My Ladder of Life

As I scroll through my new website, I am overcome by a landslide of emotions.  I feel happy, sad, worried, scared and proud all at the same time. I am realizing that although I am fifty-four years old, my site reflects on the life and the challenges I have had in only the past five years.  Those struggles have launched my creativity to heights way beyond my field of vision. Maybe it’s because I’ve learned more about myself as a woman and as a mother than ever before. I have learned more about true friendship and now see who has been holding tight to the base of my life ladder, making sure I don’t fall down.

It’s easy to be surrounded by people when everything is wonderful.  It’s easy to be surrounded by people when you are the well and everyone stops by to take a drink or to fill their cup.  It’s easy to be the one to lend a hand or an ear.  It’s never been difficult to be that person.

What isn’t easy is watching people disappear when your well runs dry and the walls start to crumble.  When things don’t go quite the way they were supposed to.  When you have nothing to offer to help make someone else feel better anymore.  When the party is over and you become the one who needs the strength, or the hand, or the ear. It isn’t easy when the only sound you hear…………………… is crickets.

I’ve learned that life is about fortune and misfortune.  Life is about reflection and lessons learned. It’s about feeling grateful when you reach a certain age and realize what really matters.  Life is admitting that the only people that do matter are the ones who love you for who you are instead of for what you have. I’ve met many people in recent years that have changed my life significantly and I’ve also remained very close to the ones I hold close to my heart.  The ones that never left my side.

The past few years have changed me in ways I never imagined. My concept of strength was skewed.  I never realized how much strength it takes to admit you need help. I never had to ask before. Had I given so much of myself away, that my reservoir of strength had dried up?  I wondered if my need was masked. Did the courage I so easily handed out to others cause them to believe I could never be weak?

Although I can never be prepared for what life may throw on my path, I have reclaimed the things I need most to survive.  My strength and my faith. The past few years have challenged my faith.   I thought I had lost it along the way. It took some time, but halfway through I realized that it was me who was lost.

I’ve learned that sharing difficult times with people means as much as sharing the good ones.

I actually believe that sharing life’s struggles are worth more to others.  In this world of change, everyone seems to be dealing with something they are unprepared for.  We are searching for answers or at least someone’s words to help us get through. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. It has to do with the struggle. As parents we say “Do as I say, not as I do”. This is an example of the worst parenting skills ever.  When we show our kids that we handle life’s struggles without breaking down, they will learn to do the same.

The tough times are when we need the strength to keep fighting and hold on to faith, believing that it will all be okay in the end.  The strength and the faith to find hope in the seemingly hopeless.

This post is dedicated to my dear friend Johanne and to all the people in my life that have never let go of my ladder, no matter how difficult it was to hold on to.

- Anita