The Upswing of Rock Bottom


rockbottomHave you ever had that realization that you must have hit the true rock bottom, the all time low for your life as you know it? The moment where you realize that if this path continues, you will cease existence as you know it? I think at one time or another we all find ourselves in a situation much like that. I believe that a true “rock bottom” can look different for different people. Mine was not what I expected. Life took a very drastic turn for me and I was barely holding on. It has been a true life-changing, utterly altering, shockingly amazing journey that I have been walking.

My life has always had its ups and downs, whose doesn’t? I never thought that what happened to me would happen. That sounds so cliche. Every time I hear someone utter those words, I think, “but life happens to us all, what makes you think you are excluded?” I never realized until this past September, what it really meant. When someone says that they didn’t think the experience or situation would happen to them, they were truly blind to the reality that the possibility existed and was lying so close to them that it was waiting to strike. In September I was blind.

I couldn’t understand how this could be happening. I said to my mother “I tried so hard to make sure this didn’t happen…” What I didn’t realize until a bit later was that by trying to ensure these events didn’t happen, the ones that shook me to the core of my being and punched a hole so wide that I didn’t think it would heal but fully thought it would be the end, I actually had a hand in making it all come true.

It takes a lot to look at your life and the events surrounding you, the turmoil, shame, hurt, sorrow, pain, all of it, that it will either make or break you. I chose that I would not let this end me. I vowed that I would survive and I would be better for it. I would learn from this.

Had it not been for a very important person in my life giving me a virtual smack and a sudden wake up call that I was sliding fast toward a life that wasn’t worth living, that I realized I had to make some changes. Time to put the big girl pants on and quit wallowing in the hurt and pain and start making something out of it. You know the old saying, when life gives you lemons you make lemonade.

God Rock

I started the journey toward self healing and self helping. Struggling to grip back on to everything in my life that I had worked so hard to build. I knew that I didn’t want to lose those things for good. I had to make a choice, I had to decide that I was worth it and the people I loved were worth it too.

Its not easy and I believe that it will be an ever changing, continuously rolling tide that will only grow with each sunrise and sunset. But I am looking forward to how beautiful those sunrises and sunsets will be each day, each moment, shining a God given grace, love and mercy on me, lighting up the path that awaits my next steps on a journey that I am proud to be walking.

I will forever be sad that it took my rock bottom for me to wake up. I can not change anything that has happened. I can only look to the future that will be waiting for my next moment.

Rock-bottom1

 

 

Forgive…….whats that?


F-O-R-G-I-V-E

That is the biggest 7 letter word I have ever known of. You are probably as familiar with these “quotes” as I am :

“forgive and forget”, “you must forgive and move on”, “I can forgive, but I will never forget”, “Forgiveness isn’t easy but it makes you a stronger person”, “Forgiving someone will let you be free”, “You need to forgive someone for you, not for them”

Confused much? I was, could be, am……hell I don’t know!!

To me it’s very weird to say that I am forgiving someone because it never made me feel any better to say that. I would still think about what happened and get red-faced pissed off just thinking about it. Is that what forgiveness is? It seemed to me like forgiving someone was just letting them off the hook. I am not in the business of letting people off the hook! You screwed me over, you did this to me!! Why should I forgive you?

Familiar? Looking back on life, I can never remember anyone telling me what forgiveness actually was. I was just told how to do it. It’s as frustrating as trying to follow directions to cook and you have no idea what you are cooking. How good do you think that will turn out? If I know what I’m cooking, I can put my own spin on it to liven it up and I enjoy it more. If you knew what forgiveness was AND how to do it – you think you could liven it up, feel good about it and enjoy the process more?

Forgiveness – Letting go of what you think should be and accepting what is.

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Wow, really?! So, if I’m angry that I thought my husband should have made me coffee and he didn’t. To forgive him, I just have to realize that he didn’t, it’s not the end of the world, and I could make some myself?! Okay, okay, okay, that’s a super-duper simplistic version of what I’m telling you but its the truth.

If I am angry, hurt or upset about something, dwelling on it, brooding over it and retelling it a thousand times – makes no difference in the world in moving to forgiveness. But, you know what it does do? It harbors hatred. Pissed-off-ness (as I like to call it) turns into resentment. Resentment will lead to defiance and walls – gobs and gobs of walls – that you build all around you. Why? Because it temporarily makes you feel safer.

Fair warning: Walls that keep people out, also keep people in. Shocker, I know.

For me, seeing the simple definition that says “let go of possibilities that don’t exist and embrace what is”, this was the first time it clicked with me on what it meant to forgive someone. No one had taught me what it was, they just tried to give me hundreds of ways to do it. For me, that didn’t work. Can you imagine going through almost 30 years of life and never having actually forgave anyone?

Yup, it was as bas as it sounds.

Forgiving is easy to do when it comes down to someone not stopping at the store to get what you needed. So, you don’t have what you needed – that sucks, it really does. But, you can’t change it so what can you do? Accept you don’t have it and figure out what to do next. Go yourself…….. you didn’t really need it after all……… you have enough to work with anyway……there are so many possibilities.

I will admit though, forgiving someone who has seriously hurt you or wronged you in some way is much, much more difficult. Why? Because someone who has hurt you this deeply means you were vulnerable to them. When you are vulnerable, you are open from the inside out and the pain goes much deeper. You want the good side of this? Here goes – learning how to forgive, actually heals the wounds that were created.

No joke!

I am not telling you that it will be easy. I had been wounded so deeply that I felt like I was a walking bag full of broken glass. For me to forgive those that hurt me meant that I had to understand where each of these broken pieces had come from – if not, how else could I put them back? Who hurt me, how did they hurt me? That was terribly painful. I had to remember things I have spent my whole life trying to forget. But guess what? Once you go through this process, you start to feel whole again.

I won’t lie. I prayed for my life. I prayed for God to forgive me. I couldn’t have started this process without God. Am I done forgiving? No. Some of these shards of glass are still to sharp to touch, but I am a lot better off than ever before. I know how to forgive now. When I am faced with a new challenge where I need to forgive, its much easier. Forgiving old wounds that were buried long ago is much harder than wounds of today. I also learned in forgiving, that forgiving myself for what I didn’t know is just as important for forgiving others.

Do you have a list of people to forgive? Maybe even just one? Think about it, forgiving them doesn’t mean they get away scott free, it does mean that you can be free.

Day 2 of 30 Kind Acts


Today was a difficult day. I woke up at 4am tossing and turning and I had a migraine to top it all off. Wonderful! Ugghh. I came downstairs and laid on the couch and really avoided getting up until the absolute last possible minute. I ran my daughter to school and came right back home. I made a cup of coffee and sat down to work.How was I supposed to find someone today?! I felt like dog poop that had been trampled on by a horse. I had to work today because tomorrow I am going on my daughters fifth grade field trip. At lunch I didn’t want to go anywhere. I had my husband just come and hold me for an hour and had chinese food delivered.

I suppose I could have tried to work with the chinese delivery person…… yeah but supposing to do something was really heartfelt right?! Jeez!! So, I finished working then I had to get myself ready because at 5pm I still had not dressed for the day. See? I’m telling you, it was a bad day. I had movies to return because I was already being charged an arm and a leg, I had to put gas in the car, I needed to find a bathing suit because part of tomorrow’s trip is the water park. So much to do and so little time.

I was doing all of these things, in an hour because the kids had to be at church at 630 I had an appointment at 645 in the next town over and I had to pick the kids back up by 8pm. Yup – normal mom stuff right? It was, is….whatever. I was doing. I was going through the motions, what else was I supposed to do?

So, I called my mom to say hi and see what she was doing and she happened to ask me if I had done my kind act for the day. Nope I hadn’t. Still had no idea what I would be doing. I was on the phone with my mom, driving, and she said she had been thinking of the other side of the coin, what would someone do for her?

It hit me.

My mom was a waitress when I was growing up. She worked hard doing all she could for us sometimes even working multiple jobs – waitressing – at the same time. I remember her getting pennies as a tip, which if you are a waitress or waiter, you know it’s a slap in the face. I have a friend or two that is currently working at a restaurant because they are in school.

The Waitress

The Waitress (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, I let my mom keep talking and finally told her I had my idea and I had to go. She insisted on being on the phone while I did this, ok mom, sure. So, I pulled into the parking lot. The hostess looked at me to seat me and I refused seating. I said I was just going to sit at the bar for a little bit. So I did. I figured whenever I saw who I was looking for, I would know. After all, I trust God to lead me to the right person.

Aha! There she is!! I walked up to her and said “Do you have a minute?”

“Sure” she says with a half-hearted smile

“I don’t have a table here. But I want you to have this” as I hold out my hand. I have wrapped in my fingers a five dollar bill and five ones. She looks down, looking a bit taken aback but not shocked and reaches to take what is in my hand.

“I hope your day is going well and that it only gets better” I say with a smile. I turn and walk out of the restaurant and resume my hurried schedule. But I’m not the same.

I can’t explain to you the feeling of giving something to someone. I don’t know the name of the waitress I gave to today and I don’t need to. I don’t know if she is a mom, a college student, just working to work. I don’t know if she likes her job or hates it. I don’t know a lot of things and most certainly I know nothing about her.

What do I know? I know how it feels to give selflessly. I am not doing this to say “look at me!” I am doing this so I can discover new parts of myself that need to be uncovered. Parts that can share, love, give, be vulnerable and do it all over and over again.

Miraculously, I havent thought of my migraine since I was getting gas today. But when I was thinking about my migraine, I wasnt thinking about what I could do for someone else today. Try it, just once. Give something from your heart, expecting nothing in return, selflessly and anonymously. What would you do for someone else?

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