Today I want to talk about my why. What I mean by that is why it is so important for me to live intentionally instead of passively letting life happen to me.
A few years ago, I read the book The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. It was a book that pulled at my heart and it stuck with me in a way that I didn’t even understand. It is a true story of a girl who grew up with parents that chose themselves first every single time. They were big dreamers, but when it came to their kids, it was like they were a hassle, and feeding them or housing them was just too much to ask. The Dad was an alcoholic who spent all the family’s money getting drunk and the mom was an artist who couldn’t bear to do anything besides paint- she chose that over taking care of her four kids. It is a very powerful book and the movie that just came out is of course a little different from the book, and could never retell all the stories, but I think captures the ideas pretty well.
This weekend has been a little rough. Friday evening I had some moments with my son that made me feel so frustrated and hurt. It started me thinking about how hard it is to be a parent. It is quite literally the most difficult job I’ve had thus far in my life. Here’s the thing – as difficult as it can be, I get to make a choice. I get to make the choice to stay every day and keep trying.
When my kids hurt me, it’s easy to think thoughts like, “I need to get out of here,” or “I wish I could quit” and I realized that those are the same thoughts that changed my life in a radical way. You see, those are the thoughts that my mom had and ultimately chose to act on. When I was nine years old, my mom made the choice to leave our family. I spent my teenage years without a mom around and it was rough. She turned to drinking heavily and it eventually took her at age 37. Looking at my mom’s life, it was sometimes easy to think that she was dealt a bad hand and I would actually feel sorry for her. As I’ve grown and gained more life experience, I can now see clearly that the choices she made were the main dictator of her circumstances. She may have felt powerless, but that didn’t mean she actually was. Feelings aren’t truth.
The Glass Castle became a movie, and since the book impacted me so much, I was itching to see it. Justin and I watched The Glass Castle last night and it hit me so hard, like ugly crying status. Watching those parents choose themselves every single time over their kids was heartbreaking. It made me see so clearly why it is so important for me to be intentional, carefully considering the choices I make. I don’t want life to just happen to me. I don’t want to repeat the mistakes of my parents. Seeing my parents’ life choices through their messy divorce first began to stir what ultimately became five things in my heart. Even at an early age, I began to be resolute about the choices that were going to drive the story I wanted to write with my life. Making critical decisions ahead of the pivotal moments where they come into play is a massive deciding factor in the direction your life will go.
“Feelings aren’t truth.”
The movie also made me appreciate my dad more. He chose to stay and to be a parent. He didn’t have all the right answers or know how to be fair in every situation, but he chose to stay and be a parent. That was a really important right decision.
At the end of The Glass Castle, Jeanette finally decides to get back to her roots. Like her, in my late teens and early twenties, I was trying so hard not to be like my mom. I was going to do things differently. The outcome wasn’t altogether bad, but it did teach me that doing the right thing for the wrong reason is still the wrong approach. Instead of simply trying to do the opposite of what my mom did, I’m getting back to my roots by not only learning from her mistakes, but gleaning the good from my childhood. I’m so thankful to know that in life I am powerful. I get to make choices. I’m striving every day to make the right choices because I am worth it. You are worth it too.