I have a framed 8 1/2 by 14 document on my den wall hanging above my desk. It is written by a woman in her fifties and is the 45 things she has learned to be true.
I keep it on my wall because there are several (many) that strike a chord with me.
I read it the first time about seven months ago after the “love of my life” had come into town and visited me. It was shortly after that I wrote him “the letter” expressing my true feelings for our fifteen year relationship. “Too many misunderstandings between us finally caused me to give up trying, but never giving up the love I felt. Fifteen years of loving one man totally no matter how wrong it was for me. One man. Fifteen years of sharing everything and nothing.”
For years I carried that love in my heart, hidden and closed, but still deep inside. I sent the letter, pouring everything out on paper (hand-written) and also emailed a copy to him. I heard nothing for three weeks. Not a single response. It was at that point that I came across the “45 Things” and it was after bitter disappointment at his refusal to respond or acknowledge that I let him go completely from my heart and my thoughts. And I forgave everything between us.
I read those 45 things each day to remind myself what is truly important in my life.
There are as follows:
1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple..
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30.. Time heals almost everything. Give time time
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.
I have my favorites of course, number 28 I work on constantly. In fact, I was saying it over and over in my head this morning on the way to work. Why waste time holding a grudge? It is so much easier to just dismiss the wrong and not let it fester. You don’t have to keep the wrong-doer in your life.
Number 33 I try to embrace. I’ve never seen a miracle but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in them.
I have an interesting quest going on in my spiritual life right now. I am actively meditating and spending the time right before bed reading a couple of books. I found my father’s “Book of Prayers” which is definitely 100% Roman Catholic from probably the 50’s or 60’s but some of them are incredibly helpful for me. I am also reading The Basic Teachings of the Buddha.
I recite this prayer each night:
We are a link in the golden chain of love that stretches around the world, we will keep our link bright and strong.
We will be kind and gentle to every living thing and protect all who are weaker than ourselves.
We will think pure and beautiful thoughts, say pure and beautiful words, and do pure and beautiful deeds.
May every link in the chain of love be bright and strong, and may we all attain perfect peace.
I also say my Rosary praying very hard to Mary: (It’s an oldie, but a goodie)
Remember, most loving Virgin Mary,
never was it heard
that anyone who turned to you for help
was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,
though burdened by my sins,
I run to your protection
for you are my mother.
Mother of the Word of God,
do not despise my words of pleading
but be merciful and hear my prayer.
And on Friday night when I was upset and crying it became a cry for help….”help me be strong” “help me be strong” over and over until I calmed down, took in some deep breaths and let it go. I also reached out to two friends and they both responded to my melt down. Thank you to those friends. Tears really did flush out the poison.
I try very hard now to be a better person each day. Along with changing my body I am working on my spirituality and my emotions. A friend told me the other day when we were discussing faith and spirituality “you’re pretty religious”. That surprised me because I don’t think I am. I keep that part of myself, the church part, very private unless you know me and know that on Saturday at 5 p.m. my butt is planted next to MaryAnn and Jac in Holy Family. But that is my deal and I never protect that ‘Churchyness” onto others.