Monday, 7 April 2014
Reading backwards seven years
Seven years is a big deal in a lot of religions. Heck, just the number seven is important. Big spiritual mojo. So have these past seven years of scribbling my thoughts on a blog taught me anything?
At first, I didn't think so. So many mistakes made over and over. So many false starts and plans-that-didn't-work-out. But the more I read, the more I saw some things I have learned -- and probably need to remember.
1) Love is never wasted. Even when it didn't work out and a friend betrayed you or someone never said thank you for the big thing you did for them or a lover walked away, loving is never a waste of energy. You can never know if your love at that moment changed a life (yours or theirs or even someone else's) for the better. The impact might not show up for years...and you might never know. But it's still worth it.
2) We all have a place that screams "home" to us. It might be where you were born or grew up. Or it might be that town you stumbled on when your car broke down. But there is something in a a place that latches on to your soul and says "You belong." Pay attention. It matters. (Over a lifetime, that "home" spot can change, as our lives change and our souls grow. Just keep listening. You'll know when you find it. And when it's time to find a new one.)
3) Being a mom is sonmething you do with every part of your being. When it's done with a loving heart, it's not a job, it's not a chore -- it's a form of existing that digs down deep into every cell of your body and changes each and every one for the better.) Sometimes it makes me smile, sometimes it makes me scream, and sometimes it makes me cry. But I love being a mom with every ounce of my being.
4) Sometimes, what doesn't kill you, doesn't make you stronger. It beats the living heck out of you and leaves you weak and broken and crying on the ground. And even when you do manage to get back on your feet, you're missing chunks of yourself that you would love to have back. But you can't, so you live with the scars and the limp and the nightmares because you have no other choice. Congratulate yourself for every step. It's hard work.
5) There is a heck of a lot more to life that any of us can ever see. It's more than the birth-to-death march (or crawl or sprint.) It's more than the houses and jobs and traffic jams and what-to-wear. There is a meaning and a purpose behind it all, and something that goes on before we appear on the scene and after we make our final curtain call. And not one of us really knows what it is, no matter what book we swear on. We're all just guessing.
6) Most people are pretty good, overall. Even when they act like jerks, most of them have someone they love, something selfless they've done, some wonderful dream they would like to see come true for someone, some great idea or some creative spark just waiting to burst forth. But because of fear or pain or desperate need or getting knocked down one time too many (see number 4 above), they protect their soft inner core by acting like cold-hearted idiots. Doesn't mean you have to trust them or let them hurt you. Just means you have to know that spark is there, inside of them. It makes a difference for both of you.
7) Food doesn't solve everything. But it helps a heck of a lot. Sitting down with someone over a meal or a cup of tea can make more connections, solve more problems and cement more friendships that anything else on the planet. Forget the meeting in the board room. If you really want to get things done, head out for some tacos or a big cheesey pizza together. It sounds weird, but it works.
So there, in a nutshell, are my seven lessons from seven years. Nothing earth-shattering. But maybe not too bad for seven years of on-again, off-again scribbles.
More lessons? Hindsight is better than 20/20. Here's my advice to my 21 year-old self. Sure wish I could hop on that time machine and share it!