Turns out…

We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned,
So as to accept the life that is waiting for us.
–Joseph Campbell

When I was younger – pre-teen – I had my life planned out. I was going to marry an Osmond brother, move to Utah, convert to Mormonism and have a ton of kids. As I grew up, my life plan pretty much stayed the same, except for the Osmond-Utah-Mormon part of it. I was going to marry and have a ton of kids. My life didn’t turn out as I planned.

Turns out that I have never married and the only kids I have ever had are the 4-legged kind (but no baby goats). I resented God for a long time because He didn’t provide a husband for me. I also resented Him for giving me polycystic ovaries so the likelihood of conception in any case was nominal.

Turns out I was wrong about resenting God. God is not the author of my pain. He didn’t keep me from being married because He wanted me to learn a lesson. He didn’t keep me from having children because He wanted to make me suffer. I have learned that God provided His Creation with the freewill to think and do as we see fit. He never promised me a life of bliss. He never promised me all my dreams would come true. He never promised me a life free of pain. What God did promise me is that He would never abandon me, never stop loving me, and use what was meant for bad toward me and turn it to good.

Turns out that the fault lies with me for never having married. It took me along time – a very long time – to come to terms with that knowledge. My painful experience with a non-loving father shaped my view of men and of relationships that I have not been able to and will likely never be able to unwarp. My own fears and my unwillingness to heal and let them go has left me a spinster. But I am no longer bitter about it. I have learned I am just as valuable a person without a partner as I would be with one and that I must be in charge of my own validation.

Turns out that this is the body my spirit has been given while dwelling on this earth. I have learned to be okay with it most of the time. I still don’t like my hair and other parts, but overall I am fine with it. And, after all, it is but a temporary dwelling.

Turns out, at 55, I feel blessed to have never married or had children. There is both good and bad with having those things and I would be lying if I didn’t occasionally get a little wistful at the thought of never having had a mate or children – but mostly when I am being particularly selfish.

Turns out that I really only wanted a mate to rescue me from reality like helping me pay my bills or fixing something that needs fixing or making decisions for me I can’t seem to make. Perhaps it is the little girl inside of me that wants those things because the adult me would never willingly relinquish that much control over my life.

Turns out that I really only wanted children because I would have someone to look after me in my old age. Like anybody else, I don’t want to die alone. Perhaps that is the crone in me whining about her future. I need to remind her of God’s Promise to me.

Turns out the life I have been given is pretty good even with all of its worrisome junk. It isn’t the life I planned but it is the life I have.

Turns out that I am grateful for the life I lead and for the Grace and Strength of God to muddle my way through it.

 

but life had other plans by sabina
but life had other plans
by sabina
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mistakes – good or bad or both?

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life.
Comes into us at midnight very clean.
It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands.
It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.
–John Wayne

What have I learned from yesterday’s mistakes? Do I even pay any attention to them? Or do I just pull up my bootstraps and keep on going? Actually I do both, but not necessarily in a good way.

When I make a mistake, whether privately between me and God, or publicly, my first reaction is to beat myself up. I don’t need anyone one to tell me what I did wrong or how stupid I was to make such an obvious error. I pay so much attention to the mistake that I miss the lesson in it. I’m all about the negative when it comes to me. I lie in my bed at night unable to sleep for going over and over and over whatever bad or stupid or wrong thing I did during the day. At some point either sleep takes over or I finally hear a Still, Small Voice telling me to let it go and I do.

In my previous career in retail I worked in an arts and crafts store and taught crafts to kids. I loved that part of the job. Kids are so willing to take chances with their art. Some of the kids that came in needed extra encouragement to be real with their creativity, others practically exploded with imagination. The difference was in their parents.

Some of the parents encouraged their child to draw purple people with orange hair and lemons slices for mouths while others would say things like, “well, that’s nice but are people really purple?” At that point I would always step in and advocate for the child’s wonderful creative thinking. I was that child. I am that child in some ways.

The one thing that I remember most about that time was being patient with the children and not letting them think anything they created was wrong or bad or ugly or stupid. I didn’t want what had hampered me in my creativity for decades to start growing in them. I didn’t want the egg of the dragon of self-doubt to hatch in their subconscious and alter their creative lives. Even if I only spent 15-30 minutes once a week with them, I still wanted for them what I did not have.

Perhaps I need to treat myself half as well as I treated those children (who are by now teenagers). If only I could encourage myself when I make a perceived mistake and say:

It’s okay. You’ll do better next time. Don’t worry. The world isn’t going to end because you made a mistake. Learn from it, grow from it and move on, putting the mistake and the guilt and the self-doubt behind you. God isn’t holding it against you and you shouldn’t hold it against yourself.

Perhaps if I treat myself with as much kindness and respect as I treated those creative and crafty children, then I would also be patient and respectful to other people, particularly adults. Maybe then I could get to sleep at night. Maybe then I would wake in the morning excited about a new day, fresh and bright and shining and new with no mistakes in it.

 

img198 enhanced
Betty by Sabina

 

faith of a child

Backward, turn backward
O Time in your flight;
Make me a child again
Just for tonight.
-Elizabeth Akers Allen

No matter how hard we wish, time – for humans – only goes in one direction, forward. There is no turning back the clock, no do-overs, nothing can be done about the lost hours. By the same token, nothing really can be done about the future. We can plan and save, get an education and buy insurance, but that won’t stop the future from not unfolding the way we wanted it to or the way we had it planned.

When I think about being childlike, or like the poem says “Make me a child again/Just for tonight” I don’t think of actually becoming a child physically but having the faith and belief of a child. Children have a way of just accepting things without question for a brief time. And as with the natural progression towards maturity, they start to question and rebel. But for a few short years, they will believe anything you tell them. The more fantastic, the more they believe it!

When my eldest nephew was very young, maybe 3 or 4, he spent a lot of time with me on the weekends. One weekend day we went to the local botanical gardens to wander among trees and bushes and flowers. We came upon a ‘fairy ring’ – or a group of mushrooms growing in a circle. I started to tell him a story about how the fairies lived in the ring and up under the mushrooms. We got down on our knees to look under the caps to find the fairies and he was very upset that we didn’t see any. Now another child might have imagined seeing them. But not my nephew – he sees only what is right there in front of him. He has a vivid imagination but for him reality is far more exciting.

My point is that he believed – really believed – because I had told him it was real. (I admit that it scared me a little because of his willingness to believe. I was far more cautious in the future when telling him stories.) And that is the child I want to be again. Someone who truly believes because it has been said. That may seem to be naïve but sometimes life is hard when you are skeptical about everything.

Like when I doubt God and his Presence in my life. Like when I feel like everything is going to turn out okay but I worry anyway.

Why can I not simply believe? The way a child believes in the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus or Jesus. If I could turn back the clock, for just one night, it would be that, to be able to simply believe.

 

Children Coming to Jesus by John Lautermilch