I changed the title after I started thinking about this blog post first because I am in no position to tell anyone what their moral compass is or should be and tell you how to find your moral compass. What I do hope to convey is my moral compass and the journey I have traveled and where it might lead me to next. Life is not a destination to arrive at to plant oneself and stop. Life is a journey with many stopping and starting points along the way. A musician doesn’t learn to play a specific instrument and suddenly stop, they crave new sounds and arrangements, challenging themselves to new discoveries. The same is true with artists, it’s even been said “they like to push the limits and press ideas outside of conventional means in order to start new conversations that connect people. Writers have a burning in their souls to share their thoughts and ideas, allowing their readers a glimpse into their organized chaos.
Everyone’s journey begins at birth, everything we are exposed to during the critical developmental stages of life make an impact on our understanding of life. It has been my experience that children with siblings develop a sense of sharing more quickly than children with no siblings. I grew up with several cousins and that taught me that not everyone gets to do their favorite thing everyday, some days we played baseball for hours, some days we rode our bicycles for hours, some days we would go fishing…mostly outdoors activities occupied my childhood and I was exposed to lots of activities which help develop passions for some of those activities. I also learned concepts like trust, cooperation, teamwork and companionship.
As I grew older some of these traits solidified and made profound impacts on my life. Growing up in a small rural area I just assumed my values, my dreams and my aspirations would and should be just like everyone else’s. It’s seemed very clear based upon the data available to me at the time. I had similar dreams that other girls did…a boyfriend in high school, dates and first kisses. Thoughts of getting married, living in a cute little house with a white picket fence. *Those that know me, don’t laugh…I really did dream those dreams. Because that’s who I thought I should be, be like everyone else. I even had a picture in a scrapbook of a southern mansion with a wrap-a-round porch painted in the purest of white paint and decorated with beautiful flowers. *i still have the picture today, not the dream…I realized it really wasn’t me at all but beautiful all the same.
I was fortunate to have been able to know and remember not just my grandparents but also my great-grandparents. What a blessing! My deep sense of family comes from growing up with multiple generations of my family. My mom had 8 bothers and sisters and my dad had 2 brothers and numerous cousins and second cousins. Family was valuable and priceless. I was the only granddaughter on my father’s side of the family, which was good and not so good all at the same time. I learned at an early age that family is always there for you, no matter what. I learned generosity from my family, whether it was providing a meal, transportation, money until payday, labor to mow the yard, borrow a cup of sugar…hearts were filled with compassion and generosity. Second chances, third chances…you’re family and that’s all that matters, take care of family. Helping a neighbor, saying hello to a neighbor and just plain being neighboring!
My parents provided for our spiritual needs as well, as a kid my parents attended the “big” events life Easter, Christmas and VBS programs and sent my brother and me to Sunday school every week. Some of my fondest memories are from that part of my life’s journey. We were picked up every Sunday by our Sunday school teacher, her name was Roberta Smith and we called her “Birdie” she was an angel. A strong godly woman with a heart of gold. I attended that church from toddler through my high school years, I still drive by the church about once a month and pause to remember and smile because of the peace I feel in my heart. The other beautiful thing is that this church is at the entrance to the cemetery where my mom was laid to rest. There’s so many happy memories of this place and although I know my mom is not really there, I know she’s in heaven with God, but it comforts me to be able to visit her here and to leave tokens of my love at her gravestone. This too has been part of my journey, in the midst of the pain of saying goodbye to my mom God was preparing me to discover new things about who I am and the learning continues. I experienced grief like I had never imagined, I found out that I would survive without my mom’s physical presence and learned she will always be a part of me. I am her daughter, she loved me beyond imagination and supported me beyond understanding, she taught me how to be strong and confident, how to give without reservations, to display bravery even when your frightened. She was honest, faithful and fearless.
Recently, I have found myself looking back on events that have happened in my life and examining the lessons I’ve learned. I’ll be honest, I’ve had some really “crappy” things happen to me that have helped to form some of the moral ideas on my compass. Let me be the first to tell you, you don’t have to hang onto those “crappy” things or ideas. You have, I have the ability to say…NO! That’s not right, that’s not true! That’s not me now! We can choose to delete those false ideas that were pressed upon us when we trusted the wrong people and situations. I don’t want to forget, I want to put them in their proper place and look at it from a new perspective then recognize it for what it was and let it go. Tell it, that it no longer has control over you. When we spend too much time in the past, we lose sight of the present. Respect the past, receive the lesson and the move forward freeing your hands and feet to meet the next step in your journey with arms open wide.
I have learned that I can honor and value my parents and their beliefs and to not be bound to them. I can form my own values and beliefs and I have the ability to change them. My core values (love, respect, forgiveness) remain unchanged, it is the learning of new ideas and living through life experiences that lead me to more clearly and concisely define who I am and what I believe. Some experiences have led me to greater empathy towards others and there have been times I just had to say, I don’t understand but I respect you. Life, like I mentioned earlier is not always about what we want, it’s compromise and cooperation. I have friends that I love and respect and we do not agree on everything and that’s ok. To be respected one must give respect. To be heard, one must be willing to listen. If we start with commonality and work together towards our differences we might actually see possibilities.
I am thankful for all the stops, starts, detours and derailment so far in my journey through life. God has blessed me, God continually forgives me, God comforts me, God leads me, God chases me and God restores me. No regrets, because I learned from the mistakes and the missteps, sometimes I learned quickly and other times it took years but God never left me even though I wandered off many, many times.
Sometimes we just need to stop and check our compass, make sure it’s pointing in the right direction. Thank you for reading about my journey and I pray for your journey may we meet at Jesus’ Place someday!
~Blessings and Peace~