A bittersweet day for some of us…
Today is a beautiful day for celebrating the Mothers in our lives. Moms, Grandma’s, Mother-in-law, perhaps even a dear friend whom you want to celebrate for raising her family. It’s a day when we can take the chance to be intentionally thoughtful toward those wonderful women who have given much to help us in life. I certainly am blessed to have several wonderful women in my life like that, and I’ll spend today celebrating them.
But, I will also spend today a little sad because I’m not celebrating my own mother. There is always a little pain around holidays like today because I haven’t seen her or talked to her in almost 15 years. I decided to leave home. My mom decided to support my father (who abused me for years) and then tried to tell me I was the one going to hell. I am not angry at her and I carry no blame toward her. But, I know that is not a healthy relationship and I don’t regret asking her not to contact me again if she couldn’t support my decisions.
I know I’m not the only one who spends holidays like today with just a touch of sadness in spite of the opportunity to celebrate some wonderful women in my life. Perhaps your own mother wasn’t a great example of a “Proverbs 31 woman” either. Or perhaps she was, but she has passed away and you will spend today with memories. Maybe you are spending today remembering a child you have lost and it’s a different kind of sadness or maybe you are spending today wishing God’s plan for you had included children of your own.
If your day today is a little sad, I want to share with you something I’ve learned…Healing doesn’t mean that there was never a wound there. Healing means that the wound has closed over, there is no festering infection, and that while there is a scar, it will fade with time. I was talking with someone on Friday who had also been a victim of sexual abuse for a long time as a child. That person asked me if a day ever went by that I didn’t remember what I went through, because they were hoping to get to that point. For me, it’s not about trying to forget our pain in life – it’s about remembering the pain that once was and yet finding that with healing, the memory doesn’t carry as much pain. Tori Amos said, “Healing takes courage, and we all have courage even if we have to dig a little to find it.”
It takes courage to acknowledge the pain, the hurt or the injury. That’s the first step and it’s the most difficult I think. It’s always easier to push away or ignore pain than face it, admit that it hurts, and then learn to move on. It takes courage to forgive a wrong done. It takes courage to learn to live after the death of a loved one. It takes courage cry and courage to stop crying. It takes courage to heal because it requires us to create some changes in ourself and admit that we are vulnerable. Survivors, of anything, don’t want to be vulnerable. We learned to survive because we refused to be vulnerable. But once we get beyond surviving, it takes courage to learn to vulnerable and then learn to thrive.
To move on requires us to focus on what we can be grateful for. Today, I choose to be grateful. I am grateful for two wonderful grandmothers (whom I will visit later today) and special great-grandmothers that I was blessed to get to know before they passed away. I am grateful for the sweet, loving, caring, kind and thoughtful mother-in-law that has wrapped her arms around me and embraced me and taught me so much about love. I am grateful for a talented and special stepson, who taught me so much about myself as I learned not to try to replace his own mom but to be a “bonus mom” when he needed me. I’m grateful for an incredible Godly husband who treated me to “Stepmothers Day” all day yesterday! He took me to lunch, took me shopping, patiently tried to teach me tennis, and then grilled dinner for us outside. I am grateful for so many things that I could go on and list them one by one and still be writing tomorrow! Spend a few minutes here today and consider…what are you grateful for?