I can’t remember when it happened exactly, that fear took over my life. Most of my earliest memories are of a girl with no fear. I used to catch my uncle’s horse Mona with my hair ribbons and ride her around the field, I think I was four years old. I would climb ladders with my grandpa on his jobs, go shooting with the boys, and I even stole candy with my neighbor once from a church….I had no fear of God. I don’t remember ever meeting a stranger that I didn’t think a friend, except maybe the preacher from the church I stole from when I got caught. Then one day I was afraid of everything. It’s like I woke up one day from a bad dream that came true.
I no longer liked ladders and high places, when once I thought I was the queen of the world when I was up higher than everyone else. I was afraid of people, and I was suddenly for the first time afraid of God. That’s when I started learning to be invisible. If I was really quiet I thought maybe no one would notice me. Unfortunately that’s not the way that life works. Sooner or later you’re expected to leave the house and have to deal with others, and sooner or later someone’s going to see you. Unfortunately for me I was “seen” way more often than I would have liked. This is why I learned to be the invisible woman. I was invisible in my relationships, invisible in my family, and sometimes so quiet with friends that I might as well have been invisible, or at least I thought I was.
The real problem was I was invisible to myself. I was defined by who was near me at the time, and I had no idea who I was. I always loved the part in the movie Runaway Bride where Julia Roberts’s character tried every kind of egg that you could make so that she could figure out what she liked. It didn’t matter who she was with or how they liked their eggs, she had always adjusted what she liked to what they liked. I could always identify with her character in that movie, always running and not sure why or from what….just running.
Some might say I grew up in a fairytale land, maybe that’s where my fetish for fairytales come from. I wonder sometimes if maybe it was when I peaked around the corner at the rest of the world, if that’s when it happened. The minute I stepped outside of the sheltered little world that I grew up in, I think there was some innocence lost. I spent a lot of years living my life as the Invisible Woman. Not just being unseen, but never really seeing anyone else either. I’d let people see me occasionally, but rarely all of me. Sometimes that’s still a tough one for me. To be able to just let it all out and say “this is me”!
Here’s what I know….
I know that I get better and better all the time. I know that every time I feel like I can’t do something, that’s the thing I know I have to do. I know when I’m most tempted to be invisible is when it’s most important to be seen. I know that the road is long, and windy but if you really want to get somewhere you’ll get there. I know that I’m not ready for skydiving, but I think I’d try a hot air balloon. I know that life is not worth fearing, because time wasted on fear is time missing out on how beautiful the world really is.
Love is abundant, but our experiences of it are sometimes rare ~ Gary Zukov. I just read those words, it’s amazing how when truth strikes you, you just feel it. I wonder sometimes how many people spend their days wandering the earth and never see anything except the pain of it. Could this be the reason that suicide rates are so high in the world today? Not only suicide rates, but depression, drug abuse (both legal and illegal), makes me wonder what would happen if people were taught to look inside any situation and find the love in it. I think this should be one of the earliest lessons for our children to learn. Can you imagine a society full of people who really did look for the sunny side of their sadness? The Dalai Lhama says If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry. When we are worried and can’t see the love in a situation, then we suffer. If we find the love in a situation then we can stay in the moment, and in the moment we find that everything is ok, just as it is.
I know that preaching things and living them are two different things, and I don’t want you to get the idea that I don’t ever feel pain, sadness, anger or get just a little depressed. I do, but that’s part of the human experience. There’s a saying out there that says it pretty good…
Unnamed woman’s autobiography…she wrote 4 short chapters.
Chapter 1 – Went walking down a street – there was a hole; I fell in. Struggled to climb out. Not my fault.
Chapter 2 – Went walking down same street – there was a hole; I fell in. Struggled to climb out. My fault.
Chapter 3 – Went walking down same street – walked around the hole.
Chapter 4 – Went down a different street.
I think that sums up life pretty good, we all get hit by things we didn’t expect. That’s when it’s not our fault, we didn’t know it was coming. We react with anger, sadness, loss and depression. We lose sight of anything beautiful, or spectacular in the world around us. We put on blinders that we choose to wear every day and see the world only in shades of grey. Never getting to see the rainbows right in front of us that were put there just for us to see. What so many people in the world forget to realize is that we have a choice to continue to walk down that same road and fall in that same hole every day. I know it’s not easy, I’ve done my time in purgatory. At the end of the day I find comfort in knowing that I have a choice what street I walk down today. There are days I choose the shades of grey, because a rainbow would just piss me off more than I could stand. However, the majority of my days I choose to walk in the sunshine and find the love that passed through my life today.
Tonight I leave you with a question to think about….what would change in your world tomorrow if you spent just that one day looking for the love in your life instead of looking for the loss? I’m not talking about the little moments that we can all find gratitude in every day. What I’m talking about is those life changing moments when you know that life will never be the same from here on out. Can you look at those moments with a microscope and not only find the gratitude, but find the love? Can you find the love of your friends, loved ones, strangers and sometimes your community at large…can you find the love of God? Can you find love for yourself? These days I walk my talk, some days it might take me longer than others to find it, but I always find the love in my days.