Last October, I celebrated my 40th birthday. Wow, that felt like that beginning of a 12 step program or something. My name is Marissa and I am a 40 year old. It's not so bad. It's not as devastating as it looks from the distant approach. I am grateful to be where I am. There are some things that I would change, but not if I had to relinquish the knowledge and growth that I have obtained by having passed through those things. I give thanks to God for His greatness and His perfect wisdom in allowing us, His children, to not only grow and prove ourselves to Him but allowing us to figure out for ourselves what He already knew about us. That we are capable of being strong and courageous even against the most unlikely odds if we allow Him to be involved. I love to keep journals and I have been (not always faithfully) writing in my 6 volumes of journals since I was about 17. I go back and read some of my entries and I just want to thump myself. Sometimes, I even find myself coaxing that girl, "No, what were you thinking?" as if my chastisement is going to somehow alter what her next direction would be. But later I can read the testimonial of that same girl after she learned the needed lesson and had gained some wisdom. Unfortunately, there were some lessons that weren't learned until I had some significant battle scars. Scars from wounds that could have been avoided had I been.....had I been....well, I guess I would have to change history to finish that sentence. I am so grateful, so so grateful for the knowledge...the absolute engraven into my soul knowledge that I have of who I am and what that means. Here are some things that I know: I know God is real. He exists. I know it because I have felt His influence and seen His power in my life and in the life of others. I know that Jesus is the Christ. He is our Savior. I know this because He saves me on a very regular basis. I know that when I follow His teachings and example, I am a happier person because I have more peace within myself. I know that God cares about us and that sometimes He allows suffering but He also helps us to get thru that suffering. A wise man once said that Man's extremity is God's opportunity. He wants us to trust in Him and to know that we can go to Him and rely on Him. Some suffering, unfortunately comes from making bad choices that end with painful consequences. I know..believe me. Everything that I am expressing is a result of having gone through something that helped me to learn.
Something else that I know: I know that we cannot make it here on this planet earth without eachother. We can't. If we don't look out for eachother and stop the hate, or even worse, the indifference, then we spiral downward and eventually we implode. I need to be somebody's angel sometimes and I need angels at other times. We can be answers to eachothers prayers. Selfishness and greed and self gratification are toxic but we are being spoon fed the insane idea that the only person that we can ultimately count on is ourselves, so we better look out for our best interest because that's what the other guy is doing. And if we help someone else along, then they end up with more and they get it before we do. The drift of the "society current" is going south, and it takes some intentional rowing to keep heading upstream. I believe that we have to row together in our families, and in our communities. We have to have that unity or it won't work.
Over the past 40 years, as I look back, that which I am most thankful for are the people in my life. Every person that encouraged me, loved me, believed in me, asked me to dance, supported me, acted silly with me, listened to me, laughed with me, sang with me, cried with me, and prayed for me, made a difference in my life. You made me who I am, and that is a pretty big deal!