I’ve had a dozen ideas for blogs over the last 3 weeks while we were on vacation and as I sit here in front of the computer going over the topics to write about, I can’t think of any of them.  Some were Aha moments, others were along the lines of healing and personal growth or self care but as I sit here, all I can think about is how different I feel than before we left on that 23 day trek across 6 states.  We had so much planned on that trip but I had difficulty being excited about it mostly because of the weight I was carrying on my shoulders.

That weight was someone else’s issue with me.  I had been carrying it for over 3 months and it was crushing me.  It was crushing my spirit, my love for life, my love for my husband, my family, what friends I had left but mostly my love for myself.

That weight was someone else’s view of how I lived my life and what I did or didn’t allow someone else close to me be or do.  That person condemned me for something I had no control of and something I didn’t do and I let them do it to me.  I couldn’t get off the couch for 3 days and when I finally did to attend a friends party, that person did it all over again – and then more people got involved.  Life was crashing all around me and I was helpless and hopeless.  And angry.  So angry. When I get angry, I throw things away.  Some are actual things while others are intangible like relationships or plans to do things with others.  I almost threw away my marriage and that made me angrier.

The worst part was there were so many good things happening to us at the very same time that it completely overshadowed those times.  We had just completed a kitchen remodel and addition to our home and we had just won a car!  We were planning a housewarming party and life was good!  Until I let what someone else thought of me completely envelope me.

What happened to me should never have happened but it did and it changed my life forever in so many ways but here are just a few:

1) I looked at me – what was really important to me.  Was my lifestyle what I really wanted it to be or was it what I thought it should be?  Why was it more important to me to go out with friends than to spend time with family?  Who were my friends?  Some of those we spent the most time with turned out to not be friends and we no longer spend any time with them.  Did that bother me?  Of course it did and I grieved over those losses.

2) Like so many times before in my 57 years on this earth, I had to find me again and pick myself up off the floor.  I had to do it myself because I didn’t trust any of my friends – at least I thought I had to do it myself.  Michael and I began attending church – one thing we had both been turned off of before we met was organized religion so this was a big step for us.  Immediately, I realized that I had not given my life to God for so long, I had forgotten how.  I have cried at every service we attend and can’t wait to get back after vacation.  Why do I cry?  Because I’m releasing?  Because I hurt? Because I know He has me?  How many times do we say or hear – just give it to God – but do we really do it?

3) I started ‘Family Dinner’ for our family.  On the 3rd Saturday of the month, it’s family time and dinner is at our home.   It occurred to me that we had been putting ‘friends’ before family and that all of a sudden, that came to a crashing halt.  I sent out a letter to our family who lives nearby with the dates, tentative menu and why it was important to be with family.  We’ve had two so far and it’s amazing.

4) I started really listening to my husband.  We started communicating.  Let me say it again.  We started communicating.  We started spending real time. Together.  It was a good thing we started this before because spending 23 days with one person is a very long time if you don’t communicate well!  Part of that communication was prayer and just being grateful for all that we were experiencing – which was a lot!  Another part was hearing each other and doing what the other wanted.  From the beginning, Michael has always said if it was important to me, it was important to him and I made every effort to do the things that were important to him too.  I couldn’t believe how much fun we had doing what he wanted as well as what I wanted!

5) On our 23 day trip, we experienced so much – visiting with family and friends – one I hadn’t seen since high school, did the tourist stuff, played golf and even worked some but the thing we didn’t do was dwell on our problems at home and that made all the difference in the world.  I cannot recall one time thinking about that person – I was just in the moment for the moment and it was amazing!

Guess what happened next.  I started laughing!  I started loving life again!  I started really being grateful for life and everything that comes with it – good or bad.  I realized how much I love my husband and how much he really loves me and for the first time in my life, I feel like I am in a meaningful relationship even though it’s my 3rd marriage. Was it because Michael was doing all the driving and I trusted him with my life?  Was it because I trusted him because he does what he says he will do?  Was it because I trust him with our finances, our future and our everyday life?  Was it just because I trust him to love me the same way God loves me?  Was it because we were enjoying so much of God’s beauty and creation? Or was it that I was learning to trust God again?

Does it matter? I’m happy again because I am no longer carrying the weight of what someone else thinks of me.  We’re back to reality of work, laundry, cooking and cleaning and everything else that life is but the difference is I’m happy doing it all – just like my ringtone you’ll hear when you call me – Happy by Pharrell Williams or my license plate that says Happy3X from Duck Dynasty’s Phil Roberston.  So thank you Dr. Wayne Dyer for simply reminding me that ‘What other people think of my is none of my business’.  

Karla O'Neill