Today is Love day- most of us call it Valentines. Many people nowadays complain about Valentine’s Day. You may have heard it said it is too commercialized or it’s all about money not love or why can’t we love every day.
For some Valentine’s Day is stressful because they did not get the candy or flowers they expected from the person they love or they don’t have a person to get them candy or flowers. Today I believe that love and contentment is a choice. Many times in life we find ourselves chasing after contentment or love . Have you ever noticed a dog chasing its tail? What do you think will happen if he finally caught up with it? When we are discontent because of struggles in life we are wasting valuable time that we could be using in thanksgiving to God. We all have struggles and life challenges and I have decided to wake up each morning and be happy and content on purpose!!. Now I am not going to say it is easy because my life is not perfect. There are some things that I would like to be changed in my life but I realize complaining about it and stressing over it will not change it! It says in the word that the joy of the Lord is my strength. I believe as we experience joy which I define as “Peace despite circumstances”- we will have a greater appreciation when the problem is worked out and have more of an awareness that despite the negative energy we may have given to it , it work out the way God planned it!
I love Valentine’s Day and my decision is to love Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday –. Simply because God blessed me to experience it! I need only to ask him what I can do to help others find peace and love through Him!!
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner I am reflecting on my love experience. Most times I find myself being more grateful as to having experienced love then being more sad at having it to end.
I was thinking this would be my first year not getting a Valentine card from Scott. Last week I looked through my old cards and I found only one and that one I don’t remember getting and it was not signed. This one was so special because On the outside pouch was 12 cards representing a rose for 12 days. I have never seen a card like that and I really enjoy reading the message that each card has on it. It is merely one word but the word is beautiful and it is what He (God) – (I feel whatever experiences I have now that comes from Scott-comes through God) would have me reflect on. My rose this morning was understanding. In our personal and spiritual relationships we must seek understanding. God will always reveal to us the proper amount of understanding in our personal situation and we must seek to both understand and to be understood. I can truthfully say my life is still filled with ups and downs but that is the way of life!
About a month before Scott passed away, he told me he had the Love of God, Faith in God and the Peace of God. As I reflect on that day, he felt blessed despite his situation. Unfortunately, there were still weeks ahead of pain and all that cancer tries to snatch from us. I believe Peace and Faith is all that can carry us through when experiencing our lowest point. I really feel the reward on the other side will far outweigh the pain in this side for each of us.
Today I passed a street I regularly traveled going to rehab to see my husband, Scott. A feeling of emptiness and pain welled up inside and I wanted to cry but no tears came, only drops. It has been almost 6 months since he passed. On some days it feels like yesterday yet other days it feels like an eternity. Honestly, most days I am ok– Enjoying life, helping people, praying and seeking a closer spiritual walk. Other times I ponder why, despite the fact that everyone has grief or has gone through grief, yet we walk around each other as if the pain is completely gone all the time. I do realize we must move on with life without our loved one, but can we sometimes be honest when someone asks how things are. Why can’t we say, Well I been thinking about him all week”. Or I had a hard time going to sleep because he was not in bed with me”. I do understand why we say we are fine because we need to go on and don’t want to bring others down emotionally. We all need those special people we can share with when everything seems to fall apart, when you really are having a tough time as well as when things are good. For I find that both conditions are temporary and we eventually get passed pain then experience joy –then a bit of pain– then joy and the cycle continues.
I find that as I continue to move through this season of life, things are ever changing. The landmarks that Scott and I shared have changed. The layout of one of our favorite stores has changed, the cost of gas has changed from when he use to fill up to go to work, the fabric of the world is changing with people being about to carry guns openly despite the fact that all types of violent crimes are on the rise.
Change, itself, is never permanent, that is why we call it change. The key to change is riding the wave through it not fighting a storm in it. Let your change be like a wave that you totally surrender to as God guides you to your predetermined destiny!
This morning as I was struggling through my grief, I reflected on one of my students and I learned a deep lesson. – Just keep showing up!! This student has a tougher time with concepts but she always shows up to deal with them without complaint. Many times when I see her in the hallway, I will give her a math problem and she will think about it and give me an answer. She will not run away or avoid me, she meets me head on and is ready because she knows I am going to ask her something and she is not really sure if she is able to answer. Many times when I am challenged with my grief or other life problems, I may tend to want to avoid it or choose not to deal with it. Sometimes I feel so weak and frustrated I refuse to put forth my best effort. Despite the struggles in my life, I must commit to show up with a positive attitude and ready to tackle challenges regardless of how difficult they may be. Even in sadness, I need to show up and deal with this difficulty. Life is never easy, but we all must continue to fight despite our struggles knowing that as we fight, we will achieve strength and we must never compare ourselves to others that appear to have it easy.
Another quality I noticed in this student is that she stays in a positive frame of mind sharing things with me (without even knowing) that really make my day. Friday, I had an incident that was very stressful for me and it concerned my teaching or management of students. In our conversation, she made a comment that my class went by much faster than her other classes. This comment really made my day because perception is everything. When you have the perception that things are good, they are good. When you experience life in the moment enjoying each moment, life is good. Reflect on how many times you may have made a positive comment to someone and it has lifted them beyond measure. We may never know how our words can affect another person so we must maintain positives remarks that will uplift and not tear down.
That is how God works. He uses simple things to bring clarity to the complex. When I feel burdened with my heavy load that may be difficult for me—I will not look at others and see how they may not seem to struggle as I do, but I will keep my head up and press on in a positive frame of mind and do as Ymani– keep showing up!
As I reflect on the phrase “happy new year”, I understand that for some of us this is a virtual impossible experience. For according to an article in Psychology Today, happiness is external and is based on situations, events, people, places and things. Because of our unique situations, many times happiness eludes us; however, joy can embrace us. Joy is a spiritual quality that is internal. Joy is a feeling that despite your struggles you can still feel at peace; In spite of your pain you can still Bring light and encouragement to others. For me, the joy of the Lord is MY strength! For in a true relationship with God, regardless of what you’re going through, this New Year can be a joyous one!!
My wish and prayer for each of you is for you to have a Joyous 2016 and always look up to the source of that joy!
Today I am experiencing my grief as drops –A teardrop, A drop of memories, and a Drop of smiles. Thus far This has been a Joyous new season and I am coming into it with excitement and anticipation; however I am experiencing The loss of the previous season and that is OK. I realize grief is a process and no matter how strong I may feel today I know there will be moments but I welcome them. I feel it’s OK to cry, to miss Scott and to desire to experience the season all over again and again and again!! But the essence of my being knows that it will not happen in that manner. It was never designed to happen that way. Our existence is designed to experience life and to use each life experience to bring others closer to the Spirit of God. Is all about your life’s testimony–it’s all about how you can reach out and help others find healing where there is pain –find hope where there is no hope —
and find joy in the midst of sadness. I know this is the path I am on today. And had I not experienced all of the ups and downs of the life I had with Scott, I would have not known how to testify to others. Yes I’m learning to appreciate those little Drops of grief because I know they will pass and result in yet another testimony.
Well November 17th would’ve been Scott’s 59th birthday. I am doing OK I had a moment going through home goods store and hearing Christmas music on Saturday. Scott and I loved to go to home goods and shop around. He likes looking at the different cookies and snacks and hand soaps. He would have a birthday party each year with his mother daughter sister and family We have the party on yesterday and of course I Came. They are small Christian family and his mother has lost all four of her son’s. I can only imagine how she may feel on tomorrow. I called her today and she seem to be very fine . She has a deep sense of spirituality and a strong belief in God. Last year he almost did not go to the party because he did not feel good. We had to really talk him out of bed but after he got there he was glad he went. I know God is ordering my steps now and I am praying each day for direction. We all have an appointed time and we have work to do until that time comes. I have grown much closer to God since Scott’s transition. I want to help others and I pray for relationships often. I stay very busy with school and sometimes I wonder if God is going to move me to do something else. School is really getting to hard.
I gave Scott’s mother a prayer this he had written when he was 11 years old. She had been sick and he prayed that she would not get sick anymore. Today I know that prayer was answered because she is 76 years old and still in good health.
Despite the fact Scott is home with the Lord I am still able to laugh. I spent some time yesterday at church and with a friend that made me laugh all afternoon. That was such a great feeling, when I went to bed I looked around my room and I thanked God for how much he’s favored me. My room was recently painted a light purple color and I changed all my bedding to pure white. When I sleep is like sleeping on a purple cloud I feel so peaceful and content. I seldom make my bed and I keep books and Bibles and devotionals right there for me to grab when I need encouragement.
In summary despite what you’re going through try and look for the silver lining. It may be harder to see on some days than in others but if you look through the eyes of God you can find it.
Last night I was looking on Facebook and found this picture and I know I laughed out loud for at least 10 minutes. Laughing is so comforting and powerful in my life. I never thought despite my circumstances that I could ever laugh again. After Scott passed away, I asked God Would I ever experience happiness again? Would I ever have fun again? God has answered that prayer for me. The Bible says that the joy of the Lord is my strength. I guess that means that to be happy with God you can be strong. Our happiness with God makes me stronger in other areas of my life. Today I found a journal that I’ve written 20 years ago. I was amazed at my thinking at that time. A lot has changed in 20 years but my core appears to be the same. I’ve always loved God and desired direction from him. I have always loved people and wanted to find a way to help. I’ve always appreciated a good relationship and I see how God answered my prayer for 2 years later I met Scott. I hope you enjoy the picture as much as I did!