Sunday, January 27, 2013

Always happy and forever 15

When I became a parent, the world changed completely in an instant. Everyone said, "Life will change after your baby is born." There's really no way to imagine just how utterly different it would be until you get there and you realize that this little person is your responsibility. When I talk with new parents and mention that to them, their faces express that astonishment they also experienced.

When I was not a parent, I felt the standard and acceptable degree of empathy and understanding for issues facing children. Safe homes, hunger, quality of education, the environment... but at the end of the day, they didn't seem to connect to me as strongly as they did with people who were parents. I remember thinking how "out there" those advocates seemed to be. That is, until I  became a parent.

I've relived some of those joys and pain this week. In a lighthearted way, my son and I watched "The Cosby Show," when Saundra and Elvin had their twins. And even though it was a TV sitcom portrayal of childbirth, it was still touching to me to hear those words again, "It's a boy! You have a son!" My son noticed that I got a little choked up in a silly kind of way over a TV show, but the flash of memory was there and I was transported back to the moment when he and I met for the first time.

Today, there's a lot of grieving in our small town. A boy in John's class lost his life yesterday. The first member of their class to leave, and far too soon. His name is also John. Always happy, is how my John described him. And now he'll always be happy and always be 15.

There are no words, just prayers for comfort, strength, and healing for John's parents and for all who will miss him. And in the same way we remember the moment our child is born, we put ourselves in this unthinkable situation and wonder how we would get through it if it were our child. Truly, in a small town, all children are "ours" and we feel the loss of a young man from our community.

Today's icy rain will make us stay in and stay home. The gray seems fitting in a way that blazing sunshine and blue sky would not today.

For all the hearts broken open today for any reason, here and everywhere, may they be filled with love.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Don't wait. The time will never be just right - 2013

Just about three years ago, I wrote this post Don't Wait. The Time Will Never Be Just Right. The title is a quote from Napoleon Hill and for me, it began the journey out of a waking coma to change my life.

"Don't wait. The time will never be just right." What does that mean to you? Right now, there's probably something that you are considering doing, but you haven't gone beyond just thinking about it. There are many likely suspects - getting in shape, getting sober, finishing your book, going back to school, or changing careers. Whatever it is, it's about making a commitment to ourselves and our dreams. And making that commitment could be the most difficult part. 

Depending on the time of year, like right now, we might call them resolutions or intentions.

Mark Twain said, "Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."

Ten days into 2013 and I'll bet many New Year's resolutions are teetering on the brink.

What if I work so hard at this and I fail?
What if I can't lose weight, stop smoking, get sober (fill in the blank)?
What if I can't handle working a job and going to school?
What if I open myself up to a relationship, and I get hurt?
It's just easier and less painful to not even try. Or is it?

The flip side, for me, is sometimes the more frightening proposition. What if I am successful? (Yeah, I know.)
What happens if I actually achieve what I set out to do? I'll have to do something even more challenging the next time. People will expect even more from me. And what if they find out I'm not all that?

When we commit to our dreams, we are making a promise to ourselves that we are worth it. We are worth more than just living life as it comes, always on defense and reacting to whatever comes our way. We are worth making proactive change in our lives, taking risks, learning from the inevitable disappointments and setbacks.

You are worth living your life fully and completely. What are you waiting for?