Today is an anniversary for me. The details aren’t important. The event was the farthest thing from pleasant that a person might experience, but it changed my life and set me on a course which I hadn’t thought possible for myself. Today, I sit in quiet awe of the transformation, and gratitude for having come through.
As the first anniversary approached, I was wracked with fear and anxiety, because I was still in the situation that triggered the event, and couldn’t see my way clear. I stayed in that situation out of fear. The following two years weren’t much better. However, by the fourth anniversary, I had not only left that particular situation, but had ended another that may well have had the same results. I was re-gaining self confidence, felt clear for the first time in years, and had worked to understand and begin to overcome many issues in my life. Most importantly, I had stepped out of a victim-role in my life and taken charge of the things that I could control.
Today marks six years since that event. Each year, I find myself more reflective about the choices that I made before, during and since. I have developed a faith that the worst events in our lives have the potential for good when we choose love. I still question my decisions at times. I often feel unsure about things because I’ve either had little positive feedback or didn’t have an understanding about how some things work in life. I’ve even been blindsided a few times since then. However, I’ve learned to turn some of my worst character flaws into some of best assets. For example, anyone who knows me, knows that I’m as stubborn as they come… but when I turn that stubbornness into tenacity, the energy is transformed into a productive flow. The change lies in a shift of perspective, from which we can alter our approach to the challenges we face in life.
I’ve become a believer that there are no accidents in life. Certainly, we all make mistakes, things happen to us which had no intention behind the circumstances, and sometimes there is no fault or blame to be had. It is what it is. Sometimes horrible things are forced on us by people, nature, or just being in the wrong place at the right time. Those are the hardest to get through, because we desperately want a sense of control over such things. We may punish others for what has happened to us by seeking retribution that will only harm our own spirit or restitution that we may never see. We may unwittingly project our fear, doubt, and anger on to those around us. Or we may choose to find ways to make these things meaningful to ourselves and others through advocacy and love. I have observed that most people, including myself, go through several of these stages. No particular path is necessary for the absolution we seek within our own soul, and some paths will lead us to the opposite of what we desire, yet still hold the same potential for change. What gets us there is the willingness to step out of our own blinders and see the same world through a different lens.
I woke up this morning to a poem that I had written in that most despairing moment of my life… and sat down to write a new one. Here are both, the new followed by the original. They mark the shift in perspective that has brought me back to the only answer I know to be universally and unfailingly true: Love.
If we could only see the other side of fear
as a reflection of love
and all that we hold dear,
our hearts might open a little more
to see that we are not alone.
Solitude offers solidarity
with the universal soul
that defines humanity,
Allowing us to see
that the circumstances behind our pain may differ,
but no one is exempt from its grasp.
Perhaps it is time to reach for each other
To build a new mosaic
with the pieces of our lives
That had been shattered.
A new perspective and faith
that fear is but a messenger,
telling us it is time
to create the miracle we seek.
Waiting for that miracle
knowing that miracles don’t happen
without some footwork.
So please show my feet where to land
because my head keeps getting in the way
and my heart wants what isn’t available.
I’ll hang on in the meantime
and hold on to that courage
when my courage wanes.
Until then, tenacity will take over
until that miracle arrives.
So many ghosts crawl into my head through my fears
So many fears crawl into my heart through your words
Words=Swords to a heart
broken so much that the pieces are too small to pick up again
a heart that never asked for the privilege to beat
made by those who had no business making children
Those whose own demons took all remnants of support
And instead left bruises, scars and more demons to fight
A heart punished for doing the only thing it knew how to do
Cry to be loved through the pain…
A heart given reprieves only to lose all again
how many more times? how many more pieces?