Monday, October 21, 2013

Make your life worth watching!



Happy Monday! I had a busy, but very nice weekend. With most of the autumn leaves on the ground and the dreaded “S” word (SNOW for those in warm climates) in the forecast for later this week, I had to finally admit that it is time to get out the winter clothes, coats, and boots. With the ending of one season, comes the beginning of another: Holiday shopping season! Although finances do not allow me to do as much shopping as I’d like, I still enjoy perusing through the many catalogs that seem to fill my mailbox daily.  Yesterday, while enjoying my morning coffee before Mass, I was looking through one of the catalogs that arrived this weekend, and I came across a bracelet with a quote that provided me with a lot of “food for thought.” The bracelet read:  “One day your life will pass before your eyes; make it something worth watching.”  I love that!

 After reading that, I closed my eyes and began to think about what type of “movie or scenes” would be appearing before my eyes from my past, and more importantly, what type of show would be on if I were to die in the near future.  As with most individuals, the flashback contained bits and pieces of all sorts of genres.  My childhood was a mixture of “Leave it to Beaver” until my father became ill and died, then it went to a tragedy and tear-jerker, to the Brady Bunch with the addition of a step-father and step-siblings added to the mix. Drama and comedy, mixed with a lot of religious programming, with a lot of Happy Endings, pretty much summed up my life until age 40.

 Then it took a turn for the worst and my life pretty much played like a Greek Tragedy; some scenes completely out of my control, like the death of several loved ones, a Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis, and job loss, but many scenes were self-inflicted horror show. I relived many of those scenes in my head and for a brief moment, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if there were a “delete” button” on my life story so that I could just erase those 7 years?”  Or at least a “fast forward” button.  Then I thought some more and began to ponder, “Even if I could change my past….would I REALLY want to?”  Certainly, I’d like to have my loved ones back and I would have liked to avoid that physical and emotional pain; certainly I wished that I hadn’t gained all that weight; certainly I would have liked to have those wasted years of isolation, depression, and sadness. But, in all honestly, I really don’t think I’d want it to be any other way. Really, Theresa, come on! Yes, really.

 Have you ever heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger?” I’ve always believed that “character” comes from life’s experiences.  Going through those painful situations have made me into the woman I am today. I learned compassion for the  ill and grieving, because I cared for and watched people I love die in my arms. I learned generosity for those who struggle, because I know what it’s like to be unemployed. I learned empathy for the poor, because I know what it’s like to wonder how I was going to pay the light bill. I learned compassion for the obese and disabled because….well, need I say more?  I learned humility, because I know what it’s like to have to “accept help” from others after a lifetime of “service.” I learned that I am a lot stronger than I ever imagined. I learned what it’s like to depend on God. Mostly I learned that God is faithful, loving, and forgiving, and HE NEVER GIVES UP on us.

After I hit rock bottom, and I made the decision that I didn’t LIKE THIS MOVIE ANYMORE, God helped me “change the channel” to my life story. Today…the movie flashing before my eyes is a completely different one! It’s a combination of drama, comedy, education, fashion, and ADVENTURE! Every day is a brand new day and I never know from one week to the next what is going to happen. Most days have “happy endings”, but like you, my days are not always wonderful. I struggle, I hurt, I experience temptation, disappointment, pain….just like, and ALONG with you. Losing weight doesn’t make LIFE cease to exist; it just makes us stronger….in body, mind, and spirit, so that it is easier to deal with those “scenes” that don’t have happy endings.

In the “picture-picture” portion of my life is a boxing match….constantly playing in the background, serving as a daily reminder that I have to FIGHT every day to make the “scenes” I want to view worthwhile. I have to choose EVERY DAY….EVERY MEAL….EVERY THOUGHT….so that the movie of the day has a happy beginning and a happy ending…even if the “in-between” is full of drama, defeat, or tragedy. 

When we are going through difficulties and struggles, sometimes all we see is the scene playing “NOW” and we forget that “We have control of the remote control.” If you don’t like what’s playing in your life today….CHANGE the channel! You have that power. You have that ability.  You cannot change everything….but you can change many things. Learn what you can from those things that you cannot change, knowing that they are making you strong, and take small steps to change those things that you can. Take control of the remote and make your life worth watching!

I’ve never belonged to a 12-step program, but I love their Prayer of Serenity.

 “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot changed, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Make it a good day!