My mother is the smartest person I know. As a young child, she would tell my siblings and I that in life there would be a lot of things that we wouldn’t have control over. However, we would have a choice about how we handled them.
I remember stomping up over the stairs and slamming the door in anger and having my mother make me go back down over the stairs and try going up the stairs again. A few times, I had to retry going to my room without slamming the door as many as 3 times. The worst part was that once we were sent to our rooms, we had to wait for either our mother or our father to come up and talk to us about our latest indiscretion. It was painful. One time I remember giving my father the silent treatment for about three days. He had really made me mad. He was notorious for not giving us permission to go out with our friends or attend evening functions at school until the very last-minute. This time, he had said “no” and I was furious. I will never forget him sitting at the foot of my bed. He was broken-hearted. I had really hurt him. He made me promise that if I was ever upset at him again that I would talk to him. He told me that there was nothing worse than the silent treatment. To this day, it puts a pit in my stomach when I think about that day. I never did that to him again. My choice is to talk and to not shut people out…especially the ones who mean the most to me.
My brother, my sister and I moved to the farm in 1977. We moved from a 12 house street with 4 swimming pools, to a rural area with few children to play with. We had to learn to get along with each other. One thing we had in common was our love for music. We played in the band, went to music camp in the summer, marched in the marching band in college, and joined the same fraternity & sorority. It formed a bond with my siblings that we enjoy today. I marched with my brother for his first 2 years of college and my sister marched with him the last 2 years. I only wish that all 3 of us could have been there together at the same time. However, we do enjoy reunions at Homecoming. I don’t make it every year, but I am so proud to be with them when I can. Some of the best friends that we have are ones we met through this experience. I am so glad that I made this choice. It was one of the best ones I have ever made, and helped make me into the person I am today.
During this time, my relationship with my future husband was young. It was in the fall of my freshman year of college that he signed up for the Navy. I was terrified. I didn’t know what this would mean for us, but I made another choice. I chose to stay with him despite the distance and large time periods that would go by without seeing one another. It was difficult and often lonely, but I have never been sorry. My band family embraced him and made him feel welcome when he visited, they attended our wedding, and were there for the birth of our first child.
I had a conversation with a co-worker this fall. This person said that all things happen as a result of our choices. Maybe. I made a choice to stick with my husband “’til death do we part”. I chose to stand by him, and to encourage him, and to love him unconditionally even during the hard times. I have taken my vows very seriously, and as we have taught our children: a promise is always a promise.
Three children, a daughter-in-law, and 2 grandchildren later, I am so glad that I made the choice to stick with it, stay loyal, and make my marriage my priority. Our children remain the best choices we ever made. Hands down.
For 2/3 of my trip in to work this morning, I had a pity party for myself. I told God all about my frustrations, how terrified I am, that what we are facing is unfair, and how cheated I felt. The remainder of the trip was spent apologizing and praying for my husband. The fact is, there is a whole lot in my life that I don’t have control over. However, I do have control over how I am going to behave and how I am going to react to life’s challenges.
I resolve to keep God at an arms reach and I will cling to the promise that all things work for good for those who love God and are called to his purpose. I am comforted in knowing that he is watching over my family.
I choose to lean on my friends and to allow them to give me the strength I need to say goodbye when the time comes. But for now, I refuse to dwell on the “what if’s” and focus on the daily blessings, because it is my choice.