Day 21: 365 Days of Motivation for Widows

“To keep our faces toward chance and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” — Helen Keller

I can think of few people who had a harder life than Helen Keller–or at least few who had to try so hard to learn how to live life. Helen Keller was deaf and blind (and mute) after an illness when she was just a toddler. Suddenly, she was cut off from the world she used to be so in tune with.  Her senses blocked by her physical limitations. Isn’t that how you feel sometimes?

Even though she was cut off from the world, she adapted. It took the right teacher to reconnect her to the world. The illness may have stolen her senses, at least momentarily, but it could not steal her fight–beyond that, she didn’t let it steal her life. Her teacher taught her finger spelling. Her language and recovery progressed, Helen began determined to attend college. She entered school and learned to speak well enough for people to understand her and after 25 years, her determination paid off and she entered Cambridge Preparatory for Young Ladies. Helen mastered several types of language over the years and became a celebrity as well as a lecturer.  She advocated for the rights of blind people and the handicapped.

Helen Keller lived to be nearly 88 years old and remains a mentor to all who find themselves living through a nightmare. She remains a sterling example of how hard work and tenacity can bring you through the storm. You can live an amazing, albeit different from what you had planned, life full of rewards.

Grace Yourself

While traveling through town, my mind often wanders and drifts from my to-do list to my schedule in between tending to my children. One day, I glanced over to reach a church sign. I love church signs. Some are witty, some thought-provoking, but either way, enjoyable. Every once in a while there is a sign that captures my eye and my mind. This one was one of those signs. It read, “Grace Yourself, it’s 2013”.

Wow. That was powerful for me. In part because 2012 was terrible and I was a complete baby at every turn. Constantly whining and giving a half-hearted effort to just be quiet and try harder. On the outside, I might have appeared stoic, someone to admire. On the inside I was fractured and chaotic. Sure, I said my prayers. I tried to turn it over to God, but I didn’t have time for that. Who has time for that? Sometimes I begged for change. Sometimes I demanded. More often than not, I accepted I was in a rough period of life and whined.

And, here it is, 2013. A new start. Time to allow myself a new start. I am not one to make resolutions. I like to try to better myself all the time. Whether I am successful is a different story. In 2012, I was not successful. Now, is my time. Now is the time to Grace myself.

Last year, I was full of grace–on the outside; this year it needs to be from the inside out. The epiphany happened when I read a quote:
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
― Maya Angelou

The Plan

– Pray: Morning. Noon. Night. And every time between. For me, my family, friends, and families to say thank you, to share joy, to ask for help. Without expectation, without demands. Open heart.

– Remember to be who I know I should be and do not let this storm, or that storm, beat me. Let it change me for the better, let me grow, but never let it beat me.

– Remember that very few things are permanent. Change is necessary and mistakes are inevitable. Growth and forgiveness are are privileges and often require work on my part.

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I have been frustrated. I have even felt like screaming. This year, so far, I have always come back to center. Having a plan and wanting to be better means failing and learning. Flying by the seat of my pants sometimes and even getting angry. Gracing myself means not closing down. It means not giving up. It means believing in my faith, even when I think I have the answers. Grace myself isn’t one moment or a test. It’s a day-to-day, maybe minute-by-minute challenge that will get easier in time as I follow the plan.

That’s the plan, now let’s see how I do.