There are times I look back on my life and believe there was such grow periods. Obviously at 5 foot nothing, I don’t mean in physical height but in maturity and personal growth. The first time I felt this way, was during my pregnancy and birth of our oldest, Jessica.
I was eighteen, fresh out of high school when I discovered I was pregnant. I quickly made the decision to leave dreams of college behind, marry my high school sweetheart, and move to a place very forgein to me, a city. Now although I was now going to be responsible for this young person, and I learned how much you could love a child, I now look back and think, I had a long way to go.
The next time I felt the rush of wisdom came when I was in my late twenties to early thirties. I have often told my children, it was in these years I loved life beyond compare. Maybe it is why to this day, I tell people I turn 29 on my birthday each year. In these years, I set out to find what I felt I was to spend my working years doing. I went to college, with three babies in tow, and got my bachelor’s in education. I learned a great deal, not only about education and teaching, but also about myself once again. I found myself less dependent on others, more confident in myself, and actually much smarter and more capable than I had previous. I learned to not hate who I was and I found my voice in not allowing myself to be bullied by others. And although I’m still not 100%, 100% of the time, it was a start of a stronger self.
And so over the last twenty years, I kept coming back to the growth that happened in those years I was in college. I didn’t go on to spend my career in a classroom like I had thought I would, but the growth during those years would help me be a better wife, mother, and photographer.
Fast forward twenty years to late 2016. Mother of three adult children, running my own business, and married for 31 years. So much to reflect upon and draw conclusions from. But I stopped short of what today I consider the biggest growth period of my life yet.
I would give it all back in a second. Not just this last eye opening period, but also my college degree, my business, and even that more confident woman with a voice, to have my daughter not suffer from cancer. But I believe God knew it would take something this big for me to see I needed to change.
I feel tremendous guilt, if the reason she must endure this is because God felt I needed this journey. But maybe that is a bit narcissistic. Maybe it isn’t about me, as much as I think. Either way, change in me has happened.
I previous would have described myself as a perpetual complainer. No one day can I say I have lived life without finding fault in so much. In people, traffic, machines! They all failed me. And I spent loads of time, precious time, seeing failure and disapointment.
Today, although I must recognize I am human, and will not always be perfect, I see life much clearer. I see evidence of miracles, blessings at my feet, and so much to live for. I am humbled beyond words to have my eyes opened up to it.
But my journey would not be complete, if I didn’t help others find their way to this knowledge without such pain. Stop. Look around you. See a cloud, not as dark rain, but as a gift. The gift and blessing is there. Open your eyes and see it. Before you waste your life complaining about everything.
It took a birth, a college education, and my child to have cancer for me to grow. I’m not an easy case, this is obvious. Maybe I get it now. Or maybe next year or twenty years from now, I’ll look back and think ‘wow, I get it now.’