Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Road Signs

5/16/2011 1:04 PM

Road Signs of my Life

As I sit here and write these thoughts, I realize how fortunate I am.  I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach and a wonderful support system in family and friends.  I have six wonderful children that I desperately love, that love me right back.  So what if I don’t have my health right now, this too shall pass. 

  Whenever I start feeling sorry for myself I tend to reflect on where I was when I thought I was at my lowest.  How many times did you think you were at your lowest only to find later on, that it was only a low point?  You hadn’t hit rock bottom, you only thought you did.  Very few in the world actually hit the bottom and those that do have a choice; rise above or dig deeper.  Having cancer is not the bottom, being divorced is not the bottom, being unable to pay bills is not the bottom either.  They are just large bumps in the road of life.  We all must learn to maneuver through these potholes and learn a lesson in doing so.  The “Road Signs of Life” is just a small little guide that I think about daily, to remind myself there will be a perfectly paved highway one day for me.

  I thought divorce was the bottom.  Instead, it taught me to be self-reliant and more independent.  I learned I didn’t NEED a man in my life, but it’s nice to have one around.  I found myself enjoying my children more and worrying about pleasing someone else less.  I am not saying divorce is a good thing, it’s not…but as in all things, we must find a positive spin.  I turned that low point into a pro-active choice to become a stronger woman and a better mother.  I started putting my children first instead of my husband.  We all thrived from this turn of events.  I went head-first into the “working single mother” mode and found out how much I loved it.  “Detour” on my life road, not a bottomless pothole.

Struggling to pay bills is something most families go through at one time or another in their lives.  It’s not easy with two working people in the house, let alone when you are one person supporting a family.  I have always stressed over this issue and it is still a never-ending climb.  As the children get older, I seem to have to spend more money on them on top of the ever increasing rates of the utility companies and housing.  This part of my road I refer to as “Shoulder” for there are many shoulders to lean on in my world and I am grateful for each and every one.  More of us should be aware of the people we can turn to in this world and if you feel you have no one, you are so incorrect.  You would be surprised at who steps up to the plate when you think you are lost.  Just reach out, if my hand isn’t there, there will be another hand to hold you and pull you up and out.  Remember, GOD is always there anyway and His hands are stronger than the entire worlds!

Not many people know this about me, but my personal experience with homelessness is what I truly thought to be my “bottomless pothole”.   In September of last year, my house was flooded and I had nowhere to live with my children.  “Yield”.  Yes, I had to yield to my pride and accept a room in a homeless shelter.  My opinion of homeless people was changed forever.  This economy has really hit the world harder than most of you realize.  There was a waiting list for the family rooms.  Let me step back and explain this wonderful shelter so you may understand a bit more.  There are over 50 beds and a common room.  There is a men’s dorm and a women’s dorm and T.V. rooms in each and all are inside the building.   There is a common T.V. room for all the residences  in the main “lobby” and family rooms on the outer side of the building.  It’s all connected, the Safe House is massive!  The family rooms look like hotel rooms, complete with beds, T.V.s and your own private bathroom.  It wasn’t anything like I had pictured, beds stacked next to beds, no privacy to call your own.  It was clean, it had rules and it allowed for growth in your life.  They encouraged you to hunt for jobs, to better your circumstance.  No alcohol or drugs were allowed, which pleased this girl immensely.   It was amazing there, but I digress.  The point of this is that I had to learn to hold my head up high when all it wanted to do was hang low. 
  Can you imagine having a waiting list for the six family rooms?  That, my friends, is how many homeless there truly are.  My town is small and for all beds to be full, even in the dorms, is shocking.  I will always carry the memories of that time in my heart.  I made friends there that I never thought possible.  They became an extended family.  I hope you never look at a homeless person the same way again either, for they aren’t just bums off of the street.  They are families, a boy that was kicked out of his home because he was eighteen, a woman who was evicted because of these difficult times and so many others with their own stories.   

  Now with all of this “cancer” business, I don’t even believe it’s the bottom.  It’s my “Caution” sign.  A time to remember that life is precious and each day is a blessing in itself.  It’s also telling me that some of my habits aren’t healthy, (yes, I am a smoker) and that I needed this rude awakening to quit.  It’s an eye opener, that’s for sure.  I will rise above this a much better person, having more compassion and caring than I did before.  I will “pay forward” all the kindness that has been done for me.  It’s a never-ending circle, my friends.  Though I may be suffering right now physically, emotionally I am strong.  If I had to guess why I was struck when I was, I would say that it was to bring my family closer to me, to show me how important life really was when I was asking that question and to show my friends how much they are needed and loved in my little world.  Oh yes, there was a reason for all this.  In a demented sort of way, I am grateful this happened.  I now have a relationship with family members I haven’t spoken to in years, it is hard when you live 1500 miles away and are at least a decade apart in years.   It’s also wonderful that I can taste the sweetness of life and no longer the bitterness it offers us so frequently.  I will never ask that question again, “Why is life worth living?”, it shall never sit on my tongue again.   I cannot wait for the day that I am completely well and can do for those that have done for me!  Just a thank you is not enough from my standpoint.  It needs to be a big fanfare and one day, it will happen.  I don’t like it when I can’t show my appreciation whole-heartedly.  It’s just going to have to wait.  I only hope and pray that those who constantly are running here and there, sending money, buying little things for me, truly know how loved and appreciated they are. 

What are your road signs and why??

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