December 14, 2010

A Candle In The Window

I'm posting a few personal fun photos before I write what's on my heart today.
Huh? Which faucets?
My $1 coupon shopping spree! All this cost less than $1.
(Saving with coupons doesn't always have to be "big".)
Sidewalk Santa - I think!
My "Santa" on a cold, windy, trip to the mountains!
(He enjoys collecting those rocks! :)
Little Boots in his favorite do-not-disturb place.
I thought having a bad day was running out of tape right in the middle of wrapping Christmas presents. Or, a sore throat so bad I can't eat anything hot, and I can't swallow without a gulp of pain. Or, the blinker light going out on the car. Or, the constant mooing of cows in the field next to our home. Or, a really, really, grumpy patient who orders me out of his room without regard for MY feelings.

However, in all fairness, these are minor deviations in time, and life will return to normal without much effort on my part.

I'm reminded that so many of my family and friends are going through some of the most painful, gut-wrenching, catastrophic, times at this very moment. And, there's not much I can do except offer a shoulder to cry on, arms to hug with, and a prayer for better days ahead. (And good advice on my blog. LOL)

In Florida, so many are cold from the unusual winter weather there. We were in Tampa and Orlando last week for a couple days, where they were experiencing everything from fruit failure to homeless people without shelter from the cold. We saw young couples, regular people, and frail old people on the street corners with signs and everything they owned in backpacks with them. Below freezing, no coats or warm shoes, and no place to go except to run from the police who try to stop the "panhandling".

Personally, my sister and her husband were without heat due to wiring not prepared for such temperatures (as many, many, Florida families discovered). While my sister is prepared better than most, they had to take action to protect the large fish tanks in their home from getting too cold, and they owned a coveted warming blanket for their bed.

But more than the sore throat or lights out, I know from the Christmas cards that have come in, phone calls, and emails from family and friends, that indicate job losses, poor health, cancer treatments, more job losses, heartbreak, unexpected death of spouse, car accidents, personal injury, infidelity, loss of home(s) due to foreclosure, financial devastation, family fights, and discouragement big time. (I'm not making this up!)

Not just one family, but as I sit here, I can recall at least 20 (twenty) of my family and friends suffering unimaginable fear and grief during this "holiday' season. These are the ones I know about! How many others reading this can be included? My heart goes out to each of you!

If I'm correct (and I usually am), I think the biggest fear is feeling alone in your worries and grief. During the darkest times, we isolate ourselves and feel that there's no one else going down that path.

During the darkest times of our life, we feel like we are on a narrow, rocky, footpath without lights or warmth, or someone to hold our hand!

It seems we are obligated to deal with our grief and trials in solitude. We cry when we are alone. We hurl our anger at the walls. We scream when no one is there to hear us. We see no options for a way out! Yes, I hear all these things from those who suffer. It is a commonality that you do not know exists because you are alone at a time when you most need someone to hold you tight (and offer you a million dollars!)

The truth is, money (ALL of it) will not fix the problem. We can live anywhere, in any conditions and be happy if we learn to live with and love ourselves. This advice isn't much good if you don't believe me, but here it is, for what it's worth. And I believe it to be true because, as many of you know, I've been there and done that.

See my former home photo posted on the left hand side of this blog, as an example of fortitude. My sister and I learned to be happy there although we were often sick, sadly alone, grieved for our family and friends, very cold, quite hungry, and sometimes extremely afraid! We longed for someone to come and love us again!

As an adult, I've walked sleepless night along the St. Joseph River near Berrien Springs, Michigan, when I thought my heart was too broken to ever beat normally again! I thought there were no options because there was no money in my pocket, and no place to go. I lost my integrity, my power, my love, and my capacity to act. I thought my family & friends didn't understand my pain, so I didn't tell them all of it!

Please believe me when I tell you that it can and does change. But not until you can believe in yourself, love yourself, and make choices that will better yourself. All the friends in the world cannot give you this.

As I write, my hubby is still on unemployment (as are several of you who are reading this). I worry that if anything happens to my (somewhat fragile) health, we would quickly loose our 'candle in the window'. (Or at least be able to afford batteries to light them!)

I'm so thankful that we have each other and the strength we get from our relationship, the love and respect of my boys, my sister, our family, and so many friends.

So, I'm keeping all my friends and loved ones close to my heart today and always.

I offer hope as big as my heart, and love as everlasting as the universe.

Please (for me), put a candle in the window (lit or not), and let it be a small glimmer of hope for yourself. Life is what we make it - anytime, anywhere, after we have walked through the dark valley and have survived to find our true path again.

It will take time that you don't think you have; strength that you must borrow from others; and unlimited power always available from the universe.

Don't forget to click on the 'Vibrant Nation" link - for us older women.

Take Care on the Journey,
Your friend in life,

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