Memorial video done from several community events held in remembrance of Hailey Owens.
Memorial video done from several community events held in remembrance of Hailey Owens.
Hearing someone voice a regret usually saddens me deeply. Allow me a chance to explain myself further as I give a few definitions for the word ‘regret’.
Merriam-Webster defines regret a few different ways:
1. a : to mourn the loss or death of b : to miss very much
2. to be very sorry for
Webster’s Dictionary offers a different definition to consider:
1. Pain of mind on account of something done or experienced in the past, with a wish that it had been different
Most of us can relate personally to the first two definitions. That can include the death of a friend or close family member. Perhaps a dear friend has moved away. It is expected that you would miss them a great deal.
How about the third definition offered? Do you have regrets about something in your past? More importantly,
That is the type of regret I am suggesting here. It can be very difficult to take that first step forward to change a relationship. Can you relate?
I came across this quote today from Og Mandino. It has challenged my thinking, my choices for the day, my outlook.
Mandino wrote The Greatest Salesman in the World which contains the “time-tested wisdom of the ancients distilled into ten simple scrolls”. . .
Scroll I – Today I begin a new life.
Scroll II – I will greet this day with love in my heart.
Scroll III – I will persist until I succeed.
Scroll IV – I am nature’s greatest miracle.
Scroll V – I will live this day as if it is my last.
Scroll VI – Today I will be master of my emotions.
Scroll VII – I will laugh at the world (Keep perspective)
Scroll VIII – Today I will multiply my value a hundredfold.
Scroll IX – I will act now, I will act now, I will act now.
Scroll X – I will pray for guidance.
Share some of your thoughts with me and others. When have you done this in the past? Did it bring some peace to your situation? Do you have any situations or relationships currently that you would treat differently if today truly were the last day to intervene? I would love to hear from you.
While my parents did quite well at parenting, they excelled at consistency. I knew my boundaries, and I knew the repercussions if I didn’t respect those boundaries. I am quite certain I haven’t done nearly so well in that area. I am a work in progress.
I approach my blog with the same goal. I enjoy hearing from each of you as I strive to share our own journey. Sometimes the little things become big things. That is exactly what has happened. Little did I know a month ago what would transpire. For those reading my blog for the first time, bear with me as I get right to the point.
My son and I were attending a late-night movie in mid-December. It is a huge pet peeve of mine when people text or talk during a movie, and we had our phones silenced. During a quiet moment, around 10:30 p.m., I realized my phone was buzzing. I had multiple texts from my husband requesting I call him immediately. We raced out to the lobby, and the journey began.
The surface information at the ER suggested that my mother had a stomach virus that has been making the rounds in our area. As we approached 3:30 a.m. the ER doctor informed us that she would need surgery immediately. We had attributed a chronic stomach ache to diverticulitis. No one had caught that she had four hernias, two that were very severe.
As I left her hospital room late one evening, a nurse suggested I should leave my phone by my bed ‘just in case’. This time the call came in at 3 a.m. She was bleeding internally from the surgery and needed a second surgery immediately to correct it. That’s when it all started to fall apart. We all got the same virus that triggered everything.
People were busy planning their Christmas Day celebrations. We looked forward to a turkey dinner at the hospital cafeteria. All things considered, it was pretty good! My mom, however, was not recovering well. It seemed as though she was just giving up. The medical staff let us know the next step was a move to a rehab facility.
A nurse wheeled her down the hall as I because nauseated by the events unfolding before me. It is a great facility, don’t get me wrong. They have a fantastic, caring, attentive staff. Her nurse is exceptional. Her primary care physician is the medical director. I was having flashbacks to when my grandfather was in a nursing home, however. Waves of emotions and bad memories flooded over me. Suddenly I was ten years old again. It was if I was walking down the very hallway that led to his room. The distinct odor was missing, but otherwise it seemed to be a perfect replication of the place where he would eventually die. I bawled my eyes out all the way home.
Each day has seemed to go the same way. I call her in the morning and ask how she is. “I feel terrible’. ‘Why do you feel terrible? Are you in pain? Do you feel sick?” “I just hurt everywhere. I don’t know. I just don’t feel well.” Later in the day I show up to find her actively participating in her rehabilitation. It’s confusing, to say the least. I show her photos of her grandchildren every day. We play games. I sleep beside her.
So that is why I have not been responding to your kind comments. This is a way to say thank you, to say I appreciate you, and also to say one more thing.
I’m trying, Dad.
The last several weeks have weighed heavily on us and many dear friends as we waited for the outcome of a tenuous matter. Our concerns came to a fruition yesterday, wrought with all kinds of emotions. Some voiced relief, angst, confusion, doubts, frustration, and even anger. Does that describe a similar situation for you?
We moped around our house yesterday trying to escape the topic at hand. Everyone handles challenging situations differently. As for me, I prefer to be alone to ponder things. I get no comfort from hashing and rehashing things. Even a warm pot of ham and beans for dinner wasn’t lifting the mood in our house, however.
We have been preparing for some guests over the past few weeks, and kept ourselves busy most of the day. By early evening we had run out of things to do and we were making excuses to run errands. It was a valiant effort to break the silence.
We headed off for an errand. As I waited in the car at a store, the most obvious thing was staring back at me. Christmas lights. At this time of year, they are seemingly everywhere. In the same way that the emotions had crept up on me, so had the Christmas lights.
‘Let’s take a drive to see the lights.’ It was such a random comment. Our children are grown and we have gotten away from some family traditions that were once an annual tradition. In just a few minutes the world seemed a lot brighter, both internally and externally. We cranked up some traditional music, and off we went.
We cheered and clapped for the neighborhood that had synchronized lights and music. We oohed and ahhed for the shimmering lights hanging from the rooftops. Yes, we even spied on one resident working hard to wrap gifts in their brightly lit dining room. Some streets were so beautiful that we came back for a second glance.
As if with a collective sigh, the evening tour was over. Life seemed a little lighter, joy had returned.
Whatever your faith is, my prayer is that you find joy in the simplest things around you. They are there. I promise.
I always want to appreciate the generosity and kindness of others. In a perfect world, I write a thank-you note promptly for every person who has reached out to me. In a perfect world, I have beautiful and inspiring words that express these emotions. Sometimes that calls for gushing emotions that overflow with flowery words. Other occasions recall details of the changes in me or others who benefit from someone’s generous time and gifts. Some times I come up so short of expressing any appropriate acknowledgement. Today is one of those days.
For a little background, I took a course in college. As that occurred approximately 100 years ago, I can no longer recall the name of the course. It was something on American history in the 60′s? (I’m making this up. It is the closest detail I remember.) Just before the Thanksgiving break, we were given the assignment to interview a veteran. I smelled an easy A. Nice!
I wrote out my questions for the interview, timed out the appropriate setting, and began the interview with my dad. The fallacy of my theory about an easy A was to assume he wanted to be interviewed. He did not. I believe his words went something like this: ‘If I had wanted to discuss my time in World War II or the Korean War, don’t you think I would have mentioned it before now?’ Ouch!
I suspect I went whimpering away after the abrupt notification that the interview ended off before it ever started. What had I done wrong? My mom told me I had no idea what the answers might be, and he didn’t get joy from some of the more painful memories. Not every experience feels better by recounting it over and over. I saw this comment on a friend’s Facebook page this week, which seems to sum up the experience.
I muttered words of thanks over the years to my dad. I wrote papers later that showed his heroic character without the need for graphic detail.
My dad was a freshman in college at Indiana University when he was drafted for World War II. He finished that first year of college, served his country faithfully, and resumed his studies in Business at Indiana University.
He continued on with life. He wandered into a hat shop one day to purchase a gift for his mother. He encountered two of the most lovely women – my mother and my grandmother. I think you know what happened next. Chapel bells were ringing. They didn’t ring for very long because he was home from the Korean War just long enough to say his marriage vows. Within days he was back to serving his country after being drafted a second time.
My dad went on to have a successful career as an entrepreneur. He and my mother owned a number of successful businesses. They spent many long nights working to ensure their employees would have another paycheck during a recession in the 1980′s.
He loved family life. He was an only child who had six children of his own. Many people never knew about two of his children, Ann and Alice. They were the first set of twins in our family. My parents had no idea they were expecting twins until they were born. Neither child survived. I was vaguely aware of this as a young child from the whisperings of a great-aunt who would explain the significance decorating graves on Memorial Day each year.
My dad finally realized he needed to put his health first when he approached age 60. Soon he was walking several miles every day. All those years of ice cream and fried chicken had beat him to the punch. He suffered a massive stroke at age 62. The remaining eighteen years of his life were spent in a wheelchair, permanently paralyzed, until he passed away. To this day I can hear his laughter. I don’t hear his voice complaining. He would tell you he had a great life. I saw trauma after trauma in the unfolding of his life. He saw joy and victory. His final words to me were to thank me. Thank me? He wanted me to know how highly he thought of me as his daughter.
These are just a few of the reasons we call them The Greatest Generation. Tom Brokaw wrote a book titled as such. One reviewer noted that, ‘In this book, you will meet people whose everyday lives reveal how a generation persevered through war, and were trained by it, and then went on to create interesting and useful lives and the America we have today.’
To all the heroes, thank you. How do I adequately sum up my appreciation? I don’t know. I stumble over the words until I tumble into a torrent of inadequate musings and exaltation. Perhaps less is more. When we meet any servicemen or veterans, we sum it up with these words:
I heard a message this past week on a topic that causes many to cringe. The speaker even called it the ‘S’ word. . . submission. Suddenly people shrink in their seats and mentally check out. I walked away with one thought on my mind: McDonald’s.
Our daughter worked at McDonald’s during her high school years. One of the first things they train their employees to do is to up-sell their orders. Order a hamburger and you should expect to be asked if you would like an order of fries as well.
Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so. If I flip the question upside-down to a statement, it sounds like this:
What a great model for serving others with my life. Do I give the least required so that I have minimum effort to claim a success? Or am I willing to give more than I expected, more than I intended, more than I thought I was up to giving?
Hope changes everything. Hope precipitates the route to joy. Hope brings internal strength when external circumstances look daunting, perhaps impossible. My prayer for you today is to keep faith in your situation. If hope is nonexistent, pursue it diligently.
What is on your list of impossibilities today? What has worn you to such fatigue that you can’t crawl out of that mental or physical manhole
Do yourself a favor today, perhaps an eternal favor. Take a chance to believe again. Faith is the cause. Joy is the result.
Let me know what you have renewed hope in today. Encouragement feeds encouragement in others. Someone else needs to hear about your story of hope. Your journey to joy.