Monday, June 2, 2008
Enjoying the Journey
I am sitting at the computer thinking about my life. For some reason, I feel compelled to write. I’m happy, and I want the world to realize that happiness is a choice. Why should we be downtrodden? This is why I want to share some things that are in my heart. I want to share my spiritual journey. It is an eternal journey, and the fun is along the way. The fun is life itself. Let me begin with what I remember of my journey.
My physical journey, of course, began at birth. My spiritual journey began forever ago, but my earliest memory of it was sometime during my sixth grade year in school. My grade school teacher was a Christian, and she led me to the Lord. What a joyful experience!
I married at 18 but still managed to attend college and receive a Bachelor of Science degree. I waited until after college graduation to begin having children. During these early years of marriage I went to college full-time and held down three part-time jobs but yet still managed to attend church Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I also read my bible daily and even got through it in one year. I memorized gobs of scripture. Yet, all of that still left me seeking spiritual fulfillment. I felt like something was missing.
Then in 1974, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Teresa Marie. For the first time, I felt spiritually and emotionally fulfilled. In 1976, I gave birth to another baby girl, Tori Sue. Now I had a family! I know now that I was in a good spot because I had fulfilled a lifelong dream to become a mother. I had always played with dolls and fantasized about having my very own baby. Now I had two. How blessed I felt! This blessed feeling carried me through several years. In 1983, though, my marriage of twelve years fell apart. I had some depression, but my lovely daughters and my teaching career kept me from total despair.
I raised my daughters and taught English at the high school in a small town. During that time, when my daughters reached the teenage years, the usual rebellion that goes with those years had me in a dither. Hillary Clinton says that it takes a village to raise a child, and I do believe that. As a single parent, I felt like I needed help. Fortunately, I had my sister Pam and her husband Ben to round out my village. They helped me by giving both physical and moral support.
In 1995 my beautiful daughter gave birth to a baby girl herself. Teresa had a pulmonary embolism three months later. Three blood clots were found in her lungs. I lived in Nebraska at the time, but I flew down to Arkansas, where Teresa lived, to be by her side. My airplane ride seemed long as I contemplated my daughter’s condition. Not only was I extremely worried about Teresa, but also her baby, three month old Jessica Marie. After Teresa’s recovery, I made a decision to leave my home in Nebraska and move to Arkansas to be close to Teresa and Jessica.
It was in Arkansas that my spiritual journey took a different path. Teresa had always been interested in the environment and the Native American culture so I began to look for a more tolerant religious path, one that enveloped respect for the earth and all other people and creatures. In my quest for this path, I became a happier person. I let go of a lot of blame and guilt and began to look for tolerance….not only of others but for myself as well. This spiritual transformation helped lead me into the next phase of my life. I was ready for a loving relationship.
While in Arkansas, I met Frank, a wonderful man whom I married in 1997, and our union has been so uplifting. I truly believe I met my soul mate. He is my best friend. Life is good. He’s romantic and thoughtful. He’s opened so many doors for me. He taught me computer skills, reintroduced me to the thrill of bicycling, and organized travel opportunities for us beyond my wildest dreams.
A couple of years after my marriage to Frank, my youngest daughter Tori married and had a baby daughter Sierra Jade. Then on July 18, 2004, Tori had a terrible motorcycle accident that almost took her life. Sierra was five years old at the time and preparing for kindergarten in the fall. This changed life for my little family dramatically. My sense of serenity was gone. I was consumed with worry. I felt like I couldn’t cope.
Even though Tori was hurt severely, her spirits were high. She became my spiritual guide. I read books she suggested because her example inspired me. I wanted to be as happy and peaceful as she was and is. That is when I began learning about peace and how the indwelling of the Spirit produces positive emotions such as joy, love, and peace. I began to look forward with positive expectation.
I witnessed a real miracle. Tori had a busted pelvis and was told that she could not have any more children, but in 2006, less than two years after her accident, she had an amazing baby girl, Kaya Nixi. Kaya is a Hopi Indian word meaning “wise child” and Nixi means “water sprite”. Kaya is a miracle baby. I decided to stay with Tori, Caleb, and Sierra for a while and help take care of Kaya. The first day of my stay I was jumping on the trampoline with Sierra. I fell off the trampoline and broke my arm. The weird thing is that my thoughts were so full of joy about Kaya that my broken arm didn’t matter much to me. Somehow along the way, I became discerning enough to recognize what is important in life. All other things became trivial.