I guess as with any good story, mine has a starting point and I am going to try to share how I got here.
Not too long ago, I was journaling and wrote a passage that holds true still today and it's not only representative of many of the "stone of remembrance" that God has me keeping, but also of thoughts and feelings that help define me.
What happened to that girl that loved to play outside...
What happened to that girl that longed to see the world through the rose glasses…
What happened to that girl that believed her daddy would “save her from harm” and make all the hurt go away…
I remember being young and having strong feelings about so many things…I remember facing injustices and judgment for my physical “failings”. For lack of blonde hair, for lack of large breasts, for lack of tanned skin…I remember trying to alter my self to make “corrections” for these shortcomings…I remember it never being enough. I remember feelings of such failure for something so trivial, yet something, at that time, that could make or break your very social life.
I remember never having a date on a Friday or Saturday night. I remember my friends starting to date and that’s all they talked about. I remember wondering what it meant…”I would grow into myself”…I remember wondering if I was a loser. I remember wondering why I was ugly. I remember wondering, what’s wrong with me? I remember wondering if I’d ever fit in. I remember sacrificing my beliefs and values to try to fit in. I remember feeling sick about it. I remember self-judgment was worse than peer judgment. I remember hating my self.
I remember the summer I finally got a boyfriend. I remember how it felt to hold his hand and to kiss him. I remember how sweet it was being “in love”. I remember our song. I remember how it felt when we were apart. I remember when we broke up. I remember still loving him. I remember hearing later that he was gay. I remember hearing he died of AIDS in the 90’s. I remember crying for him. I remember hoping he had met the Lord. I remember feeling peace that he was safe in the arms of the Father.
I remember going to college and finding some real friends. I remember how we were all different. I remember how we began to embrace the differences. I remember crossing racial barriers. I remember my parents’ reaction to this. I remember the evolution of my values and ethics, personally designated. I remember the dissolution of beliefs, values, ethics that were placed in me by parental guidance. I remember beginning to question everything…openly! I remember getting some answers that didn’t “jive” and letting them go. I remember the realization that I was a “thinker”. I remember realizing I was intelligent and gifted in many ways. I remember college reminding me I wasn’t the only gifted person and definitely not the most intelligent and it was OKAY! I remember embracing myself and my strengths and weaknesses.
I remember my first job and the thought “this is what I went to college for?” I remember being so disenchanted with the “working” world. I remember feeling already so defeated and ensnared by the drudgery of it all, 8-5 Monday through Friday, no summers off…..good grief!
I remember so many things….and while they will always be a part of who I am now…they do NOT define me now.
NOW, I see God created me with a purpose and a plan. I have endured some pain, to grow and mature and endure greater pain.
I have dealt with some pain and judgment in order to learn NOT to judge others…and NOT to cause pain to others.
I have had to do things alone and struggling, to learn the value of helping and serving.
I have seen, first hand, hate and prejudice, so that I would repel from the very thought of that from my own life.
I have heard disparaging things so that I would learn to rope my tongue.
I have seen vile and evil things so that I would arm others with God’s truth and beauty and learn compassion and love.
I have seen and heard of unwanted pregnancy and been numbed by abortions so that I would value life and see each life as a gift from God.
I have remembered my life…so that I could grow into the person God created, taking my memories, learning from each one, and holding on to hope for a better tomorrow!