Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Ultimate Fighter

I am a life long student of human behavior.  From the time I was a young girl, I can remember being intrigued with people.  I would watch how they communicate with each other, how they would respond to situations. The faces they would make when they were happy, the faces they would make when they were sad. How sometimes people's eyes would flicker in conversation.  I love people. I can remember as a young girl, no matter if someone had just been mean to me, if someone different was mean to that person I would feel called to comfort them.  My heart would break when I saw pain on others faces.  I still to this day watch people.  I have learned to read the persons unsaid body language, and it has helped me greatly in anticipating others needs. It helps me be successful in my work, and it helps me in many relationships.  However,  when it comes to seeing/reading/observing my own behaviors I may not be as insightful.

I love my work.  I have spoke of it many times.  It is my job to help others. I manage a group home for people who struggle with persistent mental illness.  I never know what I am going to get when I go in (I love that part, it keeps me from getting bored.)  I take pride in the fact that I get to help people everyday.  It is very fulfilling for me, however the favorite part of my job is when someone I am supposed to be helping, shows me I'm not as smart as I think I am. :) The thing I've realized after being in this field for 20 years is that often people with some sort of what we call disability has a much greater understanding of love than we do.  One of the people I work with always says Thank you.  No matter how small the task is that I may have helped them with, they say Thank you, in the most sincere, heartfelt way. They have a grateful heart.  As I was helping them in some mundane task, they say "Thank you Tina".  It immediately made me smile.  I thought WOW I love this person, they are just so grateful. As I continued thinking, I realized I have not had the most grateful heart this summer.  I have been in a great deal of pain, and fairly short-sited because of that.

I have talked about a grateful heart  being a peaceful heart in my blog before.  This wasn't new information to me, but it was the reminder that I so desperately needed.  I have tried hard over the last few weeks to tell God "Thank you" for at least one thing a day.  I was on vacation with my family last week, and I was having one of my many conversations I have with the good Lord.  I am not the best with the formal prayers (it is a much needed area of improvement) but I have no problem talking his ear off.:) As I was talking with him, I said "Lord I am so tired of having to fight"  Ever since I was a small child, I have been a fighter (not in the physical violent sense), but in some ways needing to be to survive, and in others I hated seeing injustices.  If  I saw someone hurt, I would go to them, I would stand up for them. I would fight for them. If ever there was a hint of unjust behavior towards another, especially if  it was someone I love, I was there ready to do battle on their behalf.  I am still that way.  I can be a little hot headed.  One time a priest friend smiled at me and said "your are like Peter cutting of the soldiers ear, when they came for Christ" I am ready to do battle for the ones I love.

In many ways, Liam's death seemed very unjust.  I couldn't protect him, I couldn't fight for him, I didn't know the enemy..... I didn't know what to fight against, so I just fought against every wrong that I felt was done.  As I was talking to God, telling him how tired I was and that I wished I didn't have to fight so much, he told me in the very loving way he tells me things "Tina, you can't fight against death.  I have already fought that battle for you and I won."  Our God is so good to me.  He loves me, even though I am hot-headed, stubborn, fiery ,inadequate, prideful and always seem to think I can do it on my own. He is patient, I know I wouldn't be that patient if I was in his shoes. I Took that moment to Thank him, and give him Liam.  I hadn't let go, I was still fighting to keep him. I wasn't ready to say good-bye.

Since that conversation, and my attempts at a more grateful heart, I believe I have begun to find acceptance for Liam's death.  There are days when fear creeps back in on me.  There are days when my heart still feels very broken.  Yet under all of that, there is the beginnings of peace over Liam's death.  I don't know why he was called home so early.  I do know that he is basking in the glory of a greater love than I could ever give him.  I just miss him, and the time I could have had with him, but I know we will have eternity, because the ultimate fighter ( My Savior, Jesus Christ) has already won the greatest of battles.