Storms and Lighthouses

Ironically, it is storming as I am sitting here writing this. I have been thinking a lot recently about storms and lighthouses. However, it is probably not what you might think.

I think that we can all agree that life gets really hard sometimes for all of us. Some of us have, or have had, a much rougher life than others. We all have had our share of ups and downs though. That much I am certain of. For many of us, just when we get things all sorted out and the sailing gets smooth, life has a way of tossing us storm, after storm, after storm for us to weather. Just as it is in nature. How many natural storms have each of us endured in our lifetime? I am definitely sure that it is more than just one and some of them were far more severe and destructive than others. So, the storms in our personal lives can come in a myriad of forms such as financial hardships, emergencies, relationship issues, or even personal issues within ourselves just to name a few. That list could be quite endless depending on the person and the situation(s). My point is this, no matter how life tries to throw you off axis and disrupt your direction, trying to stay the course can be quite difficult. Often times we may even feel like the storms just come one after another and seem endless and we feel lost and all alone at sea. That can make it hard to see that there is end in sight, even though we may not be able to see that far to the horizon at the time. We may also start to take on the weight of these storms. Thus, making us feel like we are drowning from all that we try to carry as we attempt to continue our journey through them. We carry the stresses of the entire ordeal, including things in the storms that we cannot control. We have to let go of those weights before it is too late and we go under. No matter what the storm is, most of it is more than likely out of our control. There are really only two things in this world that we can control, our words and our actions. All we can control is us. Everything else are just variables designed to promote a reaction from us. Don’t get me wrong, some of our storms are brought on by our own actions. We just have to learn from those choices we make and not plot that course again and circle back into that particular storm or storms. All of this brings me to my next piece of this, the lighthouses.

When we are in the midst of these storms and feel lost and alone, we all tend to look for that beacon, or sign, for a direction to go that will lead us out of the storm and into safe harbor. Those are our lighthouses. These lighthouses are not necessarily one single thing or person. Just like real lighthouses are built from many different materials(bricks, mortar, steel, wood, etc.), so are our own personal lighthouses. They often times can be a combination of family, friends, loved ones, God or other personal beliefs, and things. Some of our storms are much too fierce to try to weather alone. We have to look for those beacons to help get us through. Hopefully, we all have at least a few people close to us that offer help, support, and guidance to get us through. Let these people in! Let them help you by whatever means that they have to offer. Sometimes that is not the case sadly. There may not always be someone reaching out. That is when we must take charge as the captain of our lives and reach out for help. Call out as loudly as you can and I am certain that someone will hear you and shine their light to help guide you home. Reach out for those people or things. Whatever it takes to regain some sense of direction.

So, even though many times the seas of our lives may be rough, and the storms quite strong, just remember that there is smoother sailing ahead and that you are never alone. Storms don’t last forever, even though it may seem like it at times. Look for that beacon and I am positive that you will make it out. You may be a little battered and show the wear that the storms put on you, but you will be okay and can begin to make the necessary repairs before the next one comes your way.

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Father’s Day

Well, it’s that time again. That one day of the year when we celebrate the great men, fathers, and dads in our lives, or that we may know, for all that they have done. It is usually a very happy and joyous day for many. However, for some, it can be a very difficult time of year as well. We need to remember that too.

First of all, let me start with the good stuff. Let me start by saying that, in my opinion, not all men are fathers and not all fathers are men. If you are reading this, you have, or had, a father in your life at some point. He may, or may not, be in the picture anymore for whatever reason, but you still had one. In many cases your father is present in your life somehow. Whether he is or isn’t, you need to at least thank him. You don’t have to personally know him to be able to do that. Just simply utter a “Thank you for giving me life” at some point in your day. After all, if it wasn’t for him, you would not be here. So whatever differences you may have had, try to table that for a few moments just to let him know that you appreciate the gift that is your life. On the flip side of that is the great dad. The loving, caring, wise, and supportive father. The one who was always there as much as he could be and helped shape you into who you are today one way or another. The one who still worries and thinks of you daily, even when you are grown. The one who has done and will always do anything he can for you and has sacrificed countless times so you could have the best life that he could give you. The one who has loved you unconditionally from day one. That also does not mean that he has to be your biological father. There are so many great men out there that have stepped up to the plate for children that weren’t their own and have loved and provided for them as if they were. In my book, those men deserve a HUGE shout out and praise!! They didn’t have to do any of it, but they chose to out of one thing….LOVE! So, if you are able, see, call, or even text your father and tell him you think of him and you love him.

Now, you also have the fathers that aren’t in the picture at all and refuse to pull their weight or have anything to do with the child that they helped create. I am not going to spend much on this topic because we all know it too well in today’s society. That saddens me. Just like mothers, there are many men out there in this giant world we live in that would want nothing more than to have a child of their own, but can’t for whatever reason. Yet there are fathers out there just basically throwing children to the side and not thinking twice about it or them. That is a total shame!

Then, we have the ones of us that have lost fathers and/or children which makes this day very hard at times. Especially the first few following such a loss. That one day when everything comes flooding back. The memories, emotions, and just sense of love that floods us around this time each year as we try not to drown under that very flood. Some of us handle it better than others, but everyone is different and handles things differently.

Finally, we have the fathers that want nothing more than to be a presence in their children’s lives but can’t for whatever reason. It may be a personal or geographical distance and logistics issue. It may be due to some sort of legal action(s). Things that are largely out of his control. Whatever the reason is, they want to be a part of their kids lives but can’t. It could be due to a personal issue with the mother to where she withholds the children or verbally trashes the father. Thus, damaging and putting a strain on those relationships to the point that the children could care less because that is all they have been taught. That is truly heartbreaking to me.

So, just keep this in mind as we all wish each other the traditional “Happy Father’s Day” wish. Although, for must of us, it will brighten our day and bring loads of joy and happiness, for some, it will not. It will bring on sadness and pain. If you see that happening, don’t be offended. Just be understanding.

Strength and Courage

I believe that strength and courage go hand in hand. I even composed a quote years ago that touched on this very belief. It is as follows: “Have the strength to use the courage you have within, and have the courage to use your strength when it’s needed”.

Strength and courage can find and take many shapes throughout our lifetime. It doesn’t necessarily speak to physical strength or courage in the face of dangers. It could be those situations, but also any number of others. You could be at any number of crossroads where you may need one or both of these attributes. It could be a geographic change that you may be facing, a job or career change, a relationship or personal matter that may have you concerned, worried about, or struggling with. It could be literally anything at all. See, that is where the tricky part comes in. If it was easy we wouldn’t need either strength or courage. We always need to try to stay very much in tune with what is happening in our lives and what we are dealing or struggling with. Sometimes the easiest thing is not always the best thing and sometimes the gut can be wrong. Sometimes we just need the strength and courage to follow our heart and trust where it will take us. That can be a very rough road at times, but I will tell you that, many times, it will all be worth it in the end. Stay the course. Keep your chin up, an eye on the horizon, and the better times will come and be oh so worth it. I recently compose another quote that states: “A heart is never to damaged to follow”. Recently, I have come to realize how true that statement is. Our hearts get damaged, broken, and scarred over the years. That is part of life. What we have to do, is to try to not let those fears and scars from the past, dictate our future paths. If something feels right, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t. Its not always that simple, but it is usually a good place to start.

There is no question that life can get crazy and really suck at times, but it will not be that way forever. People will come and go as well from your life. Trying to realize which ones are worth you needing to hold on to and fight to keep in your life versus if they were just meant to teach you a lesson can be so very taxing. It can take a great deal of strength to weather some of those storms as well. Nothing in life is a straight line to where you need to be. The twists, turn, trials, and hurdles always find a way of telling us and directing us where to go and weeding out the unnecessary things and people. We just have to see it and find the strength and courage to tackle those obstacles as they come. The right people and opportunities will stay in the fold and be there until we finally realize that it is where we were being directed all along. We just don’t always see it at first. It’s funny how that is sometimes. I am a very firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Relationships, friendships, and life events. They are all placed in our paths for a reason. To prepare us for the great things that will be presented to us! If it wasn’t for all of the struggles, hardships, and scars, we wouldn’t truly appreciate the great things when they do come to us.

You may be asking yourself by now, “What does all of this have to do with strength and courage”? That is pretty simple. Simply put, life is hard and will chew us up and spit us out like nothing if we let it. Life doesn’t care. It just wants us to get to where we were meant to be no matter the cost or toll it takes on us. Making it through all of that takes a great deal of strength and courage to endure. Some of us have tougher lives than others. That makes us have to be that much more strong and courageous to withstand it all. However, nobody has an”easy” life. If they tell you the do, they are lying.¬† So as I said before¬†“Have the strength to use the courage you have within, and have the courage to use your strength when it’s needed”. Make the hard choices. Stay the course. Be patient. It will all unfold and be worth it in the end!