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Be changed but don’t be reduced…

Quote by Maya Angelou

I saw this quote on Twitter the other day and was struck and inspired by it.  It is yet another reminder that while we can't control everything in our lives, we can always control our reaction and affect the outcome.

Everyone has gone through something – or many things – that could have turned them down a road of bitterness, defeat, depression and anger.  Some go happily down that road and build a house and stay there.

Others take the road that is a little harder in the short term but makes for a happier life in the long term.   Work through the pain and find the lesson.  Become stronger and wiser and learn to forgive.

This Saturday marks 10 years since my ex-husband and I decided to divorce.  10 years ago I was a puddle of a person – I felt sick to my stomach for months and couldn't eat.  I lost some weight and a neighbor told me “Divorce looks good on you!”  That was even more depressing because I knew that at some point I'd eat again and what would that mean?? 🙂  I had a 10 year old son to stabilize and my own sense of being to recover.

I look back and still remember how hard it was but am also amazed and proud of where I am now.  I'm proud of how my ex and I put our son first and never in the middle.  I am stronger for the experience – but now look for more productive and gentler ways to build my strength. 🙂

Another huge life event that could have gone either way for me and my family emotionally is the more recent and still present experience with my dad and his “journey” with Alzheimer's.  We went through all of the usual emotions – disbelief, questioning, despair, fear… and now I have come to a place of relative peace.  Rallying against Alzheimer's doesn't help.  Accepting it and showing up where my dad needs me to be – either talking or sitting quietly, playing dominoes or looking at flash cards and talking about trips – that is a more peaceful way to be.

My wish for you (and for me) is that we meet our experiences and challenges with grace and an open mind.  Allow them to change us for the better but never reduce us.

Thank you Maya Angelou for these wise words.

– Tara Reed

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