“Yeah when I get where I’m going, there’ll be only happy tears. I will shed the sins and struggles I have carried all these years. And I’ll leave my heart wide open. I will love and have no fear. Yeah when I get here I’m going, don’t cry for me down here.” –When I Get Where I’m Going (Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton)
We played this song at my grandfather’s funeral. Whenever I hear it, I think of Grampie Bob. I don’t know all the details of his life, but I do know that it wasn’t an easy life. His step mother was not the kind you’d wish for if you were able to choose, he started working on a farm at the age of 13, became an alcoholic, lost his wife in a car accident when she was only 33 (they had 3 children still at home), and lost his first grandchild when my brother died in a car accident at the age of 24 – just to name a few things.
Did my grandfather carry more burdens than he needed to – physically, emotionally and spiritually? Maybe yes, maybe no. His soul did write this life and what lessons he was to learn while he was here. It just seems like a lot when we think of it from our human perspective. We think he shouldn’t have had to go through all of that. ‘One person should not have to experience so much pain.’ But through his pain came great lessons, the opportunity to grow, and the ability to then help others heal and learn.
“Sometimes, struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were to go through life without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Give every opportunity a chance. Leave no room for regrets.” -unknown
What did Grampie Bob do for me just by being himself? Well, he taught me that people can change. I never knew him as an alcoholic – other than when we celebrated his ‘birthday’ at AA with him. He quit his addiction to alcohol when I was so young that I don’t remember ever seeing him drink. He was also one of most forgiving people I’ve ever known. One time, I borrowed his car and scratched (gouged) the side of it. I was so upset – crying because I felt bad and had no money to pay to get it fixed. He simply said, “Don’t worry. It’s just a car. They make them every day.” He had such a kind heart. I think that everything he felt he might have done wrong with his kids, he tried to ‘fix’ with how he treated his grandchildren. The love he had for us knew no limits, no expectations, no judgement; there was only pure joy.
So, why am I telling you all this? Because I invite you to release the need to hold onto any struggle you feel in your life right now. You don’t have to wait until the end of your life. We come here to learn lessons. That doesn’t mean we need to take our whole life to read and re-read the textbook! Or spend half of it worrying about the test and the other half worrying about the errors. We are meant to enjoy life. Let go of the past. Learn from your ‘mistakes’. Feel the pain and then move on. Forgive. Find the gifts. Allow yourself to be happy. Keep your heart open. There is nothing to fear. Set some goals. Try new things. Make your dreams come true. Help people. Share your smile. Make someone laugh. Whatever lights you up, do more of it. Life is for living!
“What you have to decide… is how you want your life to be. If your forever was ending tomorrow, would this be how you’d want to have spent it? Listen, the truth is, nothing is guaranteed. You know that more than anybody. So dont be afraid. Be alive.” ~Sarah Dessen~