One of the biggest things about aging is the looking back on life. Sometimes some of us spend a great deal of time looking back regretfully or if we are truly feeling blessed, we look back with joy and thanksgiving woven throughout the regrets, or sorrows or sadness.
The one outcome we all share is that we cannot erase the past. We are often powerless to go back and change it, for the past is exactly what it is…the past. During this month of February, I have been blowing up my Facebook page with many accomplishments of Black Americans throughout history, both known accomplishments and some that have been buried or hidden by the writers of time. My one constant each day has been to share parts of my personal family history through a montage of old and not so old photos. I have loved sharing the matriarchs and patriarchs of my family; the anchors or roots of which my foundation has been laid.
My whole focus of this blog is to stress that you may get to do only so much with what life has given you. If it has given you a lot, there is a lot to be thankful for. If it has been a struggle and not so good at times, I encourage you to focus on the beautiful memories embedded within you. Sometimes those are the hardest to pull out and to guide you, but I am sure they are there.
We sometimes cannot change the experiences, but we can change the attitudes surrounding them. For example, being a single parent from the time my sons were one and three was not a picnic, especially when my youngest got stage 4 cancer at 3 years of age. I was terrified, newly separated, had moved to a new city and a new job. My job allowed me to come in at 3:00 a.m. and work until 11:00 a.m., so I could take him to Chemo and Radiation in the afternoon. While all of this was going on, my mom and grandma took turns coming up to take care of my oldest and watching them both while I worked. And this occurred when I stepped away from teaching for 5 years and was able to work in the business world with an adjusted work schedule. While all of this was horrendous and painful and are forever etched in my memories, even to the point where I still lose my breath in the pain and fear of it all, I have found beautiful memories there. Those are of how God was carrying me through it, emotionally and physically and He was a constant. He put people and angels there along the way to encourage me, to show me how He was at work and to give me a peace and understanding that things would ultimately be O.K. Even though I was newly separated, my ex-husband moved to the same area to be there for our sons too. So I had a support system that carried us through the nightmare. That was over 33 years ago and my son did beat the Stage 4 cancer. And we all made it through it.
I am saying all of this to make the point that, no matter how scary life is, there are moments and glimmers of how beautiful it can be. Some get much more than others and those wanting will say “they have it made”. But while we do not know each others’ struggles, and will look at each other enviously, let us focus on our own joys; our own memories. We have a choice of how we want to look at life. Live it and look at it as a beautiful blessing; a beautiful memory. 1Thessalonians 5:18 states: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.
In sharing my family history photos, some of the things have not been so good and have been painful for how my family lived through them, yet I am grateful for their resilience, for their example to me, and for their solid foundation they imparted to me. I look back at their lives with beautiful memories which I will forever cherish.