This past weekend I celebrated two major milestones in my life, I turned 50 on Saturday and we celebrated 30 years of marriage yesterday. Two very important events in my life, my birth of course and my marriage.
So lets discuss age. My age does not bring about regrets, fear, anxiety or any of the range of emotions that I have seen exhibited in others who reach this age. Yes there are things I wish I could change, but for the most part I have had a good life. It doesn't mean it has been all straight roads and that I have just breezed through life; no it has definitely had its adversities, I have taken many a wrong turn, and have had many a days that I wish I could just get off the crazy train.
So why do I consider my self fortunate, why does my age not frighten me? I have done a lot in my life, and at the age of 20 I began my life with my husband. Together we have raised a family, we have traveled, we have watched our children grow, we have shared trials and have rejoiced at accomplishments. Of course we all wish from time to time that somethings could have been different, other paths could have been chosen, life could have been less harsher, and so forth. I have come to learn that with each wrong turn, I have discovered new and wondrous things; with each adversity, I have found a strength I didn't know I possessed; and in those moments that seemed so harsh, so unrelenting, there was a quiet gentleness that reached out to me.
At the age of 45 I had what I now consider the most painful year of my life. The death of my daughter, Rachel, left me so tired, confused, hurt, abandoned, the list of words could go on and on. Yet here I am now, 50 years old, and yes there is still pain, yes it still hurts, and occasionally there is still confusion, but yet, here I am. I stand now on the other side of all that uncertainty, not yet fully standing in the light, but knowing that I am so much closer now. Does it mean I have fully come to comprehend why my daughter had to die, NO; what it does mean is that I have come to accept that she is not returning, she is gone. In place of her physical being, I am now fully aware of here spiritual presence. No, I am not seeing ghosts, I just know she is with me. I feel her presence in my heart, she is on my mind, and I think of her often.
For example, yesterday my co-workers decided to surprise me with a birthday cake. They sang happy birthday and when it was done, I began to distribute a slice to everyone seated around the table. As I was doing this, the phone rang, it was answered, and without giving it a second thought, the receptionist looked at me and said 'Rachel is on the phone for you.' I stopped what I was doing, looked at her and simply said 'what' as everyone else held there breath. No, it wasn't my daughter, but a young woman who was simply calling to ask some questions about an upcoming event; but the timing was unbelievable. Even though it wasn't my daughter, it was her way a letting me know that she too wanted to wish me a happy birthday. Even my co-workers felt that it was more than mere coincidence.
Too often we will miss these simple messages from our loved ones, or we choose to ignore them, believing it only to be our over-active imaginations. Occasionally they will be witnessed by others and we can either accept them as such, or brush them off as nonsense. For me, I choose to see them as a way of communicating with Rachel, my dad and other loved ones who have died. However you perceive these occurrences in your life, is your choice and yours alone. I only ask you to be open to the possibility that they can happen.
Fifty...wow! Am I wiser? Have I learned anything from the lessons life has given me? Have I allowed myself to grow? These are my questions as I look forward to many more years to come. Of course, I fully hope that I have gained some wisdom along the way, that I have learned my lessons well and in doing so, have grown into the person I am now. I can honestly say, that with the death of my daughter, I have become more compassionate, more understanding of other's weaknesses, and more willing to listen to confused ramblings of a grieving person, regardless of why they grieve. On the flip side of the coin, I find myself becoming impatient with those who so readily brush off the pain of others, who will not try to look at something from the other side, who refuse to take on another perspective. In my impatience, I also feel a sadness for them, and I often pray that they will not have to cope with any harsh realities in order to learn empathy, to show compassion and understanding.
Life is definitely what we make of it. How we choose to live, how we perceive what happens to us, and how we move forward from adversity, says so much about you. What is your motto? How do you see that cup in front of you, is it half-full or half-empty? Is it woe is me, or how do I look for ways to move on from here? I cannot answer these questions for you, neither can I imply as to how you should answer them. For me asking myself these types of questions, is a great barometer for how I feel and where I am at any given moment in my life. One thing I would recommend, is from time to time, asking yourself some of these questions. By doing so, you can get a great pulse of who you are, where you are and what is important to you. Allow yourself to be YOU! to be the best you possible. And if there is pain, let it help you find strength and healing, use it as a tool to help you find yourself.
Live you life, fully, regardless of where you've been or where you are coming from.
Blessings! and until we meet again.