I sat down tonight to write a blog piece. My fingers unconfidently tapped at the keyboard multiple times, only to end up deleting the text over and over again. To tell you the truth, our complex combination of life events left my mind cloudy tonight, laying a fog over the thoughts of my heart.
With my face in my hands, I closed my eyes, took a breath, and asked myself, “What is it that you want people to know? What are you trying to say? What are the major takeaways?” I know, I sound like I just finished the latest class from a slew of leadership seminars (which, I kind of did), but stick with me.
My mind wandered to elementary school. It’s the first grade and Mrs. Fuson is discussing careers. We are all to think about what we want to be when we grow up, write about it, and draw a picture. I chose to write about being a teacher – just like my daddy. I giggled a bit, remembering my short stint as a student teacher. To make a long story short, I was just plain not good at teaching.
Fast forward to junior high. Let’s face it, this is the most awkward time of a person’s young life, in my opinion. I was learning so much, some about school, some about boys, some I was supposed to know, and some I knew I should have stayed away from (but didn’t). I don’t remember thinking about my future during these crazy two years. My priorities included: boys, friends, sometimes family, school, and basketball.
I was reminded this past weekend of my love for basketball as Coach Milleson was inducted into the Drury Athletics Hall of Fame for her amazing years as a Lady Panther. I was/am so proud to be a Lady Panther.
At the end of my college career, I looked back on all that basketball had given me. From the beginning (around first grade), basketball made me tough, provided an outlet, brought my family together, gave me the ability to travel all over the United States, left me with a whole host of life-long friends, and countless other opportunities. Basketball was the anchor and best part of my life for upwards of 15 years.
The best part of my life.
The fog lifts and I see it. With each passing year, the “best” part of my life has morphed into something new – and that is okay. New experiences, new knowledge, new places and people. All have impacted my life immensely.
It would be easy – and I would be lying by saying such thoughts have never crossed my mind – for one to sit and think about what could have been. Did I do something wrong to get where I am today, or something right? Erring on the negative side is a slippery slope into a dark world in which no one wants to reside. You’ll start to disregard the blessings in your life and focus only on things you don’t have.
It’s normal – as life gets hard, we start to question. Why? Is this where I am supposed to be? After mulling over these questions, I stood strong against disparaging thoughts and confidently said to myself, “Most definitely, Yes.”
This is my place.
This is my place. I have a loving, supportive husband, with which I have shared some of the best and worst experiences. Together, we created maybe the funniest person in the world – Reiss “don’t-call-her-a-baby-anymore” MaeLene. Our families live close and help us in any way possible through any adversity we face. We have formed bonds with co-workers and communities through a variety of events and made connections with numerous heart families, as well as families experiencing other defects and diseases in their children.
Where basketball once assisted, adversity has now stepped in.
It is through adversity we have found ourselves and experienced new opportunities.
35 years of experiences have taught me to be strong, face adversity, use reflection as a learning tool, allow others to help, be open-minded to other opinions, look for opportunities to pay it forward, to listen, know when to fight and when to chalk it up as a loss, how to laugh even in the toughest situation, and when to love without ending.
I may not be exactly where I thought I would be according to my first grade, junior high, or college dreams, but that’s okay. A quote I saw today says it perfectly:
“But dreams change. Life has a way of showing you paths you want more.”
Thank you to all of you who have wished me happy birthday. It is the best birthday yet, as it is exactly where I am supposed to be. I look forward to the new opportunities life shows along the way.