Today I want to share some inspiration from a lady I have never met…but I feel like I know her like a friend. I was introduced to Paula D’Arcy by a good friend of mine the week after Greg’s funeral. Paula’s story is unbelievably hard to hear, but the joy that comes out of her story is amazing.
In 1975 she survived a drunk-driving accident that took the lives of her husband and twenty-one month old daughter. Pregnant at the time, Paula survived the accident and gave birth to a second daughter six months later. I don’t know about you, but I stand amazed that this woman even survived. She not only survived….she flourished.
Today, Paula is a well-known writer, retreat leader, and conference and seminar speaker who travels widely in the U.S. and beyond. She is the founder of the Red Bird Foundation and works diligently to help people who are grieving. I have read several of her books: Seeking with All of My Heart, The Gift of the Red Bird, A New Set of Eyes, When Your Friend is Grieving, and my personal favorite…Waking Up to this Day. This morning I was looking back through my journal and I was once again struck by the truth in her words.
See if you can relate to any of these quotes I wrote down:
*Adversity will be the agent of change in our lives until we decide to let love drive the change.
*The detour [in my life] that made no sense was actually the preparation I needed to develop as a person.
*Nothing is ever wasted. Every life experience counts because life counts.
*Those who excel are the ones who don’t quit.
*Adversity moves us from our safe moorings and positive change results if we agree to be taught by the experiences.
*We must deepen if we are to mature and see what is right before us.
*I did not know how to bring my life into balance before [losing my family].
*So much is possible, but not if we continue to live in a fearful way.
*We have to step through the small circles we have drawn around ourselves and become willing to embody the faith that moves mountains.
*Everything we avoid has the power to bring us down in the end.
*Stop telling yourself limiting things, because words have power!
*No amount of thinking or study will get me where I want to go. I have to show up and learn to be present in the moment.
*I did not want change. I wanted relief…not newness.
Reading her words…and my notes inside my journal, I have discovered that deciding to act on my inner feelings to keep living is a great decision. I can see the lessons I have learned since September 20, 2015. I can clearly see the person I am becoming. I recognize that I did not want to change…or grow…or move out of my comfort zone before Greg died. I liked my life…ya know? I was happy, content, and loved. What more could a person want besides money to burn? Right?
The day God decided that my life needed a detour, everything changed. Everything. Today, I sit here and realize that I have decided to live with my eyes wide open. I realize that in order to love the people in my life I had to allow my heart to reach out again. I have made the choice to live my life carefully, yet way more intentionally. I want to stop rushing past things that are important and I want to cherish the little moments that get swept away in the river of time.
Paula says that the detour forces maturity. I agree with her. As hard as I tried to get myself to this point of clarity before Greg died, I never could have reached it if he had not been taken from me. I depended on him too much. I was too content. I did not really want change. I can see that now.
I am not the woman I used to be…and the weird thing is I don’t even really know the woman who I am becoming! The lady I see in the mirror now has completely different ideas, priorities, and yep…dreams. I heard through the small town grapevine that people think I’m traveling a lot…and I’m revealing my vast network of friends in surprising ways…and I’m finding courage more and more each day….and all of those things are absolutely true!
I have always been a fun-loving person. I laugh easily and I try to help people every chance I get…those things haven’t changed. What has changed is my satisfaction with mediocre. I have a drive inside of me that will not allow me to just settle for average anymore. I need to live life…really live it. Greg and I tried to really live our life together. We worked hard and played hard…and we loved all of it, but we struggled with life a lot as well.
Looking back I see that we didn’t settle for mediocre in our marriage and we gave our girls glimpses into the amazing things that this life has to offer, but we also stressed ourselves out to the max too much. I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t have the patience to hear only the negative…and I’m not going to listen to constant negativity period. It’s a choice…and I’m choosing to cut out as much negative as possible. Negativity breeds negativity…just like happiness breeds happiness. It’s up to you and me to choose which one we want. We can’t play the victim forever…at some point it really is up to us to decide what makes us happy.
A friend told me Saturday that if I had the desire to travel or write, I should just do what I felt lead to do…well he was right. I am going to travel as much as humanely possible…and you can feel free to talk about me all you want! I am going to live life to fullest by grabbing life by the horns…and I hope I inspire you to do the same! I am going to choose to be happy and enjoy the little moments everyday….and maybe you will too!
If it is important to us…we can all find a way to make it happen. I can see that now…so go ahead and get ready to talk about me all you want, because my life…and my girl’s lives are going to be filled with amazing moments. It’s important to me and we are not promised tomorrow. Where there’s a will there is a way….even if I have to take major detours in my life to get those amazing moments. It’s worth the effort that it takes to follow God’s plan for our lives. Today, I am choosing to step out to the edge of my comfort zone and put my faith into action! Sitting back and thinking about it won’t make it happen. I have to act!
I hope that sharing my journey with all of you causes someone to make the decision to turn their mediocre life into an amazing life! It truly is a choice…why wait on a life altering detour to figure it out? You never know what you might be missing. Paula did that for me by choosing to share her story…as painful as it was for her to do at the time. She chose to love other people enough to step out of her comfort zone and grab life by the horns. I, for one am super happy she did!