Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It's THAT Simple...


Have you ever seen a beautiful photo with an inspirational quote on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Yes, that is a redundant question. Given the fact that you are visiting a blog, I would assume you are very familiar with the memes and visual inspirations flooding the world wide web.

So, this will be familiar to you as well.... Sometimes it's the first comment... Sometimes it's the second or third. But somewhere.... somewhere in that photo's description will ivevitably be the comment, "If only it were that easy", or "It's not that simple". Right in the midst of all of the "ooooing" and "ahhhing" comments, the cynic appears. Some of us wonder if this person exists to paruse facebook in search of blissful encouragement, just to pull the rug out from under everyone. Some of us relate. And some of us remember when we were that cynic.

I think I know where that denial of simplicity comes from. It is founded in a characteristic I am particularly adapt at... stubbornness. There was a time in my life when I was so stubborn I would "cut my nose off to spite my face" AND "throw the baby out with the bath water" in every scenario.  Not sure those both apply. But my mom said them, so we're going with it.

The point is.... I would rather suffer than admit what I had believed was wrong. If google had existed when I was 13, I may have become a nicer person sooner. But back in the day, I was born knowing everything, and would fight to the emotional death before conceding. My daughter has inherited that flaw.... or strength... depending upon whether or not she agrees with me ;)  But, thanks to google, she is pretty nice about it.

I think the "it's not that simple" mentality was born in me the day my mom brushed off a relative's declaration that my mom and dad could move to the country. We were all visiting my aunt and uncle in the Berkshires. My mom LOVED it there. So did I. It was my mom's every fantasy... to live in the country, with overflowing antique gardens, crackle glass in every window, walking barefoot to the local watering hole. To mom, it was heaven on earth. As she shared about how much she loved it, my aunt said, "You and Frank should move up here, Carol."

On the ride home, when I asked mom why we couldn't move there, my mom explained that "it's not that simple." She explained how my uncle was a college professor. She told me only people with those kinds of jobs could live so far away from the inner cities, where there was more blue collar work. I just accepted that. I understood that my dad was a mechanic, and his work was closer to home. What I didn't think of at the ripe old age of 7, was that people in the Berkshires drove cars too.

I also didn't think to argue that my uncle, the professor, also coached hockey to increase income. Oh... and his wife, my beloved aunt was a waitress at the local pub!!! As a child, my mother's argument had convinced me that my relatives were wealthier than us, and their privilege afforded them to live a dream life. As an adult, I see that my aunt and uncle worked their butts off for what they had. As an adult, I can appreciate that my aunt and uncle sacrificed a lot to live the way that they wanted to. As an adult, I can appreciate that there are people who will choose a life, and find whatever means they can to make it work. And there are people who will accept any excuse on earth to say... "It's not that simple."

Life changes. My uncle had a massive heart attack at the age of 42, and died.

I can barely absorb it after all these years.

But, he and my aunt left so many lessons on my heart. First of all, my uncle did what he loved. He taught. And he coached. And he raised his 3 kids in the country. Second, it takes work to live a fantasy. A LOT of work. Third, My aunt was open to love again, and has had many amazing years with her second husband. She became a teacher. She provided for her kids. She continued to live her dreams, even with a piece of her heart broken off forever. And I suppose a third lesson was driven home as well. Don't smoke!!! That's all I'll say about that one.

My aunt really is the inspiration in this story. Many people think it's only easy because of privilege or position, etc. Many people think that folks who live their dream life are lucky. My dear aunt lost her dear husband at a very young age... and one of her daughters years later. If anyone knows heartache, it is my aunt. If anyone knows devastating loss, it's my aunt. If anyone knows starting over, it's my aunt. Yet, if you met her today, you would never know of the wounds, because her scars are beautiful. They are beautiful because when it would have been so easy to accept life being over, she chose perseverance. They are beautiful because when she had ever reason to embrace bitterness, she chose love, and life, and happiness.

It is THAT simple.

Oh... does that mean easy? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sometimes it's the hardest thing in the world. I am sure her heart still aches for her daughter. I am sure she still remembers the pain of losing her first husband. But she has chosen to keep moving, keep loving, keep living. I am sure there have been some hard days in there. But, last year, I smiled when I saw her younger daughter posting photos of her European vacation with mom. There was my aunt, smiling from ear to ear, enjoying life to the fullest. Her husband doesn't like to travel anymore. She went without him! LOL. perfect.

When some people experience loss, they wither and withhold the pain of loving again. My aunt knows first hand how short life can be, how quickly it can be over. So, she lives it fuller than most people I have ever known.
***
Hmmmmm.... This wasn't supposed to be a story about my dear aunt and uncle. But I can't imagine a story that could explain my point better.

I was once a person who believed "it's not that simple" and people who thought it was were out of touch. Then, I tried it. I listened to successful people. I listened to happy people. I realized that the number one difference between me and them was choice. And when you embrace a choice, exercise it daily, and commit to it fully, it becomes the portal to what it is your heart seeks.

It is THAT simple.

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