Sunday, October 20, 2013

Forgiveness and Love…

I have struggled for a few years with forgiving, which is something I haven’t had a really hard time with prior to this time in my life.  I’m not sure why it has been so difficult this time.  I’ve read and listened to the things that have helped me in the past to just let it go.  Then, last week when I was reading my novel, something struck me to the core.  The daughter in my novel had been raised by her father after her mother left them when she was five years old.  As an adult asking her father about it, the daughter made a comment that he must really hate her mother because of what she had done, and his response was, “Yes, almost as much as I love her.”

That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks… all this time I have focused on the pain that I have gone through, and the injustices done to me.  I have honored requests to stay out of people’s lives.  What I finally realized is that even though these situations have hurt terrifically, I once had great love for those that I have struggled to forgive, and perhaps that great love is still present in some form.  And maybe I can finally forgive BECAUSE of that love, not in spite of it.  For some reason, recognizing that love and honoring requests because I love them instead of because I feel rejected or hurt by them makes it seem softer, not so difficult to forgive.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blessings amidst the chaos of life

As I watch the news and reflect on the happenings of the world and of my own life, I see how often momentary lapses in judgment can take a person down a path that they never intended.  At times in my life, I have found myself headed down those paths...what seems like something benign can actually lead to a place that was never intended or imagined from the beginning.  One thing seems to be common though... The good consequences don't happen by accident...they take work and constant effort, and the bad places we find ourselves usually happen by making poor choices or taking an easy path...not putting forth the effort to stay away or having the courage to say no.  Sometimes they are a result of deep pain, lashing out or "proving" that we can make that decision, sometimes they come from curiosity and wonder.  Coming back from those places is never an easy path, and staying out of those places that cause pain seems to be a constant battle for some people.

Just the other day I was talking with a member of my family who said, "Of course you are doing well and everything because I know you don't do anything wrong!"  I had to smile.  First, I think every person needs someone who looks at them and only sees the good.  That is truly a blessing!  But more important, it is also good to have people who know the good and the bad, and choose to believe and focus on the good, and encourage from that place of strength.  So many of the people I see on the news have family and friends that don't believe their family member is capable of the poor choices they make, but it's obvious they were.  We all are at some point.  But choosing better is what brings us true growth and happiness on this path of life.

We all go through difficult times, when we think the sun shines on everyone around us but wonder if it will ever shine on us again.  Just these last 2 or 3 weeks for me have been a struggle, but I keep getting up and moving forward.  Some days are better than others, and that is life.  I need to be more grateful for the days that really are better than others, instead of constantly watching the "rain" in my life.

With that in mind, I want to take a moment to recognize a few of the blessings for which I am grateful...
  • I am thankful for my health.  The more I study the body and disease, the more I am so thankful for my health.  I completely took it for granted in my earlier years, but appreciate it more and more with every year!
  • I am thankful for my cute pups that make me smile every day.
  • I am thankful for food at home, and a home for that matter.  
  • I am thankful for the sunshine yesterday, even if I only saw it for a little while.
  • I am so thankful for my current job that I enjoy, and that is helping me through school!
  • I am thankful for a mind that works, and for the opportunity I have to go back to school at my age and advance my profession a little more.  I never thought I would be here, but again, small choices at critical times can make a big difference in the path we land on...then it's just a matter of walking down that path a while.
  • I am thankful for my faith in God, in my Savior, Jesus Christ, and for the hope I have in the future.  He is the one that has made my life possible as it is now, and who gives me inner peace in a world of chaos and despair.
I have come to realize that it doesn't always matter if we have the things in life that we always thought we would have, or if life ends up the way we plan.  Most often it seems like it doesn't.  But that doesn't mean we can't be happy in the moment, or come to appreciate the things we have today.  I need to remember this more often in my life, and be thankful for what I can do, and what I do have instead of focusing on the things that I want, or that I think I don't have.