Monthly Archives: July 2014

Rainbows in the storm

imageLife has been a bit overwhelming for me lately. My job is currently causing a great deal of stress. The last couple of days have been so bad that I am having trouble eating because the stress is making me feel sick.

There is also a blanket of tension covering the whole office as some co-workers are not getting along and some are not being team players. Normally I’m pretty good at staying out of any conflict or tension. I get along with everyone, do my job the best I can and maintain a positive attitude. I’m usually the one telling my colleagues not to stress so much because it will all work out.

But this week, even as I stay out of conflict, the negative atmosphere is so thick that it is choking me. I found myself needing to step away today more than once to keep from letting it get to me.

Things outside of work have been challenging as well. I have moved out of my apartment for two weeks because a week after I moved in I began having an allergic reaction to something. I’ve been to the doctor several times, applied gels and creams and even took steroids for 12 days, but it would not heal. I’ve been dealing with it for six weeks now.

So I have moved out for a bit, and I am having the apartment looked at and completely cleaned to check for anything that may be causing my symptoms. But before moving out on the weekend I spent weeks of getting very little rest because I was scratching so hard in my sleep that I was waking up bloodied and bruised. My arms have not been a pretty sight lately.

Today the lack of sleep, as well as the insane stress resulted in my emotions overflowing.

As I drove the 40 minutes to my parents’ home this evening, the storm that raged outside my car couldn’t compete with the explosion of my tears. I cried until I could barely breathe.

Do you ever have one of those cries? Where you are gasping for breath, tears streaming down your face, choking on your sobs? Your body is almost convulsing and your chest is heaving up and down?

It was an epic cry.

It was a cleansing cry.

It was all of my emotions – annoyance, frustration, stress, fatigue and sadness – bursting out of me, like storm waves collapsing a river dam.

Why am I sharing this?

It may appear I am looking for sympathy, or simply just complaining. I’m not.

I am sharing this because it is a reminder to me that I am only human. I can only do so much. I can only stand strong for so long.

I can try to hold my emotions in, put on a happy face and move forward.

But if I don’t face what I am feeling or going through, it will eventually force itself out of me. As it will for anyone.

Sometimes I need that reminder that I don’t always have to be ok. I don’t always have to stand strong and pretend everything is fine.

As I was driving, the thunderstorm pounding on my little car, I hit a break in the weather half way to my parents’s house.

As the road curved and I looked ahead through my windshield, I saw it.

It was faded against the dark clouds, barely visible through the rain. But it was there.

A rainbow.

The colours didn’t look right against the grey sky. It didn’t belong in that picture.

But it was God’s little message to me.

Even a bad storm can create a rainbow.

Something beautiful is waiting for us on the other side of the rain.

Tomorrow is a new day.

The storm will pass.

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Get Happy

We are a society that likes to talk. We talk until our throats hurt, and often we’re talking just to hear ourselves. We talk in circles. Many times, we’re chatting and not even really saying anything.

We talk about things we do. We talk about things we plan to do. We talk about things we hope to do.

We talk about goals, dreams, passions, desires.

We talk about dislikes, disagreements, frustrations, annoyances.

But what if we stopped talking so much and actually started taking action? What if we stop verbally dreaming and actually chase after those dreams? What if we stop planning goals and instead go out and achieve them? What if instead of complaining about something that bothers us, we try to do something to change it or make it better?

What if we all just shut our mouths and started taking action?

I hear people talk about their goals and dreams all the time. But how many are actually pursuing them?

Our culture tells us we can do anything, and we can, but how many of us are actually trying?

I listen to people complain about things that bother them or express their continued unhappiness, but they never do anything to make things better.

I used to be this way. I talked a lot, but when it came to doing, the actions never caught up with the words. I had dreams I wanted to pursue, passions I wanted to engage in, and goals I wanted to reach. But fear, laziness and my depression held me back.

For years.

And I got tired of talking.

The past 6 months I have been working on shutting up and taking action. I’ve done my best to stop complaining and instead try to change the things I don’t like. And I’ve started with myself.

For more than a decade I have expressed my dream of writing professionally. But I was spending very little time writing and no time making connections to get published.

Last Fall I signed up for an online writing program. I started this blog. I began talking to other writers. I researched writing contests. And I’ve bought books that talk about breaking into the writing market and how to sell unsolicited work.

I am finally taking action to make my dream come true.

Eight months ago, I was unhappy, feeling insecure, lacked confidence and had no idea where I was going or what I wanted.

I felt sorry for myself, and I allowed myself to wallow in self pity.

Guess where that got me? NOWHERE!!!

Again, I decided it was time to take action. I went to counselling, surrounded myself with good people, changed my attitude and built up my confidence.

I was bored and unhappy in my job. So I started job hunting, spending hours searching for and applying to positions until the right opportunity came along. I’ve been in that job for over three months and feel as though it was designed for me. It’s not without challenges or stress, but I like it, I’m good at it and it keeps me challenged.

As I’ve said in previous posts, I feel like I missed out on a lot in my twenties due to my fears and my illness. There were so many times I didn’t say what I feel or didn’t stand up for what I thought was right.

I let people treat me poorly. I let others take advantage of me and put me down. I let my low self-confidence and fear of being judged keep me from taking action.

Now, at 31, having spent the last year on a journey of self discovery and self acceptance, I refuse to live like that anymore.

I am done missing out on things. I am done keeping how I feel or think to myself.

Life is short. People say that all the time. They say they don’t want to waste it, but I see so much wasted. I see so many opportunities and experiences pass people by because they are scared or lazy or lack self-confidence.

And it breaks my heart.

Because I used to do that too.

But now I would rather speak my mind and stand up for what I believe than miss the chance to make a difference. Not everyone is going to agree with me and that’s ok. I’m going to speak up anyway. Because I never know who I could help unless I try.

If I feel something towards someone, whether in a romantic sense, a platonic love or a professional appreciation, I am going to tell them. Because no matter what the response, it is never a bad thing to express kindness toward or to compliment another person. Even if my admiration is rejected, I can’t regret trying to make someone else feel good.

So, I ask: how much are you talking vs doing?

We all talk about the desire to be happy, but how many of us are doing something to create our own happiness?

I encourage you to stop talking and start taking action.

Let go of your fear. Let go of judgement. Let go of insecurity.

Life is short. Get up and take action to make it better for yourself and others.

Go and get happy.

Second Chances

A few months ago I turned 31. It wasn’t that long ago that 30 seemed to be in the distant future. And now I’m 31. Craziness.

When I was a kid and thought about being this “old” age, the picture I had in my head was much different than my current reality.

I imagined being married with kids, a house, a dog. Because that’s just what you did. You grew up, got married, had kids and it was all happily ever after. Right?

Reality has created a much more distorted image. Reality sees the colours painted outside of the lines. Reality doesn’t look like those Disney movies I watched as a kid.

My twenties were rough. I spent most of my time trapped in a deep depression. It suffocated me. It stole experiences, relationships, opportunities. I saw friends walk away who just couldn’t handle me anymore.

A romantic relationship? My insecurities, fear of rejection and fear of commitment kept those at a far distance. Any time a guy got too close, I turned and ran. And I fell for guys that were wrong. Ones I couldn’t have or ones that didn’t treat me well. I was a pro at not letting anyone get too close.

And I missed out on a lot. I missed out on romances. I missed out on trying new things. I missed out on much of what people in their twenties thrive on. Dating, travelling, adventures, meeting new people, being irresponsible and just having fun.

I spent my 20s either intoxicated or hiding and trying to just get through each day without crumbling into a sobbing mess.

I’m not saying my entire 20s were bad. There were some fantastic times. Cruises with friends, baseball games, parties, family time, dates here and there.

But my 20s were different than the norm. While most of my friends and peers were falling in love, getting married and starting to have kids, I was working with my doctor to find the right mix of medications to keep my depression buried.

While my friends were out partying, dating or just hanging out, I was often at home frozen with anxiety about leaving the house.

Last year, as I said goodbye to my 20s on my 30th birthday, I was also forced to say goodbye to the life I had known. Two weeks before my birthday I found out I was getting laid off. My world came crashing down around me.

I had no idea what I was going to do or where I was going to go. My whole world was wrapped around my job. It was my work, my church, my community, my friends.

And even though I can’t say I was happy, it was what I knew. It was comfortable.

And it was ending.

Not knowing my next steps, I felt my only option was to leave Toronto, my home of a decade, and move back with my parents to save money. I was lost.

And it was sink or swim time.

It took me a few months to learn to swim again. I had to wear floaties for a  while. But over the last year I’ve regained my strength (and more) and now am happily gliding through the water.

Because this has been my year to start fresh. This has been my year to discover who I am. This has been my year of second chances.

I am getting to experience things I missed out on in my twenties. I may be a bit late to the party, but I am here and I am choosing to dance as if there is no tomorrow.

I’ve put fear, insecurity and judgement in my rearview mirror and I am hitting the gas. I am taking chances, opening up and experiencing some parts of life for the first time.

Like falling in love. Most people first fall in love in their teens or early to mid twenties. I was 30. And it was awesome.

A year ago I was broken down and beaten with no confidence and no idea where I was headed.

I still don’t know exactly where I am headed, but I know I am on the right path.

I’ve got love, support, confidence and faith.

I am embracing each new day to the fullest.

I am laughing. I am loving. I am dancing.

I have spent the past year rebuilding my life. And it’s better than I could have ever imagined. I now know what happiness is. I know joy. I know peace. I know love.

And I am grateful for the second chances I’ve had this year. I am grateful for fresh starts.

It’s never too late to begin again. You are never too old or too broken.

Just step out into the world with an open heart and open mind and you’ll be amazed at the beauty that surrounds you.

Trying to Figure it Out

This life is not easy. Every day each of us are faced with struggles, trials, tribulations and hardships. Each day we wake up not knowing what lies ahead.

Some days are good. Some are not.

Yet each day, we wake up and we try again.

We set goals for the day, the week, the month, the year and beyond. We plan today, tomorrow and as far into the future as we can.

Some days are ordinary  and simple. Some are filled with adventure and excitement. Some days see tragedy and heartbreak. None of us are exempt from any of these days.

And with each new day, as we get out of bed and face what is to come – some of us with excitement, some with fear, some with joy, some with disdain, some with indifference – we are basically all just trying to figure things out.

We’re trying to figure life out.

We fall. We get up. We fall again. We get up again.

We push through doors. We get kicked out of doors. We run through hoops. We trip over obstacles.

One step at a time, we keep going. We keep moving. We keep trying. We’re all just trying to figure it out.

We take chances. We take risks. Some work out. Some do not.

We make mistakes. We screw up. We try to fix it. We make amends.

None of us are perfect. We are full of flaws. We have bad moods, unhealthy habits and short tempers. We lose our cool, let anger take control and hurt others.

But we also love, laugh, offer friendship, are generous and help one another out. We make each other smile and we can brighten someone else’s day.

Too often we only see the bad parts of ourselves. Or at least that is what we focus on. We see the mistakes we’ve made, the times we’ve screwed up, the hurt we’ve caused.

We beat ourselves up long after others have forgiven. We devalue ourselves and put ourselves down.

We carry guilt from actions long ago. We carry shame for past inhibitions.

We look in the mirror and see things we’ve done, instead of who we are today. Who we are now.

Something bad you did does not make you who you are.

A past mistake does not dictate the look of your future.

We all make mistakes. I have made so many. There are things I’ve done that haunted me for years. Things I couldn’t forgive myself for for the longest time.

Because of these past actions, I couldn’t allow myself present happiness. I felt I didn’t deserve it because of the mistakes I had made. I carried around guilt so heavy it left me exhausted.

Until I finally let myself off the hook.

I finally looked in the mirror and recognized the good person I am. I finally understood that what I had done was not who I am.

I finally forgave myself.

I’m not perfect. Neither are you.

I’m just trying to figure this life out and do the best I can every day. Some days are better than others. Some days negativity overcomes me and I make mistakes. Some days I screw up. Some days I snap.

But it’s ok.

Because tomorrow I’ll aim to do better. I will try again as I navigate this crazy world. I’ll make more mistakes. But my intentions are good and for the most part I’m just trying to do my part to make this world a little better.

I think that’s what most of us are trying to do. We all have good intentions. We’re all trying to do the best we can in life. We are all trying to treat each other well, spread some love and help each other out.

We will all make mistakes. So let yourself off the hook. Shake off the mistakes, forgive yourself and try again.

Because if your heart is good and your intentions are good, everything is going to be ok.

Remember, we’re all just trying to figure it out.

Turn Up the Love

Earlier this evening I was driving home from Chatham after dropping my mom off at the train station, and I was struggling to keep my eyes open while cruising down the 401. I needed music. Upbeat, loud pop music. I love pretty much all music. But the songs on the radio weren’t working for me on this particular drive. I hit the CD button and Christina Aguilera began blasting out of my speakers. Perfect. I could dance, sing at the top of my lungs and keep myself awake for the next 40 minutes.

On the album I was listening to, there is a song that is one of my favourites. It’s called “Make the World Move”, and it features Cee Lo Green. The song is fun, energetic and well produced, but what I love about it is the message. The core lyrics are :

“The time is now
No time to wait
Turn up the love
Turn down the hate”

These are words that we all not only need to hear, but need to listen to.

We spend so much time putting each other down.

Starting fights.

Judging one another.

Angry at someone.

Seeking revenge.

Knocking someone down to build ourselves up.

Feeling superior.

We are so quick to lash out at each other. We’re so quick to snap, to yell, to hurt.

When someone does something to hurt or offend us, our defences go up immediately and our natural reaction is to battle back. To offend back. To hurt back.

Our pride causes us to seek vengeance. Because we can’t let someone treat us in a poor way. They must pay for it!

We get hurt. We get angry. We become hateful.

Someone I cared about deeply hurt me a few months ago. When I tried to understand what had happened I received no response, which hurt even more. We finally talked a few weeks ago, and he told me more than once that I should hate him for how he treated me.

But I don’t hate him.

I don’t hate anyone.

Hatred is exhausting. And the reality is that it hurts the person who is hating more than the person who is hated.

The hated can move forward with their lives, sorry for what they did, but knowing it can’t be changed.

The hater can’t let go. The hater lives in a state of anger and hurt, holding on to a pain that they need to move on from. The hater embraces their grudge so tightly that they can never escape it. It takes over their life in way that makes them angry every time something reminds of the person they can’t forgive.

So no, I don’t hate this person. I believe he never intended to hurt me. I believe he honestly cared about me. But life happens. People make mistakes. I’ve made too many to share. So I have forgiven and I am moving forward.

Forgiving can be difficult, especially depending on the depth of the hurt. Love can also be very hard. Giving it and receiving it. But when you finally open yourself up enough to both give and receive love, it is the most unbelievably amazing feeling.

Yes, with love, there is always the risk of being hurt. But there is also a shot at pure happiness. And it is never wrong to love someone. Even if it is a love that is not returned.

Loving someone is beautiful. It’s exhilarating. It’s joyful. It’s incredible. Nothing compares to having a heart full of love.

But there is no upside to hate. There is no positive outcome. There is no silver lining. A happy ending does not exist when hate is involved.

A heart filled with hate is a heart that is crushing itself and breaking into smaller pieces every day.

No one wins when you respond in hate, especially not the one who is filled with hatred.

Leave hate behind.

Choose love.

This does not mean you allow someone to hurt you continuously. It doesn’t mean that they have to stay in your life. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do for yourself and/or someone else is walk away. But don’t walk away filled with hatred.

Release the anger. Let go of the pain.

Focus on encouragement instead of judgement.

Focus on forgiveness instead of revenge.

Focus on compliments instead of put downs.

Humble yourself to raise someone else up.

Put others first.

Serve instead of take.

It starts with each one of us.

Turn up the love.

Turn down the hate.

 

 

Beautiful Mess

Tonight saw some new people coming out to the home church I lead. I love seeing new faces in our community and adding to our family.

One of the new faces was a friend who asked to join me tonight. I was thrilled she came along, and I was happy to describe our gathering to her. I found myself describing us as a beautiful mess. We are a community of people trying to live our lives as best we can in the mess of this crazy world. We are doing our best to follow Jesus, serve others, support one another, care for one another and lead God focused lives. We are real. No masks, nothing fake. Some days are good. Some days are not. But we keep trying and moving forward and spreading love.

We are a beautiful mess. All are welcome. All are loved. All belong.

The words beautiful mess came up a few times tonight, from the mouths of others as well. And they have been rolling around in my head for the rest of the night.

Life is beautiful. Life is messy. Life is unpredictable. Life is exciting. Life is heartbreaking. Life is unexpected.

There are days when the dirt being thrown is so thick that you choke on it. There are days when you wake up truly excited for what lies ahead. There are days when it seems impossible to get out of bed. There are days that you never want to end.

We have all struggled. We have all experienced unbelievable pain. We all carry around some baggage. Some baggage is heavier than others, but it is still there, weighing us down.

Some of us have experienced hurt that has caused us to shut down completely. We’ve built walls to guard our hearts because we fear ever feeling that kind of pain again.

Life is hard. We live in a broken world. We are all broken in some way.

I spent years being beaten down by my depression. There were many times I wanted to give up, and times that I came close to doing so.

But in all of the suffering and all of the pain, beauty appeared. The beauty of those who cared for me, who loved me, who helped me heal. I found a strength that I had no idea I possessed. I learned to fight and I found reason after reason to live.

God took my mess and created something beautiful. He took my struggles and used them to help others. He used me to help others.

He put amazing people in my life who encouraged me, saw potential in me and helped me find my way.

He handed me a wrecking ball to start knocking down the walls I had spent years building up.

Everywhere I look I see joy. I see love. I see opportunity.

The bad days are not so bad anymore because no matter how dark it gets, I can always see that flicker of light. His light.

I’ve been through some crazy things. I’ve looked back over my life many times and wondered how I survived.

I know I have a purpose to fulfill. I know I am here for a reason. I know I survived because there is a bigger plan for me.

Everyday God takes my mess and makes it beautiful. 

Why am I sharing this?

Because life will always be messy. There will always be times of struggle. There will always be times of pain.

But don’t shut down.

Don’t hide from the world.

Don’t let fear take over your life.

Don’t miss out on what could be because you’re still focusing on what was.

Find the beauty.

Find the joy.

Find the peace.

It’s there, ready to be found. We just need to look.

Yes, life is is a mess.

But it is a beautiful mess.

Eating Humble Pie

We’ve all done it. In the heat if the moment. In a fit of anger. Out of frustration. Because we felt superior. As a result of fear. Or simply, because we were having a bad day.

What am I talking about?

Saying or doing something that hurts someone else.

Sometimes it’s an accident. Sometimes it’s not. But whether or not it’s done purposefully, it is not ok to hurt someone, then not own up and apologize.

We all say things we don’t mean. Sometimes we say things we do mean, but they are said in vengeance or anger, and therefore come out completely wrong.

But if we say or do something that hurts someone else, it is important to make amends.

A few weeks ago I snapped at someone I work with. It had been a long, stressful day, and she did something that frustrated me and I lost my cool. This is not normal behaviour for me and when I went home that night and calmed down, I felt sick for the way I had spoken to her. I had no right to treat her or anyone else that way no matter how stressed or frustrated I was.

The next morning I couldn’t wait to get to work. I needed to stand in front of her and apologize for what I had said. I needed to look her in the eye and ask for forgiveness. I needed to tell her what I had done was wrong.

A few years ago this was not something I could have done. Back then I could not admit it when I was wrong. I couldn’t humble myself enough to apologize to someone face to face.

This was due to pride and stubbornness. But it was also due to fear and insecurity.

I feared judgement. My insecurities made apologizing and admitting I was wrong feel like weakness. My fear of not being forgiven left me stubborn and unwilling to admit any fault.

But as I’ve gotten older and matured, I’ve learned that saying sorry and admitting my mistakes is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. Having the ability to own up to my wrongs and ask for forgiveness shows my heart and my desire to treat people well.

We have all been hurt and we have all hurt someone else. None of us are perfect. Our imperfections make us real. Our ability to express sorrow and regret and ask for forgiveness make us beautiful. They don’t make us weak.

If you have hurt someone, whether purposely or not, have the strength to stand in front of them and humbly say “I’m sorry.”

There is so much healing power in those simple words. They can mend a broken relationship, begin to heal a shattered heart and offer peace to someone who has been hurt.

Sometimes those two words are all someone needs to finally be able to move forward.

And whenever you can, have enough respect for those you have hurt to say “I’m sorry” face to face. Be humble enough to put down the phone or stop typing the email, and go to see them. Let the person see your sincerity. Let them see that you mean it. Let them know they are valuable enough that you wanted to ask for forgiveness in person. It is much more powerful and healing for the one who has been wronged.

And for those on the other side; just like we’ve all hurt someone, we’ve all been hurt. We’ve all had someone stand before us, apologize and ask for forgiveness.

When someone humbly comes to you to say they are sorry and you can see they truly mean it, forgive them.

Don’t stay angry. Don’t hold a grudge. You may be responding that way out of vengeance. It is your way of hurting them like they hurt you. And it’s true, you may hurt them. But in the long run, you’re really just harming yourself more. Hanging on to hurt and anger will only prolong your pain.

I am speaking from experience.

I held on to some hurt and anger from my past for years. The people who hurt me moved on with their lives and probably forgot all about me. But I couldn’t forget about them. And I refused to forgive. I allowed the hurt and the anger to dwell inside me, and it resulted in years of misery.

It wasn’t worth it.

The anger isn’t worth it. The hatred isn’t worth it.

So if you are face to face with someone who is expressing regret over how they treated you, accept it and forgive them.

Because you’ve hurt someone at some time too. And when you expressed regret, you hoped for forgiveness.

There will always be someone who won’t accept an apology and won’t offer forgiveness. Apologize and ask anyway. How they respond is not up to you. But eat your humble pie anyway.

Just imagine how much better this world would be if we could all admit when we’re wrong and say we’re sorry. And how much better it would be if we could all forgive those who hurt us, even if they don’t ask?

Is there someone in your life you should apologize to?

Is there someone who has apologized to you that you need to forgive?

In either situation, I encourage you to do it.

It will unburden your heart in an amazing way.

And you may finally find some much needed peace.

 

The Dating Game

Dating can be fun. It’s great meeting new people and trying to make a romantic connection.

But dating is also hard. And it really is a game. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you want to toss the board and all the pieces.

It can be exciting, frustrating, annoying and fun.

In the last 6 months I have thrown myself back into the dating world. I joined an online dating site and started making connections.

I ended up connecting with a guy I had known in high school. He is older so we hadn’t known each well, but knew of each other. We began messaging online, then texting, then we began dating. We had fun together for about a month but soon realized our values didn’t align and we parted ways mutually. All good.

The next guy I met on the site was a great guy. Same deal – we messaged for a bit, then texted for a few weeks and finally met in person. I liked him the moment I met him. We had similar values and saw the world in the same way [mostly]. He was sweet, caring, thoughtful, respectful and he made me laugh. And he was a writer which was a huge bonus for me!

Unfortunately the timing wasn’t right for us and it didn’t work out. But it was a great experience and gave me more confidence in myself and my “attractiveness” to the opposite sex.

I know I am good catch. I’m sweet, compassionate, fun, giving, loyal, funny and I love taking care of the people in my life. I’m also not too bad to look at.

And I know my worth. I know what I deserve.

I met a couple more guys off the dating website. They never went past the first date. Online dating is great in many ways and not so great in many ways. It’s very easy for people to misrepresent themselves. It’s amazing how many people use photoshop on their profile pictures.

Then came tonight.

I’d been messaging a guy for a couple of weeks and thought he seemed decent. So I sent him my number and told him to text me.

He texted within the hour.

Right off the top he made a joke that wasn’t exactly classy. But anyone who knows me (and my dad) knows I am good with jokes, even the crude ones. Often I am the one cracking those jokes.

We continued to text for about an hour. He said a couple of other things that made me shake my head, but I didn’t want to judge too quickly. Maybe he was nervous.

Then came the extremely inappropriate question. One I will not repeat here.

I was taken aback. I couldn’t believe a guy I never met was asking me this question.

After a few minutes of staring at my phone, I responded by informing him that he was being inappropriate. He told me he was just trying to get to know me.

At this point I texted that maybe we were not a good match and it was better to find out that now. He got upset and told me to give him a chance. Then he called me uptight.

I had a good laugh, turned off my phone and promptly got online to delete my dating profile.

Not because of this less than charming guy. He was the final straw in my feeling that online dating wasn’t for me right now.

I had a couple of good experiences with it and a few not so good experiences.

But all offered me assurance that I am on the right path in life.

In the last 6 months I have become more open than I have ever been. I’ve experience joy, love, pain, sadness, confusion, excitement, wonder, amazement and peace.

There were things that knocked me down. There were things that lifted me high.

I fell head over heels for someone. I faced hurt feelings from someone.

In the last 6 months I have been moving at full speed and barely taken a moment to breathe.

Besides my dating adventures, I have:

Started a church gathering.

Made several new friends.

Become an aunt again.

Started a new career.

Found my own apartment.

Moved into that apartment and learned to be on my own again.

Reconnected with my past.

Reconnected with true friends.

So, today as I close one part of my adventures of the last 6 months – online dating – I look forward to enjoying all I have added to my life.

I look forward to living organically and just letting life happen as it is meant to happen.

I am going to stop trying to force things and just be in the moment.

I’m done playing the dating “game”.

But my heart is more open than ever, and I can’t wait to see what comes my way.

Through the good times and the dark times. The laughter and the tears.

I am ready for what’s next and trying to enjoy what’s now.

And when the bad days hit or the less than charming guys spit insults, I will keep going and won’t look back.

I will release the tears when needed.

But I will always resurface again with hope and a smile on my face.

Life is too good to let the bad days win.

Feeling helpless

It’s horrible to feel helpless. To witness an event or situation and know there is nothing you can do to make it better.

A loved one diagnosed with a terminal illness.

A child who falls and splits his head open and needs to be rushed to emergency.

A friend who’s spouse just left him.

A co-worker who’s father has passed away suddenly.

There are so many times when we want to help, but feel completely helpless.

Times when life is beyond our control.

I think of times I’ve felt completely helpless.

Passing the homeless on the streets of Toronto day after day, year after year. I didn’t have the funds to offer money to all of them or buy them food or water. I couldn’t provide shelter or a bed.

I travelled to Romania 3 summers in a row for two week mission trips to work with orphans. I witnessed too many things that left me feeling helpless. Children who slept 17 to a room and had no personal possessions. Bathrooms that looked and smelled like sewers, had no soap and no toilet paper. Little to eat, and physical abuse by older children.

Volunteering at animal shelters left me with the same feeling of helplessness. The sad eyes of the dogs as I put them back in their pens after a walk. The cries of the cats as I put them back in their cages after a half hour of snuggling and playing. All I wanted to do was gather them all up and take them all home. But of course I couldn’t.

There have been too many times to count that I have felt helpless. I know it would be the same for you.

I know there were many times my friends and family felt helpless with me. Times when my depression took hold, the emptiness and hopelessness set in and I had no desire to live anymore. They were forced to stand by as the pain and fear paralyzed me, the sobs so loud and out of control that I almost choked.

But even in those times where we feel completely helpless and at a loss, we are not. There is always a way to help, even if it may seem insignificant.

In my dark times, when my friends and family felt helpless, they helped me without realizing it. They helped me by being there, by loving me, by checking up on me, by bringing me food, by refusing to give up on me. Their strength made me stronger.

All those times I passed someone who was homeless on the streets of Toronto and couldn’t offer them money, food or shelter, I could offer them acknowledgement. I could say hello and smile when everyone else acted like they didn’t exist or walked to the other side of the street to avoid them.

The children in Romania – I couldn’t find them all homes or parents, but I could offer them love while I was there. I could play with them, talk to them, hug them, and let them know they are valuable.

Those times volunteering at shelters, I couldn’t take all the dogs and cats home, but I could play with them and show them love while I was there. I was helping to socialize them and train them, so they had a higher chance of getting adopted. It’s not much, but it helps.

Finally, the most important thing you can do to help when you feel helpless is pray. Pray for healing, pray for love, pray for resolution. Pray for whatever you need to in your current situation.

Because with Him, nothing is impossible.

He is never helpless.