Sunrise

My oldest daughter has recently reminded me of how amazing it can be to just watch the sun come up in the morning. So often, the beautiful, breath-taking colors, go unnoticed each morning, (and I’m ashamed to say it) but, mostly by me.  My daughter has actually been getting up earlier just to see the sun rise and this has prompted me to stop and think… Am I so caught up with what’s coming up in the day ahead to appreciate whats right in front of me? Nowadays though, it’s not that I’m so busy because I am currently 18 months into a two-year recovery from surgery, but in many ways I miss being busy, while at the same time I’m disappointed and frustrated with the physical limitations that I am experiencing. I’m so glad that she brought this to my attention, because it has given me the opportunity to reflect and regroup.

I reflect on how each sunrise brings me a brand new day.. It puts me a day ahead of where I was yesterday, and all the other yesterdays. True, I don’t like being limited physically but I am getting better and a new day means another chance to move forward toward total recovery. I reflect on the fact that there are so many other people who are no longer here to appreciate the sunrise of another day, and that I could have been one of them.

I stop to regroup and think about what’s really important, by changing my focus. This new day is a chance for me to focus outward rather than inward. Today I will focus on the circumstances and needs of others; my family, my friends, and the people who will cross my path. Taking the focus off of me will in turn make my problems seem smaller for the moment, while I  experience the many little joys and surprises that lie right in front of me… like the sunrise!

Baby Blue Pinto

 

baby blue pinto 2

What comes to mind when you hear the word pinto? I guess it depends on how old you are, “It’s a bean! It’s a horse! No! It’s an automobile!!!!!” That’s right, a Pinto is an automobile produced by Ford in the 70’s. It was a squatty, compact car with a huge triangular window in the back. But to me, a sixteen year-old looking at her first car, it was the cutest thing that I had ever seen! One cool morning in October, when I was seventeen, I was just leaving  for school when my mother called out from the back of the house, “Hey, drive carefully and remember what they said on the news about those Pintoes blowing up!! Be careful.”  This was true. Upon impact, (near the gas tank), Pintoes were sometimes prone to explode. “Ok, I’ll be careful.” I answered, and I was on my way. I didn’t put my seatbelt on because I was dressed up and I didn’t want to crush my skirt, but about five minutes into the ride at a traffic light, I put my seatbelt on. This was peculiar because usually if you don’t put your seatbelt on as soon as you get into the car, you don’t really think about putting it on at all. But that’s what I did and as soon as the light changed, I began driving and noticed a large van driving erratically towards me.  I thought, “What’s he doing?” and in what felt like a split second, I saw his van coming right towards me. It hit my door and the impact was so forceful that the entire windshield shattered in front of me. I screamed, and immediately thought to myself, “This is what it’s going to be like to be dead!” On impact, the metal from the outside of my car door slashed through my upper thigh and then the car door came completely off. It was stuck to the front of the van.  My little car spun around and around and crashed into the guardrail of a bridge above an interstate.  I looked up and saw the driver of the van running toward my car. I couldn’t get up, and I think that he thought that I was dead because as soon as he saw me reach up to pull myself out, he ran back to his van and drove off. It was a hit and run. Everything seemed fuzzy, but there were witnesses who stopped to help me and called the police. I heard an officer say that if I had not had my seatbelt on I would have been killed. I could have been thrown from my car or my car could have fallen through the guardrail to the busy interstate below. I was taken away in an abulance and I remember that I was still chewing gum eventhough my mouth was full of glass, it was a miracle that I didn’t have a single scratch on my face. I heard the medics saying they couldn’t do anything about the gum or glass in my mouth because I was in shock.I could hear them talking but I could not respond. I was unable to speak, eventhough I wanted very badly to tell them how to contact my mom. It turns out that in addition to a large laceration on my left thigh, the force of my body being thrown against the seatbelt caused my pelvic bone to be broken in three places. The officer was right. If I hadn’t had my seatbelt on, I would have been killed. Thank God I put it on at that traffic light just before the accident. I was unable to stand or walk and  was on complete bedrest. When my mother and grandmother went to look at the remains of my Pinto, they came home, looked at me and cried. They said that the car was completely demolished and looked as though it would be impossible for anyone to have survived. It was my senior year in high school so I had to be tutored at home. After three months, my doctors said that I had healed up well, I returned to school and was able to graduate with my class. Now, many years later, when I think of that terrible accident in my baby blue Pinto, I am reminded that God kept me safe in the face of great danger. I lived to tell the story and I’m thankful….Peace.

Leftovers

Last night, while putting away the last of the chicken wings that had not been devoured by my  food-lovin’ family, I thought about  how some habits or problems can be  like leftovers following us into the new year. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind leftovers,  especially like pizza for breakfast, but what about leftover issues, feelings, and disappointments, from last year, that are still  hanging around, and keeping us down? You know what happens to leftovers in the fridge when they’ve been around too long. They start to stink, and not look so good, and most of all they aren’t any good to you anymore. Bad habits, deep-seated hurts, and other problems can be just like that.

Sometimes we carry leftovers over from year to year, and sometimes they can add up for a lifetime. Imagine a lifetime of leftovers just sittin’ around in your fridge! Yuck!  But let’s be honest, sometimes that’s how it is with leftover hurts….

When I was a very little girl my father left us…. He went off to fight in Vietnam, and afterwards he deserted his wife and four kids; ages four, three, two, and eight months. I was the oldest, and I remember feeling devastated…. deserted.  For years as a child I would patiently stand in a corner at the front window, hoping to see  my daddy come home, but sadly, all that came were my own quiet tears.

Despite this great disappointment, we had a happy childhood and upbringing. My grandmother sold all that she had, and came to live with us. This way my mom, who is a nurse could work full-time,while my sweet grandma took care of us, and made our home a cozy, wonderful place to be.  Even so, from year to year, for many years I carried the leftovers of hurt and rejection that resulted from our father leaving us.

When I went off to college, I took all of his old record albums with me. Music from the 60’s that he left at our house. The music was over 20 years old but I liked listening to them. I guess it made me feel like I still had a part of him with me.  Carrying this hurt around, caused me to become overly cautious, and suspicious of guys that I would date, not making any true connections, and completely intolerant of their short comings. My mom grew concerned, and said that she thought that I was over cautious about  guys, because of what happened with my dad. She thought that I might need some counseling. To this I simply replied, “There’s nothing wrong with me, there’s just something wrong with them!”

I was nineteen by this time, and it was not long after this conversation with my mom, that I met the man who would become my future husband.  My emotional  leftovers and baggage, made it difficult in the beginning of our relationship. I felt vulnerable because I had never had my heart-broken before, and I realized that this was someone who I actually cared a lot about. Someone who could break my heart if he left me… Could I trust him??? The leftovers lingered on.  Eventually, over time,  I realized that our love was mutual, and years later it was actually my husband who helped me to leave those leftover hurts behind.  He said, “Your father didn’t leave you because there was something wrong with you, he left because there was something wrong with his priorities as a father. This is about him not you.”

This sounded right to me, and I was led in my heart to forgive my father. As a Christian, I realized that in forgiving my father, and truly letting go of those past hurts, I would finally be free. Free of perfectionism, and fear of rejection, free to enjoy my life ,and move forward… Just free!  No more stinky leftovers.

Happy New Year!

Hello out there and Happy New Year to you! It’s 2012 already and truthfully, I was just getting used to writing the date 2011. Last year seemed to go by so quickly. I remember when as a kid it seemed to take forever for Christmas to come and now it’s like Christmas has come and gone way too soon. Now it’s a brand new year and we have to begin by getting rid of the Christmas decorations and all the extra pounds we’ve picked up during the holidays and then of course, set goals to make this year a better one than 2011.

One of the things that I wanted to do this year, is to help encourage others by sharing stories of faith, struggle, and perseverance. That’s the purpose for this blog.  My hope is that in sharing some of the situations and circumstances that I have experienced, readers will be encouraged to persevere through their difficulties, knowing that when you are going through something, you’re doing just that, you are going through. Like going through  a tunnel, you will come out of it on the other side. Hold on.