If I asked you who you are, what would you say?
That I'm a financier, a teacher or a policeman?
Or maybe a parent, a student or a friend?
Maybe you would say I'm the top the salesman or the best golfer at my club, or the best baker on the PTA.
Those things may in fact be true. But how would you feel if...
You lost your job?
Your kids grew up and moved away?
You had a disagreement with that special friend?
Someone surpassed you as the top sales producer, beat your score on the course, or wowed them at the latest bake sale?
When my life changed in an instant, I was completely lost. For days, I sat quietly on the deck blankly staring out at the dense canopy of pine trees and palms surrounding our rental. From wee hours of the morning until long after the moon could be seen, I left that spot only to prepare what little I could think to put together to sustain my children. I sat there with the world closing in, gasping for air and not knowing what to do to break free. All I wanted to do was to hug my children and make their life better but I did not know how. I was in a full blown Cat 5 storm!
I was still a wife but did not want to be one. The true friends that I thought that I had were no where to be found. Days before I did not worry about money, today I did not know where our next dollar would come from. Life as I knew it would never be the same again. I would never be the same again, and at this point I didn't know who I was. Everything that I thought I was had vanished.
Although I was not sure where the next moments would take us, I had to try to explain something, anything, to my children. It took every fiber of my being to hold myself together as I talked to them. I used all my strength to hold back my tears and steady my quivering lips, but I could not control my shaking as I spoke. "Things will be different going forward. I'm not sure yet how things will change, but I'll figure it out. I promise. It will be OK, but I need you both to be a bit patient with me as I am the only one here now, the only parent now."
To which my eldest son replied," But you always have been".
With those 5 words, the storm clouds surrounding me began to lighten and spread to where I could see streams of sunshine and hear the peaceful chirp of birds. I have been identifying myself as a partner in life and nothing more. Yet my son saw something else, something that I had not seen in quite some time. He saw my values and my beliefs.
We have been conditioned to use outside forces to identify who we are. We use that to define our personal identity and in theory there is nothing wrong with that. However , those outside forces can change, and we can be left overwhelmed, stressed or wondering who we are. I was lost thinking I was a single mother and the hopefully soon to be ex of a convicted criminal. Those thoughts paralyzed me. The words shared by my son ignited a tiny spark that allowed me to begin to look at things differently, to look at myself differently. I found the calm in the storm for just a bit. Over the years, I learned to feed that spark finding my identity and well being.
When life takes its twists and turns, and I begin feeling stressed, scattered and even overwhelmed, I center myself in the eye of the storm. Although I still fill various roles - wife, mother, coach, feline enthusiast - I identify as strong, powerful, witty, tenacious, capable and determined. And then I can handle just about anything in the clear path as the storm of life continues to swirl around me.
Thanks for visiting!
Until next time…..
May peace be with you!