Growing, Not Dying

Welcome to my insights, ponderings, and experiences. Hopefully they will enrich you in some small way, or at least make you laugh.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Graditude for Good Young Men

Previously, I had begun a rather lengthy post, (way longer than this one,) describing the details of how two different young men had come to be in my life during my teen age years. How doesn't really matter. Nor does why. What matters is the amazing young men they were and the mark they have left in my life.

Like many young women today I was struggling with issues about who I wanted to be, separating from my parents, my values, my body image, and the all important "being liked by a boy." I still do not know why boys are so all consuming during that time. It just is for most girls. Fortunately for me I had some amazing guys walk into my life.

Scott was a very good friend, the best kind of friend. He accepted me completely, fears, faults and all, even though we had very different opinions on many things...especially religion. I recall one night he actually sat crying, concerned for the eternal welfare of my soul. He wasn't a zealot or anything crazy, he was just worried I was being brainwashed into hell. Even still, on the rare occasion I displayed some actions he knew might be questionable to my values, he gently reminded me, "You're too good for that." He held me to the standard he knew I wanted to live rather than what he thought was acceptable. We remained friends after high school, even after my wedding. One of the most amazing things about it is Scott's back round. Most would have considered him an "at-risk youth" and me a star student from "a very good home." Yet it was most definitely he who saved me, not the other way round. He's still "my Scott."

The other young man was Mark. His mother greatly disapproved of our relationship. We dated. I never knew why Mark was attracted to me or why I garnered his affections. I certainly wasn't worthy of it. He was all the things a mother hopes her son is when no one is looking: kind, polite to everyone, disciplined, and very honorable. He did more to repair my broken self-esteem than he'll ever know. He always treated me like a princess, from the very beginning, and he always conducted himself as a gentleman. I certainly did not feel worthy of it at all, but I became very devoted to him because of it.

Before these two young men came along several major challenges in my life had reduced me to a very shattered young woman pretending each day that she "had it together." They began the healing and laid a very strong foundation on which I could build a better me. In my heart I thank God often for bringing them along. There is no way their parents could have known what these 2 teen age boys were like when no one was watching...but I know, and it gives me tremendous hope in the world.

It has been years since I last heard from Scott. Either he doesn't know how to find me, or my fears are true and he is gone. If so, the world lost an amazing gift. Last I heard Mark married and they were expecting. That was several years ago. I am afraid I did not behave well when last we encountered each other. Still, I hope only the best for him as he deserves all the best of life.

Above all I offer my profound gratitude for who these young men were being, their integrity, their self-discipline and their respect. I pray my sons are like them and my daughters date similar young men . There is hope.

Being Two

When my older children were small and throwing a fit I would sarcastically comment, "Oh yeah. It's so tough being two," selfishly comparing their trials to my adult burden.

Today as I carried my two year old daughter to her room kicking and screaming it occured to me, "It must be really tough being 2." Really. Your body keeps changing, even as you are trying to figure it out. You master a new skill, say.... opening a door. You worked hard and practiced, finally really getting it, then everyone tells you that you are in trouble when you do it! Other the other hand when you worked so hard at learning to say....jump everyone thought it was great! Of course, they only liked the jumping for awhile. When you try it on the couch or the bed you are in trouble which makes no sense 'cause those are way better for jumping than the floor! You're trying to figure this whole potty thing out and sometimes you get in trouble when you don't get it right. This world seems crazy and mixed up. Half the time you can't understand what people are saying.

No one asks your opinion about things and would never listen if you offered it. Someone else tells you when & what to eat, when to sleep, what to wear, who you can see and basically runs your life with total disregard to your plans.

As an adult we call this prison.

Life IS tough when you are little.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Who I Am

In high school one of my favorite quotes came from the book "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll.

"Tell me who I am first. And if I like being that person then I'll come up, if not I shall stay down here until I am someone else."

That quote always spoke to me. I was looking for someone outside myself to tell me who I was, define me, give me the role I was suppose to play. One of the greatest struggles of my life began about 8 years ago as a very loving and wise husband began encouraging me to "be myself." I spent the first few years trying to figure out what that even meant! About 5 years ago I slowly moved to exploring that I was an individual and what that might mean. It took another 2 years before I was ready to accept that it was possible I was a whole complete individual that could and does exist unto myself. If I stopped being a wife, I would still be. If I were not a mother, a lover, an aunt, a daughter, I would still "be."

A mere 2 years ago it slowly shifted into, "Well, if I would still be if I were not those roles, who would I be?" I was overwhelmed with messages of creating oneself, divine purpose, eternal spirits, destiny, and co-creating my life.

After all this, I still do not know exactly who I am. What I do know, though, is that I AM and no one but me gets to decide what that looks like. I may not have all the answers, but you know what? It's ok.

It's ok not to know.

Not knowing is part of who I am.

Monday, May 07, 2007

What If There's a Reason?

It seems everyone wants a better life, for themselves or for ones we love. To get a better life we need answers, better answers. This much we know. But so many don't seem to know what questions to ask to get the answers they want.

We are, by nature, a curious people. Young children start out wanting to know "why" about just about everything. As we grow we are conditioned that there are questions that are ok to ask and ones that are not. In order to avoid mistakes, many of us stop asking altogether. Perhaps if we want to find the answers, we need to ask more questions. Likewise if we want better answers, we need better questions.

People need other people to survive, from day one we need to be touched, talked to and connected with. If these relationships are so important perhaps it might be helpful to find ways to nurture and encourage relationships with more people. However in so many ways we are encouraging becoming separate. One of these separations happens through judgements. We judge people based on their status, appearance, monetary wealth, gender, age, occupation, actions, opinions, and so many more ways.

I truly did not realize how often I judge other people until I started asking questions. Unconsciously I was ALWAYS asking "Is he better than me? Is she better than me?" Thus I have always been in competition with everyone I meet! Competition does not foster trust and vulnerability which line the path to connection.

What if there was a better question I could ponder? I have found a starting point. May I share it with you? I believe the path to understanding begins by looking at each person you meet through the lens of a better question. "What if there is a reason they are the way they are?"

I do not need to know the reason or decide if it's "OK" that they turned out they way they did. Just pondering that perhaps there is a reason and acknowledging that I may not know or comprehend it puts me in an attitude of acceptance and curiosity rather than judgement and hostility.

Is there someone around you that perhaps you might ponder this question about?