This weekend I had a really good conversation with my sister in law, Trisha. We were talking about how life just doesn't always go the way you plan it to go. She would know. Trisha has been dealing with an awful disease for many years that has stolen parts of her life away. Life has not gone the way she imagined.
This got me thinking about how we all seem to script out our life. Seeming to give ourselves too much power and much more credit that we deserve.
A week ago I sat a lunch with a friend and we joked about a project we completed as Seniors in high school. Our sociology teacher asked us to map out a timeline of our lives - including future family, career, education and travel. My mom found these posters at her house a few months ago and my friend and I laughed about all the expectations we had for ourselves at 17 years old.
As we giggled at our ideas to backpack through Europe after high school graduation and the many other career expectations we had for ourselves I felt a little melancholy as I reminisced about some other expectations I had for myself.
Nowhere on this poster was written that I would have a special needs child who would never leave the hospital. And would only stay with us for three months. Nowhere on that poster did I write about the eulogy I would give for him as I tried help others understand this experience. Nowhere on that poster was written about choosing a small white casket and patch of grass to bury him in. Or giving my child one last kiss. Nowhere on that poster was written about the stress, anxiety and heartache I would continue to feel even two years after. Nowhere on there was written how life would stop for me for days, weeks even months at a time while I grieve and mourn so many experiences I wanted to have with him and the emptiness without him.
I never wrote that into my life script.
But, looking back - I do not regret the hopeful and innocent expectations I had as a Senior in high school - nor do I have disdain for the unexpected chapters in my life script. I wish I could change the ending of some chapters, however, I never wish they were not written. Some chapters in life change us. Hopefully for the better if we let them. We are shaped and molded into characters by a more supreme being who can really see our life script. We give ourselves too much credit thinking that we can become better without His intervention. Sometimes that intervention works well into our script and sometimes it throws a twist into the plot. The important thing is that we DO have control over how we respond and react to these twists and turns.
There have been chapters added to my life script that have been unexpected. There have also been chapters that have been far better than I ever could have written myself. Blessings I didn't even know existed. I have an eternal family and the comfort of that brings happiness even in the most difficult of chapters. I have a wonderful husband who loves me despite my inadequacies. Loving him is better than I ever could have imagined on my own.
I have come to understand that we have to accept what we cannot change and learn to look for the happiness in what we are blessed with. Despite the things I wish I could change - I am finding joy in the opportunity I had to know Gavin. I find joy in the presence of my sweet baby Jack and the time I have with him. I love his smile, laugh and intensity. I find joy in my husband who is a wonderful father and best friend.
I don't know anyone who has had their life go exactly as they imagined. But I am learning accept the things I cannot change and find joy in my own journey. I cherish my story.