Taking time to say the things that need to be said before it’s too late!
A while back I was on a silent retreat when the mountain my little cottage was on caught fire.
One minute there was just a little bit of smoke on top of the mountain. The next, a roaring, crackling monster was chewing up the horizon! I felt quite helpless as the experienced beaters battled the blazing beast as it raced down the mountain. I stood watching from a safe distance, but the heat on my face was incredible. Acrid smoke filled the night air and the crackling and roaring pounded my ear drums.
At one stage the fire was only about 20 metres away from my little refuge! I was assured that I was completely safe, but I wasn’t so sure. The outline of little human figures against this huge inferno had me panicking. I packed my bags in case of evacuation and did the only thing that I could think of at the time which was to sit down and write.
What popped into my mind was the thought, “what if something happens to me and I don’t get to be around to tell the girls all the things they need to know?” So there and then I wrote my very own “Life Lessons for my Daughters.”
(The possibility of my journal surviving a fire and being found next to my charred body didn’t enter my mind at that stage!)
Words for you to live by.
I’m frightened of letting you go my children. Last night at Mass the words that resonated with me were “do not worry.” I so want you to keep your child likeness and yet grow safely into mature, healthy adults. I seem to have had fearfulness hammered into me and I fear I’m passing it onto you. I get so panicky when I think about you getting hurt or being scared or rejected or humiliated. Like I was. I want to protect you from all of that. But I can’t. I know I can’t.
I don’t want that for you my Loves. You are my heartbeat and I have to acknowledge that every breath I take is filled with you. But you’ve been moving away from me ever since I birthed you. I know this. I accept this. I pray for the strength to commit you into God’s hands and keep believing that you will be okay. To love you with open hands. To trust you. You’re both very clever, mature young women. I’ve done a great job! I’m so proud of you. Just for being your lovely selves.
1. Always honour God.
2. Pray every day.
3. Sit in silence.
4. Listen to your gut!
5. Trust God. Trust yourselves.
6. Choose your friends carefully.
7. Study diligently. Education really is super important even if you might not think so now.
8. Work hard, but work smart!
9. Say “I love you” often.
10. Give out hugs freely.
11. Travel the world.
12. Never drink and drive.
13. Don’t worry about what people say, you’ll always have someone who doesn’t like you.
15. Look into people’s eyes when you talk to them.
16. Shake hands firmly.
17. Guard your heart, boys can be hurtful.
18. Listen to all music.
19. Accept all people, all religions, all colours and all creeds. We’re all equal, all broken and all needing love.
20. Question God, wrestle with your doubts, live with your questions. God knows.
21. Treat our beautiful world with great respect. Walk lightly, slowly, softly.
22. Kiss lots of boys, don’t have sex with them.
23. Learn that saying “No” is a good boundary to cultivate.
24. Say sorry.
25. Keep reading.
26. Try to journal to express your thoughts.
27. Love your husband. Tell him every day, demand and give respect to each other.
28. Always have someone you can talk to, confide in and trust.
29. Watch carefully how a guy treats his mother and animals, because that’s generally how he’ll treat you.
30. Eat a little bit of chocolate everyday to remind yourself how sweet life can be.
31. Don’t take the path of least resistance. Be proud to be you.
32. Follow the road less traveled.
33. Seek God, always, everywhere, in the beauty of a flower, in the eyes of a child, in a good chat over a cup of coffee, in a hug, in a book, in nature, while driving in the car, in your tiredness, in your work, in your sadness, in grief and ultimately in birth and death.
34. Never be afraid to cry.
35. Remember the breath that God breathed into Adam? Well, that very same breath is what you inhale and exhale everyday. When you begin to realize that God is everywhere, in our breath, in our heartbeat, in our daily, mundane life, then you’ll begin to uncover the purpose for which you were born.
36. My darlings, take life by the balls and live… really live. Don’t just exist.
As for me… I’ll hold your hands until you no longer want me to. I’ll drive you around, fetch you from parties, make your lunches, drive you crazy, love you, support you and always be there for you.
And, when I’m no longer here, I’ll watch over you and caress your faces in the daylight with the tender breeze and shine on you at night in the softness of the stars. I’ll only be a heartbeat away. That’s as far away from you as I could stand to be. I’ll love you forever my “Can Do Kids, My Superstars,” my beautiful darling “Baby Girls.”
Do you have something you’d like to tell someone?
The fire was finally under control and thankfully I didn’t perish on that mountain. I closed my journal with a sigh of contentment. My Girls would read these words soon enough, but they’d read them with me sitting beside them.
Why wait until you think you’re going to die or lose everything? Tell people you love them now, ask for forgiveness now, reach out now. We really aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Spend some time thinking about the “pearls of wisdom” that you’d like to leave with your loved ones, friends or children. Write them down and when you’re ready, pass them on. Good luck!
Dawn Meysel hails from South Africa. She’s astounded by love and grace, appalled at hatred and injustice. Wife, Mother of Twins, Lover of books, her bed, her family, her two Zen Masters (her cats) and chocolate. Intrepid seeker of Truth, student of the soul and spirituality, counselor, friend. She’s part of a nation clawing its way to restoration, forgiveness and healing. There’s still a long way to go but she’s excited to be alive at this time with SA’s rainbow nation, cultural and religious diversity and really good, funky food! She’s a novice student of yoga, a vegetarian, animal rights activist and non flakey in the nicest way! She lives by two mottos, “This too shall pass” and “Now, with God’s help, I shall become myself.” You can contact Dawn at [email protected].
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Ed: Lynn Hasselberger