Life Happens

From the Heart of Grace Waters…

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Passion Revived

One of the hardest things to do is to believe in something when everything around you seems to be contrary to that which you believe in. This is true for many things, but especially for those dreams that we are passionate about. When pursuing that dream, we may start off excited, and full of possibilities. Then life happens. Financial matters may hijack even our best laid plans. Family may take precedence over our dream building activities. Everything may all of a sudden turn upside down. In the midst of life, our dreams sometimes get pushed to the side. Then when it is time to think of them again, we may find that our passion is lacking regarding that which we have dreamed. I will admit, I have previously been one of the ones who allowed life to take the driver’s seat, and my passion for what I know I am called to do was seriously depleted. All it takes though is a moment to change things. Recently, I went into Starbucks, which is a spot that I enjoy because of the people and of course the treats. I looked around at the various meetings going on, and I went into a corner to burrow into my own world consisting of my computer and myself. I could not help, however, overhearing a gentleman providing advice to a young lady in the Starbucks. When their meeting concluded, I felt the need to ask him what it is he actually does for a living. After speaking with him, the man told me that he is a triathlete trainer. I asked him how he got into this type of work, and he told me the story of how a nuclear physicist had transitioned into a trainer. He said that he had a great job making a lot of money as a nuclear physicist, but he realized one day that he was not happy. He knew what he was passionate about, and he knew that his current position could not fulfill that passion. He made the courageous, or as others around him told him, crazy, decision to give two weeks’ notice on his job. He then began the journey of opening his own business and partnering with a friend. Since then, he has been able to set his own hours and travel all over the world. He told me that he loves what he does, and he loves the opportunity his passion affords him. After speaking with him, my passion, which had been building already, reached a high. I saw a living testimony in front of me of someone who forsook what others thought was his destiny, and followed after his passion. His passion is now making room for him to do all the things he has always wanted to do. Like him, I have chosen to pursue that dream that I saw so long ago. In the eyes of others it may seem impossible. No one in my bloodline has done what I am doing, and even to them, it seems far-fetched. However, I have a new dream. A vision. Passion. Revived. So, to you reading this, yes things may seem impossible. Those around you may not understand you, or even believe in what you see. Your job is not to convince them, but to convince yourself that you can accomplish what you have dreamed. It is possible. Right now. So be revived. Go for your dream.

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A Silent Killer

I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about all of the things going on in the world, and of course I have begun to think of them as it relates to me. One issue in particular is depression. A friend of mine recently shared his experience battling depression, and he gave me the courage to tackle the issue head on. With the death of beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams due to his battle with depression, many are finally acknowledging this silent, but deadly killer. Many of us know someone dealing with depression. They may be in our close knit circle, but we would never know. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day actions, and forget that someone may be suffering in their own silent hole. I know this to be true because I too have battled depression. At first, I did not know I was depressed, nor would I have acknowledged it if someone told me I was. It does not change the fact that I was. I would sometimes be sad for no reason at all. I contemplated suicide several times. I allowed my mind to convince me that no one really cared about me. I was the one in the middle of the room, surrounded by people, but feeling all alone. I remember times when I would check my phone contacts, trying to find someone I could talk to about my silent nightmare, but I could find no one. People told me they were there for me, but I did not believe them. I would sit by myself in my home, lights off, sleeping the day away. That way, the day would go by faster, and I would not have to confront the reality of the failure I saw myself as being. Even recently, I have battled it. I have struggled with thoughts of being not good enough. I have looked at my life, and seen how far I thought I should have been by now, and realized that I was nowhere close to where I thought I should be. People all around me told me that I would go far, and I would do great things, but while I smiled at them, I secretly did not believe them. It all started for me, looking back, when I was a little girl. My mother placed me and my siblings into foster care. I thought something was wrong with me. How could anyone else love me if my own mother did not want me? Then as the years went by, I took on the ugly duckling syndrome. I felt I was ugly. I began to act “ugly”. How could anyone love me that way? Then, I began to believe that a foster child could never amount to anything. A product of the system is only supposed to go so far, so how could I believe that I would ever be more than what I was at the time. Many tried to love me, but I did not know how to love myself. I was afraid of talking to anyone about my feelings for fear that they would look at me like a monster, and confirm that something was really wrong with me. Those childhood feelings transitioned with me as I became an adult. Some things got better, but one thing that followed me around like a puppy was my feeling that I would never be good enough. I ended up going to the best colleges. I married a great man, but even with all of that, I could never just be happy. Eventually, I acknowledged that I was depressed. I had been for some time. I struggled with letting my husband see me. I began to destroy everything in my life, all because of my depression. When I should have been happy, I still struggled with suicidal thoughts. I began to believe that everyone’s life would be so much easier if I was not around. I did not think of the effect my death would have on those around me. It did not matter, because I thought no one cared anyways. I struggled, for a long time, silent. I smiled, and I acted as if everything was ok. But God. I did not have to take medicine. I really had to confront myself and acknowledge where I was. Then I had to allow myself to be helped. That was difficult. These feelings had grown up with me, and like a child’s blanket, I found it hard to let go. Eventually though, I had to open my hands, and let it go. I had to acknowledge the hurt I caused people due to my depression. I realized that some decisions I made were due to me not knowing how to express my emotions. Slowly, my self-esteem was built. Through strategic placements of people in my life, I began to believe that someone did really care. Even though life is nowhere near like I thought it would be right now, I see that all things work together as they are supposed to. I still have my moments of doubt, but I will not let those moments lead me into depression. I have fought that battle, and I will continue to push it away. I cannot be depressed. I cannot allow myself to consider taking my own life. There is no victory in that. Depression is very real. Not everyone’s story ends up with them being free, but it is up to us to pay attention to those in our circle. It may seem you are not getting through, but know that your care can be freedom for someone. Depression is not some elusive disease that does not touch anyone you know. You could be battling with it yourself. You may know someone who is. Seek help. Never fight alone. I refuse to lose. You can win this fight too.

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When Obstacles Become Opportunities

*spoiler alert* One of my favorite movies is Coach Carter. The movie is based on a true story, and relays the actions of a man brought into his former school to coach the school’s basketball team. When Coach Carter began, he was met with resistance, and everyone wanted him to quit. After a while though, Coach Carter saw changes slowly occur. At a certain place in the movie, things reached a breaking point. Coach Carter then presented his team with an ultimatum. When the school and parents of the team rebelled against this and had Coach Carter’s decision overturned, Coach Carter threatened to walk away, but his team did not allow that to happen. They had finally realized why Coach Carter was so hard on them, and they decided within themselves to do what was right for themselves and for the team. In the end, they played better than they ever had, and they appreciated the tough stance of Coach Carter. I love this movie because it portrays someone willing to work hard in the face of resistance. It also creates the question, what do you do when everyone is against you? Coach Carter persevered, and eventually, he stood up for what he knew was right even with serious opposition. We can learn from that. There are so many things happening in our world today. Police brutality, suicides, people killing each other, families turning against one another, immorality, war, and so much more. When does it get to the point that we do not become angry about all that is going on, thus becoming part of the problem? Instead, we can do what we can to change things. One person may not be able to change the entire system, but if we stand for what is right, we can at least put our voice out in the cacophony of what is going on today. Who knows, maybe we will actually make a difference. More anger, hatred, and blaming one another only leads to a cycle of the same. Sometimes it is difficult. Many times we want to give up when standing for what we believe. What happens though if we give up? Will things ever change? For Coach Carter, things changed because he would not give up. Standing in the face of resistance, believing in spite of, he was able to effect change. While this was seemingly on a small scale, the ramifications were much bigger. It began just with the basketball team, but then it branched out to the community. The team got the attention of the national news. What started small became much bigger. Even if we look at ourselves, what would happen if we continued to pursue our dreams in the face of obstacles and resistance? We could be unstoppable if we refused to give up.Life sometimes presents opportunities for change masked as obstacles. It is up to us to turn those obstacles into opportunities. What if we chose love instead of anger? Action instead of more discussion? Unity instead of separation? Dream pursuing rather than hope devastation? What is your choice?