Choices, Christian, Contentment, Encouragement, Faith, Fear, Grief, Loss, Love, Perseverance, Relationships, Singles, Trust

No one wants to be me.

afterglow avian backlit birds
Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

“You are living a woman’s worst nightmare.”

“No one wants to be you.”

These statements clustered like barnacles in the back of my mind, their sharp edges piercing my self-worth.

Of course, no one has said these things to my face. But the words are a composite of input from myriad sources . . . movies and tv, social media, books, work interactions, family conversations, even Christian circles. Sometimes the message has been subtle, and other times . . . not so much.

Before you protest such alarming self-talk, let’s look at the facts:

I have never been married.

I will never have any biological children or grandchildren.

I live a celibate life.

Can you honestly say this is or was your life goal, or something you pray for others (especially if you have a daughter)?

I didn’t think so.

Continue reading “No one wants to be me.”

Choices, Christian, Contentment, Encouragement, Faith, Love, Relationships, Singles, Trust

Some day my prince will come

bloom blossom bouquet couple
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I confess, I watched it. I turned on the TV in the wee hours of May 19, 2018 just in time to see Prince Harry and Meghan Markle kneeling at the altar in Saint George’s Chapel. The sight of Meghan, her ethereal silk veil stretching sixteen feet behind her literally took my breath away.

Later, I watched the entire recording of the wedding, captivated by every nuance. I wasn’t alone, as an estimated two billion people around the world tuned in to catch a glimpse of the American “commoner” marrying her handsome British prince.

The love story of Meghan and Harry (now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) breathes life into a classic song from the Disney movie, Snow White:

Some day my prince will come
Some day we’ll meet again
And away to his castle we’ll go,
To be happy forever I know. [1]

The tune, originally released in 1937, is so popular it was ranked the 19th greatest film song of all time by the American Film Institute in 2004. [2]  Perhaps one reason is because the lyrics appeal to the deep desire that most women (and men) have to find their perfect soulmates and live “happily ever after.”

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming of Mr. or Mrs. Right. We are all wired with the need for companionship and intimacy . . . and marriage is a sacred union ordained by God.

Unfortunately, real life isn’t a fairy tale.

Continue reading “Some day my prince will come”

Choices, Christian, Contentment, Love, Relationships, Singles, Thankfulness

Valentine’s Day: survival and sensitivity tips

Like most holidays, Valentine’s Day can be fun for some people and painful for others.   If you’re in the midst of a budding romance or deeply in love with your soulmate of 30 years, it can be a sweet time of celebration.  But if your Valentine has never shown up, your marriage is strained, or you have lost your spouse to divorce or death, the day is a vivid reminder of what you’re missing.

If you’re in the latter category, here are a few pointers for surviving Valentine’s Day.  (You folks who are love-struck, don’t tune out, because some “sensitivity” tips for you will follow.)

Continue reading “Valentine’s Day: survival and sensitivity tips”

eldercare, Encouragement, Faith, Family, Grief, Loss, Love, Perseverance, Thankfulness

One-year reflections of a grieving daughter

Last Thanksgiving, instead of gathering with loved ones to enjoy a feast, I huddled alone in front of my laptop, tears streaming down my face.  My father had died just two days earlier, and I spent the holiday planning his funeral.

While I felt the intense void of dad’s absence this Thanksgiving, I also experienced gratitude for the progress I’ve made in my grief-journey.

Here are eleven things I learned about grieving during this past year:

1. Grieving can begin while a loved one is still alive. I began feeling the deep ache of losing my father long before he died.  This is called “anticipatory grief.”   Some end-of-life journeys are very long good-byes.  As our loved one declines, we not only grieve incremental losses of  physical and mental abilities, we begin to pre-grieve losing him or her completely.

1205151138a-2

2.  Everyone expresses grief differently. I didn’t cry at my dad’s funeral, even when I gave a tribute.  What people never saw were the countless times I privately wept from the depths of my soul.  It’s important to remember that outward appearances may not tell the whole story.  A person who looks like they “have it all together” may be falling apart on the inside.  On the flip side, individuals who freely let their emotions show may not be as fragile as they appear.

3.  Grief doesn’t follow a timeline. The “five stages of grief,” (denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) [1] are interpreted by some to mean that once we check off the final box, we are done mourning.  In reality, grieving does not follow a predictable path, nor is it something we “finish.” Major loss changes us forever—and it should.  To put pressure on ourselves or others to “just get over it and move on” is both unkind and unrealistic.

4.  Grief hinders life functioning. I became frustrated during my first few weeks back at work because I made many more errors than usual.  Later I was reminded that a grieving person’s body, brain, and emotions are in a compromised state, making it harder to focus and think critically.  In fact, several grief recovery resources state that it’s wise to avoid making any major life decisions for at least six months following a significant loss. [2]

5.  It gets easier. Really, it does.  Recently I’ve been following the grief-journey of a man who lost his wife to cancer.  His sorrow is so profound that he cannot fathom ever feeling better.  I used to feel the same way.  But one day, at about the 3-month mark, I noticed I could sometimes make it through the day without crying.  My grief “symptoms” gradually lessened from that point on. While everyone progresses at a different rate, it does get easier. Continue reading “One-year reflections of a grieving daughter”

Christian, Faith, Fear, Friendship, God, Health, Love, Perseverance, Trust

A cancer survivor’s perspective: the difference between faith and trust

My best friend from college, Kelly, is a two-time cancer survivor.  Breast cancer first struck her at the young age of 31.  Kelly was a mom of two small boys and a new missionary in Africa when she discovered a lump.  The diagnosis changed the course of her family’s lives, as they had to leave their overseas post and move back to the United States for Kelly’s treatment.

The dreaded disease returned fourteen years later.  This time, Kelly faced a much more aggressive treatment regimen, including a mastectomy and chemotherapy.  The side effects of chemo decimated her, both physically and emotionally.

In God’s mercy, she eventually recovered and has now been cancer-free for eight years.  Nevertheless, she understandably still battles anxiety when it’s time for her periodic checkups.  She knows there’s always a chance the doctor could deliver bad news. Continue reading “A cancer survivor’s perspective: the difference between faith and trust”