“Mommy, come baaack!” The little voice in my head cried as I watched my mother from our dining room picture window as she walked up the street into the snowy night from the cul-de-sac we lived in. Little did I know that that memory would pop up in my future as one of a number of defining moments that created within me the belief that I was not loved, and the constant feeling of being left out and left behind.
Why are we given life circumstances at a young age that hurt and affect our lives? Who knows the real answer? I have my own theories, one being that we have within us a spirit that can overcome, and once we learn that we are victors, not victims, that we have the power to choose how we want to react or what to believe. It took 40 to 50 years of my life to connect with that knowing within, that we can recreate our lives into whatever we desire them to be.
My parents fought with each other. Their cultural differences were too great. My mother was a fiery Italian; my father, cool and calm and of German descent. They never made it work, and 10 years of verbal and physical fighting and abuse and emotional neglect for us kids created a void within me that craved unconditional love and acceptance. That void took me on a search for that love—from the children I so loved, to the husbands that lacked that ability, and then to the spiritual home I found that taught me about unconditional love and acceptance.
Through many years of looking inward, working on childhood issues and forgiveness work, prayer and journaling, I realized that the love I sought was love and acceptance for myself first—before I could believe that anyone else could love and accept me for who I really was—and not just how I looked, how much I could give. or what I could do for the other person.
As I found myself on a journey of divorces, financial hardship, single parenthood without any support, and emotional pain, I also found within me the faith, the determination, the courage, the love and strength to rise up and move beyond the constraints of the past to victorious living, uncovering the gifts that were dormant just waiting to be expressed in the world. Gifts that are mine personally, but that each one of us have, and the world needs now more than ever!
I barely remember that person from 20 years ago, but I do know that we can go beyond the hand that is dealt to us if we know it and keep on listening to the inner voice that urges us to go higher, to be what we are called to be—a light in the world!