He was little (3 years old, 35 pounds). She was big (85 years old, 225 pounds). He was with his baby sitter (he called her Sitter). She was taking a bath in her personal space (she called it home). He was helping dust in the hall. She was dashing naked from the bathroom to her bedroom. He saw her. She didn’t see him. He was devastated. She was oblivious. She got into bed. He cried, and said, “Sitter, I didn’t want to see that bum.”
How many times in life do we see things we don’t want to see, or do things we wish we hadn’t done? It seems like the more we try to forget them and push them away, the deeper they become tattooed in our brains. Let me explain.
Recently I had a school assignment to go through my whole life and make peace with my past. As I dug around in my storage of memories and heartache, I found myself finding things I wished had never happened.
My baby brother died when I was two years old. Watching my parents deal with death was confusing and left me with many misunderstandings about how to relate to the world.
I had a terrible time learning how to spell, read and do math. This set me up with a habit of learned helplessness and a view of myself as having no talents.
My teachers didn’t know how to deal with my learning style. Some of my schoolmates teased me, were unkind and made fun of me. This left me feeling unworthy and worthless.
As a mother, I yelled at my kids when I should have held them close. Sometimes I held them close when I should have yelled at them. I got into their business when I should have stayed out. I stayed out of things that I should have paid attention to.
I took my husband for granted, wasn’t always nice, and didn’t acknowledge he even had needs. I spent money carelessly and blamed him for not controlling money – or me – better.
I spent more time than I want to admit caught in a vortex of depression spiraling down as I fought to get out.
I don’t like to have gone through these things; to have had these things done to me, and to have done these things to others. I wonder why I had to go through all that?
Having come through those experiences, I am now beginning to understand their purposes and the valuable lessons they provide.
For example, I experienced the death of my baby brother at a very early age. I didn’t understand it, nor did I have the maturity to deal with it at the time, so I built up a defense of arrogance and hiding my light. This arrogance and hiding has been keeping a very tender and sweet part of my life and has kept me safe until I grew and matured to a point where I could let down my defenses and process the death of a loved one.
Early on I recognized that things are never as bad as they seem. As a result, I have been blessed to be calm in the midst of chaos.
I have discovered that there are many ways to learn. The human mind is amazing at adapting and finding ways around obstacles and challenges. By being patient and not giving up, I have seen miracles unfold. Giving a person the love and space to develop at their own rate and in their own timing is one of the most loving gifts anyone can receive.
Although being a wife and mother has been a very painful experience for me at times, it has been a necessary experience for me to understand choice, taking authority over my life, and connecting to God. These difficult times are what made me know that I wanted something different and gave me the motivation to find a new way of doing things.
When I take my view and my truth as the only truth, I have no options. When I see my truth as the truth according to me, then I can change “my truth” and try something I like better. When I project my insecurities onto other people, I am a victim of them and I live a life that is lonely and separate. Not taking personal responsibility for my thoughts, my beliefs, my actions, and my life creates unnecessary pain and suffering. A life with no place to turn and no God, is Hell on earth.
As I take the time and effort to see the blessings and lessons that are available to me in the seemingly unbearable incidences of life, my perspective changes. The seemingly bitter becomes important and a valuable part of life.
I think this must be true for everyone. Making a shift in attitude and perspective transforms distressing experiences into valuable memories.
With that understanding, a little boy who saw a fat, old, naked lady, instead of being devastated, might laugh and say, “Holy Cow, Sitter, did you see that bum!?”