I usually try to write about topics that I think will resonate with my readers. I like to talk about how events or things in my past have affected my present state. Well, today, I’m following that pattern, but I’m really going out on a limb here by talking about some really personal stuff in hopes that it will help you get through difficult times. At the very least, I hope this makes you realize the importance of gratitude and forgiveness.
Some of you may know that my family and I went through a devastating house fire last year, where we lost just about everything that we owned. Thankfully, no one was hurt. All of our pets survived, even the majority of our fish. We had tenants in the other side of our house (we own a duplex), who had only been living in the apartment for three weeks when the fire hit; they had three small children, and unfortunately, no renter’s insurance. There wasn’t a whole lot we could do for them, except give back their deposit and first month’s rent. We stayed in a hotel for about a week, and then we found a place to rent where we could have our dogs. The place was not ideal; it had a really tiny kitchen with apartment sized appliances – not the best set up for someone who loves to cook. We were not able to have any holidays in our own home because of this, but we made the best of it.
We had hired a contractor who was working locally on another fire restoration, and came highly recommended by the family he was working for. Even though he wasn’t local, and I had a funny feeling about him, I trusted the recommendation. The other problem was that no local contractors wanted to take on our huge restoration project, and we really just wanted to get the ball rolling to rebuild our home. Long story short, I should have trusted my intuition because this guy turned out to be bad news. he stole a lot of our money and was not able to do the work he was hired to do. While he was there, our shed on our property was also robbed of our lawn furniture and Christmas decorations.
To make matters worse, my husband became unemployed at the beginning of the year, and our insurance stopped paying our rent and loss of rental income at the same time. So that left me with my one income to pay for rent and mortgage, plus all our other bills. I went through a really difficult time when all this happened. We went from being a family that didn’t really think too much about our expenses because we always had money to a family who had to pinch every penny till it screamed in the blink of an eye. We had contents money from our insurance that helped us get by for a little while, but of course that meant we didn’t have money for replacing our household goods. We had purchased some furniture in anticipation of moving back into our old home. Thank goodness we had planned ahead there, or we would still be sitting on boxes! Once the insurance money ran out, though, things became a little more desparate. There were months when I wasn’t sure how I was going to put food on the table or gas in the car. When I tell you I hoped and prayed that we wouldn’t run out of toothpaste or toilet paper, I’m not exaggerating, because I really couldn’t afford to buy any. We cut back on unnecesary expenses, and even some necessary expenses to get by.
My husband finally found a temporary job, that we are praying turns permanent. We have moved to a really beautiful home, and we are finally able to come to terms with the fact that we will never have our home back. We have put it on the market, but haven’t really gotten any bites; not too many people are looking for a house that’s just a shell that they have to finish. We are still a financial train wreck, but I think we will be able to bounce back from this, and I want to share with you what I have learned from this experience.
First of all, I have learned about the devastating effects of stress on the mental and physical being. I can tell you that I was on the verge of a total breakdown several times, not so much because of the fact that we didn’t have money or that our home was never going to be rebuilt, but because I couldn’t see the way out. That feeling of total hopelessness and helplessness was more than I could stand, and I couldn’t stand to see my family feeling that way, either.
I have learned about the power of forgiveness. I have learned to let anger go. I have learned to let go of things that no longer serve me. You might wonder how I was able to do this. One of the most important things is to be grateful every day. It doesn’t matter how bad your day is; you always have something to be grateful for. For example, I started with things like my health is good, the sun is shining, I just saw a deer in the back yard. These are all simple things in life that can really make you thankful to be alive. Once you realize that despite all the ugliness and hatred in the world, there are still awesome things to be grateful for, you will start to feel true happiness again.
I have learned to accept a helping hand every now and then. This has always been hard for me, but when it comes down to it, there are many people willing to help. The important part of that is learning to also pay it forward. Once I learned this, it was much easier to let people help us because I knew that I would also help others in return.
I have learned to meditate and listen to the Universe. Whatever your Universe is, whether it is the Christian God, or some other God, Nature, or any other higher being that speaks to you, they are showing you things every day. For example, I know that there were many things pointing us away from finishing the construction on our home. The financial problems, using up the insurance money, the incompetence of the contractor – all these things were steering us in another direction. Perhaps if I had listened sooner, the path would not have become so challenging.
I have so many good things coming up in my life – things that I am really excited about. I know that I can’t waste my time looking back, and neither can you! I hope that this helps you. If one person is able to heal because of what I have shared today, it will have been worth baring my soul. Please feel free to share your comments with me!
Peace to you!