Monday, September 23, 2013

Seeing Her in Their Smiles

What a gorgeous day to wake up and hear the birds and feel the cool morning air! My first thought was how blessed I am. I am learning that grief cannot rob me of my precious memories and it will not steal from me my purest moments of joy. It is mine to choose how I spend this day, and I choose-Happy!

Does that choice mean I stop grieving? Am I forgetting my beloved daughter? Am I disrespecting her memory in any way? The answer to all of those questions is, NO! But, I am making an effort to live life and remember the goodness and beauty she brought to this world, and I want to honor her memory by random acts of kindness throughout the day. Small acts that I know would make her smile. Simple acts that can impact and have an effect on someone else's day.

I am learning to see my daughter in the smiles of others. I treasure those moments when I can see her in her children. Her silliness, her gestures, even her dance moves! Each one of them carries her with them in their own special way and it touches my heart. I hope they will always carry her with them in their hearts as they grow up.

But lately I have prayed for God to show me how to come out of my slump. I am struggling with writing and actually was feeling a little more down than I wanted to admit. I was anxious and not getting enough sleep and sadness would come on me at strange times. I knew the answer would come from prayer.

As always, patience is not a virtue I am gifted with, I am a slow learner. God is sure patient with me though. He gently reassures me Shannon is happy and at peace. She is busy and helping others in her heavenly duties. There will come a day when I will be reunited with her again, and He is as good as His word. He asked me to check in with the Holy Spirit for guidance and to trust in His will.

So, again I went into thoughtful prayer, meditation and deep conversation with my Holy Spirit. I know some of you are unfamiliar with my beliefs and some of you may not agree with my beliefs, but I can only write about what I know to be true. There is a Holy Spirit that surrounds me and fills me and loves me and guides me in my most troubled and anguished times. I sometimes forget this Spirit is there all the time, not only in troubles times, because it seems I call on Him most then, when I am in pain and need healing.

As always, He drew me close and filled me with a peace that can only come from Heaven. I poured out my heart and asked for advice as to how to make a transition from selfish grief, by that term-I mean grief that serves no purpose, not even to myself. I go back to that kind of grief when I am feeling sorry for myself for one reason or another, and it may not really have anything to do with grieving. I am getting better at recognizing it though and do not want to remain a party to it. I can define healthy grief-it allows me to grow from an experience and move into another place. In the new place, I can look back and I can look forward-I am not stuck.

I was in that place and needed to move from it again. This time, the Spirit suggested something different for me. I have asked to find some positive ways to share my day with others who may not have the opportunities I have been given. Simple gestures of good will-a wave, a smile, even a courteous nod can light up a person's day for them!

Guess what began to happen? Church members would receive my smile and their face would light up as they smiled in return. It was beautiful as each illuminating face, young and old held a moment for me that spoke to my heart of Shannon. As I gazed to the status of Mary I noticed the sunlight was dancing off the stained glass window and the wall came alive in color. The movement danced, and of course, I smiled. Funny thing, was some people didn't realize why I was smiling and they smiled in return which gave me more reason to smile and the blessings continued. We had a young choir sing for us and their sweet pure voices reached our ears and as I looked around, smiles and nods of pleasure were all around me-it was beautiful!

In the evening, I was blessed to share time with my family celebrating a birthday of a much loved sister. As we get older, we cherish our time together. Our hugs and our kisses, our singing silly songs and telling stories from our youth, mean more than I can put into words. The smiles, I can't describe how their smiles impact my heart. I feel so safe and loved when I am with them, and I know I am loved when I am not with them. Family, brings a genuine smile to my heart.

I went about my day, stopping at the store and sharing a smile and a handshake and always getting one in return and realizing, what a simple gesture can do to change our day. If these small random little acts of kindness bring happiness to our hearts, why not do it every day? So, that is my goal.

To do random acts of kindness, and see her in their smiles! Blessings for a truly happy day.