We All Have a Story to Tell -- And a Future to Behold
Every human story unfolds as the years pass. As children, we dream. We imagine. We wish, pray and hope for our future adult lives to turn out a certain way.
In many cases, we as children can't wait to grow up. To host a first sleepover with friends. To turn 13 and get to wear lipstick (that was the case for me). Or be age 16 and get a driver's license, gaining new freedom. (I once ran my mother's car off the edge of a narrow road on a nearby hill as a large truck zoomed past me shortly after I learned to drive; I can laugh at it now.) Then we look toward college (or not), marriage and children (Or not. I did, anyway, and had my share of them).
The point is, we can dream and expect certain things in life. Of course "dreams come true," right? Disney told us they do.
Until none of it happens. Or life happens in a different way. The person we love doesn't love us back. Or the person we marry dies at an early age. Or the life of a child is cut short. Some end up homeless and drug-addicted -- nothing any of us ever hears about in youthful fairy tales. Remember, the kind where Prince Charming comes to rescue the princess? As we age, we discover such things are rare in life. Not all are a prince, not each are princesses.
When "bad" things happen which replace the "good," we can't give up on life. Some choose to do so, yes. Struggles and setbacks defeat the strongest of men and women. It's the human condition. We can't all really know another's story. Therefore, cannot judge.
It's keeping hope and faith that provide the necessary strength when those fairy tales remain hidden between the pages of a book, not playing out as they were supposed to.
I believe it's a parent's job to teach one's children -- that while childhood stories are terrific and fun to get lost in -- the reality of life in an adult world can be harsh. Therefore, parents should instill in their children that having faith in oneself and in God, mixed with an ability to maintain hope, are important to building wisdom about life so when life indeed turns hard, the child doesn't collapse. Instead, the adult lives with confidence, determination and stature.
We can each write our own stories. Ingredients of happiness and love definitely make up the recipe. Blend in strength, integrity, fortitude, honesty, trust, kindness, gratitude, self-control -- and last but not least -- faith -- in order to learn how to survive. Keep the wonder and innocence of childhood at times, as well. Life on Earth is about lessons to be learned.
The goal is to succeed in spite of difficulties and disappointments. The losses. The tragedies. Because for every pain each of us experiences, we must treasure the gifts that God gives us, as well. A sunny day. Green grass. The birth of a new baby. The love of a treasured pet. The blessing of a fulfilling job. The camaraderie of good friends. A comfortable home. Most importantly, the love -- of family and anyone with whom we are close, even if they leave our lives at some point.
What lessons have you learned from your disappointments and losses? What fulfillment did you gain from the blessings? All together the experiences make up your story. Even if it's not written down, each person is unique with what they have been through as adulthood sets in and old age beckons.
Don't let past losses and disappointments take away from your "wins." Count your blessings, be thankful for the lessons learned. Stop reading Disney stories (!) and get out in the real world to find your joy in life. Don't let the pain linger. There will be challenges, but if you keep hope, faith, and especially live life with integrity, you will be able to love yourself, even if that Prince or Princess hasn't shown up yet at your doorstep. Be a Princess to yourself. Act like a Prince in spite of any failures.
You are here on this Earth for a reason. Live proud. Stand tall. Tell the truth. Integrity is your passport to being able to hold your head up.
And if that Prince or Princess has already been connected to your life and is now gone...well, trust that you gave it your best effort. Your story remains your story. Life still holds many surprises for you -- and me -- in the future yet to be.
(Photo credit: PVProductions)