They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
But this picture?
It’s worth more than words could possibly capture, but I’ll try because there’s a story of heartache and triumph behind my smile; one that needs to be told.
The last time we “spoke,” I mentioned I was looking forward to what Fall may bring.
This photo was taken toward the end of another beloved Fall Family Potluck.
My Dad, limited in speech since suffering a massive stroke a year and half ago, literally pointed out that all of us, the original six, were gathered in the living room. He motioned for my sister, who was standing behind him, to join the other three kids: me, my brother and our younger sister on the other side of the living room so he could look at us.
And he beheld us, his children, in his beaming smile and waved and laughed. And we waved and laughed back, all taking delight in the gift of one another’s presence.
Later that evening, my breath felt like it stopped at the precious moment captured in this photo; my heart swelled so full I could barely contain it. Tears welled up and streamed down my face as I played the rewind tape on that moment in my mind, this time seeing the bigger picture, a picture of a Greater Love.
I don’t know what you see, but when I look at this picture, I see three people who claimed a big piece of my heart the minute they entered this world. I see smiles of peace and contentment on all of our faces.
And I see me.
The me I’ve journeyed so hard to become.
The me God called me to be.
I see the battle scars from clinging tight in a wrestling match of a lifetime.
I see someone finally at home in her own skin after years of battling insecurity.
I see confidence and joy replacing fear and anxiety.
I see a glow of health taking over a once ill, barely functioning body.
I see wisdom picked up after more than her share of hard knocks.
I see comfort gleaned from her surroundings and a sense of satisfaction from her work.
Ultimately, I see someone wearing the smile of victory that comes from finally letting go.
The Magic of “Me Too!”
I have a question for you.
Have you ever heard someone share a story and then found yourself, whether audibly or inwardly, saying me too? The story and the way it resonates with you collides to create a powerful moment where you suddenly feel understood.
No longer alone.
Maybe even hopeful.
The release of all those new emotions pick up your story as if to say, “this isn’t the ending” is like empowering magic, isn’t it?
Truth be told, my endings haven’t been written yet. I’m still somewhere in the messy middle with some areas of my life, while other areas are starting to fall into place. That’s where my smile in that picture comes from; enjoying the magic show and knowing it’ll all work out.
That’s were the victory lies.
I’m going to start this story in the middle, where it gets really hard. Not only because that’s what I believe you’ll identify with most, but also because that’s where we tend to lose hope and give up.
Our hearts grow weary and doubtful in the fight, and hope fades away. That’s normal.
I want to show you what is possible, though, when you don’t give up. I’m also going to tell you about the mistakes I made and how, yet again, I hit rock bottom. And, I’ll share how I’ve climbed back out of that pit for a second time in my life.
Get ready for a bumpy ride as we get started with That Night in La Jolla.
See you in class,