Choice and Grace
Saturday, September 24, 2016
ONEKIDSMOM, in her blog today, got me to thinking (again) about how people and events (usually involving people) effect our lives for years. My sister-in-law had bemoaned for years how three very close relatives in her life (mom, aunt and grandmother) had deeply marked her by the things they said to her and their belief that she was not worth a great deal (her words). I met her when she was fifteen and actually watched some of this happen. I am from a family of very strong women who had overcome many things in their lives so it was foreign to me that they would do this to "one of their own." I tried for years to boost her confidence, but long distances (her husband was in the Navy) and infrequent visits didn't allow me to do that a great deal. Many years passed and about 7 years ago we were visiting their home. With her husband and brother (my husband) gone for a while, she broached the same topic again. I listened and when she was finished I asked her, "How long are you going to allow these women who have been dead for years control your life? They have been unable to make comments to you for years but you still conjure up the old issues." She just looked at me and said, "Well, I hadn't thought of that."
Now, the reason I felt I could say that to her is because I had to mentally face a similar issue for myself. My father became an alcoholic during my late elementary years. It was a rough patch for him and this was how he chose to handle it. He loved us greatly and he was never abusive in any way. I feel fortunate in that respect. But every weekend, holiday and special event was marred. I remember pleading with my mother on my wedding day to try and keep Dad from drinking. I found out just a few years ago from my brother that my mother had assigned him the task of keeping my Dad sober for the day. I felt so bad for my fifteen-year-old brother to have to have that responsibility.
My siblings and I are all emotional eaters and I feel this stems from those years. My older sister says it wasn't that bad (she is extremely overweight) but she left for college and didn't see it at its worst. I've tried to tell her but she says she is sure it wasn't that bad. My brother won't discuss it (which he needs to because it was much worse for him after I married). I had a hard time forgiving my Dad for this time period and the impact it has had on my life. It never stops being a part of my existence, but I had to decide how to handle this. I know my Dad loved me and would have been terribly distraught to know how much this effected all of us. He died from a long bout of cancer not long after I married, but I was not ready to have that conversation with him. So I had to decide on my own whether to choose to let this keep having a negative effect on me or get on with my life.
I have found many great examples of how to do this by reading so many SparkPeople blogs and I am inspired by those who "put it out there" for others. Facing my issues has helped a great deal as well as having a husband who is the greatest listener ever.
Small steps in all parts of my life work for me...whether it is emotional issues (it still comes up but I deal with it), eating and fitness. The power of "choice" is so important. Stopping and thinking about the choice I am about to make has worked wonders for me. Having a plan is essential for me. And the support of a community whether it is here with me or online has been an act of grace. You know about grace....you can't buy, earn, beg or bargain for grace. You just simply accept it.