When I was living with my grandparents, the only safe school for this Protestant to attend in a 10 mile radius was a catholic school in South Orange. I was taught that God punished and gave and took etc… So I thought God took my mother away and made my father sick for some good reason.
Fast forward to a night when I had a night mare. I was probably around 13 I guess. I wondered down stairs and my uncle was up doing some paperwork or watching a movie or something. All I remember is that at some point I made a comment about how I understood why God took my Mom. My uncle looked at me in shock and said, “Is that what you think, that God took your mother?” I was a little taken back because I thought this man should understand, after all , he was brought up Catholic. So, I said, “yes,” and he replied, “Melissa, your mother chose to drink. God cried with you when she died. He didn’t take her. He wanted her to make the right decisions but she couldn’t. God didn’t take her. God doesn’t take anybody. That’s why he gave us free will. ”
That made me change my view of God. I understood my mother’s death in a brand new way. I was finally able to get angry at the one who did take my mother away, my mother. In fact I understood all bad things that happen in a new way. Man is born with an all uphill climb. Constantly fighting the easy way out, the wrong thing to do, the laziness, the greediness, the violence, etc…. Humans need to turn to their faith to fight all of this everyday of their lives and it’s our humanness that gets tired and stops and looks for excuses. God told the devil to do what he will, the faithful will turn to God. He always loves us so us turning to him is saying that we love him.
So, When someone dies, when we watch the news, or when we get bad news from the doctor, It’s not God doing any of that. Things happen on Earth due to circumstances or do to man and God cries, laughs, suffers with us. Christian, Jewish, whatever you are, you need some type of faith to see you through the good and the bad.
If the only reason you don’t believe in God is because you blame him for all that is wrong on Earth, think again! It’s not him! It’s Man! or it just happens. Our job is to seek a higher being for guidance on how to get through it. For me that is God. He has been with me through 38 years of the good, the bad, and the “what the….” . Faith is Love, and loving someone is saying you have faith in them.
I have more faith stories and experiences but I will save those for another day.
Humans promise things all the time. We promise to take the garbage out, we promise to be good, we promise to call or write, we promise to love and honor, we promise our selves we will be better at following through with our promises. God promises to be there for us all the time for us, loving us, and he carries out this promise. He is more dependable than humans.
I tell my students that the most difficult part of growing up is when you discover that humans are not perfect and that your parents are human. They were not made to automatically follow through on things. It’s something we all have to work at. Love means working at implementing promises and expectations we make to people we care about. Love is also Not making promises we are not sure that we can keep. Promises depend on the character and ability of the promiser.
For example, my mom and dad had great character. They loved us very much and as children believed they would never leave us or each other. Now ask if they had the ability to follow through with that promise. They thought they did. But things happen in life then we react to those things . My mom reacted to being alone in an unhealthy way. I think she just lost faith. Not thinking of the consequences and not believing she was really that sick, she said to her children on the ambulance gurney to be good until she gets back. Another promise? Yes. Did she have the ability to make such a promise? No. Up until then her character was pretty good for it. But alcohol distorts vision worse than a lazy eye does. Another example is my brother who made promises to me for various things like spending a day with me or coming to see a play at my school. His character is inconsistent so his ability to make promises needs a lot of work. But I will always love my brothers. They must have made a subconscious promise to love me and it’s the one thing they do follow through with.
So, of course I need to look at myself in this. I learned through hurt and heart ache so I worked hard at not depending on promises (other than from God). My subconscious, as a child, understood that anyone I got close to tended to die, not keeping their promises of always being there. As an adult, I may still have some trust issues but I am more conscious of it. I try to be as honest as I can. I can never say I am perfect because I have too many imperfections, inconsistencies and immaturities to claim social perfection. I don’t want to be that person who makes a promise and doesn’t follow through with it. That’s probably why it took me a long time until I got married. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to execute the promise of marriage. God put me to the challenge and I obeyed, got married and we are still going strong after 10 years. Other things like when a student asked me to go to a graduation or a question that would make me guarantee my answer so I usually try to say something along the lines of, ” I am not going to promise you anything ….” or “I can not guarantee ….”
There are certain things in my life that I do my best to carry out my promise. I promise to love. Love comes naturally to me so it’s easy to love my husband, family, friends and any child that comes into my life. I can promise that if anyone I love does anything that may hurt me, they will usually be forgiven and my love won’t waver.
So Love is truly executing promises we make. Parents promise to love their children and bring them up the best way they know how. Though now I see a trend of parents who don’t follow through. They give their children too many chances. Ever see that parent with the over active child at the check out line… “If you don’t stop I’m going to spank you.” then it’s, “if you don’t stop I’m going to call your father” then it’s, “just wait till we get home” So the child, knows they can act up and all they get are unkept promises.When they were little and would stay with me, I gave my nephews a warning then I followed through with what I said I would do and because of that they knew they were loved and they knew I meant what I said. I believe and have seen that children whose parents don’t set strict boundaries and execute their promise of consequence they don’t feel secure or that their parents care. It’s really the follow through that is so crucial. Executing the promise shows love. They may scream and yell and say they hate you but you will be thanked years later for it when they have children. I figure a teenager saying they hate me must mean I’m doing something right.
Show the love like God does and execute the promises you make.
When I was 4, or so, after my father had his stroke and my mother was experiencing more stress than she had ever had in her life before, I failed school. My brother told me I had to do Kindergarten twice because they discovered I couldn’t see. I had a lazy eye. My mother was ill with her alcoholism so she did the best she could for me. She took me to an eye doctor who put glasses on me then put a patch on my one eye but only for a few months. Then the patch would come off for a year. Then back on etc…… and this happened until I was about 7 when the dr. said that was all he could do. The result of this bad doctoring was a little girl who’s one eye compensated for both and no depth perception. What did you say? That doesn’t sound bad? Listen a little more.
If my mom was not in the situation she was in, and she could have seen that the Doctor was so wrong in the non patch portioning. I am an adult and I have had to work twice as hard at things like driving, miniature golf, and other things that others take for granted. My college boyfriend once was so excited about a surprise he had for me. He brought to the library where they had a special showing of the old stereoscopes. I tried but they meant nothing to me. I could not see the same as he could. I don’t see out of both eyes at the same time like most people. My one eye sees all and my other sees blurry images off to the side. Good only for catching motion not details. The other day I could not tell weather our turkey was in her pen or out. My husband could not believe that I could not see it was in the cage.
My wish is that no other child would have to go through what I have had to. Occupational therapy sessions to train my one eye to do what 2 of them were supposed to do, Not fun at 11 years old. Playing miniature golf and having the WORST score because it takes me 10-14 tries. Not being able to enjoy 3D like everyone else. Not knowing for sure how far a car is or how fast they are going when I’m at a corner.
Then there is the whole aging thing that is now affecting my one good eye. It looms over me every time things get blurry that if I lose my sight in my good eye (that has probably strained over the years doing the job for 2) I will not be able to drive or to do what I was put on this earth to do, teach. My heart breaks if I think about it. After all I am only 43! I should not have bifocals already, but i do.
If anyone has a child who may have this Lazy Eye Myopia, please, if you have the chance to save your child from the heart ache that I have to go through or have gone through as well as the feeling of “deformity” when you know your eye is wondering to the side, Please read up, be diligent with your child, follow through, make sure they wear their patch. Yes there will be whining and crying but Isn’t their sight worth it? Do you want them to say, “thanks for being so tough” or “why weren’t you more tough? why didn’t you force me to wear the patch?” The words “Why Didn’t You?” are the worst words a parent could hear from their child. It denotes regret and resentment. You don’t want that.
So, don’t be blinded by the love you have for your child or your ears. Be like Nike and JUST DO IT!
Having loved and lost is better than not loving at all…. or so they say. I say not loving at all leaves you a very bitter lonely person.
There is a difference the way that love is viewed by male and female. I can give you the female view. See, girls are brought up with the words, “when you get married you’ll understand.” So it’s almost expected for us to be looking for our husbands from the get-go. And I guess was subconsciously looking for that “father figure”. “They” say (still not sure who they is) that women tend to marry men who are much like their fathers and that men marry women who are much like their mothers. Since I have no idea what my father was like before the stroke, I guess there are parts of the husband that remind me of my uncle and grandfather.
Anyway, I digress. I want to talk about what I learned while doing that searching. The men I dated were all different. I was blessed in that God REALLY was watching over me and he did his best to protect me from some of the crazy ones. God also let me be friends with my boyfriends, well with most of them. I pray that the younger readers will learn from my mistakes. I too used to say, “well that was you. It won’t happen to me.” Read my friend and you may be able to avoid any regrets.
Let us begin when I was 5 and in Kindergarten. There was a boy named Patrick and where ever he sat I tended to gravitate to. One day during story time he moved 3 times (as did I) before he called out to the teacher to complain about his “shadow”. She put me on her lap to end that. But that was me, a hopeless sticky flirt.
Fast forward to when I was in middle School. Our Church youth group had a “lock in” where we all stayed over night. That was where I met Tom. I thought I had just met “the one”. He was a year younger than me, he was fun, he was nice, and I could not get enough of him. We stayed up and talked and played pool and talked. Well, I was head over heels. i tried to find excuses to get together like to ride bikes. Of course we saw each other every Sunday. Our friendship strengthened over a year. Then we decided to, “go out”. Of course at 13 and 14, that was just holding hands and a kiss here or a kiss there. Then he called it off after 6 months. Somehow we kept the friendship. Always there for each other. I had this vision of us dancing at a prom then at our wedding… See how girls work? So, It was very difficult to let that dream go. Our friendship was created by God and wasn’t going to be broken. My senior year, I was the vice-president of the social committee and I needed a date for the Prom. I finally got the courage to call Tom. I knew he was dating someone but I figured the worst thing he could say was “no”. But instead he said yes. It was a wonderful night. I could not see my life without him in it.
He is still a good friend to me today. Let alone, he’s married to great lady and has 2 sons and I will probably never get to see him face to face ever again. (Thank God for Facebook). But there was one thing we have always agreed on. God introduced us as friends and that will never be broken because it’s a bond that is beyond here.
Now Some people are put into your life for a specific reason and time and that’s all. I was blessed with Tom. Then there was College. I was being noticed. I dated or spent time with guys but I always tried to make sure that friendship came first. I dated a young man named Greg, for 2 years. It was serious and so was he. I had to teach him how to do his own laundry, so he didn’t have to run home every weekend. He taught me how to buckle down and study. Everything was fine until he started to tell me that, as I was entering my Junior year and he his senior, I had to tell him what I would be teaching when I became a teacher. Huh? I was just trying to get to my Junior year. But he insisted that I could not teach the Big Bang Theory. I stood up for myself and informed him that IF and WHEN I got a job that I would have to teach what they tell me to. He was getting a little too controlling due to his own fears of leaving home and going far away to a seminary. So, it was a rough few months after that but by Christmas break we decided to end it. I would not have been a good Pastor’s wife anyway. But we had a lot of good memories. He was good for me during that time of my life.
The one regret I have is dating an older man. I befriended him after Greg. I now call him “the mistake”. I was looking for love in all the wrong places and he was there. I kept saying age doesn’t matter. It does at a certain point. He told me he had graduated but he owed the school money for tuition so he stayed on to pay it off. He said he was divorced and had 2 kids. I never questioned I just knew I had to keep going to learn something. I learned that I should never doubt my parents’ doubts. My uncle called me one night and told me that he had found out that this guy had not graduated because he owed money. He may have finished the course work but he was never given his diploma. I was outraged. A year of lies??I could have run but I calmly waited. When he cam to my room I asked him for the truth and he confirmed my uncle’s findings. So I asked, “what else are you lying about?” And he said, “Well you remember I told you I was divorced?? Well, I left before the papers ever made it to…” I screamed for him to get out. He begged. I repeated the command. He got mad and said how he “owned” me. I yelled for him to get out. He left. I locked the door and cried. I wish I could wipe the memory of him out. He is the one human being that I almost fear. He did not add to my life like Tom or Greg. He just took a year of my life and turned it into a gagging regret. I wish young people would listen when adults say they have been there, don’t go there. Lesson: Listen to your parents faster than you want to.
After College I shared a townhouse for 9 months with a woman from church then struck out on my own and got a one bedroom condo. I was poorer than poor with 2 part time jobs and only earning $10,000 or so a year. Only by God was I making it happen. It was stressful but it was also great. I dated a mechanic who was christian for a few months. Then after I got a full time job at a hotel I met Eric. He was a computer guy that the companies like AT&T called in to do what ever was needed to their computers. He was fun. He never cooked. We always ate out. I had finally gotten to the point of just dating someone for fun. I knew I couldn’t marry him but we had fun. He always wanted to have a dog and I would have loved to have a dog to guard me. He lived in PA and worked 12-15 hour days and I lived and worked in NJ. But one day, against my better judgement, we went to see some Jack Russell puppies that had just been flown in from Ireland. I was aware that I was about to have a dog and a little yippie dog at that.
I named her Kibbie, short for Kabibe (ka bee bee) Swahili for little lady. I trained her, fed her, loved her, and he helped pay for vet bills and taught her how to roll over and beg. I was all focused on her and he just visited. So that relationship ended. But, he gave me a wonderful dog who took care of me as much as I took care of her. Of course as she aged her temperament aged too. but in the end with blindness and deafness she was still my little girl. She is buried on our property with a nice grave marker “Kibbie 1996-2013”
So then I learned to just not expect marriage from whomever I was dating. That took a lot of stress off of me. I just had fun and worried about myself.
Then my friends were getting married. That puts it all back in the head of wanting to do the expected. No, I stayed strong. Met a guy from Canada at my best friend’s wedding. After a year and half with him I learned that it takes about a year before the guy shows you his true colors. I also learned that a guy who had never cooked for himself or even knew how to open a can of tuna was not going to be able to take care of you. Also a guy who calls to tell you how he beat up someone is not the kind of guy you want in your life. So that one ended.
I decided that IF I was supposed to be with anyone, God was to worry about it. I just would not date anymore. I swore off men. I got involved in my church and I was content. Then just when I came to peace with the words, “I’m not getting married ever.” This guy from Bible study started calling me. He was nice and funny. He wanted to make sure I would make it on time to the 6am class. We chatted and teased. He would volunteer me for things and I returned the favor. He asked if I liked to walk at parks and so we went to a Reservoir Park. Walked, got a little off the path and ended up having to wade in water up to our chest to get back to the van. I vowed he would just be a friend. One night I came home after working all day to find a covered dish on my table with a note that said “I knew you wouldn’t have time to make yourself dinner” Wow, someone who wanted to take care of me? Sweet. But I had to be careful. I had worked 10 years to be happy with me and just me. Well, over a few weeks I wanted to talk to him all the time. He didn’t mess up my kitchen when he cleaned. He seemed to be a logical match. I checked with God over and over and over. No red flags. One month of dating and the logical step for both of us was engagement.
Nine months later we got married. We argue and disagree about a lot of things. There have been times when we have needed “space” but in the end, who else is going to make sure the cabinets are stocked with chocolate for me? Who else is going to put up with my tantrums when I get so frustrated and mad? Who else is going to understand that he may be a “bulldozer” but he does get the job done. He is stubborn and a little overbearing when he wants something. He has his faults, as do I, and his gifts. I fought getting married but God laughed. I fought having my name changed to “Pasnik” and ended up marrying a “Pasek”. God has fun with me.
So, what should the young learn from my experiences? 1.God given relationships last forever. 2. Don’t think that it won’t happen to you, it will. 3. Listen to the adults and elders in your life for they are wise and have gone through the stuff. The elders in my life always kept God first and so I do. 4. Anyone who won’t support your faith (unless you are a terrorist, and then no one should support you) is not worth your energy. 5. NO ONE OWNES ANYONE.
So learn from my life. Then maybe my epitaph can read, “She never stops teaching and we never stop learning from her.”
They show their affection or rejection right away. God said to love was kind, and patient, not boastful, or jealous. Of course animals can not read the Bible so the jealousy is more like, “what about me?”.
Now with people love seems to be much more complicated. That whole needing attention and not being alone gets things more complicated.
Someone suggested I write about the lessons of love that I learned in my life. One of the best loves that I have learned is God’s love. No matter how many times I messed up he still helped me when I needed him.
Another love is the bond between siblings. No matter how far apart we lived and grew, my brothers and I were bonded by God. We each grew up separate but we each followed God, and we each were involved in churches. My brothers have passed this bond to their children and on to the next generation.
My uncle used to tell us all that we had to “kiss a lot of frogs in order to find our prince or princess”. Advice # 1: don’t take this phrase literally or as a challenge.
There are way too many diseases out there.
No where does it say that one HAS to get married or even HAS to be with anyone. Yes, it is nice and fun. The first person you need to learn to love is yourself and you cannot do that with another human being in the way. Advice # 2: Live alone for 3-5 years before you start living with someone else. Get to know YOU, your faith, your habits, and anything you like and don’t like. Then when the time is right you will know who will want to be with you good or bad. You will know that you want to be with someone of the same faith as you. You will have a firmer foundation for a long term relationship. Plus it will be the last time you get that “me time” with out having to fight for it. I lived alone for 10 years.
I will tell you tomorrow what I learned.