Going to uni as an adult learner put me in touch with lots of younger people and I remain in touch with many of them now through Facebook. We are not constantly chatting or anything like that, but we are all there together. Because of their stage of life they are enjoying engagements, weddings, pregnancies and new babies. I see those beautiful pictures and stories and they bring back to me so many emotions and memories of those times in my own life. I feel really blessed to be sharing in those experiences, albeit at a distance.
Today it is 21 years since I was married. Since that day there have been children, separation, divorce and death. I feel sad that I can't say that it's our 21st anniversary. It would be good to be here together and celebrating that. But life got in the way. There has been much sadness and sorrow. There has also been so much joy and so much happiness. It is such a blessing that we can't see the future. On the other hand, how much more would we listen to the wisdom of elders if we could see the paths we were on? I sometimes wonder what I could have done differently. So often we hear people say, " I wish I'd know then what I know now."
Would we do things differently if we could see what lay ahead? In some cases I'm sure we would, but in changing what seem like bad experiences, would we not also displace the joys along the way. If we changed the course of our own history, would we not be missing out on important lessons...but then, if we knew, we wouldn't need to learn. The irony of it all.
Our wedding, 21 years ago today, was a small affair. We married at home. It was a day not dissimilar to this day; a little overcast, a little drizzly. We had 'open house'. Our daughter was less than two years old and I was expecting our son. We had been 'together' for something like eleven years and so it was really just a formality. Although we lived in a remote area, we were blessed to be joined by over 70 people that day. What a lovely celebration of life and friendship it was...and love. Our neighbours were Dutch and they brought a bunch of beautiful tulips for a gift. I remember them telling me to keep them in the fridge at night as they would last longer that way. When the tulips begin to bloom I always think of that day. We only had family and one lot of long-term friends at the ceremony in the morning, but the afternoon was full of lovely people coming and going. We had little money so we asked everyone to 'bring a plate'. A friend had made the wedding cake as a gift. I still remember snips of conversations from that day. Some of you reading this were there. Thank you for sharing that time with us. What if I could have seen what lay ahead? I'm glad I couldn't.
I'm not happy for everything in my history. I'm not proud of some of the things I've said and done. I've managed to make peace with myself though, and that is an important step. We all make mistakes. Few of us really listen to our elders, do we? We are almost driven to make our own mistakes and to learn our own lessons. Perhaps it's because we are all individuals. We are all the same but we are all different. We all have different world views depending on our own individual and unique experiences. Two people in the same place seeing the same event will describe it quite differently. No wonder we disagree so often! Taking into account both 'nature' and 'nurture' we all just do the best we can with what we're given. I did the best I could whilst doing battle with all the emotions that affect the decisions we make. Someone said to me recently that with any decision they always 'sleep on it' for three days. Sounds like a good system to me. Three days and three nights is a lot of thinking time. I don't think I've ever made any really rash decisions (there are no doubt those that would argue!) but I've certainly had to make some hard decisions. Life can be like that sometimes.
This morning as I thought about this 'anniversary', I realised that I could make a choice to dwell on the sadness and loss and sorrow or I could acknowledge the occasion and focus on what was good about it... So that's what I'm doing today. I'm acknowledging that this is a day of importance to me and my memories, but also I'm giving myself permission to live in this day 21 years later, and not in the past. Today is today. I can only live this day. The past is past. Remembered but not dwelt in; celebrated in the best possible way by living now as well as I can.
Today is a busy day. Today I've written cards to friends. Today I've written my 50th blog post. Today I will be heading back to the house I am leaving and clean the oven, the fridge and the microwave to make the place ready for the new tenants. Today I'm going up to school to continue preparations for next term which begins on Monday. Today is a good day. Today wonderful things can happen. Today is a gift waiting to be opened and enjoyed. I hope you will enjoy unwrapping your gift today. I've already taken a peek at mine but now it's time to dig in and see what else it holds. Be kind to yourself today. Remember the past but live in this day. With love, Kerry.