Yesterday, a person asked me if I am unhappy. “No, I don’t believe I am,” I replied, to which he expressed immediate disbelief. “I would think,” he said firmly, “that anyone whose life looks like yours... anyone like you… should be DEVASTATED.” I sat in surprised silence, while he listed off the reasons I should be plunged into utter despair. As I listened, I began to cry. Hearing it in his voice, I realized that I SHOULD be devastated, honestly.
Multiple marriages failed, finances constantly teetering on the edge of disaster, have never owned a house, kids talking back to me and not helping me around the house enough, my body in its current slightly overweight state, not to mention the little matter of my not liking the profession for which I have trained through five years of college…
He is right! I should be completely and utterly devastated. I spent the better part of twelve hours crying off and on, my heart broken in two as I faced the truths of the results I have created for myself and my beautiful children.
But then, a surprising, different truth emerged…
I looked around at my life and realized that I didn’t know I was devastated, or unhappy, until it was pointed out to me. Which means, in my oddly unique way of thinking, that I must not have truly been unhappy. You see, here is how I see it… if someone has to TELL me that my life sucks, I would rather not hear it. I would rather live happily in my delusion that things are… for the most part… okay.
Here is MY truth, one that I may change as I become more enlightened or less immature in my life.
I am deeply saddened at the failure of my past relationships. These were people I respected, loved and cared enough about to welcome into my life, and whose lives I walked into believing that we would stand together for a lifetime, or at least for very many years. My disappointment with the ending of relationships has always been strong, and I always take myself to task for those failures. I do not promote the ending of marriages or any kind of committed relationships, as I honestly believe that the successful ones are the backbone of stability for any children they produce. I take full responsibility for the failures of mine. I created the love and I created the distance. But I choose, rather than to focus on the losses… I choose to dwell on the beauty and love that each and every relationship created for me, in me and for and in them. I am happy that with the exception of two prior men, I am in strong friendships with my exes. We still participate occasionally in each other’s lives, and we would help one another if we were needed. I know that they still have my back, and I have theirs.
As for never having owned a house, that is a dream that I may never realize. But, as years go by, it is one that loses its appeal more and more. You see, I value FREEDOM. I love that I can pick up at whim, if I so desire, and can leave one place to explore another. I have worked with squatters in a Filipino village in Quezon City…I found my heart in Manila, with my friend Ariel Silva and others who came together to do the Lord’s work…I have made snow angels in Indiana with my firstborn, lying together in a glittery winter wonderland of snow at midnight with the street lights shining diamonds in the snow…I have crouched on a sun-worn deck in Florida, kneeling down to pet the rough huge head of mannatees…I have had my heart broken in South Carolina, and lived to tell the tale…and I have lived most of my life in the red clay and pine trees of Georgia, where my family lives and where my stories all began. I plunged in snow deep to my knees and felt tears turn to ice on my cheeks in Tennessee the day my father died. I am not bound to a mortgage. I am free to come and go as I please.
For financial disasters, I am grateful because I am finally beginning to realize the importance of cause and effect. I am seeing that I create the financial chaos that has surrounded me, and I am learning to go back to the basics..to tithe ten percent, to make a budget, to spend less and save more, and even to write it all down, every penny, like my Mama tried to teach me back when I was saving pennies for a new book at the bookstore. I am sorry that I don’t have a lot of money to give my girls now, but I know that I have been strong in teaching them to love those that don’t have ANYTHING, that it is not a stretch for my girls to give whatever they have to someone who needs it more. No, no, I don’t drive a Lexus and I don’t have a wardrobe to die for, but then again, who wants to die for a wardrobe anyway? LOL…I have found my style… tee shirts, comfortable pants, or simple dresses, a jacket or two if there is a chill. I love my face… with or without make up… because even though it may be a bit too full or round, there is warmth and love in those hazel eyes of mine and there is usually always a smile at the ready on those lips.
Which leads to the matters of my rebellious teenagers and my profession, with which I am drained and dissatisfied…
My girls are a mirror of me. They don’t like housework. NEITHER DO I. I haven’t trained them to be housekeepers or homemakers. I have raised them to love the things that can’t be done by anyone but themselves. They can hire maids, or cooks, or someone to keep their yards. But it is up to them to do the painting of pictures, the writing of books, the loving of their children, and the caring for rescue animals. My girls do talk back to me at times, and that is my REARING. I am not saying it is the right thing for them to do, but I raised them in a different environment than the one I was raised in. I was too quiet growing up. I didn’t dare voice my opinion. I was afraid of conflict or confrontation. I was scared to stand out or to stand up. I shrank myself into corners, hid in the shadows. I NEVER WANTED THAT FOR MY GIRLS. I wanted them to be exactly what I created: strong, independent, sure of their own selves, aware of their own thoughts, ideas. My girls are so smart, so creative, so conscious. They are also beautiful in appearance, but even if they weren’t they would be STUNNING because of WHO THEY ARE INSIDE. And I created that! So I am HAPPY with the way they have turned out.
And… well… the job… I will begin now, and will find a way to get from where I am to where I believe I am truly meant to be… writing my books, loving people, inspiring people, motivating and healing people with my crippled, broken life… the life that GOD gave me intact… the one I pushed around, pushed down, and broke in so many places.
I am NOT unhappy. I am not devastated. Even if I should be. I’m not. I am, rather, grateful and humbled and in LOVE with the ordinary, beautiful, glorious, broken, mending, honest, raw, ever-growing LIFE I call mine.