A Picture’s Worth 871 Words

October 28, 2012 § 3 Comments

My mom is magic. Really, she is. I haven’t given her nearly enough credit for the woman she is and the influence she’s had in creating the wonderful person I’ve become.

She’s recently taught me yet another valuable lesson, though I think I’ve expanded on it a bit further than she intended me to. (Such are the joys of an active thinker, trust that I will take any concept you give me and stretch it far and wide!)

The lesson she intended to instill in me is that I am wanted and loved.

I’ve been doing an incredible amount of work on relationships lately, with a much stronger focus since the spring. It’s one of the areas of my life I’ve seemed to struggle with the most and so I’ve been delving deep behind the scenes to see what can be done about strengthening the foundations I’ve built.

Last week, I called my mother in a moment of impatience and frustration. “I’ve been putting myself out there, meditating, making my lists, making space in my life both in my schedule and in my house… hell, I’ve even cleared out a drawer. Come on! What else is it I need to do???”

A little voice in the back of my mom’s mind told her that there’s something she’s been needing to tell me, something critical that would help me over this last part, but she didn’t know what that message was. Coincidentally, she’s been on a similar purge, preparing herself to let go of many of the items she hasn’t been ready to release for one reason or another. A couple of weeks back she got to her old photo slides. She tossed many of them without even opening the box to find out what was inside, but there was one in particular that she couldn’t bring herself to throw out. As she pulled out a sleeve of slides, one of them caught her eye. “I need to get a print of that photo made,” she thought. “No, I need to get two prints made.” One was for me.

She knew what the message was.

Just after I finished my little temper tantrum, mom told me about the photograph. It was a photo of her and my dad – before they had Wayne and I – and it was a picture of them just being really happy together. Her insight? Somewhere along the line, I became jaded about the relationship my parents had. The photo is a reminder for me that they started out in a happy place… that I came from a happy place. They wanted children together, they very much wanted my brother and I, we were a happy family for quite some time. But between what I viewed as them bailing on the relationship (I was 19 when they split up), and my brother leaving this planet for whatever is beyond a few years later, the family I was born into collapsed around me and I felt like the only one left standing, the only one who still wanted to be there.

As my mother told me more, like how my father was there in the room to hold me when I was first born and how he used to ride around Millet with Wayne in the truck beside him, tears were streaming down my face. My mom saw what I was in the middle of, but what I couldn’t see. My assumption had become that nobody wanted me or what I had to offer. And yet, as she painted the picture of the happy family I had actually come from, there was the belief, plain as day, staring me in face. It’s influenced everything I’ve done and every acquaintance, friendship and relationship I’ve had. I’ve entered each believing I wasn’t wanted in the first place.

After percolating on this point for a few days and deciding it was safe to send this belief out with the rest of the trash I’ve been getting rid of, I put on my new lenses and really took a look at each of the relationships I’ve had in the last few years. I had always believed the ending of each was a reinforcement that the entire relationship wasn’t right and a part of me thought it shouldn’t have happened at all. But my new lenses were showing me my next lesson.

The meaning and beauty I’ve attached to a particular person or moment needed be tarnished by subsequent actions or results. It can shine on with the same significance it previously held.

I find myself now enjoying this new space. It’s one where I can appreciate a moment independently of what is happening around it. Regardless of the final outcome of any given situation, I’m no longer allowing myself to diminish my significance or that of another in my life for the sake of defending an old belief that doesn’t serve to lift anyone one up anyway. Instead, I’m now surrounding myself with these happy memories. They are the soft cloak of love and support with which I move forward. They are my reminder, regardless of what’s happening, that a life full of joy and happiness is a choice I can make today and everyday.

Note: The photo’s still printing. I’ll share it soon!

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