She stood alone in the dark room, swishing the photo paper in the chemicals, waiting for the image to appear. This place was her escape. Peace always seemed to fill her here. The quiet of the weekend as the building was almost always empty.
The air grew thick and it felt strange. She knew was no longer alone. She looked up as the air around her got heavy. That was when he walked in. She didn’t know him. She had never seen him before, and she never knew his name. But he had a strange presence about himself, he felt familiar, almost as if she had known him in some other life. He said a friendly, quiet hello. Meeting her eyes for only a second before settling into his own task of creating photographs.
Moments that didn’t exist flashed in front of her eyes, dancing, dinners, secret kisses from a time that couldn’t have existed in the distant past.
A glance from across a crowded ballroom, a kiss on the hand. The sounds of a party.
Him brushing the hair from her face to place a delicate kiss on her forehead. Moments locked in a time that could have never existed.
Who was this man? Why did she feel as if she had spent a lifetime already with him when she had never before today seen his face?
She stole glances at him while he developed his own pictures. Quietly trying to watch him as he created his own magical images. Creating and breathing life into his work. Creating his own magic.
Time froze. She would glance up and then back down. She heard the words “I love you.” play in her head as she saw him staring at her with eyes that were full of adoration and passion. They felt like memories. Watching them play in slow motion and yet having these moments pass in a flurry. A future with a man she didn’t know flashing through all their experiences together as if she was living them for the first time.
The curiosity of who he was overwhelmed her. She stood gripping the table that held the photo enlarger as if her life depended upon its stability.
Who was he?
She knew she had no business being curious about him. She had a husband and a family and a life of her own. But why was he so familiar? This strange moment just standing still in time. This mysterious man and this one moment where they didn’t even speak. It lasted forever. And all too soon it was over. He said a simple goodbye, meeting her eyes one more time and walked away. The moment was gone forever and she felt empty of breath and lost. As if she was suddenly grieved over the death of something that she had never really had. But it felt so real, so painful and all at once those moments that had just past before her eyes began to fade.
This is actually a true story. It’s not fiction. I had this moment happened to me when I was in college, developing my own images in the dark room. A mysterious gentleman came in on a weekend when the lab was empty. I had never seen him before. I spent enough time using the lab and assignments as an escape from my real life, that I knew most of the students and staff. Though in that moment, I felt as if I had known him for a lifetime. His face and the way that he sounded with his simple greeting and the simple goodbye. I lived a lifetime with him in that quiet hour in the lab. One that wasn’t real but was full of an entire life of emotions. Happiness, love, passion, sadness, loss and death.
Then all at once, the same way it started, it ended and faded.
There are moments on this earth that we can’t define. They are supernatural in nature and we can never truly explain what happened. Maybe I have an overactive imagination, perhaps my love starved self created this moment in my head. I will never know.
I feel blessed.
I look back at the Facebook feed and wonder how I got this far. My girls are growing so fast, and each day I have the chance to be my husband’s wife. I literally don’t need anything else. I know there are people on this planet striving for greatness. The recognition of being in front of people and having them applaud your hard work is great. But it doesn’t do anything for me. I truly only ever wanted to be a mom. (The wife thing was second but it sure has been amazing now)
Life didn’t go exactly the way that I wanted to go. I got married and had 3 girls with the wrong guy. I stayed with the wrong guy for 14 years. I fell in love while married, with one of my best friends, and then he found a real girl. He let me go the day before my 30th birthday and I struggled to find my way. (I still haven’t seen that friend in 20 years now BTW) Once I found my way, I picked my girls up and moved out on my own.
I lost my ability to do what I wanted, which was to be a stay at home mom. I longed to be with my kids every day. But that was taken from me. I fell in love again with a friend who stuck by me through all the crazy, but then had to let that go when it just was too overwhelming and not what was in God’s plan.
Mistakes and mistakes later (that sounds like a lot but really much less than you think) I found Joseph. My love. The person who helps support and feed my soul.
Why did I break all of this down for you? Because I don’t know where you are in your journey in this life. Maybe you lost the love of your life and you don’t know what to do?
Maybe you have lost your job, or maybe something that I can’t even imagine. But I know that you can recover. How do I know?
Through emotional abuse, drug induced rape, drama, trauma, and problems. I made it through. I know you can to.
Today’s message for you is, you are loved. No matter where you are. Broken and battered. You can recover. If you need permission to do so then here it is. Move past the hurt of yesterday. Move past the part of you that is lingering in the past and the problems of everyday. You are bigger than that. Created to be so much more than just Life’s pinata.
I believe in you
You have value
You are Worth it
I found love and life in the most unsuspecting place. Starbucks. Now nearly 4 years of marriage and almost 6 years since he first kissed me (February of 2018) I am so grateful for every failed moment. Every bad experience. It got me here. To this place of happy.
Don’t get me wrong, things are not perfect. I have bad days, or weeks, I find my self stuck in the occasional rut where I feel it all falling apart around me. But I remember that my God is bigger than my drama. That I can make it if I push past the feelings of this moment.
If you need a cheerleader, please reach out to me. No one has to make this journey alone.
It goes too fast. I watched a video on Facebook showing a days perspective from both the mom and the little girl. What seems ordinary to us is magic to them. Kids can often see so much more than we can.
I want to see life through that lens. The lens that life is magical. Too often we get busy and forget that this is the only life we get. And some of us have it cut short way too soon. If you looked at your day and your kids asleep in their beds, would you have regrets about how you spent that day?
We have moments of frustration, discipline and training. But what about love and laughter?
I spent the evening watching a movie with my mini me, watched a movie I hadn’t seen, laughed and enjoyed the time. No worries. These moments are gone so fast.
This isn’t a long post. I just want to say, love. Love big. Don’t be a Schmuck. Don’t waste your time.
It’s gone before you know it.
Sometimes the words just don’t come out right. Maybe its because of my reflective feelings, but today, I am so grateful for my life and where it is.
My husband has been an incredible gift. I call him my reward for all that I have been through. So many things I could say. Instead I will leave this right here.
Got a tattoo said 'together thru life' Carved in your name with my pocket knife And you wonder when you wake up will it be alright Feels like there's something broken inside All I know All I know Is that I'm lost Whenever you go All I know Is that I love you so So much that it hurts Got a tattoo and the pain's alright Just want a way of keeping you inside All I know All I know Is that I'm lost In your fire below All I know Is that I love you so So much that it hurts I see the road begin to climb I see your stars begin to shine I see your colours and I'm dying of thirst All I know Is that I love you so So much that it hurts
Facebook has a way of bringing things full circle for us humans. Bringing up dates of events, showing us memories of the past. Reminding us when we became “facebook” friends with someone.
Today is one of those days for me. I find myself reflective as my life changed forever today and wouldn’t not be where it is if not for the friend I made 7 years ago today.
7 years ago I was married to someone else. I was lost and unhappy and I had no idea who I was. I reached out to an old friend, who I thought was a happily married man, and became friends on facebook. If you have read any of the stories on this blog, you would know Dick saved my life. I was in an abusive marriage, and he showed me real love. We never saw each other, I still haven’t seen his face in nearly 20 years. But that love, that belief from him that I was worth it, made me believe in myself. I was able to push past fears, truly lean on the friends and family that stood by me and rescue myself.
It was interesting to see it pop up on facebook that 7 years ago we became facebook friends on this day. But the wonderful thing is I am free.
All because I made an old friend again.
Life can throw you a million curve balls, but you have to step up to the bat and try to hit one sometime. If you don’t, then you sit on the bench and watch everyone else play the game. Sure, its safer and you won’t get hurt, you won’t get tagged out. But you won’t win, and you won’t live that way. I have lost so much over the years. But the gains have been so much more.
So Dick, you will always be my friend. Thank you for loving me through all that mess. You woke me up. I am free because I am no longer dead and hiding from life’s game. There isn’t enough thanks in the world that I could give you for what that has done for my life.
Endless thanks to you, and I pray blessings over you, your lovely wife and your kids. I am grateful for our friendship and every moment that we shared across the distance of time. Everyone needs a hero sometimes. When I couldn’t be my own hero, my own rescuer, you were there. You saved me.
Sometimes it just takes one person to love you and believe in you when you don’t have the capacity to do that for yourself.
Sometimes you can be that person for someone else. Love people where they are. You may not know the whole story. It may be a mystery why they are in that space. Love them anyway. Love them and remember that you may just be someone’s life raft. You might be what saves them from drowning.
Amanda woke up with a start and realized they were late. She woke up her kids and hurried to get them ready for school. Yelling and griping the entire time, filled with frustration due to her own lateness. As she raced through traffic and stoplights, she felt increasingly upset that nothing was going right that morning. She rushed her kids out of the car and into the school and raced to the office as her whole day was now behind because of missing the alarm clock.
She arrives at work and in her impatience, rear ends a car in the parking lot as she’s trying to park her car. More frustrated that the day continues to fall apart, she gives her insurance information to her coworker who was kind and understanding of her lateness and obvious distress.
She walked into her office and sits at her desk and places her forehead on the cold desktop and breaths. She has no hope for this day now. She feels as if it is pointless to bother and wishes she could just go home and cover her head with a blanket and pretend as if the day did not start with her alarm clock going not going off.
She hears sobbing in the cubicle next to her and looks up from her desk wondering what is wrong with Megan. Momentarily distracted from her own bad day she walks around to see what is going on.
Megan tells her that her sister just called and her nephew was walking to school and was hit by a car. He didn’t make it. She was trying to compose herself so she could leave and safely get to her sister.
Amanda’s heart stops. She thinks about her morning with her own kids. How she has been given the time and ability to drive them safely to school every day by her side. She thinks about how, over missing her alarm, she had yelled and griped and been angry with them for the entire morning. She thought about how ungrateful she was that, instead of a giant car accident on the freeway, it was just a tiny fender bender in the parking lot.
She thought about how if she could do it over this morning when her alarm clock did not go off and everyone woke up late that she would slow down and be grateful for those moments. Instead of rushing and being frustrated, she would’ve really spent the time helping them get ready and being kind and pouring love and understanding into them as they got ready for their day.
How often do we get caught up in the moment and not really think about how valuable that moment is? On any given day were given the opportunity to respond to thousands of different stimulus that can make or break our day. How are you responding? Are you giving your emotional control over to little things that don’t matter?
As I drove my kids to school this morning, and I was filled with gratitude for the time I have them in the car. That I am there to help them in the morning as they get ready and make their lunches. I thought about the people who woke up today and didn’t get to make their child’s lunch, and didn’t get to drive their child to school, whether that reason is because they have to work, or if that reason is that child is no longer living. The feeling is the same, and those of us who have the opportunity to spend those moments with our kids or with our spouse, have a responsibility to be joyful even when it’s hard.
Life can end so quickly and it is already so very short. I challenge you not to waste your time angry that your alarm didn’t wake you, that you were made late for a meeting for work or school. I challenge you to find gratitude in the moments that are the hardest because that’s when our response matters most.
It doesn’t matter if you have a great day and everything goes right and you respond joyfully. It matters when your alarm clock doesn’t go off, when you hit every red light when you’re already late, when you get a flat tire and you feel like that just ruined your day. Those are the moments when your response matters. It matters because how you respond affects everyone that you come in contact with on that day. I prefer not to leave a wake of bodies that have been damaged by me in a bad attitude that I had complete control over. My response to a situation is my responsibility. It is a choice, and not always an easy one. Choosing to evaluate your response before you become frustrated or inconvenienced by one of those moments that didn’t turn out the way you planned.
Today, as you read this, I hope, that if a moment comes your way that is negative, or unpleasant, that you will choose to respond with patience and with joy. Why? Because you are alive, your heart is still beating, and you have the opportunity to change your day and maybe someone else’s by responding with grace.