At 4:15 am this morning we pulled out of our driveway with Memory Maker in tow heading for Herkimer, NY and a month full of new adventures. We packed for what seemed like an eternity over the last few weeks, trying to ensure we had every single thing we would need. We stacked and stored and put things away, trying to find just the right place inside Memory Maker for every item.
At home we also “unpacked” and threw out a lot of stuff from the pantry and refrigerator considering we’ll be gone for an entire month. Tim packed up lots of clothes to donate to Goodwill after his 40 pound weight loss. I even unpacked some of our oldest family photos I hadn’t looked at in years to share with Mom this week. It was great to see her face light up seeing photos from her youth.
All of this packing and unpacking got me to thinking…we pack and unpack many times in our lives going from place to place, but we also pack away and unpack our feelings and emotions too. This has been such an emotional time of late with the largest mass shooting in US history in Orlando, and just two days ago the bombing at the Istanbul airport. I wish we could “pack away” all the hate in this world and put in a storage locker never to be opened again. And wouldn’t it be amazing to “unpack” unconditional love and understanding from wherever we are hiding it?
As we are almost 2 hours into our 7 hour drive, I’m thinking about all of the relationships in my life. There are some hurt feelings I need to pack away so I can forgive those people and start our relationships anew. I need to unpack more compassion and love inside myself so I won’t judge others so quickly. The world would be a much better place if we’d all make an effort to pack and unpack the things in our lives that keep us from loving unconditionally and forgiving more quickly.
Over the next 30 days I pledge to do more packing and unpacking in my life, putting in boxes and storing away everything that’s holding me back from being the person God intended for me to be. It will be great to unpack some of the feelings I hid away long ago too. I’m also packing away my fear that my month of fulfilling my dream of teaching LEGO classes won’t go well. As you go through this holiday weekend, I hope you’ll join me in thinking about what you may need to pack away or unpack in your life. Who knows, we may all be surprised by the results!
The one and only reason I never met my dad was because he was gay. My Mom thought she was protecting us by refusing to allow him to be part of our lives after I was born. I didn’t learn of my dad’s sexual orientation or Mom’s reasoning until I was an adult and I vehemently disagreed with her decision. Unfortunately Mom and I could never have a conversation about her decision that significantly altered my life because she was already deep in the grip of dementia and didn’t even remember ever being married at that point.
After all the hate that’s been directed at the LGBT community over the years, and in particular with the devastating mass shooting in Orlando, I’m starting to believe that maybe my Mom was right all those years ago trying to keep us from witnessing the hate and discontent that might have been directed at my dad during his life. I have always wondered what his life was like as a gay man. The only thing I know for sure is that he had a long-time partner in his life when he died of AIDS in 1991.
Since I woke up early Sunday morning and learned of the horrific tragedy, I have simply been numb. As the news began pouring in and the number of deaths continued to climb, my heart broke a little more each time! Every detail of the personal stories is excruciating to hear. The story that has shaken me the most is of the son who was texting with his Mom from the bathroom imploring her to call the police. He told her he was going to die, and wrote “I love you mommy”. It’s hard to get that out of my head.
I don’t know this mother at all of course, but I hope she’s at least comforted by the fact that she has the words on her cell phone from her son that everyone loves to hear or read, “I love you”. A hurried goodbye from a young man who knew we was going to die.
I believe that after this horrific event we all have to focus on the fact that it should NEVER EVER matter who we love, AND that we should ALWAYS tell those we love that we love them because you never know when it may be the last time you’ll hear it from or say it to the special people in your life. I tell everyone I love that I love them at every opportunity! My amazing granddaughter Kendal shows love every moment she’s awake. Riding in the car or walking along, she’ll suddenly say “I love you Mommy” or “I love you Pappy” or “I love you Grammy” for no reason at all other than she wants us to know how she feels, and when she does that we all just melt… I say “I love you Mommy” all the time to my Mom and she’ll say “love too” which is good enough for me especially since she only knows me as a “very nice person”.
Hate is a horrible thing, and right now it seems to be consuming our country. We have to hold onto our faith, support each other and NEVER give in to those trying to destroy us for who we are, what we look like or who we love. I’m still working through becoming “un-numb” but I know I love more fiercely today than I did yesterday and I make every effort to love everyone unconditionally. I know my dad loved me and I’m sure he knows I’ve fought for gay rights for most of my life. I’ve moved on from the decision that she made years ago, and I love my Mommy with all my heart – and I pray that today, if she understood, it would be ok with her that I love my Daddy too!