The birthday card my mother sent me a few months ago was simple, a few watercolor flowers sitting atop a box; the creators had glued a tiny blue ribbon above the scrolling message. The words inside held a lifetime of sentiment that I will remember for years to come:
You are a smile and a gift
and an amazing story
of growth and change
and good times and tough times
and memories and love.
You bring so much good to my life,
and I’ll always celebrate you.
The words “amazing story,” “growth and change,” and “good times and tough times” reached deep within my gut. I once said to someone who was embarrassed about her drunk father’s actions, “Every family has a story.” Truth is, every individual has a story, every life is an epic narrative.
We know that we change as we grow up, but we never really acknowledge these shifts in our attitudes until we are faced with hardships. Turmoil forces us to either curl up in a ball and deny the friction, or challenge the conflict, to look at the essence of our deepest secrets, desires, fears, and failures. For some reason, we mature believing that mistakes are something horrific, that to err means we are flawed beyond measure. And, yet, it is only through our errors that we can fully understand, internalize the knowledge imparted through action.
This concept isn’t new. Inspirational guru, Tony Robbins, writes on his web, “Unfortunately, we’re programmed to fear this thing called ‘failure,’ so we try everything we can to avoid it, which is pointless,” he says. “Failure is often necessary for real learning to occur.”
What I think tied all of this card’s thoughts together and touched my spirit were the words “celebrate you.” Celebrate. Though I couldn’t articulate that desire after my son died, what I did know was that I didn’t want to mourn him for the rest of my life. It wasn’t until I reconciled the last piece of my conflict, which happened to be housed within the spiritual facet, that I could label what I did want: to celebrate his life.
On September 3, 2006, two days after I unearthed my husband’s last affair, I wrote the following: “No matter the outcome of my marriage, I will be okay. Better than okay. I have faith in my strength, confidence in my courage to move forward despite the turmoil, and the ability to celebrate the marriage that existed prior to this upheaval.”
Celebrate… Celebrating an amazing story/of growth and change/and good times and tough times/and memories and love. Celebrating mothers, marriage, memories, mistakes, mishaps…and the stories of our lives…
Are you able to accept any of the challenges of your life? Are you able to celebrate any of your tough times, in addition to the good times?