Thursday, November 26, 2009
Strength and Inspiration
I decided to move to York Nebraska and go back to school when my children were very small. It was just us three trying to make it together. It's telling; the things that help us make decisions. My children were my inspiration to try to finish my degree and do better...for them first, and for me.
It was a quick decision. My beautiful little daughter had to go to a school near our house in Denver that was 95% Hispanic. The children did not speak much english at that school, so my enterprising daughter asked for a spanish/english dictionary. She tried, but the kids made fun of her. My son went to a middle school near my work at that time. He came home one day and told me a laundry list of things he had done that day, and tucked in that list like it was an english test he had taken he told me his best friend had hanged himself. Later that evening our neighbor who was an ex Vietnam vet shot at him when he was taking out the trash. It was that day I decided to get my children out of there and do better by them. We drove to York Nebraska that weekend and I walked into the Christian college there and told them I needed a degree in some type of art. That led me to my teaching degree. We went home and packed up and left for York the next weekend. I drove the city, went into every store in town asking anyone and everyone if there was a house for rent. It was a bad time of year for housing in York, but I found someone who said something like their sister knew a friend who had a cousin that was moving out of a house. And that was it. We had a little house, I had school, my kids got a scholarship at the little Christian school across the street from the college and there we were. A new beginning. We had a wonderful old gentleman who owned the house that built my son a bedroom in the basement with safety windows in case of a fire and never raised our rent. Life just worked out. God was there for us. As He always has been.
After I finished at York we moved as there were no jobs near there. We began again. By then my children were in middle and high school and we lived in Lubbock Texas. There was a good church there and, again my children excelled. I moved to Lubbock to be near my brother. We pulled in one day in a U-Hall that I drove 10 hours using one of my high heels upside down as I couldn't reach the peddles. I had no job, no house, nothing but a good church and my brother. Once again I hit the pavement looking for a house, a job...and in less than a week I had a temporary job until school started, a teaching job lined up and a house. God was good.
Not long after we got word that a dear friend of my children had suddenly died while playing basketball at York College. Nick was another big brother for my daughter and one of my son's best friends. We were devastated. All I had to do was see my kids faces and we jumped in the car to make it to York for the funeral. There were about 8 boys that ran together while in York. I remember when they were so small their feet didn't touch the ground when they were sitting on my couch. It was a wonderful life for my children, and now we had lost one of those boys. We got there in time for the funeral. The parents were so devastated that they couldn't plan the funeral, so those boys did it for them. Music, everything.
The day that Nick was buried is stuck in my mind and heart forever. He was so young, so many people from all over the country had come. Those boys left were all so silent, all standing together in their suits that were too big for them...the heat of August and there they were in wool suits standing near their friend.
The picture in my mind that I will never forget is after we had all walked away from the graveside I looked back and saw those boys all standing around their friend for one final goodbye; still; each with one hand on the casket; heads bowed. They were praying together, tears falling from each one. They, all shared something again; loss of a friend. They were older after that. My children were both different after that day, older, wiser and I was sad that they had to grow up like that.
I say all of this because I really believe that ALL of our experiences combine to make us who we are. They can destroy us, or we can learn and grow wiser and more caring. It is our choice. My family means everything to me only after God. My children walked some really tough roads with me and they have come out the other side. Parts are scarred from things, and I see wisdom born from loss sometimes too, but we came out together, and I am proud of them. I am THANKFUL for them. I am thankful that we all have this day to try to do the best we can with what we have. I hope you all have found inside your hearts something to be thankful for, if it comes from the life experiences we have to teach us the value of our lives, then more the blessing. I am also thankful for all of you who have been there with me for nearly a year now. God bless you all and Happy Thanksgiving!
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