It makes a difference to the women out there who have experienced something similar (the loss of a loved one, the death of a spouse, the betrayal of a husband, divorce, other losses, and other traumatic events). For those of you who have felt alone in your pain, I know it matters to know you are not alone. I think it's worth noting: just because we discuss the pain doesn't mean we relive it. It means we are working to understand it and to discern what it means in our lives today. I do find value in looking at the past for answers in the present.
My story is not limited to my own experience. Every time I have ever shared it to women's groups and professional organizations, for spousal programs at conferences, or at the homeless shelter where I sometimes get to teach my BIKE Lessons, women come up to me afterward with their own version. I've heard from mothers, sisters, wives. Even men who've heard my story have told me I need to find a way to share my story with other men, that they need to hear it as well.
It is not an accident that a life-changing moment in my life helped to create the self-empowering messages I share here at BIKE WITH JACKIE. I'm a big believer in the idea that there are no accidents, that things happen for a reason. I also believe the journey to self-growth is ever evolving and on-going. The last thing you want to do in recovery is wake up one day and say, "Okay, I'm done." You're not. We're not. There are too many life lessons to be reminded of and continue to learn.
The woman who led the group I traveled with to Kenya several years ago (to visit a refugee camp and the slums in Nairobi on a mission to explore women's issues in a third-world country) posted this quote on Facebook this morning, reminding me of a lesson I need to hear. It was no accident; it was my reminder:
If you judge people, you don't have time to love them.
This simple message from a woman we think of as a saint, is a hard lesson to remember, too easily forgotten. But that's why it's worth repeating. There are times when I need to hear this over and over and over again...Like this week. It isn't always easy to think you can love the person who hurt you, for example. But you can. Maybe not today. But tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow.
If you've experienced resistance or a relapse in your personal growth before, what did you do about it? Did you look for positive reminders like the quote above? I found the message within Mother Teresa's words to be important enough for me to write on a Post-it Note. How about you?