Letter to Santa…

Dear Santa, 

It’s me again.  Of course, you remember me!  We’ve shared many Christmas letters over the years.  I’m not saying how many years, because you already know how long it’s been.  I’ve tried not to be too naughty this year.   I think I’ve done pretty well on the nice part, too, so if those are the qualifiers with you, I should find all of my wish list items under my tree, right!  That is the way it’s supposed to work.  At least that’s how your marketing department promotes it. I heard on a TV commercial for Macy’s, I just have to “believe” and my wishes would be granted.

My list is a little different this year.  I actually think you’re going to have to do the “Miracle on 34th St.” thing to make this all happen, but from what I’ve heard, that’s not a problem for you, right?  Here goes.

1.  Someone I love is trapped in the prison of addiction.  I need him to be free, free for good and you don’t have to wait until Christmas for this!  You know who it is, because you’ve been watching, right?

2.  Someone else I love is in jail and may be sentenced to prison again.  It’s alcoholism that keeps getting him in trouble.   I’m not sure what to ask for him, but I need whatever is best for him to happen.  You know who this is, too.

3.  There is another who has to do everything on her own, I mean taking care of her child on her own and trying to make life work, without a spouse.  She needs help with so many of the issues that come as a result of being a single parent.  I need you to send her all of the help that she needs.  You know who she is and you know how much I love her, too.

4.  Then there is the one who needs to know which way his life is supposed to take him.  There are so many options and so many obstacles that may look too big to overcome.  Can you give him a road map for his life, or at least point him in the right direction?  You know how much I love this one, too.

5.  And then there are the many that I love that need help in their finances.  The bills just keep coming for them and the pay check doesn’t stretch that far.  Maybe you can help them win the lottery or something.  I really care about them.  You know who I’m talking about, right!

6.  I can’t forget the ones who are close to me that are dealing with serious health issues.  They need to be healthy and whole again.  You can do this if I just believe, right?

7.  I have a whole group of people that I love and care about that lost people they have loved this past year.  This is their first Christmas without them.  Moms who lost children, kids who lost parents, those who lost a spouse…  The grief is excruciatingly painful for them right now.  They need more than a giant hug from you.  I’m really trying hard to believe you can give them what they need here…

8.  Wow, so many situations come to mind.  There are the ones who are lonely, the ones overwhelmed with life pressure, dangling at the end of their rope, those whose hope has run out…

Santa, I deeply care for the people who are trying to live with all of this really hard stuff.  Please Santa, can you make these wishes come true for Christmas this year???

Santa, I need to make a confession here.  We both know that there have been many times I had things on my Christmas list that never made an appearance under my tree.  I was really good those years, too!  And in the early years, I did believe, but honestly, I can’t trust you with these things anymore.  You are a really swell guy and you’ve been fun and all, but I’m afraid this will have to be my last letter to you.  You see, the things that are really important to me are the people I love.  You just don’t have the kind of power needed to do what I’ve asked for this year.  It’s time for you to face the fact that even you need a far greater power than yourself to tackle the serious issues life throws at us these days.

Seriously, Santa, you might as well know now, I have my trust in another love.  He’s a far greater power than you, and really, the only hope for any of these wish list items getting done.  I can hope you bring me everything I want, but I’m old enough to know, hope without God, means no hope for my wish list.  I know this for fact from my years of experience.  God has already made, like a million wishes come true for me.  I know you might be sad to have to hear this, but it’s really good news for you, because, surely Santa, you must have some pretty hefty wish list items of your own.

Just know Santa, I will still have fun with you every Christmas.  That will never change.  But when it comes to my serious wish list items, I won’t be putting a letter in the Macy’s mailbox for you anymore.  I’ve learned that anything Santa can’t do, God can do, and He does it much better!

Merry Christmas, Santa!

Your Friend for life,



I’m Not Average

Wow, they say you never know what a day may bring.  I never thought that the day after I put up my last blog post, “My Bad Day Roll”, I would have a seriously bad day!  Here’s the story of  my seriously bad day.

It was a Saturday night, just a few weeks ago.  My husband and I had enjoyed an evening at home with cooking great food, wine and a movie.  All was fine when I went to sleep, but I was awakened with an all too familiar stomach pain during the night.  The pain is what I’ve experienced before with bowel obstructions.  Mine are caused by scar tissue from previous surgeries.  I’ve have been hospitalized twice before with these and have had the pain on a weekly basis for the past few months.  I took some medication and went back to sleep wondering if I would be ok to run the next morning.

My husband and I are training to run a marathon and we’ve come to look forward to our Sunday long, easy runs.  The pain was still there when I woke up.  Walking and drinking are what the Doctors have said to do when I feel the pain, so if walking is good, running has to be better. I ran my eight miles, in spite of the pain.  When I got home, I told my husband I was going to get a shower and we might need to go to the hospital after that, which is what we ended up doing.

As suspected, it was another obstruction and I was admitted.  Ok, let me ask for patience here, as I share the details.  This is a pretty fresh experience and it was a big event so sharing is therapeutic for me.

The initial plan is to avoid surgery by resting the bowel, so no food or water and everything goes through an IV, including the needed pain and anti-nausea medication.  IV’s and I have a history.  No matter how much I want to cooperate, my veins do not.  They may put on a good show and boost the administering nurses confidence, but then they roll away and refuse to cooperate, making the nurse more determined to conquer my veins.  If the nurse succeeds in getting the IV started, it’s only a matter of time before the vein will no longer play the game.  Before evening set on that first day, I was already five IV’s in with the promise of a new one in the morning, aided by an ultra sound machine.

I went to sleep but was awakened often by the pain, in spite of the medication.  I asked for more and finally reached the point that the nurse said they could not give me any more.  I would have to wait until the doctor came in the morning.  The anti-nausea medication wasn’t working either, and I ended up sitting on the bathroom floor by the toilet for what seemed like an eternity.  I was so sick and the pain by now was excruciating.  The nurses always ask you on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst ever, to rate your pain.  I had to say I was at a 10 at this point.  I don’t know how many times I pushed the nurses help button, each time getting the same response.  There isn’t anything else we can do.  I called my husband crying and asked him to pray for me.  When I hung up, I pressed the nurse call button, once again.  This time I demanded to see a doctor, now!

When the doctor came in and I explained that I’ve experienced this and had been hospitalized for this twice before and something was not right this time.  The pain was unbearable and it felt like something had exploded inside of me.  He examined me and said he was calling the surgeon and they would have to do exploratory surgery.  They gave me medication at that point, enough that the rest of the events leading up to the surgery are a blur.  I remember some of the prep.  The one thing that really stands out is the masked man that they wheeled my bed up to.  He said, “You aren’t going to like me.  I have to put IV lines into your neck.  You aren’t going to like me.”  I will never know who that masked man was, but whatever medication they gave me erased my memory, so I will never know who it is I’m not supposed to like.

My husband would have to fill us both in on any other events leading up to the surgery.  It turns out that the bowel had perforated in two spots.  I was in septic shock and was a very sick girl.  They were able to repair it and they cleaned out all of the scar tissue, with the surgery lasting about four hours.

My next memory was waking up in recovery, still in a lot of pain.  My blood pressure was dangerously low, but pain medication would make it dangerously high.  They couldn’t find my happy place. I remember being told that I would be taken to ICU.  I knew I had never been taken to ICU before and that wasn’t a good thing, but I wasn’t alarmed.  I remember hearing a Doctor tell my husband that I was in kidney failure and that they were going to have to start dialysis in the morning.  I knew that wasn’t good either, but I still wasn’t alarmed.  It seemed that everything was out of whack in my body.  They were having a hard time managing my blood sugar and levels of a multitude of other things.  They would hang more bags of fluid on the IV trees to try to bring whatever it was back into line.  I do remember wondering if I was going to make it though all of this at one point.  I wasn’t hearing anyone say that, but even still, I wasn’t alarmed.

The first couple days were the worst and I never want to relive that experience, but thankfully the kidneys started functioning and they were able to get my blood pressure and pain levels under control.  I spent five days in ICU, after which I was down graded to PCU, which is a step down unit, where I spent another five days before being released.

Recovery has been slow for me this time.  I’ve had seven previous major surgeries and each time, after two weeks, I was back to work and pretty much into my regular activity again.  This time kicked my butt.  Up until the last four days, I’ve had absolutely, no energy.  All activity was followed by a nap.  I’m happy to say that I’m starting to feel like a human again.

Why did all of this happen, and why to me?  I even believe in God.  Couldn’t he have prevented this from happening to me?

I think I’ve had more than my share of surgeries already.  I wonder how many the average person has in a life time.  I know that I’ve never been an average person.  All four of my babies were born by C-Section, which is not the normal delivery route, nor does the normal person have four babies via C-Section.  My appendix ruptured once.  I had pain for five days and had even gone to the doctor.  I had none of the classic symptoms, so I was sent home with an anti-biotic and told I must have a spastic colon or diverticulitis. Even when I ended up getting an ambulance ride to the hospital, I did not have the normal symptoms, other than groaning in pain like a crazy person.  They did exploratory surgery than to find that the appendix had already ruptured.  In fact, the surgeon said that it probably had ruptured two days earlier, but the poison had been held in a pocket of tissue.  My hysterectomy was supposed to be an easier laparoscopic procedure, but due to the scar tissue from the other surgeries, I got the laparoscopic incisions and the big one.  That doesn’t happen to the average person either.

I was told that the average person with my scar tissue issues will deal with a bowel obstruction every two years.  How unfair is that?  I can’t imagine going through what I just did again, let alone a possibility of surgery every two years.  And the bills!  Even with insurance, the bills for this are going to be outrageous.  How does someone do this every two years?

I don’t have all of the answers to my questions, but I do know a few things relating to this experience.  Life happens.  Good and bad things happen to every one of us.  Some seem to have more of one or the other and it’s not fair, but life isn’t fair.  You didn’t come into this world with any promises of this world being fair to you.

This I do know.  I’m not average!  This I know, too.  Yes, I believe in God and I believe that He is powerful enough to have prevented this.  Why didn’t He then? I do not know, but I do know that He was with me through it.  I wasn’t fearful, even when I heard all the bad reports.  I was at peace and I made it.  Some things you just have to go through.  I also believe that somehow, God will work all things together for good, in spite of the bad in this.  And if it happens again, God will be with me through it again.  These things, I am absolutely, sure of!

There is a song I’ve heard on the radio that relates to this experience for me.  Some of the words are below.   I’m hoping that in whatever you are facing today, you will know that you don’t have to be alone, and you too, can find peace on your journey “through”.

“Sometimes He calms the storm
With a whispered peace be still
He can settle any sea
But it doesn’t mean He will
Sometimes He holds us close
And lets the wind and waves go wild
Sometimes He calms the storm
And other times He calms His child”

By Scott Krippayne

Healing Hurts – A Story With Two Endings

Years go my youngest son, age two at the time, experienced severe burns to his chin, chest and arm.  I was entertaining guests that day and had just poured boiling water into cups for tea.  My son, who was a particularly adventurous and curious child, just had to know what I had poured into those cups.  I did not notice that he had tottered up behind me.  Unaware of the dangers of boiling water, he stood on his tippy toes and stretched his chunky little arms until his fingers could grasp one of the cups.  He lowered the cup to his mouth and touched it to his lip.  Shocked by the heat of the boiling hot water, he dropped the cup, spilling it all over himself.  The thick blanket sleeper he was wearing soaked up the hot liquid and stuck to his skin.  Intense screams followed the spill.  I immediately scooped him into my arms while ripping off the blanket sleeper.  I ran cold water over the burned areas and applied cold towels but it was apparent that the burns were serious enough for a visit to the emergency room.  Sure enough, my baby boy had second and third degree burns and came home with thick bandages on the affected areas.

I have experienced significant burns myself.  In my later teen years, I accidently submerged half of my hand in a 350 degree fryer while cleaning it.  I don’t even want to describe how my hand looked as I pulled it out of the hot grease.  If you have ever experienced significant burns, you well know how painful they are.  Even more painful would be the treatment that was to take place in the weeks that followed my son’s injury.  Each day, for two weeks would include a visit to the doctor’s office to have debridement done on my son’s burns.  The treatment would probably need to be followed by plastic surgery on his arm.

Debridement is the medical removal of a patient’s dead, damaged, or infected tissue to improve the healing potential of the remaining healthy tissue. Removal may be surgical, mechanical, chemical, autolytic

The daily treatments began.  My role was to hold my screaming son down on the table while the doctor scraped the scabs off the burned areas causing them to bleed.  This was to promote the growth of healthy new skin cells.  How incredibly painful the process was though for both of us.  It wasn’t something that I could go through for him.  He had to experience it while I stood by and just held on.

Ending Number One:

I think this analogy can be applied in many areas of life.  Healing hurts.  It hurts when we allow ourselves to “go through” the process.  Who longs for the thrills of an intensely emotional roller coaster ride?  Doesn’t it just make your heart pump and your blood pressure soar when you get to enjoy a heated, internal wrestling match taking place in our own soul!  I know my first instinct is to run the other way or avoid it altogether.

Any time we have to let go of something like anger, betrayal, hate or bitterness, it’s painful.  Any time we have to let go of someone, whether it is an unhealthy friendship, a divorce or even death, there is grief.  The powerful waves of emotion attempting to swallow us up, leave us lying exhausted, battered and feeling powerless.  Yet, allowing those things to take place, not avoiding them or running from them, makes way for the healing to happen.  The key thought here is that I must allow myself to “go through” the pain in order to heal.

What happens if I don’t allow myself to experience the pain?  Infection sets in.  Unhealthy cells cause further damage to the healthy cells and tissue.  Pain increases. If the infection goes untreated for to long, there is even the risk of death.  Avoiding discomfort and what we fear has the potential to do far more damage to us than the initial injury ever did.  By avoiding the pain of the healing process, we are making an unconscious choice to give what ever power we have to that which caused our injury. We put our future dreams, success and even life, at risk.  It is not worth it to avoid the process.

Will allowing the healing process to take place be worth the risk of pain?  I say, yes!  Let’s do this, but let’s do it holding on to each other, even if it means holding each other on the treatment table.

Ending Number Two:

There is another ending to this story that I have to share.  When people heard what had happened to our son, we received many calls from friends expressing their concern and offering their prayers.  There was one woman in particular that I must tell you about.  She was a wonderful, caring friend who worked in our church nursery   Patricia was also a nurse.  She worked in a children’s hospital burn unit.  She would get right into the tubs with patients when they had their debridement treatments.  She would hold the kids, try to comfort and encourage them and of course, pray for them.  She couldn’t wait to hold our baby boy and pray for him in person.

We had only finished day three of the two week treatment course that had been scheduled.  The evening of day three, Patricia was in the nursery and so was our son.  He was always so excited to see her and I can still picture his little legs running to her open arms.  She got her opportunity to pray for him in person that night.  The next day we went back to the doctor for treatment.  Imagine our amazement and relief when the doctor said that our baby boy had made great progress overnight!  We would not need to do anymore treatments, nor see a plastic surgeon.  Now that’s a “God” storybook ending!

What Has God Ever Done For Me?

A friend in my social network posted a question this week.  I wasn’t intending to respond, but immediately, I had an answer.  It wasn’t just one thought that I could have responded with, but another and another invaded what had been a quiet interval in my mind just moments earlier.  I thought it might be fitting as we come to the end of another year to share my response to this question.  “What has God ever done for you?”

How about the time that I had no money and two of my young children had no shoes?  I prayed for shoes one morning and both of my kids came home from school with new shoes that day.

Then there was the time that our family of six went for a several months with no income, no government assistance, no credit cards and no savings.  We had more food in our cupboards and clothes in our closets than we had ever had.  Our bills got paid and we were even given two cars within a very short period of time.

There was the time that my first son was two years old and stopped breathing.  A nurse happened to live next door and resuscitated him.  He was in the hospital for a week and the doctors were never able to pinpoint exactly what had happened, but he was fine.

There was the time I worked in pain for two days with a ruptured appendix and live to tell about it.  My doctor thought it was something else until they did emergency exploratory surgery because the pain had become so incredibly excruciating.

How about the time on the freeway when my car was about to be crushed between two semi trucks?  I slammed on my breaks, closed my eyes, said, “Jesus”, felt my car start to spin and the next thing I knew, I was ahead of the trucks.   How does that happen?

Just a year and a half ago, my adult daughter went in for a minor ten minute procedure which ended with her getting 12 pints of blood and still bleeding.  The doctors said that they had done all they could do.  She is alive today to tell about it.

There are the family members who have been close to death due to addiction or mental illness, but survived and are still alive today.

There are the very dark times that God has walked us through.  We made it and can tell about them today.  There are the times of great blessing in having nothing and in prospering.  There are the joys in shared memories with family and friends.  I have years of journal entries where I have recorded over and over again whatever mess I was in and then what God did.

Whatever it was, whatever I needed, God came through.  He never abandoned me regardless of my level of faith or trust in him to be there.  He remained faithful, even when I was faithless.  I have no doubt in his love for me regardless of my imperfection, and we all know I have many imperfections.  The breath that I am taking at this moment, he gave me and he keeps giving me, in spite of me.  I did nothing to deserve his goodness to me, nor would I ever attempt to try.  He just keeps on doing what only He can do and He does it so well.

As I think on this, another question comes to mind.  “What hasn’t God done for me?”  He hasn’t left me.  He hasn’t given up on me.  He hasn’t stopped loving me in spite of my times of “unloveableness”.  (Hey, it’s my blog.  I can make up words if I want.)

As we start this new year, another “new beginning” that we will get every day, all year long, I pray that your list of what God has done for you fills the pages of your own story.

Praying for many blessings to you for the new year ahead!  Happy 2011!

Dear Church, Your Religion is Killing Me…

Dear Church,

You and me, we have this thing going on.  I am not sure what to call it, but I thought as I wrote, my thoughts would congeal and help give a voice to the thousands who remain silent on this subject.  It’s like a love hate relationship we have and I am about to “dump” it for all to see.  Talk about feeling vulnerable and opening myself up for ridicule!  I’m feeling it already, but here goes…  I’m going to give it to you straight.

I want to be loved and accepted by you, but I don’t always appreciate your attitudes towards me and my friends.  There was a day that I was totally committed to you.  I mean, I did whatever you asked, even when it meant covering for you.  I sacrificed my family and even lost friends for you.  I turned my back on all I knew for you and gave up everything for you.  I didn’t walk away from you, I only moved away from you with the intention of doing even more for you.  But yet, when I did that and the going got tough for me, when my life was falling apart around me, where were you?  Why did you abandon me?  Why did I feel that I was left alone to deal with the mess?  Why do I feel that now I am being judged and criticized and even cast off?  When I needed someone to come along side me, where were you?  When I was longing for someone to find me and help me get to wherever the hell I was supposed to be, you were nowhere to be found.  When I even went out of my way to reach for help, I got, “I’ll pray for you”, but not a word ever since.  I bared my soul.  I poured out my heart.  I’ve been totally open and honest with you and look where it got me.  Cast out, forsaken, discarded…  What now?

I’ve followed all of your rules.  They left me empty and unconnected with your God.  As a matter of fact, they were a wall that separated me from him.  I put on the happy face and acted like everything was ok, no matter how much pain was inside, because that’s what you taught me to do.  I dressed it up and took it to church.  As a matter of fact, I took it to church so often that I forgot what life was like in the outside world.  I played the leader role and even was asked to be silent when I needed help, due to the not silent, but whispered rule that I needed to keep up an image.  I, like you, even willingly crawled up and sat on that pedestal and received your praises.

I looked at the leaders over me and held them in high esteem.  I trusted them to give me direction and be the role model, set the example, give me hope that I too, could do this thing called life and do it well.  I trusted you to do it right, yet you let me down, over and over again.  You’ve lied to me, you’ve hidden things from me, you betrayed my trust.  You were just as much a sinner as myself and yet even when caught in your sin, you remained proud and unrepentant.  I now look at others in your position with suspicion.  The more religious they act, the more suspicious I get.  I will never put my trust in a man, ever again.  But that is OK, you taught me well on that one.  That’s not who I need to be putting my trust in anyway.

I have a problem with your religious activity, the “holier than thou” attitudes.  As a matter of fact, hearing you say the word “thou”, makes me want to gag.  The religious speech of some drives me batty.  Really now, what about that makes anyone want to be like you.  Why do you have to act so “religious”?  Why do you have to put on a show?  Why can’t you just be yourself, someone I can relate to, someone just trying to do life to the best of their ability?

I see you looking at my kids that way.  My kids were raised in you and pretty much by you.  No, they don’t look like what you think they should look like now.  Their body piercings, tattoos and long hair don’t look like you and so you judge them by that.  It kind of makes me want to go get a tattoo, just for you.  Where’s the love?

Where were you when my family had to deal with mental illness?  Where were you when my family had to deal with alcoholism and addiction?  There were some who showed sympathy or offered prayers and I am grateful for them, but what about for the long haul when the problems didn’t go away quickly?  Where were you?  Where were your answers?  Oh yeah, I did hear some answers as to “why” it was all happening and they were doozies!  Enough said on that.

Please hear this loudly.  You know I love you. I know you are doing what you think is right.  You are doing what you think you have to do to get where you think you need to be.  You aren’t trying to hurt anyone, and I know you just want to help.  I know the job is so great and requires so much commitment.  I know about the few that pour out all they have while the majority sits back and criticizes the way things are done.  I know all of that and it is not my intention to hurt you, yet, I have no desire to be a part of your “religious” activity anymore.

I know that there are many who are doing what I did for you and their heart is right.  I am not criticizing them.  I am thankful for them and love them.  It is the rest that I am talking to, those who are using the church for your own gain, those who are proudly setting on the pedestal while living under a façade, those who are preying on the innocent and re-victimizing the weak and vulnerable.  I’m talking about the ones who think their religious actions make them better than their neighbors, the ones who think they are unsusceptible to sin and criticize and judge those who don’t meet their own standards or believe just as they do.  There are many more in this group than would ever care to admit it and some of you are getting pretty irate reading this right now.  Others are thinking that I’m just bitter from the hurt of a few.

The fact is, I’m OK, really, I am.  Yes, I was hurt by you.  But yes, I know a big God who can heal whatever you’ve done to me.  I am writing this for those who are not OK yet, for those who will stay bitter and never know they can make it past what has been done to them.  I am writing for those who are afraid to voice their thoughts or just don’t know how.  I am writing for those who are still being hurt by what you do everyday. I know my words sound harsh, but they were coming from where I was at that time and you need to hear that.  Maybe a few of you will take an honest look at yourselves and become a little more sensitive, maybe even make a change so that it doesn’t keep happening to others.  The world is already broken enough.  Lives are at stake here.  You have so much more to offer than what is being seen.  The world needs God as he is, not the God many of you are portraying him to be.  Can you hear me?  Do you understand?  Can you love me for me?

Do You Hear Their Tears…

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a young man who died when he should have been entering the best years of his life.  I wept with the family and friends as they shared his stories, some humorous, others sad.  It was very evident that John was loved and even in his short life he had a positive influence on many in attendance.

At the same time, there was an unsettling undercurrent of thought for me.  At the funeral, you “saw” the tears.  A brave few expressed the depths of the emotion they felt, not just the sadness but the anger and intense pain.  Questions of, “Why did he have to leave us?”,  “Why such a tragic end?”,  “Why didn’t I do more to help?”, all remained unanswered.

The fact is there are many around us each day who are dealing with intense pain.  They desperately need a kind word, a comforting thought, a warm hug, but there smile hides what’s inside.  They move among us and walk beside us.  For them today, I share…

Do You Hear Their Tears?

Do you hear the tears that trickle slowly down her cheek,

Do you hear the heart explosions of overwhelming grief?

Can you feel the intense hatred of those oppressed by war,

Can you feel the cold indifference of the one whose been beaten to the core?

Do you see the shivers of the forsaken, homeless, left out in the cold,

Do you see the pain of hungry millions, both the young and very old?

Have you touched the forgotten prisoner who’ll live forever with his past,

Have you touched the lonely widow, wishing each day were her last.

Do you hear the tears of the addict who cries desperately to be free,

Do you hear the darkness of the hopeless who search for light so they may see?

Have you known mental illness or do you understand it’s pain,

Have you known depths of depression, the fight to just stay sane?

So many helpless hurting people surround us everyday.

Do we really see their faces or do we hurry on our way?

Do we look to see a smile or pain within their eyes,

Do we care if their sun is shining or clouded with gray skies?

Would it really even matter if those next to us are crushed,

If we cared to see or feel their pain, would it slow us in our rush?

Would we stop for just a moment to give something of ourselves,

More than just our dollars, but what’s drawn deep from inner wells?

Inner wells of strength and courage, hope and comfort, even love

Yes, we all have something we can share, not forgetting God above.

Do you hear the tears of his heart, as He longs for us to be…

Salt and light, help and hope, love and peace,  people living free?

Do you hear the tears?

Those who have felt, have heard the tears.

Written by Bobbi Spargo

It’s a Good Day to Shine…

Once upon a time in a land not so far away, there lived a princess.  Actually, the whole land was filled with many princesses, queens and assorted royalty figures.  This princess in particular, did not live the life that you would expect a princess to live.  She did not live in a luxurious castle.  She did not have satiny flowing gowns or glass slippers to flaunt at the local castle country club.  She was not chauffeured around town a in a beautiful carriage with handsome, buff footmen.  She did not have attendants doe ting over her and making sure that her every whim was met before even the thought escaped her mind.

In reality, this princess lived in the small castle of a commoner.  She worked long hours doing the exhaustive physical labor that other royal figures in the land preferred not to do.    She cleaned toilets, scrubbed floors, washed windows and made the castles in the land sparkle.  Because she did and even enjoyed doing this, she was thought of as more of a peasant, rather than a princess.  People would often give their demands without even giving her the time of day.  Instead of being appreciated and esteemed, she was overlooked and pushed aside when it came to being included as a valuable part of the lives of those that she served.

This princess was also a mother to four little royalty figures and the wife of a prince, each of whom came with a list of assorted duties to be completed each day.  Life in the castle of the princess was very difficult.  Circumstances behind the castle walls were such, that the members of this royal family often felt overwhelming stress.  The princess would relish in the brief moments of solitude that she would find in the early morning hours of each new day.  She would shed her tears and try to find the strength needed to face the day once again.  The reality was that there were no fast solutions or really much hope that life would get easier anytime soon.

One day in particular, the princess was having a very difficult time holding back the stream of moisture that attempted to spill over onto her cheeks.  Overwhelming feelings of fear, helplessness and hopelessness were more than she could bear this day.  She was not able to put on her normal happy face.  Instead of warm smiles and cheerful greetings, those she encountered received a sad, silent glance, which was so unlike the princess.

The sky was particularly cloudy and dark on this day, not typical to this enchanted land.  The princess directed her chariot towards the castles of those she would serve.  As she rounded a curve in the road, a bright beam of sunlight suddenly broke through the gray clouds blinding her for a brief instant.  She had a very special unforgettable, life changing moment that gloomy morning, right there in her chariot.  The sun instantly bathed her in warmth like a hug.  A peaceful presence seemed to fill her chariot.  She felt refreshing strength bubble up from within her as she heard these words.  “Remember who you are.  I made you to shine.  Just as the sun is still shining behind the clouds on the gloomiest day and in the darkest storm, so should you still shine.”

Yes, the princess was still a princess, even though she was not living in one of those fancy castles, even though she did not live the luxurious life of a princess, even though she labored long and hard each day, even though the circumstances in her royal family were difficult.  It did not change the fact that she was indeed a princess.  She was made to shine.

That day, the princess determined to do what she was made to do, no matter what.  Not that she never again felt discouraged or that she could not be sad when circumstances dictated for her to be sad.  She just needed to remember who she was made to be.  Regardless of her place in life and whatever was going on around her, she would be who she really was.

How does this story relate to you?  She was not the only princess in the land.  There was nothing special about this princess.  There were many princes and princesses.  The whole land was filled with royalty!  They were all made to be royal people, all with value and purpose, all with their own unique circumstances.  No matter what the place or position – they were made to shine.  That includes you, too!  Remember who you are.  Be who you were made to be.  Choose to let it be a good day to shine.

Shine on…