Monday, May 18, 2015

Through the Eyes of Love

This world is not geared toward love. That natural inclination to love one another seems to be an absent thing of the past. 

There has always been hate in the world. Since the days of Adam and Eve there has been envy and strife. And so it continues. We have every excuse in the world for our lack of love. We don't agree with this one's decisions. We don't like that one's choices. They are too fat, too thin, too old or too young. It has become easier to be indifferent than to show kindness and compassion. 

This world is a messed up place. It doesn't take much to realize that. 

Hey, messed up world, I have a message for you. We were called to love. 

John 15:12 says "This is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you."

I think this is where we get messed up, though. We look at others through eyes that are tainted by our own self hatred. 

Yes, I just said self hatred. We have allowed ourselves to become so muddled up in what we perceive we are not that we have no comfort with who we are. We allow ourselves to live beneath our purpose and accept things that were never meant to be in our lives because we do not love ourselves enough to rise above our circumstances. 

We turn to things and people to fill this loveless void in our hearts when we need to be looking within ourselves, striving to fix that broken concept that we are not worthy of the love that our very soul needs so desperately. You don't pour into something that you don't care about. You put your energy into something you feel is worthwhile. 

I spend time looking at myself. Not out of vanity, but I look at myself to see what others see when they look at me. What do they see in my face? How does the way I carry myself reflect to those who don't know me? If someone who has never met me saw me coming toward them, could they tell I place value in myself?

I see myself through eyes that love ME. I look in the mirror into the eyes of the only person who truly knows my heart, who has felt every heartache I have felt, whose arms were always there to hold me when I cried, the person who has seen me at my very lowest, and who was there through the best times of my life. 

This person looking back at me knows my dreams, my desires, my hopes and my plans. They know just how far I can go and they have been witness to times when I found strength I never realized I had. 

I look at this person some days and I cannot believe it is me. 

And yet, it IS me. And I have developed a close, abiding friendship with myself. It has made me more protective of my future, my dreams, and my heart. 

And it has also made it so much easier to love those that have not learned to love themselves and to accept what that love means. 

I can look at others and say that I understand where they are on their journey. 

He commanded us to love one another as He loved. He didn't ignore the sin in others lives. He told them to straighten up and not live like that anymore. But, He loved. He died out of love and with love. 

I may not agree with the sin, but I can love the sinner. And, I love myself enough to know that doesn't mean I should allow myself to be caught up in those sins. Sin still takes you farther than you ever wanted to go. 

But, I can love. I can look at others in their broken situations through eyes that see their brokenness as well as their situation. 

Love is the greatest gift you will ever give. Give that gift to yourself and soon it will overflow into those around you. 

"This is My commandment....." To love. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Musings of a Middle-Aged Orphan on Mother's Day

Many, many, MANY moons ago I was born the youngest child of three. I don't know if there is a typical family, but we were pretty normal. 

My Dad worked in newspapers. My Mom stayed home until I started school. She worked in a cafeteria when I started first grade so she would be home when we were. When I started second grade I was too shy to tell them my Mom was picking me up and they stuck me on the bus along with my aggravated older sister who tried to get me off the bus, but I was too scared. When we got home that day my Mom made the announcement that since we could ride the bus, she was going to work. 

My Mom was a very smart woman. She excelled at every job she had. When we moved to Southwest Louisiana she got a job taking payments in the water department of the city we lived in. It wasn't long before she was the purchasing agent for the city. 

I want to tell you about my Mom, for a moment. My Mom was private. She wasn't a recluse, but she was close. I never remember her going out with her girlfriends, or yacking on the phone. When my Mom was hurting she dealt with her own pain. So many things she carried we never, ever knew about. 

My Mom was very funny. And, her humor is one of the things I'm glad she passed down to me. She was not the type to get into your business but when she did it was warranted and you definitely paid attention. 

She taught me what it meant to be a woman. Just by example I learned how to carry myself, in all situations. I learned the importance of dignity and grace. I learned about how to handle people and the importance of family. 

And, I learned about the love of a mother. I learned that when you accept this role you are no longer out to serve yourself. You have a greater calling. Oh, neither of my parents coddled us. We learned early on that if we made a mess of our lives we needed to be prepared to clean it up. The consequences were our own. 

But, they taught us about working hard and not expecting anyone to pay us just to exist. 

I was walking with my cousin the other day and she said something that caused me to look sideways at her. As soon as I did it I told her that was a Peggy look. More and more my mother takes over my actions, my mannerisms. I know it's partially genetics and partially not wanting to let go. 

I miss her every day. She was my very best friend. She loved me without condition, but she also pushed me to always rise above. I miss her touch, her voice, her laughter, her smell. Even at my age, I want my Mama. 

Knowing that I had her for 42 years and she only had hers for 16, makes my breath catch. The missing of her own mother was so powerful and caused such a wound that I didn't even know what happened until I was older. She didn't talk about it. Only tidbits on occasion. As the years passed she shared more and more but I didn't get the stories from her that I did from my Dad. It's almost like the pain made it too great. 

But, I talk of mine often. It seems like just yesterday I kissed her goodbye. I will never be too old to remember. Never be too old to want to lay my head in her lap one more time. 

Missing her greatly. Today and always. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

All in a Day's Work

I got my first job when I was 11. I babysat for our neighbors while they went to the Sugar Bowl and earned enough to buy the album "Grease!" I still regret not buying "Sgt. Pepper" which I am pretty sure would be a collector's item by now, but that's another blog. 

I babysat quite a lot after that. I got a job at 15 working at Bonanza Steak House. And, I spent some time in the press room at the newspaper inserting ads into the paper. 

I graduated high school at 17 and since it would be 7 months before I turned 18 I had a hard time finding a "real job." I neglected to tell my parents I had been offered the Choral Scholarship and turned it down because I wanted to take a break from school. Yeah, dumb move, I know. When I finally did tell my Mom 15 years later she almost whipped my tail. 

Finally, in January of the next year I went to work at the newspaper helping in accounting where one of the girls was out getting ready for her wedding. I loved it. My Dad was the Vice President of the newspaper group but that didn't mean I had it made, that meant I was expected to work harder. Ms. Linda, my supervisor, let me go home early one day because we were caught up and I wasn't feeling well. I really wasn't feeling well after Dad got home. Believe me, the only way I would have missed after that was if I was on a trip to the morgue. Haha

I worked up until Ethan was born. We had moved to Georgia from Louisiana and it just made sense for me to stay home. When he turned a year old I started college. Bobby and I both had up to three jobs apiece while I went to school. 

One of my jobs was a DJ for a country station. My radio name was KC Lee and that is literally what cured me of my shyness I had dealt with my whole life. 

I graduated college and passed my Nursing exam, received my RN license, and started working in Labor and Delivery in Sept. Of 1995. 

I guess you think the point of all of this is to brag, but it's not. At all. And, I'm not trying to give you my resume. 

I was raised that if you had a need you got out and worked to fill that need. All those years ago we decided we wanted to provide a good life for our children. That was my motivation. 

You see, my children didn't ask to be born. They were a gift to me and their Dad. And we saw each day with them that way. 

We raised them to believe in hard work. And they have both worked hard to get to where they are. 

So, here I am. I don't have much but everything I have I have worked for. And I have worked at every job to provide the best of me for those who have trusted me enough to hire me. 

Today, I was able to see some of my hard work pay off and it thrilled me. I can't even begin to explain the satisfaction I feel. 

There is something to be said for giving your all, for earning your own way, not relying on someone else to keep your head above water. 

I cannot for the life of me understand, as a mother, someone who would sentence their child to an existence instead of providing their child a future. I want my children to be proud of me, to be proud of the woman I am. Someday when I am gone from here I don't want them to look at my life and the choices I have made and feel ashamed of the person I was. 

So, if you don't like where you are, take heart. Until you exist no more you have the power to change your circumstances.  I now find myself in a place where I can make a difference, where I can cause change, and where I can grow and prosper. 

And, I will. My story is far from over. This is a new chapter being written. I can't wait to see the plot unfold.