I started writing this post in May of 2016. While cleaning up some of my drafts and tending to the blog, I came across it again, with a little bit more of that perspective that I have always written about. Because it’s Holy Week, and we are preparing for Easter, I thought it was a good time to revisit this piece and publish it with the experiences of the past year and a renewed sense of gratitude.
For those of you who visit here regularly, you may have already sensed that I try to take each life experience (most especially the negative ones that teach a hard lesson) and spin it to something I can take away with the understanding that there is always a lesson, and always a reason. Even if it is really dark, and doesn’t seem like it at the time.
“You’re not leading with your heart.”
This is what my friend Jenn said to me recently.
She is right.
I have been all up inside my head thinking about a slew of negative experiences that have recently come to pass. Dwelling. Trying to make sense of some very trying times. These most recent experiences have changed me forever. It’s like those moments that I write about where there is a huge paradigm shift, a change in perspective, and through it all, I know I will come out of it, on the other side, different than I was before…
Dare I even say…BETTER.
So, for my first post in nearly a month, I thought I would lead with my heart and enumerate all of the great many LOVES that I have in my life.
Counting my blessings seems like a good thing to do, MOST of the time, but even more so now…
Because recently, life has been a bit challenging.
I choose to rise to the challenge and count my blessings.
When Diego was smaller, he would ask questions after coming home from school. His questions would sometimes be profound, insightful, spiritual, and rich with meaning. Other times, he would come home after spending time with his friends and would ask things like “Mom, are we rich?”
I have always answered him in the same way, with absolutely NO bearing on our financial status or security.
“Jegs, we are RICH with LOVE.”
This much is true.
I am loved by my girlfriends.
I have often referred to the many women who support me in my life as “My Net.” They catch me when I fall. They boost me up. They are there to laugh with me. Cry with me. And they have my back in more ways than one. They stand by me when I need them, and I will be forever grateful for the unconditional love and support that they supply.
I am loved by my BUDDIES.
My buddies come in all shapes, ages, and sizes. We enjoy spending time together furthering inclusion. Inciting change in small ways. We support one another through Best Buddies Philippines events, friendship, and even helping take care of the environment. How do I know they love me? Because their smiles and laughter when we are together tell me so…
I am loved by my children.
This past year, I have seen a different side of my children. While, I have always taken on the role of nurturing them because I am their mother, I have seen different sides to my children that have opened my eyes to the types of people I know they will grow up to become.
Morally, I know I’m raising children who understand what it means to make a commitment to someone and to honor that commitment. I can see that they know the difference between right and wrong and that they cannot be swayed in their understanding of black and white.
I am lucky to have experienced their empathy and compassion as they watched me navigate some terribly hurtful situations. I am humbled by their love and caring when they knew I needed it most.
I know I have some pretty great kids…amazing actually, and their love for ME enables me to love them even more.
I am loved by my family.
Even if my siblings and my parents are all living in different parts of the world, silent support, notes of encouragement, inspirational quotes, and even photos shared on Facebook of times when we bonded that have come to pass, are ways that they let me know that they love me and are thinking of me.
My extended family here in the Philippines looks for me and my children, and I look forward to the time we spend together…because FAMILY after all…will ALWAYS be FAMILY.
I am loved by my sisters.
If my girlfriends are my soul sisters…My SISTERS are my heart. From dropping everything (including their own lives) to be by my side in my time of need to staying on the phone with me while I cry and try to catch my breath.
They take care of my children like their own. They look after both me and my kids when we need it, all while reminding me to stay grounded and enveloping me in their support.
I love our “Sister Get Aways.”
They offer themselves, their own families, and everything they are without anything expected in return.
When our mother is not around, my sisters are the next best thing.
I am loved by my parents.
They not only brought me into this world, they have nurtured me and watched me grow into the person that I have become.
They have reminded me who I am, helped me in times of need and have been a constant source of love and support.
They have both shown me what it means to be strong, but have been clear that that strength does not mean hurting someone else in the process.
They are the best examples someone could have of what LOVE is.
I am loved by my partner.
He may not be the best husband. But he’s the only one I want. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I prayed for this man.
I prayed for a partner who would treat me as his equal, who would challenge me to be better, and who would honor our love and commitment with both little and big things.
Even if we have hit some little bumps along the way, I know that 21 years later, we are definitely for the better and not the worse.
I am loved by MY FATHER.
I must confess. This past year has probably one of the most difficult yet. My faith has been challenged in more ways than one, but one thing I have always reminded myself, is that God LOVES and takes care of me and my family.
“If God leads me to it, I know He will see me through it.”
I’m learning more about my faith in God and Jesus and how I can live a more meaningful life in Christ. I have always claimed to be a “work in progress,” and if it’s anything I can walk away with from the past year and the events that unfolded, it’s that He has been with me through it all. Even if I didn’t think so at the time.
I am thankful for the lessons He has presented me as I learn to strengthen my resolve and deepen my faith. I guess that’s what this post is all about. HIS LOVE through the people who have shown me THEIR LOVE, and for that, I am #grateful.