This post is very personal to me. This is probably the most personal, transparent thing I have ever written, but I need to write it. I need to get it out there so I can finish healing and hopefully it will help someone else going through it or who has gone through it. First off, my choice to follow Jesus Christ is my choice and to write this without giving him the glory, would be wrong and selfish. To say that I am who I am today on my own would be wrong of me. Because I believe it was and is He who brings me to newer and higher levels of forgiveness and restoration. He is the supreme creator and giver of life. Even when I doubted my reasons for being on this planet, He knows. And it is with Him and for Him I choose to give my life too.
I grew up in a very non traditional home. Everything I thought was real was not. My grand parents on my mother’s side had adopted me and were raising me as their own. I had brothers and nieces and nephews who were far older than I was, and there were a lot of times in my life, that I just knew the pieces did not fit. but I accepted things as so, just because I think I didn’t want to know the answers. there were times the abuse was very high in our home. There were times the alcoholism was very high in our home. There was a lot of cussing and name calling and several times when I thought I was nothing more than a disappointment. Now I realize that just wasn’t the case. With all the bad things I saw, I wanted to remind myself of all the good things I learned. My mother never complained. She could sew a 3 piece suit for my twin brothers in a day and have us all 3 in matching Easter outfits. She worked full-time and came home and took care of her kids and husband and cooked and never once complained!
She would can and freeze and work a garden. We had a swimming pool she took care of, she could do it all. One time I came home from school and she decided to paint the house a different color. She was quite a woman. She didn’t put up with any crap and that’s for sure. if she cooked supper, you ate it. if not, you got it back in front of you on the next meal. and the process continued until you gave in. Wasting was not an option at our house, she grew up during the depression and she knew what hard times were. There were times she would drink and cuss and be so mean, and other times, you knew she was proud of you. There was a strange dichotomy in our house that was always present.
With all the bad, the good that I now see, was she never complained, she did what she had too and she had the strongest will of any woman I ever met. When she got older and had to tell us she had cancer, she found out about a month before the holiday season had begun. She took us in the living room and said, “I’ve got something to tell you, I don’t want no tears, no crying and don’t act a fool, I have cancer, this is how it is, now deal with it. I’m going to fight it and that’s the end of it.” So matter of factually. And although I asked her questions about her care, she had set it up to have a special van take her to and from chemo and never really shared a lot of it with us. See she had to get a van because she had lost both legs to hardening of the artery disease, and she still chose to live alone. She went to an elder care facility and lead in the crafts and activities portion of the program. The women who worked there all said she needed to be a coordinator and put on the pay roll for all she done for them instead of being a client.
One time I was faced with a physical crisis. I had been diagnosed with a liver disease that left me with cirrhosis at 32 years old. The doctors gave me 6 months to live. when I went to her house after I had been released from being in 2 different hospitals in a month, she looked at me and said, “I hear you’ve been sick.” I said, “yes”. “Well, I guess there’s only one thing left for you to do, hu”? “What’s that”? I asked. She very easily said “Fight”! She was a rock. And she was my rock. And when she passed away, I felt like I had lost a part of myself. I felt like that foundation of strength and courage was forever gone from me.
When I found out I was adopted and met my birth mother, which was my grand mothers daughter, it didn’t take me long to see she was nothing like her mother. She wasn’t cut from the same cloth,and although this was who she was, I had to resolve myself that I was the stronger of us two. I have managed to find my inner strength and resolve to go forward. I have since, found my biological father. He is a good man, with character and morals and he loves with all his heart. He is married to a wonderful woman who knows how to be a giving, loving mother. They both love beyond differences and unconditionally. They have been a huge blessing in my life. I have also had the ability to be reunited with my twin brothers. The biological children of my grand mother. They are 7 yrs older than I am. They were amazing. I always knew when they were around that nothing was ever going to happen to me. they were raised a lot tougher than I was. As a child I would cry every time the lash of the belt came down from our parents. I wished over and over and prayed endlessly that the abuse they had to endure would stop. But it never did. And yet through it all, they never resented me from being exempt from the abuse. Now as an adult, it is with my father and them that I am able to feel like I can breath again. Like the lies of my childhood aren’t really lies after all. It was who I am and it is who I have become.
Wishing over and over that things were different and that I had a mother who would hold me and love me, that which none of us ever got. But we got a fighter’s spirit. A character that tells you to push through against all odds and circumstances. Even when we have done it our way and it has turned out wrong, we still have the character to say, “yep I screwed up, so I guess ill fix it”. Weve grown up not asking anything from anyone and knowing every achievement was our own. And every failure was also our own. And we have found out that God has let us survive it all through good and bad without compromise. I believe in the bible, I believe in God the Father. I believe in being a good citizen and working hard and playing hard. And although my own children may have gone without something they never went without morals, character or values. In a time when I thought I had fought my last fight with life, I am reminded of the same spirit which was beat and yelled and cussed into us. I know now, to turn the bad times into a glass, instead of a wall. you can’t see through a wall, but you can see through a window. If I turn the wall, which once was a stumbling block, into a window, I can see through to the other side. Then I have the choice to open the window and either enjoy the view or climb out of it. The survivors spirit put into me by my parents and created by God Himself.
I think I can see God now, smiling to Himself as He sees me climb out the window. Our family can’t be chosen, they are our legacy to the world. To honor your mother and father in spite of their flaws and shortcomings is the greatest gift you can ever give yourself. With it comes forgiveness that God will honor, by freeing your mind and spirit. I may have wasted a lot of time feeling sorry for myself, and wondering why me, but there was no acceptance in that. Until you can accept the people in your family, you can not accept a part of yourself. And thereby, you are clipping your own wings from soaring high above your own expectations.
As I woke today and called about a job position, I thanked the woman for her time and explained that I knew it was odd to ask for an interview in a short 5 minutes, but that I would be an asset to her company and if given me a chance, she wouldn’t regret hiring me. Where did that kind of gall and self-confidence come from? it came from the fact I am a survivor, in good company with other survivors within my clan. The same spirit of being Syrian and Irish immigrants in a new world had. Knowing that although the road may be not just scary but completely uncertain, I am up for anything and can continue the task set before me. That maybe God had indeed created me for such a time as this.
I thank God for this day. For this blog and the ability to use it for good and for showing His glory and mercies are always present. For giving me and returning to me a family heritage I can be proud of finally, instead of finding fault and negative. That I have found acceptance in them as well as myself. that I can grow and learn and move forward in life knowing my family love me and I love them, and we have a life time of new memories to share.