This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!
One of the most amazing things in my life is a group of kids (now young adults) that I refer to as my “Rez Kids“. The story of our friendship is one of those God things that begins by planting a seed and grows into something strong and beautiful that remains with you forever.
About seventeen years ago I became friends with a delightful group of first graders and their teacher at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. I was able to spend a week with them a couple times, and those visits remain among my happiest memories.
When you live in a difficult environment such as the reservation, life can be a struggle. Poverty, hunger, violence, abuse, addiction and suicide are all too common. It can be hard to believe you can have a better life. I am grateful that I can be a witness to the way many of these young people have risen above their circumstances, the wonderful things they are doing, and the awesome adults they are becoming. Over the years I have been able to stay in touch with many of them through letters, phone calls, and now Facebook, and they have been such an incredible blessing in my life!
My “Rez Kids” have scattered about the rez and across the country now, and I am so thankful that I am privileged to know them and their families; each of them is a precious gift to me. I cheer for the ones who are doing well, pray for the ones who are struggling, and mourn the ones who have been lost. I love them as if they were my own children, and now as I watch them mature and begin careers and families of their own, my heart is filled with pride. I have never seen a more resilient group of kids, and it is an honor to be counted as their friend.
Another r-word that is important to me is being real. As is obvious from what I’ve shared in the A-Z so far, I am an open book kind of person, and what you see is what you get. Although I am not proud of all the choices I’ve made or things I’ve done, I am content with the lessons I’ve learned and the person I’ve grown to be. Mistakes are learning opportunities, and although I tend to learn things the hard way, I do eventually learn! 🙂 I say what I think (sometimes without filters), and I mean what I say. I am not good at playing games; I don’t want to live my life that way, and I no longer associate with people who do.
I don’t enjoy fake people, pretentious people, or people who try to be something they are not… like twenty years younger. 🙂 I embrace my age, and my journey, and I have long since given up trying to impress anyone, or be what others think I should be. What other people think of me isn’t that important, what matters is how I feel about myself and if I am doing my best to follow the footsteps of Jesus.
The people I cherish most in my life are the ones who are also real, open and honest, and who enjoy deep conversations. Fame and displays of wealth don’t impress me, those can be very fleeting things, and it’s what you do with what you have that matters. If you have more… do more!
Along with trying to be real, I would have to say that I have a “realist” mindset. I can’t abide “gloom and doom people”, or people who feel sorry for themselves. For the most part, I see the cup of my life as more than half-full, and sometimes full to overflowing… I am thankful that I have a cup! 🙂 I can deal with just about anything, given the facts. I tend to be pragmatic, and while I realize that life is neither fair nor a “rose garden”, I still believe that we are blessed, and there is so much good to be found! Attitude is everything, I’ve worked hard to get to the place I am, and I believe we can all find our own inner peace if we are willing to let go of what no longer suits us.
One more r-word today. Regrets... I have a few. Certainly there are things I wish I would not have done, or would have done differently; I made my life much harder than it had to be. We are all responsible for our choices and for the consequences they bring, that is why I preach so often about making good choices.
Yet what I regret most is not the things I’ve done, but the things I failed to do. I regret the opportunities I let slip away, I regret that I didn’t say “I love you” enough, or “I’m sorry” enough; and I regret that I said and thought unkind things about people. Karma has a way of bringing that lesson back around to you.
I could make a list of a hundred times when there was something I could have done for someone else, even thought about it, but somehow failed to follow through. As I’ve noted in an earlier post, if the road to hell is paved with good intentions, I’ve paved many a mile, and I regret that.
I also regret that I haven’t had nearly enough time to get around to read and comment on the many wonderful participants and posts in the A-Z, especially for those of you who are visiting here. I intend to catch up gradually in the days and weeks ahead, so don’t be surprised if your blog is suddenly hit with twenty likes and comments! :-))
I don’t carry my regrets around as baggage though, I have forgiven myself and I have given it up to God. I am trying harder to live my life these days with the “just do it” philosophy… don’t wait, make it happen! One simple act of kindness could make all the difference in someone else’s life. You and I can make a difference.
Are there special young people you respect and admire, in addition to your own children/grandchildren? Do you see yourself as a pessimist, an optimist, or a realist? Do you have any regrets?
Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:
- A – Aquarian
- B – Blogging
- C – Cantankerous, Cats
- D – Divorce, Domestic Abuse
- E – Enabler, Encourager
- F – Fibromyalgia, Faith, Follow Through
- G – Germany
- H – Hearing Loss, Hair, Hope
- I – Introvert, Independence, Incarceration
- J – Josie Two Shoes
- K – Kids, Kindness
- L – Things I Like
- M – Middle child, Midwest, Moves
- N – New day, Noise, Never, New Mexico
- O – Ocean, Online Dating, Obesity
- P- Purple, People-pleaser, Promises, Peace
- Q – Quiet, Question, Quirky