A funny thing happened to my Hotmail account. It flashed back to 2008 and is permanently stuck there on my phone, totally disregarding all other correspondence from then until now. While deleting several dozen emails representing My Life: Phase 1 I found some old pictures from way back in the 90s.
Let me just say, the Lord has a sense of humor. The few pictures which stuck out most were ones of me at some of my career highs and personal lows in My Life: Phase 1. I looked at them with an equal amount of overwhelming proudness from the woman I saw, as if she wasn’t me. I looked at them also as a reminder of who I really am, what I’m made of, from where I’ve come and Who’s in control. (Not to mention I LOVE the spark of sass I saw even through the grainy-ness of those forgotten photos.)
To the high heels everyday, blue suit and fierce, precision, layered red hair wearing go-getter, who would get up at 3:30am drive to one part-time job clear across town from her Highway 280 apartment, then burn rubber in her champagne gold Nissan Maxima to her head her full-time news gig at 9am, work until the news demanded no more, and still make time to take time for herself, her friends, a bustling social life, lots of community service, active work in the church and of course, time for family I say, “thank you for reminding me of what’s in me.” I owe you, girl.
To the naïve, young woman full of hopes and dreams and love and expectations at her engagement party beaming on the stairwell with thoughts of what God desires for her and of her, excitedly posing at the exact place which would ultimately end up being her place of employment after the elaborate engagement party hosted for the wonderful wedding which led to a short-lived marriage ending in divorce (and the desperate need for employment in My Life: Phase 2) I say “thank you for reminding me of what’s in me.” I owe you, girl.
To the woman who endured the PAINFUL, experimental, super long steroid shots in the eye covered by an itchy, irritating as the dickens patch to keep her eye from popping out, taking 17 pills a day, who gained 50 pounds in one month after a fight with Graves Disease and Thyroid Storm tried to send her home to sweet Jesus, but couldn’t (BOOM!), yet still monitors and deals with it to this day I say, “thank you for reminding me of what’s in me.” I owe you, girl.
Here’s what I know. Nothing happens without reason. Today, for some reason, as I sat in delightful solitude at home enjoying my peace and quiet God wanted me to take a look back knowing it was what I needed to help propel me forward. I know he knew that not only could I handle those TONS of emails and pictures representing My Life: Phase 1 without a smidgen of anger, sadness or regret, but that I would view them with lots of smiles and giggles. And, because I know He knows His daughter, I know He knew I needed to be reminded, even through a grainy old photo, of how fly I looked nestled up on that television production board like a boss, so that I could prepare to be one in whatever new and blog-worthy ways He desires in My Life: Phase 2. So to those three versions of me in My Life: Phase 1, I say I owe you, girl. Your struggle, sass and sense of survival was not in vain. I hope to make you proud.
Have you ever wondered who you were before whatever happened happened that hurt you enough to change who you were? A recent conversation with a friend prompted that thought as I saw how this person clawed through the damages of the tragedies of past hurts to try to cling for dear life to the progress she’d made in an effort to hold on to that progress rather than revert back to her natural response from the past. We talked about her fears of facing the person responsible for that pain and how much that one single individual’s presence had alter her life in a way no man or woman deserved. We also talked about how we wondered what must have happened to the person who hurt her to allow that person to be so hurt that transferring hurt was the solution. We talked and talked and talked. I wondered aloud and internally. Who was my friend before this happened? How could she have been had this not happened? And more importantly we talked candidly about who she could STILL be in spite of what happened and because of what happened so she would be in a position to help others.
I don’t know what you’ve been through. I’ve been through a few things in my young age of 43. Just read a few of my blog posts to find out about my unwanted trysts with sickness, death of loved ones, divorce, loss of opportunity, betrayal and all that not-so-good stuff. Sharing that time of talk with my friend made me wonder how much of the sting of those things I’d carried, and for how long, and didn’t even know it was along for the ride of my life shaping me into some simulation of who I once was, but robbing me of the beauty of who I should have been had I not received the bad brunt of its unwelcomed delivery. I wondered if I am carrying any of it remotely still allowing it to alter things like my subtle response to situations, my trust of others, or my apprehension moving forward in circumstances similar to those which might have caught me off guard or got me caught up.
I pray I’ve been able to successfully heal from the pains of the past, not forgetting them, but certainly no longer feeling them or forcing them on others. My chat with my friend made me more reflective, doing a self-check, to see if my prayer had been answered. I even asked another friend to check me, boo. This person did. I’m glad. I’m no where near perfect but I’m bound to not be bound by my past. Regardless of where we are in life, and what has happened, we all have the God-given ability to be who we were meant to be. It won’t be easy. It won’t be pretty. It won’t be fast, but it will be worth it. So I ask. Who were you before hurt happened, and what are you willing to do to be that person and better? You owe it to yourself and the world awaiting your life as a beautiful testimony.