Turning forty was magical for me. I didn’t go on any fancy trips or have a big elaborate party (though my Mom did take the kids for the weekend). It marked the point where I had finally let myself let go and get up and move on from a lot of “baggage” I was carrying around. I stopped feeling like I had to keep up with the Joneses and started inviting the Joneses to my smaller, messier and comfortable home. I allowed myself to stop apologizing for everything and saved the “I’m sorry’s” for the things that really mattered. I started to show up for me, in addition to everyone else.
The “I’m sorry’s” turned into “my stories”. Instead of apologizing all the time for my imperfect self and the behavior of my three children (who tend to save all their energy for trips to the grocery store) I write about them. My therapy, I guess. Hopefully it lets others know that they are not alone in their quest to raise children while keeping a clean house and establishing world peace. In that exact order.
One of the biggest reliefs was realizing that I am not a judge and I am not a jury. It is not my job to decide what is right and wrong in other people’s lives. I need to do my best doing what I do and hope that, at the end of the day, my head can rest peacefully on my pillow. Everyone has a mess somewhere in their lives, maybe it’s clean now but somewhere along the line, there was some tidying up to do. Or there will be. We’ve all got some dust in our corners.
This journey into forty has been quite a ride and through it all God has been there to help me navigate. Sometimes I have chosen to listen to His direction, other times I have ignored it. Each way has shown me three different but equally important lessons:
- His way is much better than anything I could ever come up with.
- Assuming always gets me into trouble.
- Forgiveness is the most valuable gift that anyone can ever give or receive.
I always thought that I was a forgiving person but lately I have seen that my forgiveness has had conditions attached to it. In its purest sense there are no conditions; forgiveness is a gift that is given freely and has no expectations of anything in return.
So, I have made it my mission, everyday, to try to follow His direction. I fail ALOT. I fall ALOT but I always get back up and forge ahead. You already know what they say about assuming, I have been the first three letters of that word on more than a few occasions so I am working SUPER hard to overcome that one. Most importantly, I am working on forgiveness. Definitely on giving it but also receiving it as well. It is freeing and I feel lighter and better and ready, ready to follow the path that has been determined for me.
It’s not always easy to forgive and be patient with others faults, an unnecessary and rude comment can potentially ruin my day. I can feel my blood begin to boil when I’m behind a 90-year-old lady driving with her hazards flashing, on a two lane street, when I’m late. Fact of the matter is that I have to think beyond those feelings. That person could have been rude because they just lost their job/best friend/wife and that 90 year old lady will be me one day. What she must think when she sees my big, black SUV in her rearview mirror? Right on her tail. I can’t imagine.
There are some things in life that appear to be unforgivable. These take more time, more prayer and a lot of grace. We all have this ability in us. It’s like working out…you are not going to have those fabulous triceps with one day of lifting ten pound weights while watching The Real Housewives. But you will start to see the changes, little by little, if you stick with it.
Here, my purpose is to share forgiveness and hopefully help others discover some of their own. Mark Twain said that “forgiveness is the scent of the violet on the heel that crushed it.” So, Violet Heels seemed like an appropriate title for this blog…that and the fact that I have a very scary obsession with shoes.
I hope to make you realize that you are not alone in this quest to raise a family, it takes a village. Remember, there is no room for judgment, especially for those of us whose daily attire consists of a fleece pullover and yoga pants and whose four-year-old thinks it’s cool to dress himself.