New International Version (NIV)
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
My mind can get so negative. And, it’s not just my mind. My heart, my emotions can get so dragged down so easily, especially since our daughter died. And, because my emotions are so raw and easily wounded, I work very hard to shun negativity. My husband does too.
I know I’ve written about this before, but it is such a hard battle. Recently, after receiving a letter from a former coworker and friend in prison for life for murdering his wife (who was also a friend) I’ve been in a spiral of mourning again. I have been weighed down and have taken to bad habits to ease my pain. But then I remembered that Bible verse in Philippians, the one that reminds us that we can take control over what we think about.
I can brush aside the negative and remember the great, noble, awesome things that are in my life, like my awesome husband, my fantastic family, my sweet little dog, my great friends, and all of the opportunities that are still mine because I chose to live my life in a loving way as opposed to this man, who nurtured bitterness and rage and ended up becoming a monster.
I have wrestled with the thought that I should reach out to him and offer him mercy because I have been offered mercy myself. That is the high road. It’s something he would never do.
But, I just don’t think I have the strength to start a dialogue with him at this time. Not only that, but I remember how manipulative and charming he could be and it’s hard to trust that he’s being honest with me when he writes that he is a more positive person now. I find it hard to believe.
So, while I wrestle with the moral implications of having this part of my past resurface, I have to cling to the truths that I know, the ones that tell me to keep positive, to wait until I’m stronger and pray for the man, but keep my distance for now.
Now, I fight the good fight and listen to beautiful music, enjoy the little pumpkin baby who’s coming over to be loved by me for a few hours and remember some of my favorite things.
My favorite things:
Music. I’ve just been listening to Bjork sing All is Full of Love. What a great, beautiful song.
Service. I remember the times I’ve worked alongside people serving the homeless warm meals and interacting with people who are grateful for every gift they’re given, no matter how small.
Love. It is so much stronger than hate. It never fails, is kind, patient, never rude or boastful, doesn’t hold onto bitterness, ignores offenses, always hopes, trusts and perseveres and is always available.
Literature. I love good stories, the richness of someone who is skilled with language paint pictures with words, and introduce us to characters who become as real and true as your best friend. Some, I studied in college, but others I discovered as I was reading to my daughter. Anne of Green Gables is still one of my favorite books, as is A Wrinkle in Time, both of which I read to my daughter.
Family. My mom just got remarried to a princely man with a funny name. Elbern. I’ve never seen her happier and that is a true miracle. My sisters are my best friends, always around when you need them, caring, giving, praying. My nieces and nephews are all godly young people with a lot of talent. Audrey is an actress in musicals, singing, dancing like an angel. My nephew Jay is an athlete and musician. He sings and plays the piano, and runs like the wind. My niece Abby just turned 17, and she is a scholar and athlete who has just returned from two mission trips this summer, one to Costa Rica and the other to Paraguay. She is quiet, thoughtful, loving and kind. My nephew Joe just turned 14 and returned from a mission trip to Alabama. He’s extremely intelligent, excellent in academics, funny, sweet, kind and a real gentleman. He and his sister have a real affection for one another that is beautiful to see.
Friends. I used to have a lot of trouble making friends as a kid because of the dysfunction in my family. I didn’t want anyone to get too close to me, or to find out what was happening in my house. So, it wasn’t until I was an adult that I really made my first friend. I am thankful for Heidi, my first friend, my editor at the newspaper, who opened up her heart and home to me during my darkest days. I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made from working on the magazine, Tash is quite special to me, a fierce Aussie rocker who is so loyal, so honest. I trust her completely. The new friends I’ve made on the set of the Brothers Barbarian series shoot are all so positive and refreshing. I love how they embrace life and rejoice in being creative for the sake of it, not just to try to make money.
Church. I’ve learned a lot from the various churches I’ve gone to over the years. The church I’m involved in now, Living Faith United Methodist feels like the culmination of all of my years of wandering and trying to find a place to settle. My pastor has tapped into something that has always been a part of my heart — the longing for racial reconciliation, learning to love and embrace the beauty of diversity and feeling free to be who I have always wanted to be.
Roleplaying. I love gaming. I love it. I love the fun of using my imagination in recreation, the creativity and everything about it. I love tossing my pretty dice and finding out whether my character has landed a hit with her mighty battle axe on a monster, or whether she has gotten her head knocked off by that same monster. I love playing with my friends and laughing.
My husband. He’s the love of my life, since we were kids. It just gets better and better. I love working with him on Knights of the Dinner Table. It’s so fun to collaborate and produce something that people love. I love his genius and creativity. I love his gentleness and positive spirit. He is a kind man who loves to laugh. He works so hard to make a good life for me, and takes special care to make sure that I don’t get too downhearted since the death of Amber, even though I know it isn’t easy for him either.
Amber. She may be gone from my present life, but she has still made my life richer and more beautiful because she was here. And, I look forward to the future when I will see her lovely face again. She taught me so much, like, a person’s worth isn’t tied up in what she can do. It comes from what’s in her heart and how much she loves. She taught me that being “normal” isn’t really that important, that everyone is special and individual and different.
Life. Yeah. I love life again. There was a time when I didn’t want to keep living. I longed to go with Amber and couldn’t see how I could go on without her. But, since her passing I have realized that she wouldn’t want me to give up. Since her passing, I have been an extra in a webseries, gone on a road trip to Houston and back with my husband, danced in a club in Ohio with friends, travelled to South Carolina to be with friends and watched my nephew graduate college. Life is still good. It’s a gift and precious. I dare not waste it.
I hope you have some favorite things as well. I hope that you can find what’s good in life and know that you are loved and cherished no matter what you do or what mistakes you’ve made. I hope you know your worth and that you keep positive and never give up. We’re in this journey together, so when you’re feeling down, reach out to someone and let them help you remember the good things in life. Thanks for reading. Bless you and stay positive. Do not let evil win.