This I Believe

Lynn - Mystic, Connecticut
Entered on June 7, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: purpose, setbacks

“Lessons on the Path of Life”

I believe we all have our own paths to walk on this journey called life. As a Mom, I have come to understand that my children are on their own paths as part of their own unique journey. I am merely a guide for them and even though we may experience something as a family, we all learn our own lessons.

Four months ago, on a frosty February evening, the interior of our new home was destroyed by a fire. My husband, Jim, and I had taken our two sons, James and Mark, to the house to see the progress the builders had made on the final day prior to us moving-in. The high-pitched beeping of the smoke detector and the haze of smoke that greeted us when we opened the garage door instantly replaced our excitement with fear. We spent the next several hours in a state of disbelief as the firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze.

The morning after the fire, I stood staring out my kitchen window, tears streaming down my cheeks. I was feeling grateful that we still had a home to live in since we had not yet sold our house. I was extremely thankful that no one was hurt, and that we lost no personal belongings as we had not yet begun moving our things into the new house. Yet, I was filled with an angst that felt all consuming. I had lost months of creative energy and didn’t feel as if I had anything left. I had put so much of myself on hold to build this house. I could not comprehend what lesson I was to learn from this when I heard a whisper, “This has not happened TO you. It has happened. This is part of the journey for the boys. All you have been through in your life will be a resource to you for teaching them.”

While I still feel grief and all the emotions that come with that grief, I more fully understand some of the difficult lessons I’ve endured throughout my 43 years. I knew I would survive this because I’d survived abuse as a child. I knew this grief wasn’t as big as losing my 25 year-old brother when I was 23. I knew that I could endure the pain and ache I felt in my heart because I had overcome physical pain enduring multiple hip surgeries. I also knew this wasn’t just about me and that I could help my children become stronger, more empathetic people because of this.

If I were to become so caught up in my own emotions I would miss incredible opportunities to teach James and Mark valuable lessons and guide them on their paths. What happened to our new home happened to all of us, yet it has impacted us individually and we have all had to find our own ways of living with this new reality. I believe that it’s not so much what happens to us on our life’s path; it’s what we do with the events that happen on our journey that makes all the difference.