One of the hallmarks of mid-January is that by now most people have given up their resolve to live up to their New Year's Resolutions. Oh, most of us mean well...but after the tinsel and decorations are put away, the last of the divinity and fudge is consumed, and the vacation time is exhausted...life goes on. Life with all of its twists and turns, stresses and joys, and stark realities. It is at this time that we normally reach for the crutches that have gotten us from Point A to Point B or go back to familiar patterns because our resolve isn't great enough to carry us through.
Those that are still proverbially "on the wagon" are blessed enough to have a faith that can move mountains or have a support network that is top notch. All of us need those people in our lives who see us for what we are supposed to be rather than what we actually are. We need folks whose rose colored glasses regarding us are unfailingly kind and who have the ability to look past all of our defense mechanisms, emotional scars, and denial to make us face the truth. You know...what real friends should be.
I have had instances in my life where someone has appeared out of nowhere...encouraged me to take one path toward something that was for my good but not on my radar...and I actually listened. Although I do not believe myself to be the most intelligent creature on the planet...I normally trust my own judgment over that of other people. Even wiser, smarter, and more together people. Sometimes it takes awhile for me to actually begin to see the gold that these friendships are...because I'm usually too busy trying to figure out a way to tactfully keep doing things my way. Never mind that "my way" is sometimes a colossal failure. At least I own it.
We all need support. Anytime that we step out in faith to do something...we need that one lone voice...be it in our ear or in our head that tells us that we are on the right path. Sometimes people really don't understand that the right word from the right person can alter someone's history. Occasionally the words can be spoken once and it is enough...and other times...it takes having encouraging words repeated for decades. What matters is that someone believes in you.
Sometimes that someone has to be you.
I know that there have been times in my life when I've wondered why God has led me down one path only to find out that it is a dead end. I've had to backtrack and try to make up lost ground. But along the way I've learned things about myself or about life that have made it possible for me to get somewhere that I could not have identified had I not had my little side trip to the wilderness. Usually, someone has come along and said something random that has made me think...and given me a new perspective.
Like the boyfriend of a former suitemate who said that he was majoring in Finance. I'd never heard of it and asked him to elaborate. When I transferred to Troy, I ended up seeing that as a possible major and remembering that conversation. Yes, it was also (along with Economics) the fastest way out of college and down the aisle...but I ended up being a Finance major in college. I've now worked in banking for the past 25 years.
Or a friend who - over lunch discussing possible alternative career options years ago - told me that she saw me as a teacher. Two months later I was offered the opportunity to teach banking classes. I taught for ten years. It gave me extra money to help pay for private school tuition, and I enjoyed the experience immensely.
I also have a hilarious friend who wrote me brief e-mails about her day that became the highlight of mine. I'd write back and she'd encourage me to keep writing because I made her laugh. It renewed my love of writing to such an extent that I started the blog in April 2009. The fact that my daughter did not really want me to be her friend but I wanted her to be able to read the blog on Facebook caused me to make the decision to start a Facebook page to share the blog with those who loved me but weren't necessary excited about me knowing everything about their college experience. I'm now my daughter's friend...but the blog and the Facebook page are still there. And my funny friend and I still communicate via e-mail, text, and phone, and her descriptions of her life experiences still crack me up.
And finally, I have another friend who tells me little tidbits of information that have kept me out of the pit so many times that I've honestly lost count. She's a few years ahead of me raising her daughter...and every so often she will pass along a gem that she has learned (the hard way in some cases) so that I can sidestep that particular obstacle. Her support and belief in me have been unwavering...and I'm blessed for it.
So, go out there today and make a difference. Speak up. Say what you're thinking. If you are one of those people that compliments everything in existence...be selective so that people know that your words are genuine. If you think that your opinion matters not, you could not be more wrong. If you feel like you don't have anyone in your corner...examine honestly whether or not you are on the right path. Keep looking for breadcrumbs along the path and see if you can find your way home.
And know that if you are reading this right now...you are supporting a person who loves to write and feels the need to do so for some cosmic reason that has not entirely been revealed to me just yet. I have been asking God to show me what this is all about...and so far...I'm just told "WRITE." Just know that your words of affirmation, the fact that you click "like" occasionally to let me know that you've taken the time to read, or a message in my inbox that says that something I've brought up has made a difference to you has truly made a difference to me.
Thank you for that.