God also puts people in my life who have had like experiences in dealing with the pain of loss. So in the beginning, one goal I had for this blog was to share with others things people have shared with me. I was going to do my second book report on a book entitled My Son...My Son...A Guide to Healing After Death, Loss, or Suicide. I decided after my confessional blog perhaps I should share something a little lighter. My Son...My Son... is an awesome book, but I think humor is needed at the moment.
One day this summer I had lunch with my dear friend, Leah. With her, she brought this --Stick a Geranium in your Hat and Be Happy. She told me one day I would be able to read it, even though on that day I didn't think that day would be soon. Like the other books that have been given to me, I placed it on my book pile next to my chair. It, like the others, was my constant companion. Leah was right--it did take a while for me to pick it up. And when I did, I found I only needed to read a little of it at a time for it to have an effect on me. I haven't completed it yet. I am savoring it. But I still have some things to share.Many who have attended a Woman of Faith conference are familiar with Barbara Johnson. She is a woman who has lost two sons to death and one son to an alternative lifestyle that took him away from her for eleven years. She knows pain and misery. However, she made a conscious decision to deal with the pain and make the misery an option. The goal for her books are to give people the gift of laughter when they feel like they would never laugh again. Barbara is a woman who has been on the brink of dispair. If you are there, it is a lifeline to be able to read about a woman who has made a conscious effort to be positive, even though her heart was breaking.
As I said, one can read this book just a little at a time and get a lot out of it. Barbara has a lot of little sayings, that after a while seem almost too good to be true. At the end of her first chapter, she has "Resolutions For Avoiding Misery." I have read this list before, but I think it deserves being shared one more time.
RESOLUTIONS FOR AVOIDING MISERY
- Choose to love--rather than hate.
- Choose to smile--rather than frown.
- Choose to build--rather than destroy.
- Choose to perservere--rather than quit.
- Choose to praise--rather than gossip.
- Choose to heal--rather than wound.
- Choose to give--rather than grasp.
- Choose to act--rather than delay.
- Choose to forgive--rather than curse.
- Choose to pray--rather than despair.
A few hours ago I forgot that I have a choice. I chose to let the rain and the week that had passed to cause despair in my life. My prayers of forgiveness, plus those prayers of those who love me, helped bring me out of the darkness. I was reminded again that I have a choice--misery is optional. Andrew made a choice all of us would like to talk him out of. However, we can't, so we all have to make a conscious decision to choose to heal, build, and perservere.
I watched a group of boys play football Friday night. I love the boys who played on both sides of the field. The WP team has known nothing but success on the "gridiron" for many years, but for the Bulldogs, success has become a memory. However, the Bulldogs I watched Friday have made the choice to heal, to build, and to perservere.
There is a football jersey that hangs in their stadium. It represents a friend and teammate who isn't with them. Rather than letting this uniform represent sadness, the coaches and the boys have made a conscious decision to have it mean more. They have chosen to heal from their loss, to build on the 110% effort exhibited by their lost teammate, and to perservere, even when the odds are against them. Friday night they did not give up. Even when the beginning looked like another "Oh no" night, it wasn't. Yes the Bulldogs lost, but they also won. They played hard and gave 110%. That is a small victory for them. This is the beginning to the fulfillment of their choices. They have made the decision to "stick a geranium in their helmets and be happy."
That is my decision too. I will probably have bad weeks or weekends again. However, I do have a choice. I choose to love my son, but also to love my life until I see him again.