It Really Does Start At Home


I actually began blogging around this time of year, almost a decade ago when I had a harder time than I expected dealing with my empty nest. It blind-sided me so much that I felt as if I was slowly drowning in a montage of feelings I didn’t understand. I mean, I’d gone through all of the firsts. Leaving  both of my babies on their first day of school and all of the milestones that came after.  Before I experienced it, I’d read a few articles about empty nest syndromes and kind of felt a little judgie when I read about how immobilized some of these parents found themselves and surprised that it was both mother’s and fathers.

I think that in reading the stories of other people’s experiences, I realized that it helped to know that others felt the same way and to learn how they dealt with things. And as I began to find my own ground again, I realized that sharing our hearts in several different circumstances  really helped. And so I began writing about “LIFE” and in turn, started getting messages from people I’d never met, thanking me for making them not feel so alone. I figured that if I could help one person feel better about what they were going through, I would share my stories. I tried several different forums before I landed here on WordPress and when I created this blog, I totally felt at home, almost as if the readers and writers that found their way to my doorstep were like a little family.

I have written about love and heartbreak, faith and depression, appreciation and kids, friends and family, life and death, living in the past, pushing forward to the future, disappointments and blessings and today because it is this time of year that prompted me to start writing, I wanted to write to the parents as they send their kids off to school. There is a saying that I have grown to love:

Teach your sons to be gentlemen and your daughters to accept nothing less.

hugging kids

As a parent of adult children I have really reflected on what this means. Some of us feel that they have succeeded at this, some of us feel that we have failed. Some of us feel that we may have gotten it right with one or a couple of our kids and have a hard time understanding what happened to the other (s). Today I would like to encourage the young moms with kids just starting out and starting new years to really talk to their kids about kindness. Because it really does start at home.

When my daughter was in first grade at a Christian School. The program was amazing. I shake my head at how amazing. The Director of her pre-school and the Principal of her Elementary school as well as staff and some of the moms are still my good friends. Life changing friends. I love them. I think that we were all praying moms with a strong faith and yet, I watched the clicks and the gossiping among the little girls and realized that though we needed to set them free as moms, we also needed to guide and teach them to pray for things together.

It  touched my heart when we moved and my daughter came home from her first day of 4th grade in a public school and said in a horrified voice. “Mom, they DON’T even pray before they eat!”  It brings tears to my eyes now because I liked it when she was protected in that sweet little cocoon at Harbor Church School. But I knew that even there, Though the staff watched out for it as much as they could… there were little bullies. And no matter what, we can’t protect our kids from them.

But we can teach them to be kind and aware. To not judge because someone is not like them or doesn’t have the same clothes or backpacks or whatever the differences are. If they see someone sitting alone or hear someone else not being nice, to try to invite that person to be part of their group. I think we need to teach our kids at a very early age, that it is not okay to leave someone out, or laugh at them or to talk about someone or make fun of them. We need to get to know their stories and where they come from. To look out for the underdogs and be their hero. You never know whose life you may change by being kind.

If every parent and every teacher would make a point of teaching our kids why bullying is wrong. And encouraging their acts of KINDNESS and making it a fun project in every elementary school, just think how different the world would be if the adults took the responsibility of the kids and taught them the true golden rule. Because you know, in the end… Bullies grow up to either be angry adults or gentlemen.

What’s next?


big bubble Some people can smoke Lucky Strikes for their entire life and live to be ninety, while others can take all kinds of vitamins and eat a healthy diet, exercise daily, go to their annual check ups and then die before forty. And when children are involved, well, I want to cry out “Why?!” I know we live in a fallen world. I know, I know, I know! But it’s not fair. How fast do we all change the channel when we see a commercial for funding the cancer hospitals as they use bald little babies to inspire giving.  I have given before to help of course but also as if to buy insurance. Though I know in my head that God is not counting who gives and saying “Okay not her kids.”  Just to move on to someone else’s who have not given.

I view it much more differently.

I have always imagined God’s face as He releases our souls almost like blowing bubbles from heaven. It is filled with Love and Kindness and His eyes are filled with Hope and expectation much like a parent sending their offspring out into the world. He only is expecting the best for us. There is no awareness of grief or sin or tragedies in HIS presence, for He is on the other side, handing us over, giving us a chance at life. The side He is on can’t be described in human terms really, though I guess, we call it heaven. Everything is pure there. Even the hope that the life that we are passing through to… will have opportunities and chances at all the best possibilities the world offers.

baby in a hand

I truly feel that the instant we pass through that Heavenly Veil He is truly gifting us new life with all of His love. He does not send us out to hurt us. But it is different. Our world here. Much different than the heaven we came from. I am not saying that he is not aware of the state of the world. I am just saying that HIS hope for us is pure.  I picture our souls hitting this side and in a second, our bubble is covered with debris and dirt. Sticking to us as soon as we hit the air.

I am offended when people talk about God but can’t give Him a name other than “Universe” perhaps they don’t want to commit or maybe even offend those who don’t believe in something other than “air” and  gravity.  As for me, I  believe that God is my Creator. I am not ashamed to say it nor to defend His right to be recognized. He is not the author of pain or illness or sin. He had a better plan for us. We were the ones that screwed that one up. I look at my own life and realize that many of my own choices have put me in some of  the less than positive  places that I’ve been or am right now. I also see that sometimes when I am in pain, (though I don’t believe that God causes any of it…) He will use it for me to draw closer to Him.

A wise young woman who I knew as a little girl, not too long ago…… (seems like just a moment~ she caught my bouquet!)

Wedding Jim and I with Jenny who caught the bouqet!

 

lost her sister in a car accident she was also in…( when they were in college) wrote:

What’s important is what we do NEXT!!!!

That was powerful for me! Just that one sentence made me think hard. She now is married with a family of her own… and recently  posted a picture of her family now with her parents (my sweet friends who inspire me with their spirit daily!) sitting near her sister’s grave and wrote:          “Of course we know~ she’s not here!” She may never know the impact that had on me. No long paragraphs… just the hope of what was next for all of us who believe. Her sister is there now! And that is her hope. Such an amazing message…

Stowes

I have decided to embrace her quote…..  “What’s important… is what we do next!!”

To not constantly look back in regret or mourn what was, to not be the victim, standing knee deep in our own trials, mistakes or problems but to move forward in whatever situation we are in. I have lost loved ones, dealt with illness and basically found debris stuck all over my bubble over and over again… but I have also watched bubbles soar high! And I know my soul is capable of soaring! Maybe not without a little debris, but it is my goal to live the kind of life God intended me to have when He gave it to me!

We may never know why bad things happen to good people. But I believe with all my heart that God does want the best for us. Today I am going to find the best, next! I am going to walk right into it and believe! God is good. He wants the best for us. But that is not always part of the deal while we are here. I remember when my store crumbled around me and my daughter asked “Why us?” Why did God allow this?” And she said that without missing a beat, that I replied “He didn’t cause this, He saved us.” I don’t remember that conversation or how my faith came so naturally back then and I wonder now… how to get that back. I have been so angry lately. So critical. And kind of stuck in a place wondering… Why? Instead, today, I am going to ask: “What’s next?”

bubbly pic

The world is full of debris that attaches to my soul

sucked into it’s pit, in the darkness of it’s hole-

Fighting to survive in a place where sin has found a name

We’ve confused the way it’s fallen  and WHO it is we blame

We ignore the love that’s brought us here, falling into place

Forgetting about the kindness and the look upon HIS face

There is a war in each of us, struggling with love and hate

to remember where we’ve come from before it is too late!

Diane Reed

2013