I had a wonderful day today. I had lunch with some of my friends from church, the JULIETS we are called, (Jolly Unique Ladies Informally Eating Together Somewhere)! We meet once a month at a restaurant and share in a meal and conversations with one another. The spirit of love and friendship seemed to hover over our table. We were surrounded by new friends, old friends, the memories of those who were unable to attend. I count myself very blessed to have the life I enjoy, I have friends who truly and honestly care about me and love me with kindness in an unconditional manner. I found myself thinking of my mother a lot today, even shedding a few tears here and there, she would have loved the group I spend time with throughout the year. I imagined my mom smiling and laughing, this song had been placed upon my heart weirdly because I don’t know if my mom had every heard it but listening to it several times tonight I sort of felt a connection with God and my mom. I imagined them looking down at me, my mom no longer being tired all the time from working too many long days and hours. She always had a reserve of energy she could tap into if I needed her or just wanted to see her. She always had time for her grandkids and for my brother, dad and any one of our relatives. My mom was a giver, a supporter, a bank, a grocery store…you name it and she would make things happen. I so wanted to fill those shoes she left behind, to be the daughter she dreamed of… However, as good of an idea as that was it was so not me. I have learned a few life lessons since my mother’s passing in 2012. She was an incredible woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, cousin…not a saint but definitely a jewel! One lesson I am learning to put into action is I was not created to be an exact replica of my mother, I am a mixture of all those family members and generations an eclectic beings with many parts thrown in. God created each of us uniquely different and with a purpose that is individually ours to grow into. Because I love my parents I wanted them to be proud of me, I respect their values and morals they instilled in me growing up. I was not a perfect child but not one single time did they ever turn away from me and was always my biggest cheerleader in any and all activity I ever participated in. I remember a few summers when I was not old enough to drive and I played on 2-3 different softball teams…my mom never missed a game. She drove me all over west and central Indiana. I miss her voice and her encouragement. So as I said I am learning that I can be and grow into who I was created to be and still represent and honor my parents with the unconditional love they gave me and the unconditional love I still receive from my dad, brother and the whole clan and generations I came from. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned since losing my mom has been “boundaries.” God has brought several confident and assured individuals into my life to show and teach me about boundaries, healthy boundaries. I wish it were possible to list each one here by name but they are very modest and I will respect their privacy, my hope is they can at least smile and know that they have made an impact upon my life in such dramatic ways. And, in addition, I have no doubt they would pass the kudos and congratulations to God, they were merely doing His Will. I have to be honest, another skill I’m honing in on, being honest is also about being true to yourself and allows you to be free to be who you are created to be within healthy boundaries. I enjoy gifting-giving of myself to others, a smile, a hello and a how are you…any of these gestures are free to give away every single day and I promise you, the gifts you receive back are priceless. Did you know that every single day people are walking around feeling invisible, thinking that life would not miss them if they were suddenly no longer around? I imagine you have at least one person in your life that you see on a regular basis that feels like that sometimes. In the midst of this rambling, I am trying to share another lesson I’ve learned and strangely it is related to “boundaries” let’s say a close relative called “giving in excess.” As I mentioned earlier, I’m a giver, “gift’r” I feel good when I can give of myself to others but being a giver one can give until they are empty and that can quickly go into a downward spiral. I have learned that being a friend or confidant means it must be “reciprocal.” When giving is only one-sided the giver can easily become depleted and if relationships are not about “give and take” they quickly become lopsided and broken. I am not saying keep score but to have a healthy balance. The last lesson I want to share with you is a “must” a prerequisite to boundaries and reciprocal relationship that would be love, “love yourself!” If your self-worth is nonexistent, you will fail. Expecting someone to invest in you when you don’t even like yourself is counterintuitive. You are so worth taking the time to be all you were created to be. I’m not saying this will be easy, it won’t! Don’t be what others think you are, be you…if that means listening to classical music instead watching sports on tv, it’s ok. If you want to wear dresses instead of sweatpants, it’s ok. Take time to figure out what makes you happy, I’m telling you from experience living out someone else’s ideas of who you are will one day have a reckoning with you and you will have no idea who you are anymore. Love yourself from the inside out.
~Peace, Love and Joy ~Always!
“He has told you, O man, what is good;and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,and to walk humbly with your God? “~Micah 6:8