I wrote this on July 12, 2007. So much has happened in those two years, but the sentiment remains the same. I hope you enjoy this post.
So the lyrics to the first verse go something like this:
If I had the chance to go back again,
Take a different road, bear a lighter load,
Tell and easy story,
I would walk away with my yesterdays,
And I would not trade what is broken for beauty only.
Cause every valley, every bitter chill,
Made me ready to climb back up the hill.
And find that, You are sunrise.
You are blue skies.
And how could I know the morning, if I knew not midnight?...
Those lyrics are so true for me. I haven't walked the darkest of paths or known desperate loss or sorrow. I would never look back on my life to date and term it hard. I have the best Mom and Dad in the world, who are still happily married to each other after 35 years. I have two stunningly beautiful sisters whom I deeply love and cherish. I have a husband who is my absolute soul mate and best friend. I have two awesome children who daily remind me that God is good. I grew up in a fantastic town, had the best public school education a girl could get, gained fantastic experiences serving in the military with some of this country's finest men and women, and now I get to work in a place where I daily make a difference in the lives of others. I would not term my life hard. I am richly blessed, but it isn't always easy either. And sometimes I have to work hard at reminding myself that happiness is choice we make, not a gift that is given to us. I can truly say, though, that I am comfortable with the road that my decisions have brought me down. And, while I would not choose that same path for my children or for those that I love, I wouldn't change it either. It has shaped me into the woman I am today.
So as I was preparing to sing this song, I had an opportunity to spend some time with my 12 year old cousin. She is a beautiful young lady. Two years ago, we celebrated Christmas with her family and I can remember the light in her eyes when we pulled up with our two munchkins. She took my 2 year old daughter in her arms and my 3 year old son by the hand and they were off to play. That light is dim now. Her father (my Uncle Justin) was killed in a car accident the following January. She was a Daddy's girl, and she is lost without him. It broke my heart to sit across from her, and watch her eyes well up at the mention of his name. And I had to think, if I were in her shoes, would I honestly be able to sing those lyrics? Or would I be forever wishing for "a lighter load?"
My Daddy is not well. Those of you that know me well, know that this is a constant prayer on my heart. Daily, I pray that the Lord will heal his broken heart. Daily, I pray for a cure for his cancer. Daily, I pray that the Lord will make him whole again. I am forever laying down the burden of the fear I feel each time his hand shakes too much, or his face goes a little pale, or he forgets something I just said...But I am forever picking it back up again. I am driven by the impulse for my children to spend every moment they have with him, so that they can learn from the man that taught me such wisdom. But through all of that, I daily thank God for the tragic experiences that have brought us to this place. Without them, I would cherish each sunrise a little less. Each smile, each memory would have a little less meaning. Each day, I think, would be a little harder to make the choice to be happy..
I often wonder, will my cousin feel that her journey was, at least somewhat, worth it? That the experiences and the steeliness of spirit, and the resourcefulness of character were, in the end, of some benefit to her? Will that spark ever grow bright in her eyes again?
What about you? Would you go back? Would you trade your testimonies, your hardships, your unhappy moments for an easy lifetime? Would you still be the same person you are today without them? Or do you cherish the sunrise a little more because of them?