Posted in Strength and resilience

We grow, learn and become stronger…

History is filled with individual stories of struggle, pain, tragedy and triumph.  We may have some idea of the future we desire for ourselves and our families yet ultimately we have no real clue as to how the future will unfold or what experiences we may be facing some time down the track. Some days I wish I had been forewarned or been handed a book that was filled with every experience I was to be walking through. Thank goodness such insight is not possible as I know it would bring more apprehension and distraction than I could possibly cope with.

Some life experiences are written in books giving us information to be somewhat prepared. Even with preparation we get overwhelmed with new situations. An example that comes to mind is child birth. While there is endless information on pregnancy and labour no amount of reading helped me with the idea of giving birth for the first time. I was excited yet extremely nervous at the thought. In fact I recall when I was younger a conversation my mum and her friend were having about this topic. I remember saying “if that is how painful it is to have babies I am never going to have one”. Little did I know that I would in fact give birth to five babies down the track?

My first pregnancy was going well.  After attending a birthday party until late it seemed when we got home that I was experiencing back pain. It was getting very intense. My due date was 5 1/2 weeks away so how could it possibly be labour? Something didn’t feel right and so I was taken to hospital. After being examined the doctor stated that there was nothing they could do to stop me from going into labour. That in fact I was in labour and this first born baby was going to arrive early. All sorts of fears and worries flooded my mind. To begin with I had no idea what child birth was like and suddenly I was faced with a premature childbirth. After 11 or so hours of intense labour my Joshua was born. He was tiny and weighed a little over 2 kg. There was no possibility of cuddles as he was rushed into a special crib and given oxygen. The first cuddle I got with him was after 3 days. It was a brief cuddle. Everything turned out well after lots of ups and downs both physically on my end and Joshua’s. Three weeks went by and Joshua was given permission to come home.

Having had such an experience with my first baby taught me so much. I was stretched beyond my comfort zone. Each step with Joshua was one of learning. After a few months I became more confident  looking after him. Eventually routine came into place and my life became more manageable. I was able to enjoy my new baby.

The experiences I went through with Joshua prepared me for all four of the other babies that were yet to be born. This meant that I was no longer as apprehensive about pregnancy and labour. I had experience. I was stronger and more capable of taking care of a family with lots of little onesIn the midst of new experiences we are faced with many unknowns. We often don’t realise everything we go through in life somewhat prepares us for the future. While there is no book detailing the future to come, it amazes me how all of the experiences I have endured have equipped me unawares. It seems that each difficulty that I have ever faced has increased in intensity. Which continues to stretch and challenge always to newer heights providing  me perseverance and persistence. The different levels of challenge have given me an ability to outlast the pain barrier. In fact as I am navigating my new season right now on many occasions I think back only a few years and know without a doubt that had I gone through what I am going through now I would not have managed.

In recent days I have felt like quite the novice. For 27 years I only knew marriage. Now I am learning what it is to be walking through a marriage breakdown. I may feel like a novice yet I am still here and breathing, I am moving forward each day, learning and growing stronger. I’m developing new skills and am being stretched once again.

Over 20 years ago we moved away from family here in Canberra. It was the hardest moment of my life knowing that family was not going to be around the corner. I missed my parents and sisters so much until eventually I accepted the fact that we lived far away. Somehow i have done full circle and landed right back where I started only this time without my adult children. I love all of my children so much that words dont come close in expressing my heart for each of them. As I make my new life here in Canberra I am being stretched yet again missing my own children incredibly. I recognise that I have been in this position decades ago with my own parents and sisters.

No experience we go through in life is ever wasted. Each experience the good or the bad trains us to be strong and enduring. There may not be a personalised book detailing our exact future yet we can take courage from the idea that we will get through life’s incredible challenges. We may feel like a novice perhaps lacking confidence. Take heart in the fact that what you have been through has equipped you for today.

You will get through it and keep growing, learning and becoming stronger!

Posted in Inspiration

Holding hands with the future

Our lives are marked by significant events that eventually begin blending in with the ticking of time. Significant events tend to go from one extreme to another. There is the gift of new life and the death of a life lived. There is the excitement of the first kiss to the reality of becoming a responsible adult. A mum experiences the joy of nurturing her newborn baby only to grieve when it comes time for them to leave the nest while a dad painfully walks their daughter down the aisle handing them over to another man.  There is the Joy and celebration of the “big wedding day” to the unfortunate event of a broken wife and husband who must pick up pieces of themselves after their marriage falls apart. Naturally we all much prefer the “happily ever after” versions of significant events.

We often live for significant events!

The “buzzing excitement” of events glues us to our calendars as we do the big countdown. Those types of events couldn’t come around fast enough. They are distinguished with milestones in age, education or career promotion.  You will often see people counting down their much anticipated holiday of a lifetime on social media. All around the world a countdown begins before midnight on New Year’s Eve which signifies the beginning of a New Year finalising the previous one. Most people hold close to their heart dreams and hopes that the New Year will be much better than the last.

On the other end of the spectrum we may find ourselves counting down the days that have marked a very painful significant moment in time.

We may be thinking to ourselves “this time last Thursday” such and such happened, desperately trying to grasp at accepting the reality of how life has changed. It continues into the next week in which we vocalise the fact that now two weeks has passed. The pain keeps us focused on the ticking of the clock from one hour to the next day and the next week!

The realisation that the painful event is heading to the three month mark leaves us surprised. How could it possibly be that long ago already? You may feel a mixture of sweet and sour. On one hand you are grateful that the event is nearly three months behind you. Then on the other hand you may feel afraid. The fear sends you revisiting the past in an attempt to stay with the painful event so that you have something to hold onto as to completely let it go is unthinkable and frightening.

To completely let it go means to move on.

The more time that passes the more the days begin blending into each other. You stop counting the days, weeks and months. That painful day settles in your memory as something that happened in 2016.

Personally I have yet to experience the death of a loved one and I have heard it said that as time passes the person left behind is scared to be happy again. They don’t want to forget their special person but rather do anything to keep the memories alive. To allow oneself to live again means letting go of that special person and moving on with life.

I’ve experienced moments as a mum in which memories of my children being small had me wishing I could go back to those days. The trouble is that the ticking clock kept going. Before I knew it one birthday blended into the next and suddenly four out of my five children are grown up adults. They no longer need their mum in the same way as when they were younger. It takes time to move on from being a fulltime mum and that in itself is a grieving process.

Unlike remote controls that are capable of rewinding, pausing and fast forwarding, as humans we can’t turn back time. Time doesn’t stand still nor can we escape the current moment and just bypass into the future. As each ticking of the clock passes we live through each minute and hour.

Remote controls give you a menu button so that you can choose which movie or t.v. show to watch. Life doesn’t provide us with menus to choose. While we have some control over our decisions we have no control over other peoples. We have no control over life’s tragedies.

While we have no menu to work from there are definite certainties about life. Everyone on planet earth will at some point experience the joy of a happy significant moment in time which is forever etched in the depths of one’s memory and heart.

Unfortunately each of us will at some point experience painful and tragic events.

However,

each person is provided with a brand new day. When one day is finished the next day arrives. Each new day can be a fresh start! As one day blends into the next the painful moments disappear into the past. We may forever remember them yet the pain attached slowly disappears. The sadness fades. The grief fades.  Each new day arrives fresh and new, we have the opportunity of having a better day, month or year. Smiles return to our faces as strong as the sun shines in the morning.

Life hurts there’s no doubt about that!

A new day always arrives there’s no doubt about that!

We each get a fresh start and an opportunity to smile again.

 

In the thick of pain it is very hard to let go yet eventually as each new day comes and goes with the ticking of the clock you will be able to hold hands with the future and let go of the past.