>Let me first start by saying that I am truly blessed. I have had my share of ups and downs. I have enjoyed acquiring countless worldly possessions. I have also experienced the heartache of losing them to theft, oversight, or total disregard that they weren't mine to begin with, but God's gifts to me on loan. I have seen, experienced, and felt great loss through death, personal economic downslides, and career and relationship failures. This young woman, soon-to-be age 35 in 22 days, has experienced many things that some people will never witness; but I'm blessed for these experiences.
I can recall the day when I was around the age of four when my parents and I walked though our huge storage unit, to see that only a few items were there. Our beds, furniture, and the majority of our personal belongings were gone…stolen. How traumatic an experience at such a young age. My Holly Hobby playhouse, bedroom set, and so much more was gone! What about when 1993 rolled around and once again, personal property was stolen from my family- this time, directly from our home. Then the knockout blow came shortly after when we lost that same home. Yikes! We were homeless by definition, but to my family, home is where the heart is- and our hearts were connected together and intertwined with God.
It seems just like yesterday, but it was actually 1999, when I received a phone call that almost everything I owned was stolen out of a personal storage unit. The few items I possessed I had stored at my uncle's home, and at my mother's home. Something about those storage units, even with so-called top-notch security, my stuff always seemed to come up missing. That same year my prized BMW was vandalized by someone who didn't want to see me happy. I lost yet another material possession.
Several of my first posts to this blog shared my experiences of loss through death. I have had so many loved ones pass away that it was at one point seeming like a sick, twisted joke. I was questioning God why I was experiencing all of this loss, why did it have to be so painful and agonizing. I noticed I was becoming even more fixated on death, on losing things and the people that I loved and still love deeply. I began to miss my childhood, when everything seemed perfect and as it should be…depression caught ahold of me and placed me in a series of bear and sleeper holds that was crippling for many, many years.
Depression caused me to lose faith, lose sight of what my plan and purpose is here. It caused me to not extend my hand when opportunity was dropping 'loaves' for me to sustain, to build, to grow. I wasn't seizing the moments that were presented as gifts. I was letting life pass me by. I was so obsessed with not losing anything that I didn't notice that I was still losing plenty. My career spiraled head-first into the ground, partly because I sacrificed it in order to appease a man I was dating; and partly because I was so fearful of losing something that I wouldn't trust and believe in myself consistently to make the right decisions. I soon exhausted all of my savings, my credit sank like the Titanic, and I began to have serious health issues. I was at a low.
Now let me stop here for a moment and say that this isn't one of my deep spiritual posts. It is spiritual, but I'm not trying to go directly there with you. You can visit my other blog breakingbreadwithnatasha.blogspot.com if you want to lovingly break bread with me and share some daily scriptures, prayers, and reflection. Now let's continue…
It takes a strong person to face loss, fall flat on their face (figuratively shattering every bone) and then get back up on their feet. I have been one-two punched, jabbed, caught a hook to the kidney region, sucker-punched in the gut, and undercut dead center on my jaw by life countless times. I just find a way to dig down deep, pray for strength and guidance, as I look for something to grab ahold to so that I can pull myself up to my knees, then my feet. Once standing it can cause your vision to be blurry because the hit you took knocked the wind out of you and jogged your faculties. Slow, steady breaths help to cleanse you and clear your mind so that you can reconnect. The tingling from numb extremities eventually dissipates, and you know that your body's blood flow is back on its normal pace. There is a constant reminder that you just got your butt kicked, because your face still hurts from falling on it…but even that is okay because at least you know that you survived, and are alive!
It is important to look back and ask yourself, "okay so how did that happen?"
The answer is simple yet possibly hard to grasp, and even harder to implement a solution- You lost sight of things. You weren't paying attention in the boxing ring of life. You instead did one or more of the following:
1) You stood there in the middle of the ring and took a pounding
2) You were too busy looking out in the audience trying to see how many fans were cheering for you, and didn't see that hook coming towards the temple of your head.
3) Your foot action got sloppy because of your lack of conditioning, and being tired, you allowed yourself to rest and eventually be pinned against the ropes, as your opponent tagged their name into your forehead, chest and rib cage.
4) You should have been bobbing and weaving, making sure to keep your gloves up, arms tucked in, and feet moving. You got anxious and dropped your right hand trying to land that TKO, but instead life tapped you with it's left fist and you landed face first on the floor.
It is very easy to lose focus when our focus is on fear, a desire for power and privilege, and or, on acquiring worldly possessions just because we want something to possess- to prove our success, and that we made it. It is also easy to lose focus when we turn our eyes away from our path, and focus on someone's path in hopes of walking beside them. If we are meant to walk on the same path with someone, then that will be revealed, and our eyes are never diverted from what we were doing before we met them. It should be a natural flow and transition, no delays or derailments. It should be seamless.
I can admit that I can be hard-headed. I also believe that my Creator, God, obviously has a great sense of humor dealing with me. He obviously also loves me dearly because He could have easily zapped me out of here a long time ago. I do know that He often thumps me in the back of my head when I'm veering too far in one direction, when I should be going another route. Let me share why I say this.
After realizing that my career had spun out of control, that my financial prospectus was nothing worth sharing with anyone with a pulse, and that I had a weakness for loving love more than I loved God and myself; what do you think happened after I worked diligently to rebuild my credit, purchase a cute, affordable car (that wouldn't tear my vital organs out if it were vandalized), and gradually see a steady lifeline in my career?
I screwed it all up.
I lost my focus while in love, and let someone else's dreams and path deter me from mine. I forgot who I was and what my mission was. I leveraged my strengths and opportunities to counter and uplift his weaknesses and threats. The more I helped him on his path, the farther I walked away from mine. The more I helped his financial situation and career hiccups, the worse mine became. Eventually his credit became better than mine, his savings account balance grew, as mine was depleted; his career had a brighter outlook, and mine was almost in the toilet. I had walked so far away from my path that I was lost in the wilderness.
How could I do that to myself? How could I lose focus? How could I place more importance on someone else, and not on myself, especially when they weren't even helping me reclaim my footing on my path? I let someone's self-serving ways lure me towards servitude as their 'property', instead of staying true to myself. Guess what I received for sacrificing myself for him? Guess what I received for my loyalty, encouragement, and investments (both in time and money)? I received the gift of loss, enlightenment, humility, and wisdom all in one huge box with fancy wrapping paper and a bow. That was definitely my "ah-ha!" moment.
I'm truly blessed. I'm blessed to have experienced it, this time in a different way. I learned in that relationship exchange how to be giving, nurturing, supportive, caring, and understanding. I learned how to sacrifice my need for instant gratification in order to provide for what I considered my 'family'. It was a humbling experience. Going from breadwinner to just-over-broke in a few short years can do that. Having to rebuild alone, but never truly alone (I have grown to discover the past 13 months now), and having to believe that even that initial pain would pass, and lay the foundation of wisdom to grow and share with others.
Am I mad at him? Heck no, why should I? How can you be mad at someone else for something you did to yourself, for something you were a willing participant in? Duh!
I am blessed. My life so far has shown me that although I have been beat up from the tip of my toes to the scalp of my head, I am a fighter and I will thrive. I needed to see how it feels when I lose sight of what I'm supposed to be doing; when I get comfortable in accepting mediocrity in myself and others; and when I ignore that voice in my ear or that tug in my stomach warning me that I'm about to fall off the course.
I share this with you in hopes that you don't lose sight of the path you're supposed to be on. Make sure you aren't jumping on someone else's path, even if it appears to be more exciting or rewarding. You never know, their path may also be short-lived. I also hope that you remember that when you're in the ring to bob and weave, always keep your feet moving, keep those gloves up, and your arms in close…and remember…never lose sight of what you're supposed to be doing, who you are, and that you have the strength and ability to get back up when you're knocked down on your rump!
Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.