Thursday, November 26, 2009

Strength and Inspiration

We Three
My wedding

In one week I get to see my son for the first time since he and his sister stood up for me at my wedding 3 years ago. I have some beautiful memories; some visual inspiration that keeps me going missing him so much. I've been thinking a lot lately about what motivates us, what inspires us in our lives and in our work. The life my children and I lived together are some of the strongest motivators and inspiration I have.

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!


AutumnLeaves said...

Saundra, your testimony is so very beautiful. Your son looks quite a bit like you too. Your nose, your smile...He does have, however, my hair! LOL Your daughter is also just as stunning as you and your son. I know you will have a fabulous time. I love the photo of the three of you and honestly? I wish I had some of that petite cuteness you have in spades. I agree with you; that the experiences we go through in life make us stronger in the end. I too can look back and know that God carried me through so much. My children as well. I long for the day when they realize that for themselves. I too was blessed to be able to keep them in Christian school through all of the elementary grades and the first two years of high school (my oldest daughter, at least). I hope and pray that one day they return to that foundation as well.

Your words, your sentiments, your memories...All so beautiful, my friend.

Lokelani Forrest said...

Beautiful children, beautiful story. God was certainly leading you and holding you and your children up. I am always reminded of..."He gives us only as much as we can endure."

Dean H. said...

I truly lived this post, Saundra! Thanks for sharing these moving thoughts.
I, too, have found that God is always there.

Blessings, Dean

Saundra Lane Galloway said...

Thank you for this Autumn Leaves! Life is a very fascinating journey full of joy and sorrow, but the awesome thing is if we didn't have sorrows we wouldn't know the high peaks of joy!

I agree with you Lokelani, I keep that scripture close by!

Anonymous said...

A lovely post. It just proves that it's not the material things in life that count.

Saundra Lane Galloway said...

Thank you SO much Dean and Jean...I truly believe that God is in charge. We DO have so much we can be thankful for! And...remember that we only grow in the hard times! Blessings to you both!!

"JeanneG" said...

Thank you for sharing this. I had a nice little releasing cry. You are truly blessed. Isn't it wonderful to have the Lord in our lives.

Saundra Lane Galloway said...

Most definitely Jeanne...I truly don't understand how others do it without Him...and, thank YOU for listening!

Carol Nelson said...

It sounds like you and your children draw strength from one another as well. Those tough times have made your bonds ever stronger.

Saundra Lane Galloway said...

You are right my friend!

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