take doughnuts. (Yes. It’s okay to laugh. I am.)

Every year we use to gather on Christmas. If not Christmas day, a day very close to it. My old bedroom usually served as the coat room: I smile when I think about my old bed hidden with stacks of coats, scarfs, purses and gloves. And as you would suspect with a family my size, there were more gift than the livingroom could accomodate, but even better, it was a necessity to drag every chair and table from the basement upstairs so that no one had to stand. Everyone worked together, everyone pitched in. (No. I really had to go to the bathroom when it was time to do dishes. 😉 ) Kids chased each other down the hall, their laughs echoed from the basement where the adults would also congregate eventually to play ping pong or pool. The holiday feativites fostered a time for nieces and nephews to stregthen their bonds. A time for brothers and sisters to poke fun at ugly sweaters, compliment new hairdos, talk about new things in our lives, and maybe make a joke or two. 

An array of food always adorned several tables and nooks and crannies in the kitchen. There was always chicken and dumplings – a specialty my Mom and Grandma would tediously and religiously begin preparing the night before. And everyone brought a dish. Some we became accustom to every year: my sister-in-laws famous 8-way potatoes. Another sister’s spin on broccoli casserole. Always the familiar, and ever so popular peanut butter balls, fudge and sugar cookies with the Hershey’s kiss on the top that my second oldest sister would make. They weren’t even popular that first year she made them. Oh. She has a way with desserts. When I saw her pull up, I always ran out to help her bring stuff in just so I could get a sniff.

We are a strong family based on faith, yet while we always said grace before a meal, one of my sister’s would always include Jesus by telling a story. Usually before opening gifts to remind us what the season was all about. My niece and nephews even put on a show one year, costumes and all. They were so proud and we were proud just watching them.

All of these things – the food, the family, the traditions, the working together, the laughs, the pokes, the attempts to avoid doing dishes, the watching grandma fall asleep upright in the recliner –  it was what made the holiday special. Man. I love those memories. I can close my eyes and I’m there again.

If you find yourself complaining about traveling to visit inlaws, or trying to juggling seeing both sides of the family during the holidays, next year, just do it and be thankful. Don’t let the holiday’s become a chore. It’s not about presents and food and ugly sweaters. It’s about spending time together. Even if it’s in 3 hour allottment… No present, no dish, no card, will ever replace those moments. Maybe next year will be better. Until then, I’m going to enjoy every second, even if there’s no sugar cookie with a hershey’s kiss in the middle, because it’s more about just being together because when you take all those little things in life and put them together, they become bigger than the biggest things. And those are often the most irreplaceable.

I’m not pissed anymore. The holidays may make me sad, but I know I’m still blessed. Even my own children were scattered around the states with their significant others. So, the holidays may not be exactly as I wish they would be, but I do appreciate the memories. Maybe that’s why I’m the first to volunteer to do dishes now….

You don’t need a holiday to hug the ones you love.

Oh! And let me add: remember the movie “A Christmas Story”? The mom goes through all the work to make a big meal, and the dog eats the turkey and ruins dinner so they go to a Chinese restaurant? It wasn’t about the food, it was about being together. Thanks for reminding me of that, Dave. While we just went there to eat, it meant much more to me than you know. But that’s how God works. In the simple details. I love you.

Only Time Can Reveal If It’s Real

Well. I slept like crap. Stayed in bed as long as my body would endure, then I fixed me a cup of coffee and settled in front of the fire pit for an afternoon fire. (Who says bonfires are just for night time, right?) I’m out there amiss the colorful blanket of leaves sipping my joe, letting the heat of the sun warm my body and the flames entertain my mind. I’m having an urge to write; thus, here I am.

Richard Bach, famous author of ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’, once wrote, If you love something, set it free; if it comes backs it’s yours, if it doesn’t, it never was. I don’t think he meant to say that love never existed, rather that the love was never meant to be ours forever. There are so many flavors of love. How many of us have ever truly let love go? And I mean when it utterly hurts to your core to let it go. And why do we tend to get mad if someone takes their love away, then blame and point fingers and cry pain-filled tears? I know it hurts, but would you really want to be with someone only because it is expected of them? Tears can be a product of love, but not a factor. Trust me, I know firsthand that love can be so painful at times causing deep, sincere tears, but tears cannot, and should not, make someone love you. No one owes you love; love satisfies no debt if it is not genuine. Love must come freely, on its own. Coerced love only delays the inevitable. Sadly, this world has become so self-centered, it’s pathetic. We’ve gotten lost in the definition of love and in turn have made love something we expect and hold onto out of desperation or give out of guilt. The sad reality is, in desperation, we rarely have any true form of love, and ironically, we choke out any chance for true love to ever develop in the process.

I think Bach meant to reveal the true nature of love: a freeing force, rather than an imprisoning one. If you love someone, you will honor and respect the potential and the highest good for that person…even if that means not being a part of that good…even if that means stepping away to allow time to reveal what kind of love is being felt. If in honoring another’s potential, they return your love following their natural path, their love for you is true. This is the kind of love that endures and thrives, and believe it or not, grows. If it is not returned, it never was. And why would you want that anyway?

There is a gray area when letting go. Often no one sees the turmoil that goes on inside. A smile disguises the pain on the outside, but inside, it is something so personal and so deep…the ache to explore that love coupled with the knowledge that you just can’t allow yourself to show them. Yet, love does not need to be reciprocated. You can love someone from a distance without them loving you back. You can honor and love someone without being an integral part of their life. Man, that is hard, but think of the alternative: you cannot force someone to love you, and why would you want to? You can do this best when you love yourself first, because then you are already whole. Love is meant to compliment, not complete. It is the well from which a whole different set of new and wonderful memories can be drawn together. There is nothing missing inside of you that anyone else can fill. Sure, none of us are perfect. We all have flaws, we all have needs…wants, but doesn’t that make finding a real love that much more important??  None of us are perfect, but each of us is perfect for somebody. Sometimes loving someone from a distance is the best way to express love, allowing time to intercede.

Selfless love only takes one person. Maybe, just maybe, in letting go you actually freed that person to realize their love for someone else…however sad or painful that may be, it is still an expression of love. In real unselfish love, their happiness comes first. That is the hardest form of love to understand, but we must. Even if we do not understand, we must at least accept. Everything happens for a reason even if we never come to fully understand it. And that’s where faith comes in; believing in what we cannot see. For true love to flourish, it must be shared. Letting go is sometimes the first step in discovering what kind of love, if any, exists.

 The bible says, “Do not awaken love until is so desires.” ~ Song of Solomon 8:4.I wonder if this had anything to do with Bach’s analogy. If these awakenings happen during a season when they can’t be righteously fulfilled, they often lead down a path of hurt and regret. Again, all the more reason to let it go and allow time to intercede. I honestly regret nothing because I know how I feel. I respect his honesty, and his situation. I can only hope to meet someone with his qualities again. I do, however, apologize for complicating things and plead with God to forgive me for stepping into something I probably shouldn’t have. Love must be in a position to give as well as receive. Love must be allowed to flow free.

If anything, I am convinced that there is someone extremely special out there for me and I am willing to wait for him whether our paths have already crossed or not. Certain memories will remain on hold until we can enjoy them together…like it is supposed to be. Love, to me, is sacred. Always will be. And for true love, I am willing to surrender to time because only time can truly reveal. Time is the ultimate master and we are all just slaves to it. Time can feel like an enemy and a friend. Time can allow us to heal, or it can allow love to grow. Time never intends to harm. Not knowing the outcome is the hardest part and often why we end up hurt because we want to rush time. Don’t. We may think we have the answers, but until both hearts are free, feelings will get muddled, hearts will get entangled and we will inevitably end up pointing fingers and placing blame. Let time reveal if it is real. If we follow this painful advice now, we will assuredly get our answer. And in the event love returns, and stays, we can rest knowing we will never have to let go of it again. We will only need to nurture it, express it, share it and hold it as the most valuable possession on earth. Just like it’s supposed to be.

NOTE: Please do not use or distribute this photo, the words are mine but the image is not.

Live As If the Camera Is Rolling Non-Stop

I was reading Max Lucado’s “Facing Your Giants” again last night. The chapter “Colossal Collapses” starts off talking about this guy that bought the domain ‘www.BenedictXVI.com’. While this was a gold mine, he only asked for three things: one of ‘those’ hats, a free stay at the Vatican hotel, and complete absolution, no  questions asked, for the third week of March 1987.’ I know, right? What did he do that week?? But more so than that, one sentence really resoniated with me: “If a box of tapes existed documenting every second of your life, which tapes would you burn?”

Interesting, right? We all have those moments we wish we could erase from our memory forever. I’ve asked for forgiveness for those dark times in my life and I can rest knowing they are in my past. In the last 3 years I honestly don’t have any moments I would be afraid to view again. Maybe times I wished I had walked away quicker, not believed so completed, but God is helping me through all that. I’m making great progress. I’ve discovered I’m looking in the mirror more than at others – none of us are perfect. We do have some control as to how others make us feel. We are not all victim. I consciously look at the reflection of myself, in my choices, my decisions, and their consequences.

To look at this statement as it is, it’s more a matter of realizing regrets. But we can’t change our past. We can go to God and ask His forgiveness and grace.  He can make us new again. Then, I believe we could all be well served, to live as if the camera is rolling non-stop. Our parents, our children, our family, our friends…and even our enemies can see everything we do. What would we do differently? What would we change? What do want to see when we look in that mirror? Be proud of who you are – even in your faults. Be a better you than you were yesterday. Let the camera roll, and live with no regrets.

Memory Purge: The Art of Letting Go

There I am, gloomy Saturday morning, cleaning my room. I actually enjoy the sun hiding while it rains. It creates an ambiance of tranquility. The house is quite. Everyone is gone…just me and the soft pittering of rain on my window pane.

As I clean I find some old memories of my special friend and I recall what my accountability partner told me the day after I confronted him, “Get rid of it all, Angie – the pictures, the texts, everything.” Let go of the old so the new can have a place in my life. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17. I had to let the old go. Honestly, it took a couple days but reluctantly, I did discard the texts, photos… and surprisingly, it didn’t take long before I began to feel a lifting in my spirit. No more constant looking back; no more rehashing. No more trying to ‘figure it out’…it is what it is – or better – it was what it was. Naturally my focus redirected to my future, not the past. The new, not the old.

I sat on my bed and started to post this on Facebook, but it deserves a spot on my blog. I often pray that God lead me to what I should write and times like these, I know He hears me. I’m actually crying, but these are happy tears. I know that I know that God is with me right now.  He doesn’t want me to hurt –He doesn’t want any of us to hurt. He wants us to grow and go forward. That’s why He laid it on my heart to sit down and write what I’m feeling right now. Letting go of the old, we allow ourselves to become new. Hanging onto the past keeps us connected to the pain; it doesn’t allow for us to fully heal.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” ~ Revelation 21:4-5

There is a special freedom in purging the things that bind us to bad memories…photos, poems, cards, texts, emails, notes, etc. By letting go of them, I let go of the mourning, the pain. I make way for the new – I make way for true healing. Those days are gone and recalling them only stirs up old feelings: resentment, regret…pain. Let your new self emerge! It will happen! I didn’t realize the impact of doing so but I’m telling you – it is so worth it. The things I can’t purge like clothes, music, movie lines…I avoided them for a long time, but they also are slowly forming new meaning. They are becoming a signal of a rebirth in my spirit…a renewing of my soul. A reminder that better days are yet to come, but they can’t if we are holding on.

I forgive myself for not unclenching my grip sooner – for not seeing the signs that were evident, for not adhering to the unsettling in my spirit that could have avoided most of this turmoil. I can let all that go because I take from it a valuable lesson. I know what I don’t want. And…I forgive him, too. The lies, the deceit, the infidelity; those are his crosses to bare. That’s between him and God. Sadly, not everyone can be saved, not even those who claim to want it – but I do. Onward bound…  

Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” ~ Luke 7:47