What came before you?

While the beginning of a year is always a time for much reflection, planning and inward looking. 2015 marks the end of two years of more change, joy, grief, loss, and in turn soul searching than my life has known…

In a strange twist of fate, all of that has brought me here…St Albans, WV where my incredible grandmother was born and raised and the city that she left behind when she went on to be the first woman in her family to go to college. I can only imagine after being here how big and wide Washington D.C where she knew no one must have seemed when she first arrived, but she dove in and built a life and a clan of amazing people that I can only pray I one day have done something so significant with my life…

I don’t know too much about what she left behind aside from there was a successful and kind man that wanted to marry her here, and that my Great Grandfather “Paw Paw” tried to talk her out of going to college the whole ride to DC…she went on to be the first woman accepted to America University’s law program but she didn’t attend due to being pregnant with my mother, a decision she never for a moment regretted, “raising good people and having a good family is important”. She held many careers while raising a family just the timing and I’m sure future of the demands would not have worked with the life she knew she wanted…

And here I find myself, after weeks of trying to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped…trapped with them in a small hotel room until the morning when I can get a new tire for my car…(different story for a different day)

Somehow here on the side of the Kanawha River, thinking about the great woman who has made so many hard sacrifices and faced fear to make my life possible I have found myself in a way I perhaps most needed to…for weeks now I have made poor decisions and spent time and money feeling as though I was trying to help this person and that to be a good person I should do the things I’ve done….and here gazing at the river that grandmother may have gazed into as she dreamt about a life of meaning in DC…I have found a side of myself that I have probably been blind to for some time…a selfish, irresponsible, and lazy side…

While not a pleasant or proud moment…the moment the aha came fully through crashing in the pit of my stomach….it was as though I could see my teenage Oma smiling across at me on the other side of the river…and a peace came over me…now that I know better I can do better…

My Oma made life for us possible because she knew what she wanted, she worked hard, she made sacrifices and she kept her focus…suddenly I could see the line between walking with God and in being my best self hopefully being a light to others, and seeing something that I think is a need and going on an “adventure” away from my life, flaws, and things I am working to fix, build, etc. to “help” someone with something I think that they need in a way I think that they need it…perhaps to prove to myself that I do the right things, perhaps to be someone to them who helped them correct their ship, but all in all for me and full of me…ugh…the grossness but it is the truth that will set me free…

Suddenly I can see all of the times that I put my need to “help” others in “crisis” above doing and being what and who I need to be to the people that are counting on me and that I have been entrusted with in some way…

I can’t go back, but I can move forward and I will be spending time tonight dissecting all the places in my life (there are many) that this has been impacting….then I will pray, and pray, and pray and with God’s Grace leave the woman I was behind me as I leave St Albans…

Being who we want to be and knowing what we want is scary, painful, and a lot of work…however, my grandmothers life and legacy is a testament to the quality of the fruit of a life well lived…

Selfishly, I can’t help but hope that one day if it is God’s will, my granddaughter will watch the moon dance on the Kanawha and that thinking of what came before her might also remind her of who she is, where she is going, and what to leave behind…

My heart overflows with gratitude tonight in knowing that it is never too late to chose to live life well…

What does a life well lived mean to you?

Would love to hear your thoughts 🙂

Much Love,

M.

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