Home is one of the hardest words to define. Is it the building? Is it the geographic location? Is it where I’m from but not where I am at the moment? Is it the collection of people who are relatives? Can it be a group of people who aren’t related? What if you can’t define home?
Being a product of the “baby boom generation,” I finished high school in the mid 60s living in a peaceful, suburban area where all the kids looked alike—middle income and white. There was another world out there that most of us never saw—the race riots, horrors of the War in Vietnam, new discoveries in space and astonishing acts of violence that took the lives of a president, a presidential candidate’s and a race relations leader.
I was on the tail end of a generation where young women were making their choices of an advanced degree in college or homemaking and motherhood. I never regretted the road I chose. I just see it so differently now in a generation twice removed how the roles have changed & women are allowed/accepted women in many roles i.e., professional wife/mother; single mother; adoptive mother to children of the family or from other families and even foreign countries. Lines are more blurry now of who is related to whom and who is a good role model.
I know the definition and the difference between home & family. I know the words don’t mean the same to everyone. For me, the choice was part of who I was growing up to become. I completely felt the need to follow my young husband first to college, then into the ministry, then the military, and back to college to complete a degree.
Before I was old enough to vote, I was a mother. I became a mother the second time 2 years & 8 days from the birth of my first child. I reveled in that role with full commitment and understanding. How could I achieve that so young? Because I had seen family and home in my life as being the safe place where we live. It is the place we hone our skills of personality & acceptance.
There is forever that “leaving” that happens when children reach a certain age. And who in the world can find what that perfect age is? For me it was a way to be with the man I loved and start our family. Those little tiny packages that came on hot summer days in the years of 1967 & 1969 were the most precious little human beings I had ever seen. They were the perfect companion for a life I was to live. They were sweet, loving and so cute; they had tempers, crying spells and their own little personalities. And, in the end, I was left to build and modify the mold in which they would be shaped.
Experiencing some changes just as the beauty of glass comes after the heat of the elements, I was alone to take them into their teen years & adulthood. How could I do it? Who would I lean on and turn to?
…there’s no other word that conjures up for me the feelings of peace and strength. In family I find encouragement and understanding. I had such a huge lesson to teach my children and I didn’t know where to start. How could I instill in them the importance of relying on each other? How could I be sure they would always do the right thing when I wasn’t always there? What would be their choices when I let them make those choices.
Suffice it to say I was in fear of this huge responsibility. But, time was marching on; and as each orbit marked a day upon a day, I knew one of those days was THE moment when I let them choose and make their path.
Oh, how could I be sure they’d ever come back home? What would I do if they failed? How could I be there for them when time & space wouldn’t allow it?
…the never-ending self-sufficient heart-warming kind of feelings that would translate to trust and safety. Did I need to worry about them in their lives? Of course, I would but I didn’t NEED to because I had equipped them with the best tools I knew: love, trust, faith, friends, family and a HUGE amount of self-worth and purpose to which I added load of hugs. I then added my words of trust and confirmed to them that I knew they had made good choices. It was such a hard time, BUT I EVENTUALLY GREW UP!
Forty plus years later I can see I need not have worried about how and what they would choose. They have gone through the same questions I did. They have made good and bad choices. They have learned from certain mistakes but they have kept their faith and love close to their heart and have given it to those with whom they surround themselves.
I didn’t need to worry at all. I didn’t need to lose sleep waiting up for them. I had no real reasons to check on them even when they said “it’s all good.”
I didn’t have to…but I wanted to! I wanted them to remember that home & family are the place you find the strength to take your first baby steps and those young adult bigger steps and the huge giant steps when you create your own little human beings.
I humbly say, “I’ve done well.” But so can they…they can be proud of where they are in their life now and what it took to get there.
Want to come home? Need to come home? Sure that’s an option, but I’m much happier they’ve made their own homes with those they love.
Good job, kids!This post is dedicated to my children who recently had August birthdays..and to my granddaughters who are on their own now making choices. My advice is: pray about your life; work at it; stay true to yourself; think of others…and most of all…learn how to love and be loved. Life is a fabulous gift…use it well. Johnny Mathis “I’m Coming Home”
ALL ROADS LEAD TO SOMEWHERE…and that’s where I’ve been for the past month. After 28 days on the road; after crossing 11 states and 15 major rivers…a familiar road led me back home!
After nearly 3,600 miles, I can truly say each turn and each straightaway brought unexpected views and amazing vistas. Some were paths; some were dirt roads; some historic drives; some interstate highways; and some should not have even been where they were!
I believe even more now than before that there’s only one reason I venture down the pathways of life…and that is to find New Journeys on Old Roads.
Welcome back! I’ll begin posting stories, photos, trip routes and ramblings over the next few weeks. Follow along…let’s travel across this great country of ours. See part of America through my eyes!
What does it take to stand out in the crowd?
conviction of purpose
commitment to values
courage to own every decision
Sometimes it takes just one act of courage; sometimes it takes many occasions strung together through a lifetime.
Turn your uniqueness into the loudest voice among the crowd. Make the right choice for you. Stand strong through it all.
You’ll never regret an action based on your conviction.
But you might regret remaining silent.
Sometimes our fate resembles the fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom; but we hope it; we know it.
Johann Wolfgang van Goethe
In every winter’s heart, there is a quivering spring and behind the veil of night there is a smiling dawn.
If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.
click link below to hear musical version of Joyce Kilmer’s ONLY GOD CAN MAKE A TREE featuring Mario Lanza, recorded 1952
Printed Lyrics to Only God Can Make a Tree
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the sweet Earth’s flowing breast
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair
Upon whose bosom snow has lain
Who intimately lives with rain
Poems are made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree
Joyce Kilmer (born as Alfred Joyce Kilmer; 6 December 1886 – 30 July 1918) was an American writer and poet mainly remembered for a short poem titled "Trees" (1913), which was published in the collection Trees and Other Poems in 1914.
Winter sunshine is a little elusive. It hides part of the day and then rushes out to warm the barren trees just before the dark of night engulfs them again.
There are many people as cold and lonely as those leafless trees. What if you were the only person who had the answer for them? Is it possible you are the only one who can touch a broken heart or a saddened soul? That’s a huge gift to be entrusted to you.
My experience tells me if you begin your day with the belief that you may be able to touch a person’s heart, you will. If you have been chosen to be the person, for reasons unknown, there’s no way you can keep it to yourself. A heart full of joy and sunshine must be shared or given away.
It’s just impossible to out give love. There’s no replacement for the gift of a kind word to a troubled life. Just imagine…you have that gift within you.
Share it willingly and abundantly. You will be blessed beyond your imagination.
Have you been searching for a more peaceful existence? I was; and when I let go of my concerns about what people might say if I put my feelings on display, I found the best part of myself.
Revealing your inner thoughts on a public forum are sometimes frightening because you are opening yourself up for criticism. I know that to love and be loved, you must be available. Now I know to be accepted and accepting, I must make myself available, too.
If you are afraid of your emotions, your thoughts, or your opening up to others, there’s only a few answers for that.
- One is to be bold.
- Another is to be brave.
- Another is to know it’s your time.
- And, finally, believe you deserve the best life has to offer.
Love yourself. Then you can love others. Give them the best YOU you can give
Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.
I glanced at the calendar this morning. I don’t really need to do that to know what day is near. Each year I begin to feel it permeate my thoughts for weeks before. I need no calendar for that purpose
It’s been a few years since a friend of mine left this earth. Among my circle of family and friends, we have had time to experience life without that precious presence.…it doesn’t seem right…it doesn’t seem fair… it doesn’t make sense…
There’s not much of anything you can do about it when a person’s time is up. Obviously, you can mourn. You can stop living yourself. Or, you can decide to do your best to carry on. But you are not the keeper of time or extender of life. You have no input or vote on that.
But then you ask yourself:How am I going to get through this world without them?
You need an answer for that, so you dig into your psyche and you try to reach into your heart and you can find nothing that really explains why it happened and what you are supposed to do about it.
Then, with time, comes the answer. In a moment of clarity and perception you understand the simplicity of that answer.There’s nothing you can do about the fact it happened & most likely nothing you could have done to prevent it.
Your job is to continue on without them. Maybe you can make a memorial to them; perhaps continue a legacy they began; you can live your life…that’s all. The choices are few but it’s evident the only plan left for you is to honor the person with a permanent place in your thoughts allowing and not rejecting those thoughts. It’s not a bad thing to think about a person who is no longer breathing on this earth.
I’ve discovered one way to honor your loved one is to talk about that person. Think about that person. Tell your family about that person. Especially tell your children about that person. Share with someone else who knew them in a different way and you’ll have a new light shed on the person you loved. It’s OK to have all those feelings because you still love them. That doesn’t have to die–it can live on in you and those with whom you share your memories.
The only way I’ve been able to make it through such losses is to remember the good things, and time itself takes care of the bad things–they begin to move to the rear of your thoughts. Oh, sure, you can harbor them and hang on to them but to what end? That is no honor to your lost one.
When the thought of their absence is so real it hurts, that’s okay, too! Spend a moment in that thought…and then think about another time, another memory, another story. Perhaps a smile will cross your face or you might even laugh out loud at what seemed a silly thing back then. Allow yourself those beautiful and funny thoughts…that’s okay too.There are no rules, no guidebook, no right, no wrong. It never gets easier—it just gets different!
That’s what I’ve learned from experience. My hope for you is that you find people around you who allow you to talk about your loss and your feelings. I hope you have special memories that become more precious now that they have been entrusted to you to keep. That’s a big job…to keep the good of a person going. But you can do it—with love, hope, prayer, faith. Then trust in all the memories you have to become the stories for others and create that as the legacy for your loved one.
If you are reading this and you have lost a friend or loved one, I am sorry for your loss.May you find peace in the midst of your pain.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ If you need more help than you’ve been able to find, there are professional people for you. Look around your community for churches or organizations that offer counseling, or call your local hospital or contact your minister/rabbi/priest. For those related to a military member/veteran, contact your local Veteran's Affairs office or your military base commander/chaplain. Here are three organizations online where you can find help immediately.