Tag Archives: death

Is Your Setback Actually a Setup?

My recent hair appointment resulted in a setback.

After three years spent growing out the bangs my ex-husband loved, I made the grave error of arriving at my appointment in a “do whatever you want” mood.

Alan wanted bangs.

Craving some immediate and measurable improvement in my appearance, I threw caution to the wind (despite a nagging no on the inside) and said, “Go for it!”

At the first snip, I knew they were too short.

I groaned internally. This was not my first bang rodeo.

Six-months of hair angst would ensue before I could return to my former bang-less glory.

The only comfort? Looking over my shoulder at previous bang travesties and knowing that, eventually, they always grow back.

Which is a great metaphor for any setback in life.

Think of something that pained you in the past. Do you now think of it differently?

Being laid off from QVC? Now I say THANK GOD I didn’t spend my career selling gold chains (though I am happy for those that do.)

The one that got away? I’ve seen his Facebook photos, and he didn’t age well.

Then, there are the more deeply stinging setbacks. Like the 17 years spent in a church that turned out to be a cult.

Sure, I could waste my energy bemoaning the “lost” years, but were they really lost?

The harshest, most painful setbacks in life (and there were plenty at that place) give us crystal clear clarity on what we don’t want and what we do want.

Never shall I allow my voice to be silenced in the face of injustice again. I will not allow others to assign my worth, nor will I be controlled by someone else’s “vision” for my life.

Just as the scriptures say, I had to lose my life to find it.

The experience set me back to set me up for who I am today.

The loss of my father at age ten still befuddles me. But that setback birthed in me a keen understanding that life is precious…and fleeting. That you should end conversations with a heartfelt “I love you” because you don’t know when or if you’ll get another chance to do so in this life.

A recent post talked about how time offers perspective unavailable when in the midst of turmoil. The 56 -year-old version of me now feels my father’s presence at key moments and I have an unshakable knowing that he is ever-present, offering emotional support.

A very present help in time of trouble.

The immortality of his beautiful soul offered small comfort to a little girl who just wanted a big hand to hold. Forty-six years later, I understand his transition to non-physical as a new way to know him.

Our word these past two weeks has been celebration.

My interpretation has been to embrace celebration as appreciation, yes, even for the setbacks in life.

They unfailingly become setups for good if we’ll choose to see them that way.

https://youtu.be/T8fWbw6yo48

Hoping you find sources of inspiration around every corner.

With love,

Brenda

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Therapeutic Writing on a Devastating Day

Every few months I treat myself to a little help collecting Shasta’s furballs and removing toothpaste splatters from the bathroom mirror.

It’s a splurge, but so helpful – and along the way, I met Ashley.

I don’t know her last name; she’s in my phone as “Ashley Cleaner” and I found her on Thumbtack.com when I moved to Florida. Her ratings were high, her prices were low and from the minute I met her, I liked her.

A twenty-something with the kind of natural beauty that doesn’t require makeup, she was here the day before we moved in to get us ready for the arrival of boxes and furniture.   Sweet and kind (and boy, did she get that stainless steel to shine!)

As the months went on and my house became more of a home, we’d chat about life – and mostly, she talked about her little girl. We trusted Ashley and felt comfortable giving her free reign of the house, knowing she was a good person and would do right by us.

She was scheduled to come on Friday morning at 8:30 AM.  When 9:00 came and went, I called. Her little girl was under the weather; she had tried to contact me…and asked if she could reschedule for the following week.

No problem! Hey, the important thing was being there for her little girl. We set a date for Monday (it is Monday as I write this) and went about our respective weekends.

When 8:30 became 9:30 today, I texted her, “Hey, are you coming?”

What I received back has left me numb yet brokenhearted; stunned and heartsick. Her mother texted me back: “Ashley was killed by a drunk driver this weekend…”

Her little girl was still under the weather, or she would likely have been in the car with her. The kids were home with dad while Ashley went out to the grocery store. And she never made it home.

A lovely life, snuffed out because someone felt invincible after some cocktails. A little girl, left to grow up without her Mommy…and a Dad, left to raise babies while dealing with his own devastating grief.

Life is precious. Life is precious. Life is precious.

Our tomorrows are not promised.

On Sunday after Duane and I went to our favorite diner, we stopped to pick up ink cartridges at Staples. The light turned green and, thankfully, Duane looked left before putting his foot on the gas. A car careened through the red light; had he not looked, it would surely have been the end of us.

My heart pounded out of my chest. Close calls are frightening…but the text I received today was even more jolting.

Hug your babies; kiss your husband; call your best friend; snuggle with your pet. Look both ways. Don’t drink and drive. Say “I love you.”

I resolve, yet again, not to sweat the small stuff.  I have breath, I have life , I have love to give and receive – THAT is what matters.

Thank you for listening; it has helped me to write this.

When I find out any more details, I will pass them along to you in the hope that there is some small way to help this grieving family.

Much love,

Brenda

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