Within our perfect, well planned, sought after dreams of our youth for our lives, we somehow never foresee and anticipate that pain, tragedy, sickness, loss, death, bankruptcy, divorce and heartbreak to be interwoven within our perfectly planned lives. We believe we will escape such horrific, devastating events and that those things must happen to other unfortunate people. We have such idealistic, romantic visions of a perfect, beautiful love story where we live with our Prince or Princess “happily ever-after”. After all, that is what we read in fairy tales and see in all the Disney movies. But our life is not a fairy tale, it is never perfect where we walk through life singing joyously and dancing, skipping along every moment happy and smiling in the beautiful sunshine, no cloud in the sky and no forecast for rain. No, our sad reality is that we all will go through some tough, trying, stressful, dark times and yet those times will not last forever; just as the happy celebrations, parties and sunshine don’t last forever either.
The simple truth is, if we live past five years old, our world will expand beyond our nucleus of mom, dad and siblings as we enter school. There we will find that not everything goes our way. We learned to share, take turns, delay gratification and so often our feelings may have been hurt by someone being mean, opinionated and/or bullying us. We survived and carry scars from the harsh, hateful words spoken to us on into our adulthood.
As we transition into becoming an adult, we will have likely lived through the loss of our pet, our first love, our first break-up where we thought we would die from the broken heart, bought our first car and paid for some costly repairs, graduated, got into the workforce or went to college, we severed the apron strings from our mom’s and moved out on our own. We learned the importance of a dollar and how far we can make it stretch eating raman noodles and spaghetti o’s and frozen burritos. We learned how to be on time for classes or a job and suffer the consequences of being tardy and we likely experienced and grieved the loss of a close relative, grandparent or friend by 21. We knew there had to be someone and something great out in the world for us and “one day” it all would come to us.
We still searched for someone and something to complete us; to fill the void in our gut, maybe the answer would be a degree, a fabulous career where we make that six figure income, or that one special person that will make all our dreams come true, maybe the accolades and success of being number ” 1″ in our line of work would make us happy and complete? Whatever and whomever it is…… We are still looking and hopeful through our 20’s!
As we mosey on into the next couple of decades, our thirties and forties may have allowed us to experience finding “the one”, maybe we married or not, had the overwhelming joy and fulfillment of looking into the face of our beautiful, angelic newborn we created, or maybe we experienced the anguish of finding out we couldn’t conceive and we started the process of adoption. There were the many sleepless nights fretting over our sick child, where we would so gladly have taken the illness upon ourselves so our babies wouldn’t suffer, and then we dealt with a rebellious, curfew-breaking teenager, the ever painful words of, “I hate you, you just don’t understand!” from the one we would have laid our own lives down for. We spend hours stressing over our huge financial responsibilities and insurmountable mountains of debt, exhausted and lifeless we get up day after day to do the same thing over and over again. Surely this is someone else’s life; ours wasn’t supposed to be like this. Our exhaustion and lack of attention and the mis-communication with our spouse or significant other leads to a breakdown in our relationship and we have to admit we are in trouble and seek counseling, but we’re too tired and prideful and unwilling to forgive and change our old patterns, so we split and go our separate ways or we stay in a relationship that is toxic and unhealthy for everyone because we don’t want to admit we failed at something. Maybe one of the parties is unfaithful, we experience infidelity first hand, the overwhelming pain of betrayal and face the prospect of choosing to get out and start all over again. Or maybe we are the ones that get to celebrate 20, 25 and 30 years of marriage; we held on, persevered, forgave and loved each other enough to realize no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes and we decide our marriage is worth fighting for and at the class reunions everyone is envious of our long lasting relationship. Maybe our spouse, our love of our life is taken from us by cancer or some other form of tragic loss. We are left with reassessing our lives from now, looking into our future, questioning if there really is one without “them” by our side. So many dreams, plans and ideas hinged on us being together, now they are gone. How do we cope, breathe, and live without them?
As we progress and pass into the half century mark where we get that dreaded AARP card in the mail, reminding us that we are getting close to a retirement age, we are now eligible for senior discounts, we may start shopping for “fashionable-looking orthotic” shoes, back braces, orthopedic/adjustable beds, C-pap machines, and we may suffer with acid reflux and dreaded hot flashes. Maybe we look amazing, feel great, and have no medical conditions leading us to take any medications, isn’t it wonderful! We are the new 50’s!!!! Many of us have reprioritized, realizing what is really important in life; we take our health seriously and have transformed into “one hot grandma and grandpa”! It has been done; I have witnessed it because some of you look AMAZING, better than you did in high school. Then there are the ones that have lived a fast, hard, crazy life and look 60. I have seen that too, but you still are funny, charming and witty! We have discovered in this wonderful decade what works, hasn’t and doesn’t and we begin to clean-out, taking inventory and de-clutter and get rid of the junk that has weighed us down. We determine what is essential and non, keeping only what is necessary for we realize we don’t take anything with us when we leave this earth! We have more peace now; we know not to fret over the small stuff. We know that all things are eventually going to work out, we are survivors, overcomers and triumphant in many areas of our lives. We know that nothing lasts forever especially our knees, hips, elbows and shoulders! LOL! In choosing to simplify our lives, we enjoy and spend time and our energy on things and with people that brings us joy, comfort and pleasure; like being in the company of our grown children and our amazing, incredibly smart grand kids, our few, real close personal friends. We don’t waste our calories on bland food, we eat good food that nourishes our soul, we plan and attend big family reunions and get-togethers, and we have more frequent visits with our aging and ailing parents, asking more questions and searching where we came from and learning of our heritages.
Maybe we get to take more time off from work, have extended vacations, because after-all, we have earned it! We are thinking more of our fully vested pensions, 401 K’s, annuities, etc….. We are planning our life after retirement, what we will do and where will we go with all that free time? Maybe we plan to spend our days at the beach house or on the lake fishing or traveling the country by RV or cruising the Caribbean or Mediterranean, we may contemplate writing our autobiography as we start checking off our “bucket list”.
In the midst of this phase of our lives, our mid-fifties, we think we have finally made it; our life is good, not perfect according to our childlike plans, but good and perfect for us. We got our kids raised and they are doing well and then we are faced with our own mortality as we deal with the heartbreaking reality of our precious parent’s demise into feeble children themselves. Their sharp minds and strong bodies have failed them and we must step up to the plate and take on the role of parent and caretaker for them; we must make decisions concerning their medical, legal and financial affairs. We will have to take away their freedom for their own safety and that of others when it comes to driving any longer. Can they live alone anymore and care for themselves and when do we step in and take charge? Their dignity is reduced greatly when we have to shower and bathe them, change their diaper and feed them like an infant. When we cannot do it any longer, we are faced with the difficult decision to hire someone one to do it for us, whether privately in home if money allows or we have to place them in a nursing home facility if more assistance is needed. Sad to say, a nursing home is usually the last place they will call home and they know it, as they await their turn to die. Please go visit your elderly parents, aunts, uncles, relatives and friends in these facilities, my aunt works in one and it is heartbreaking the sad stories she tells me of lost, forgotten old people there. We eventually all will have to bury our parents if we outlive them and within the sadness and grief of such great a loss, we come to realize that we are now orphans; no longer do we have a Mom and Dad. We have become the next generation in line to face our own death.
Our life truly is a mystery, a journey filled with many twists and turns and curves, unexpected bumps and road blocks and even some dead-ends where we have to put it in reverse and go back to the initial wrong turn. The place where we missed it, where we were too busy to see the warning signs and plowed on through full speed ahead until we crashed. We never know how our life will turn out; we make plans, prepare for the future with bright ideas and dreams but we never know what the next chapter will reveal in the love storybook of our lives, we don’t know what will unfold. We can make all the best of plans, draw up the grandest of blueprints, have it all mapped out and somehow we think that we are actually in control of our destiny. We think within our own selfish, finite minds, within our own little egos that we have it all figured out, we have all the answers; when the truth is, no one knows, no one can truly be prepared enough, insured enough and anticipate far enough ahead for all that could possibly happen and often times does in our lives. One single moment, one chance meeting the right person, being at the right place at the right time can alter our lives in such profound ways, no one knows for sure!
However: This one thing I do know for sure:
In this world; nothing is for certain, nothing lasts forever, and even a “lifetime guarantee” does not last. But it is in the uncertainty, the unexpected, the unpredictable, the unintentional, the unplanned times do we so often find the most breathtaking joyful WOW moments and the greatest, abundance of blessings coming our way. It really is in the smallest of details, the simplest of acts do we find the most awesome, amazing fulfilling love! It is in the most unlikely places and strangest of circumstances do we find true, deep, real beauty! It is in the unanswered prayers do we find our true answer! It is when we quit looking do we find what we have searched our whole life for! It is in the quiet, dark, still moments of our lives do we hear the voice of our Father whispering our name, “Come to Me, I will show you the way!” It is in the brokenness of our lives when we call out to God are we scooped up and put back together again, only this time brand new and perfect; for it is in Christ alone do we find our true salvation! Through knowing Him and trusting Him completely do we find our forgiveness, our peace, our serenity, our rest, our comfort; for He is our strength, our courage, our guidance and He is the way gently leading us back home to the Heart and Arms Of Father! These are the greatest of BLESSINGS!
So yes, even though life our lives are filled with plenty of uncertainties; we still make our plans, but be pliable, be moldable, be adaptable, be open and be accepting of what comes our way. May we embrace the obstacles and see them as opportunities, look at the bad as beauty in the making, observe the trials as steps to triumph, the stresses as something that will strengthen us, the failures as learning tools, the dark clouds as shelter from the scorching sun, the stormy rains as a cleansing and washing away of the dirt and debris so we can see clearly and may we through the darkness of our night the unfolding of the glorious morning sunrise of a new day dawning. For surely as the sun rises in the eastern sky, so is His unfailing love, amazing grace and unending mercy for us.
So this is our life; each day is just a page turning into another chapter, it is a miracle, it is what it is and it all happens, the good and the bad alike, are ever-changing, we must roll with the flow, allow for growth, expansion, healing and evolve and allow God to mold us into His likeness. We are the main characters of our own love story. We are beautifully and wonderfully made, designed and destined for greatness, we are God’s masterpiece, an original and like no other. He loves us and knew us before we were conceived in our mother’s womb, He orchestrates and perfects all that concerns us and His heart is incomplete until we turn our hearts toward home and rest eternally with Him.
Have a great day my dearest friends, love on someone special to you and know that you are a miracle!