"I err, therefore I am." -Augustine of Hippo
The human condition fascinates me, and nowhere can you get a more interesting perspective on it than from someone who has "lived to tell about it." Naturally, I am talking about the so-called dead. Last week in my readings, many messages seemed to be about working through the things we do "wrong." There was a couple who married, divorced, then remarried. A Dad whose addictions spiraled out of control for years until they caused the end of his life. Someone who yelled at her children too much. Another situation where a couple broke up four times in 16 years until they figured it out. A man who lost hope and forced his young family to create a new reality without him after his suicide. Then there were all the things that simply went wrong for people....through no fault of their own: cancer, heart attacks, encephalitis, accidents. You name it, it all happened to people in their 30s and 40s.
One thing I've learned is that almost nothing ever turns out as we plan. Life is a constant pattern of setting expectations and then...something else happens. It's like falling asleep on the sofa and waking up to a terrifying, too loud, late-night infomercial on the TV: "BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!" Truth is, how we respond these situations shapes our present moment. Sometimes in our shock we just react, which can create even bigger challenges for us to deal with down the road.
I always offer myself as the example, and I have proudly amassed thousands of situations that didn't turn out as I planned.
Presently, I'm sitting in my dining room gazing at a nearly finished painting on my easel, as I type away. I hear the clanging of a basketball hitting the backboard at the schoolyard nearby and the birds singing in the garden. All of the windows are open, letting in a cool, Wisconsin breeze. My house is quiet. And clean. There's an empty bowl that was filled with fresh-from-the-garden raspberries laced with cognac. It's definitely peaceful here. I would be hard-pressed to find something to complain about. All is well.
Yet, I can promise you, this reality looks absolutely nothing like the one I had planned for myself many years ago.
When I was 19, I left life as I knew it behind and moved to Boone, North Carolina. I was accepted at Appalachian State University, and I had an apartment, a job and a car. I was well on my way to what I believed would be an ideal life as a successful interior designer: happily married (I imagined) to a man who looked like he'd stepped right out of a LensCrafters® ad, with our five perfect children gazing up at us adoringly. But something unexpected happened; I discovered I was pregnant.
I wish I could forget the conversation I had when I called the man I was dating to tell him the news. It was a "BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!" moment.
"I don't love you, I never did. I don't even like you. I'll have nothing to do with this." he said.
I packed up and put away my dreams of a degree. I was young enough to still have hope for the ideal husband and the five perfect kids. There was no one to bail me out. No job. No home, no plan. I was in a very bad position. As fate would have it, I made friends with a large family who "adopted" me. They promptly moved their two youngest girls into the sunroom, and gave me a safe place to live for a year. They were right there, supporting me when my son came into this life on a beautiful summer morning, 21 years ago. Not bound by blood, but by love, we are family to each other to this day. That year was one of the best for the lessons I learned about working together in harmony. We were sleeping on top of each other and struggling to make the food stretch. We all laughed, played and engaged in joyful ways I had never experienced in my own family as a young girl. I'll never forget the first time my son laughed; we were canning peaches in a roaringly-hot kitchen that August. It was a perfect moment. Somewhere, I have a picture of it. My baby boy and I were surrounded by love. When he was a few months old, we moved out and I started my first business.
So, back to my present moment. All is well, and it is nothing like that original idea I had for myself. But I did shape this reality with all of the choices I've made along the way. I neither got the degree nor met the LensCrafters® guy. In 21 years, I've had six combined years of "educational" marriages and spent 15 years raising my two beautiful children alone. It has not been easy. I have had to be super, duper flexible and resilient. I have had to be humble, accept help and do hard labor. (I worked on ladders and scaffolding for 16 years!) My life turned upside down again when I suddenly became psychic, ushering in a whole new era for me. Was all the chaos worth it? A million times over, yes! It wasn't anything like I'd planned, but it's been an incredibly meaningful and amazing journey. It's our nature to imagine a life path for ourselves that is comfortable and idyllic. No one would ever schedule the loss of child, end of a marriage or a terminal illness if they were given the option. The messages given in readings always point me back to an eternal truth: life is really about the experience and journey. Being "successful" at it has very little to do with it all turning out to look like a glossy, airbrushed, family photo of shining, happy people. The human condition makes us terribly interesting...gloriously flawed...wildly imperfect...and incredibly successful at creating valuable experiences from which our Souls can grow.
Now that my children are grown and living on their own, I'm starting again. No matter where you think you may have erred, or even been given a terrible burden to bear, you can always recreate your life in a positive, fulfilling way. As my stepmother taught me, once you remove the judgment and labeling, everything is simply an experience. Whenever I call her crying she says, "Oh, that's wonderful Mollie! Think of the growth." (I've learned to call my bff when I want sympathy.)
Remember to be flexible with your expectations of life because soon enough, the announcer will be saying, "BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!"
©Mollie Morning Star 2014 Short excerpts of this article may be shared on the internet provided a live link back to this original source is used. Reproduction in print is prohibited.