The Changing of Me

I have never seen myself as a victim.  Ever.  Even when I was too broken to see through the darkness, I knew that I would somehow get through it.  I do not quit and I tend to be a Pollyanna in that I think that no matter what, that there is a reason for it.  While I am far from perfect, writing about my journey was never seen as a badge of honor or a way to say, “Look at me.  I am a victim.”  My personality is to fix things and to look for peace.  Phil’s death cemented and reinforced that trait because I do know how short life can be.  Yet, someone really hurt me yesterday when he inferred that I use the victim card.  It caused me to take pause and consider the ways that I have grown since Phil’s death….and I have.

 

First, I have learned to forgive the unthinkable. There came a point when I realized that I was consumed with the what ifs and what should have been.  I couldn’t get past the ache or the want of the dreams and hopes I had carried and invested in for so many years.  People did say and they did do the wrong thing, but I decided to give them a get out of jail card. It wasn’t intentional (just as I hope the victim card wasn’t intentional).  Perhaps there was fear or even not knowing what to say.  Perhaps, there was just a sense of not realizing the depth of pain that could last a lifetime.  People grow weary in picking people up all of the time.  I get it.  I crashed and burned this week because I was tired of being a rock.  By choosing to focus on the positives, I was able to get past the anger and resentment in my heart. While some of the people I forgave took more effort, I finally decided that I wanted my heart to belong to me and to making something positive come out of the worst day of my life.

 

 

I have learned to fight for my relationships friend, family, and people in my life.  I no longer look at my relationships as dispensable.  It isn’t always easy and sometimes people can hurt us.  I do forgive easily because I learned that maybe there won’t be another day.  I had a good marriage and friendship with my Phil, but I was playing a stupid game the day he was killed.  I cannot take back that choice to wait him out, and I know we would have laughed about it had he lived, but he did not.  I am stuck with knowing there was a reason for him not communicating and wondering if he knew I was upset the day he was killed.  That is ONE singular thing that causes me to fight for the people in my life even when I stand bowed and the tears streak my face.  This does not mean that I do not need to set some boundaries, but it means that the stupid games are ended when I recognize that I am playing them.  I control my behaviors and my reactions.

 

Faith has changed.  My faith is still the core of who I am, but I no longer look at God as Santa Claus.  Hear me out.  I prayed every single day for Phil’s safety.  Many people did.  I focused on the Bible verses that said , “Ask any thing in my name, and I will give it,” and “Where two or three are gathered in my name…”  The problem was that I never thought of the rest of those verses….”In accordance to my will.”  Do I believe that God could have stopped the evil in that room that day?  Yes, but I also believe that people are given a choice.  I believe that God knew the outcome from the start, but that the vile monster had to be given a choice.  My faith is still very dynamic, but it is different now.

 

Time matters.  Words matter. For many years, I put things off.  I told people they mattered and then I didn’t invest the time that I should have invested.  I fight for my relationships now because time is such a gift.  Though I am far from perfect, I try to build people up.  Yes, I get cranky and yes, I want to say ugly things.  I just don’t very often.  I want to live my values and to do what I can to make a difference in the world. This transparency has made me vulnerable, but it does not equate to crying victim. Vulnerability has led to a greater appreciation of what I have been given, the people in my life, and the dreams I carry.  I no longer wait for any of it.  I live my Bucket List, I live my values, I live my heart.

 

I have learned that my heart can love again.  Loving another person does not mean that Phil is replaced nor does it mean I know where the relationship is going.  For the longest time, I felt like letting another person in meant that it somehow negated the passion and the love Phil and I shared.  It doesn’t.  It means that I am richer and a better person for allowing my heart to grow.  The difference between what I felt for Phil and what I feel for another is that because I know how short life can be, I forgive easier, invest more, and look for ways to show I care.  I should have done more of that with my Phils, but I am proud to recognize that I am not the same person who often made my spouse last priority.

 

Finally, the biggest change is in trusting myself.  I do.  I recognized the power of this change last night.  I know I can survive the storms of life.  I know that I see the good in people.  I know that I am a better version of me.  I also know that I am strong enough to weather any storm in life.  I am strong enough to stand up for myself.  I don’t always run away any more.  That is huge considering that I have always run.  I ran to Germany to avoid what was happening in CO.  I had a moment of clarity in that I recognize that I can run to anywhere I want and I can do anything I want and it isn’t going to be because of a knee jerk reaction.  I have made good choices rooted in the power of prayer and the support of my friends.  I have this.  I own this and I like who I am.  I am not perfect, but who is?  I cannot be everything to everyone and that is okay too.  I can just be the Linda Lou who does not carry a pink victim card, but who own the polka dots and who wears the rose colored glasses because I like the world I see from those glasses.

 

 

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