Don’t be afraid to say the wrong thing if you’re speaking for the right reasons. An uncomfortable conversation ending in understanding is far better than a comfortable silence ending in apathy.
Have you ever worked so hard for something or someone, and when you finally got it, it didn’t hold the weight you thought it would? The moment wasn’t momentous? The promotion didn’t promote your self esteem? You felt just as alone in the relationship as you did actually being single?
Truthfully, we all know that sometimes, you can do everything right, and it comes out wrong. The trick is to not believe the lie that the outcome is a reflection of you.
I realized this when I received a surprise award for my efforts at my government agency and got a standing ovation for it. I was working where I had always dreamed of working. I was doing meaningful work for my community. I had influence. I had close relationships and was paid well.
But the moment I held that glossy glass award in my hand, it was heavy, but it was hollow. I was appreciative but apathetic.
It’s ok that you are not where you thought you should or wanted to be. It’s ok that plans have failed. It’s ok that relationships and friendships didn’t work out. Or that your dream job fell through. That the achievements you’ve made did not give you the orgasm of success you thought it would. Maybe you got medical news you didn’t want to hear. Maybe you are suffering from difficult memories. Maybe you’ve made some choices that you would give anything to change. It’s ok feel the full weight of that disappointment. It’s ok that it’s not ok, too.But, just because you didn’t get the ending you wanted, or thought you deserved, doesn’t mean it’s the end of you. Stick around long enough and you may find that it began you.
Don’t walk into the future like you ran from the past.
I don’t believe that the point of life is to always be happy or to try to get everything you ever wanted. The point of life is to live… in the best way you know how. And living is a day by day, moment by moment experience no matter how pretty your planner is or how drawn out your steps are for your dreams.
You will have moments where your laughter is uncontainable with your face sore from smiling, and you will also have moments where life kicks you when you’re already down. All moments are what we make of them and we each find our own reason to keep moving forward.
So, go your own pace. Take your sweet time. A day at a time. The only reward you get if you speed through this life is being a day closer to death. Savor the moments. Don’t take anyone for granted. And don’t take you for granted.
I do want you and for all of us to be hopeful and curious for the future. Plan for it. Look forward to it. Go with the flow of it.
But when hurricanes of hardships come, embrace it. Let it teach you something. Let it open something up or close a door and lay to rest. Don’t hide from the pain. Or let it roll off of your shoulders. Don’t ignore it. Don’t walk into the future like you ran from the past. As if you’re hiding from yourself or the pain until everything dies down. Your past has a way of catching up to you the more you run.
How long do you think you can run from yourself? You have one trick up your sleeve if your own enemy is you…you know all your weaknesses. So use them. If you’re negative to yourself, be clever and gradually change. If you’re angry, find a new non-damaging way to express your anger. Take and learn everything and relearn yourself one day at a time.
Be hopeful for the future, but don’t miss the opportunity you have right “here.” Right now. And “here” in this phase of your life may SUCK.
Embrace the “here.” Learn the lessons. Own what you have survived. Count your losses and plot your gains. Honor this moment. If you fall to your knees, let it be to catch your breath not admit defeat. Gather your resources. Know friend from foe and fan from follower. Hydrate and feed your soul. Take your current pain and suffering and fortify your shield for future battles. Sharpen your weaponry with wisdom from previous wars. Strengthen your hands. Congratulate yourself on getting this far!
Trust me when I say I’ve seen enough death to know that it’s hard to live nowadays. Level up in these struggles because the “bosses” (for all my gamers out there) only get bigger from here.
And WHEN you win…as you must have since you are reading this message, plant your flag and claim this territory as your own. Look back only to be inspired by the multiple flags you planted from the obstacles won within you and move toward the future like conqueror I believe you were created to be. And when the next “boss” comes…have a flag prepared for where it stands and walk into the future with the blood of goliath on your heels.
You can do it. I absolutely believe in you. You. Can. Do. ANYTHING.
Ideally, each kid’s book will have one word that it is focused on and an animal with that theme word so the book can be picked up used by child of any nationality. For this book, Grief, I imagined Giraffes as the characters instead of people. I’m channeling a bit of my younger self in this when I lost my mom, so yes there is a reference to my faith as well. My dad just didn’t know how to commuinicate grief to me and my brothers as he was grieving too. Maybe this will help someone.
[Little girl on her bed in her room, dressed in black facing a window. Her father comes in wearing a black suit.]
Yes Sweet Pea?
What’s an Angel?
Yeah, Grandma said that mommy is an angel now. That’s why we can’t see her anymore. *sniff
Oh…I understand now. An angel is…*sniff* well… someone very special that God picks to be with Him in heaven.
Do you believe in God, Daddy?
I don’t know, little one. It’s hard for Daddy to feel like there is a God when hard things like this happen.
But who is God and why did He take my mommy? Couldn’t he take someone else?
I know…I know it’s really hard sweetie. Not seeing Mommy anymore.
I…just…I just want Mommy, Daddy. I just want Mommy.
[Dad picks her up and page pause scene and holds little girl]
It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to be mad. Daddy is mad and sad mommy is not here anymore too.
Yes, Sweet Pea. Daddy loved Mommy. Still love her, even now, though we can’t see her anymore. *sniff But you know the good thing about being an angel?
There are really, really special ones called guardian angels that watch over people all over the world. They protect the people that God asks them to watch over.
Gasp* Really? That sounds really important!
It is. It is. And I’ll bet you anything that if Mommy is with God in heaven that He’s asked her to be a guardian angel over you and me.
But…I still won’t be able to see her will I?
No, little one. I’m afraid not.
You know, little one, remember when Daddy said, it’s ok to feel sad and mad?Well, it is ok to feel those things. They are not bad feelings.
They’re not? They don’t feel good.
Haha, I know. But they are very important.
Well, why do you think you feel sad or mad right now?
Because…I want mommy. I love mommy and I miss her a lot.
Very good sweet pea. If we didn’t love mommy, we wouldn’t feel so sad or mad. When people lose someone they love, it is hard to think of life without that person who passed away. Living a life without them seems a bit more…well…empty.
[Head nods] Yes, little one, that too.
Daddy, will I ever stop feeling mad or sad?
Hmm…I don’t know little one. I don’t know it for me either. We love Mommy so much that it will be hard to not miss her smiles, laughter…
Hey, haha, I can cook too, you know. Haha. But sweet pea, always remember that Mommy loved you and me very VERY much. I don’t know if or when we won’t feel sad or mad, but we can take as much time as we need. It will be hard without her, but we can do this together. One day at time. And though mommy is gone, we will remember who she was and how much she meant to us.
Like..on the days we miss her the most?
Especially, on the days where we miss her the most.