Mother's Day is now bittersweet as yesterday was also my mom's birthday. I rejoice in her life and in the woman who was and still is my mother. Two years ago I lost her. I never really understood the depth of sadness we walk through when we lose those we love so much. It was a double blow because my dad passed 6 months prior to her. Walking through life in a daze, I somehow performed all that was expected of me, not allowing myself time to mourn.
I suppose the demanding work and hectic lifestyle were a blessing, but the cautioning words of wisdom from my cousin and childhood best friend, Russell Adams, warned me that if I didn't allow myself the time to mourn, to cry my eyes out if needed, the emotions would continue to surface.
Perhaps this is why I felt the strong pull to let go of my Dallas lifestyle, to distance myself from the fast paced ambitions, the mentality of always pushing and yet never quite finding satisfaction. I felt trapped in a lifestyle I no longer loved. The dawning came as I realized my days on earth are growing shorter. I need to spend my time in ways which fulfill me, to spend time with my dear husband who's been a rock for me through this challenging season.
WHAT KIND OF A LIFESTYLE IS IT, IF YOU'RE TOO BUSY TO SPEND TIME WITH THOSE YOU LOVE THE MOST?
Accepting this conclusion, my next actions surprised everyone, including myself. We sold our home and much of what we own, and have relocated to Alto, New Mexico. Now my pace is slower and I can breathe deeply, something I had to remind myself to do before. I feast my eyes on the panoramic beauty of this majestic region. Somehow my life is back in focus and I walk with a peace I haven't felt in years. For the first time in two and a half years, I can accept the loss of my beloved parents, knowing they are well and still with me in Spirit.
So for those of you who feel this pain of loss as we celebrate Mother's Day, please find peace in the knowledge that your mom is in a better place and is still watching over you. Peace my friends on this special holiday.
From the heart,
Find Your Inner Zena, Warrior Princess
By JaLynn West
Yesterday was one of reasserting myself. It reminds me of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day in 5th grade. A classmate named Cheryl kept trying to pick a fight with me as I walked home from school. “Bok! Bok! Bok!” the hecklers said as they called me “chicken”, hoping to egg on a West Texas cat-fight. Of course the conflict was over a boy and now that I think of it, he really wasn’t all that cute. I wasn’t raised to fight and couldn’t comprehend why someone would want to hit me over a short guy named Curtis, or for any other reason for that matter. Walking beside me on that stressful afternoon was my best friend, Susan, who was my rock. Seeing that my feathers weren’t ruffled enough to tangle, Cheryl charged me and knocked the books out of my hands. I stood there, shocked and angry at her audacity, and something within me snapped. I wasn’t going to allow her to bully me anymore. I vividly recall blurting out, ”If you want a fight, you’ve got one!” and I came out swinging. We fought like girls, lots of scratching and hair pulling. Finally I knocked her to the ground and said something triumphant, feeling much like Zena, Warrior Princess. Susan and I continued our walk home but, much to my chagrin, one of our neighbors saw the rumble and called the police. Again I am mortified as the cop pulls up in his car and summons me. Seriously, can anything else go wrong? I unfairly get the lecture of a lifetime, in which I’m informed that girls aren’t supposed to fight. I assured him that I was aware of this, but he may want to inform my assailant with his divine revelation. Feeling the entire world was against me, I went home that day, never telling my parents about the fight, realizing that it would create even more unwanted drama. At home, I let Mom dote on me and prepare my favorite afternoon snack, chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup drizzled generously on top. I chilled to an episode of Gilligan’s Island as my as my frustration with the day ebbed into only a memory.
Ironically, I ran into Cheryl at one of my high school reunions. We hugged and laughed at our 5th grade rumble. It’s no big surprise that after graduating, she became a performing artist in the New York theatre. She always had a flair for the dramatics. Occasionally I still find myself putting up my dukes and saying, “Bring it on!” And I still feel like Zena, Warrior Princess at the conclusion of each battle. How about you? Have you tapped into your warrior princess lately?
“Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” Albert Camus
It’s hard to believe there was a time in my life when I was painfully shy. The years have been kind to me as I’ve learned how to conquer my fear of rejection, of not belonging. Eighth grade was probably my most introverted year. I didn’t make the transition to Middle School easily (back then we called it Junior High). I was still a tomboy but with the anatomy of an 18 year old. UGH! I wouldn’t time travel back to that stage of my life for all of Trump’s money. I still vividly recall one evening when I tagged along with my dad. We sat in the family sedan and my self-inflicted misery must’ve been obvious because he asked me if anything was the matter. Dad and I were so close and I shared with him how much I wanted to have friends. I’m sure tears were shed, though I don’t actually remember. In that pivotal moment, as Dad and I sat in the parked car, he asked me if I’d like to pray with him and ask God to give me friends. It sounded like a good plan to me. So we sat there, father and daughter, holding hands as my dad prayed and asked God to bless me with an abundance of friends. That night is so clear as if it was yesterday rather than 40 years ago. The power of prayer is real. By the following year my circle of friends grew exponentially and today my cup runneth over. I am blessed and surrounded with so many caring, compassionate, dynamic friends who inspire me in every way.
So the next time you’re in a social setting and you see someone standing alone, don’t assume they are aloof. The chances are good that they aren’t comfortable initiating conversation. Please walk up to them and say hello. Most likely, they will be extremely grateful. For those at the other end of the spectrum, the shy ones, the introverts, when you find yourself in another socially awkward scenario, look around the room and find someone else who looks like they need a friend. Simply go up and say hello; yes, it’s that easy.
So now you know I’m the shy girl who’s learned how to overcome my greatest fear. What’s your greatest fear? The fear of failure? Of success? Of people seeing who you really are? Face it, whatever it is. Ask God to give you the strength to overcome this ball and chain; and be prepared for Him to answer your prayers. He’s just waiting for you to ask.
To all of our readers and the supporter of OCM, thank you for allowing us to share and promote these amazing businesses, non-profits and special people within our community. And if you see me around town, please feel free to introduce yourself. I like making new friends!
From the heart,
JaLynn S. West
JaLynn S. West