Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Things I Cannot Change

The most painful things in life are the ones over which we have absolutely no control. They are the ones that hit you so hard in the gut that it knocks the air out of you and all you can do is stand there and take it. It is what it is... there's nothing you can do about it... it can't be changed.

Sometimes the victory isn't making progress... it's just trying to keep from being completely annihilated.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Rainbow in the Clouds

"There will always be a righteous minority within mankind, who despite the vapors, will be ready and willing to accept the burden and beauty of arching bravely and steadily heavenwards; to touch some of heaven's radiance from beyond, then curve gracefully back towards the earth --thus banishing the gloom from within their arc and filling the threatening atmosphere with the glorious ray of colors that are manmade reflections of G-d's truth and hope for mankind."

One of the things that absolutely fascinates me about Judaism is that it is not enough to be spiritual. You must also be practical. Spiritual principles once learned, enrich the soul. And yet, if they do not also serve to bring some betterment, some form of correction or healing to the earth then it has only served half its purpose. It is not complete.

"A rainbow signals that the present chaos is merely the storm before the calm."

Rainbows bring such a mixture of gravity and hope. It's amazing. They are a warning that once again mankind has reached the brink of G-d's patience and yet at the same time He is reminding us that there is always hope... never give up... no matter what.

Quotes from Tzvi Freeman's article posted at Chabad.org.

Sins of the fathers...

Somewhere it says that the sins of the fathers will be visited on the children... I can't remember where and at this point it doesn't matter to me. It's just that I remember. I do not believe that G-d will actually hold children responsible for what their parents did wrong. But the reality of it is that what your parents do directly effects you whether you like it or not. The choice that you have in this is whether or not it will effect you for the good or for the bad.

My father has made some terrible decisions. In fact, today I hate him. Actually there is nothing more to say. I hate him and what he has done. I hate him for the selfish coward that he has turned out to be.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

In between...

I think I figured out what part of my problem is of late. I have almost 9 months of official studying behind me. I think it has dawned on my subconscience that if I really want this, and if I really continue at the pace with which I started, it is very possible... not guaranteed... but very possible that in the next 6 - 9 months or so I could be converted.

In the beginning of my conversion process, I kept blowing off all the family issues as N/A in my case because I hardly ever see them... I mean literally I only see them a couple of times a year. How hard could that be? But as I get closer to accomplishing my goal, I guess I'm beginning to realize more and more exactly how much I am leaving behind, giving up.

I guess I was hoping it wouldn't matter. Silly me.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Conversion Burnout

It happens. People tell you all the time. 'Take it easy... take it slow... don't do too much too fast.' Of course the rabbi says it, but that's what he's supposed to say.

I think it is inevitable though, at least to some degree anyway. Converting to Judaism is like nothing else. And there is so much about it that you couldn't possibly begin to comprehend until you are actually doing it.

And so I step back.... unwillingly... for I must. I don't want the fire to die out. I don't want my dream to fade. I have to realize that I've reached my absorption level. I can't learn anything else right now, it wouldn't stick anyway. And that's OK. Hard to admit but I'm sure it is.

It gets to the point that you are afraid to say you have to slow down or stop for awhile because somehow that might get back to the rabbi. Then he won't think you are sincere and he'll make you wait a whole extra year just to prove your sincerity... and on and on. It can really get to you.

And when you're not yet married, and you have to wait until you decide what you want to be when you grow up... it makes it especially hard to put on the brakes. And yet it must be done.

I've never been an introvert in my life, but I see myself turning into one and that is not a good sign for me. Crowds scare me. Questions scare me. I use to love to tell my story. Now I just hate saying my name... my very non-Jewish name.

And so that is where I am. Where I will be tomorrow... I do not know. But that I must leave in the hands of the One, Who has already seen the face of my beloved and knows the names of my little ones. May Hashem keep them safe until we can all be together in His time and His way.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

To my sisters

I am missing my sisters very much. The further I go on my journey to conversion the harder it is to leave them behind. I grieve for simpler times. Memories shared. Common bonds and the connection of having been born into the same family. Same parents. Same room. Same dog. Old jokes that now make sense to no one, but me. The familiar drive way. The big van. Coming home. Laurel and Hardy. John Wayne. Grandpa.

Then we grew up. It is gone. And gone forever. It is bridge that cannot be recrossed. Nothing and no one can replace them for me. I cannot take them with me on my journey for their path has forked off and gone a different way. Always they will be in my life, but never the same. All we had was when we were little and although we experienced the harshness of life we did not comprehend. We didn't know we were angry, nor with whom.

Perhaps what I grieve is imagined and not real. Distant memories, now altered to ease the pain of what never was. Perhaps I grieve what might have been. I do not know. I only know that I am grieving. I do not wish for a minute to turn back... but still the tears must come. It is all apart of the journey.

To my sisters. I will forever love you, no matter where I go.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Maturity of the Soul

The ultimate elevation of the soul is to find it has purpose. To discover that it is not here simply to be, but to accomplish, to heal, to make better. In that moment of discovery, the soul graduates from being G-d's little child to become His representative.

From the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe; rendered by Tzvi Freeman.

Latest messages from the universe...

Lesson #1
I have learned I cannot be so arrogant as to presume to know why G-d does anything, good or evil.

I can only know the lessons I learn from the things He allows to happen to me and the people He allows to cross my path. G-d uses circumstances to guide me, not to explain why.

Lesson #2
I cannot be so arrogant as to presume to know the purpose of another human being. G-d created EVERY human being with a purpose.

However, I can only discover and know the purpose of my own life and choose to fulfill it. I cannot judge the place or circumstances I may find another person in because I do not know the journey they are on nor where they have come from.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Cliched Truth

Today I struggle with doing enough. As the war for the soul of Israel rages I know I should do more, but what, when, how? I can't get away from the thought that ultimately good must prevail. G-d is goodness and He is the one who created everything, the good, the bad and the ugly. Evil is something He uses for a higher purpose we can't understand.

Therefore in the meantime what do we do? I think about trusting Him, and I do. I think about loving Him, but how do I show it?

As I thought about this I thought about how I'd love to reach out and touch Him. To show in my most human way that I love Him. I would love to hug G-d. It's how we show we care. I'd love to go cook Him dinner or buy Him groceries or make Him a present. It made me very sad to think that I can never touch Him.

But then it dawned on me and we've all heard it a million times before, but the Truth isn't hard, it's always right in front of us, precisely within our reach.

We CAN touch G-d. We can hug Him, shake His hand, show Him we care. We can go buy groceries or bake a cake... any number of creative ways that we can think of to show that what is happening matters to us and that we want to make a difference.

You guessed it.... Ahavas Israel ..... Ahavas Ha Olam

The person sitting next to you, your next door neighbor....whomever it may be. It sounds old and worn out, but that is how the Creator set it up. He wants us to love him by loving those we can touch.

Ground Troops

I have struggled for a long time with the concept of freewill. If G-d is in charge of everything and controls everything, then where is the freewill in that.

In my most cynical days the concept of freewill sounded like a way to give G-d the credit for all the good stuff that happens while blaming us for all the things that go wrong.

But while talking to a friend recently about the many ways that G-d works in our lives, Hashem had mercy and finally put this image in my mind... a soldier flattened against the ground while elbowing his way through the thick underbrush. Hidden by his camaflauge, the sweat pours down his face in the hot jungle... he reaches for his radio. He is in enemy territory.

Then it hit me. This is life. This is how it works. Of course Hashem controls everything, He made everything. But to every soul, Jews and non-Jews alike He gave a mission that literally only that person can complete. The mission is critical and must be carried out. Lives lay in the balance. The stakes are very high.

Hashem is our radio tower, our intelligence officer. Only He can tell us where the enemy is and how to avoid the traps that have been laid for us. Only Hashem can tell us the direction to go for supplies and ammunition. Step by step He will guide us. And that is where the law of freewill kicks in. Only if we choose to use our radios, (you guessed it... prayer, along with teshuva to keep the lines of communication open), to ask Him for those directions. IT IS THAT SIMPLE. If we choose not to ask for help we have turned our very existence into a suicide mission. Our souls WILL die.

Ultimately Good will triumph, Evil cannot win. But in the end G-d doesn't want even ONE soul to be lost to the enemy. He has provided us with ABSOLUTELY everything we need in the power of freewill to make sure that never has to happen. It really is up to us.

Is your radio on?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Same Page

Ok... I have been officially blown away. I just came back from a Chabad Lunch 'n' Learn that is held in my building every Thursday.

We learned about tzaddiks versus the average person. Tzaddiks have no struggle with right or wrong, they always desire to do Hashem's will. The average person has no control over their own desire to sometimes do things contrary to Hashem's will. They have to control their actions which are the garments that cover the neshama.

I am not doing this much justice, but hopefully you get the idea. Tzaddiks always do good because they don't desire to do anything else. The average person has to struggle to choose to do good.

I then returned to my desk after this lesson and read the Chabad 'Thought for the Day', which is always taken from the Rebbe's writings.

And this is what I found...

Maybe you feel you just can't hack it. You know there is nothing to fear, but you are afraid. You know there are no obstacles that cannot be overcome, but those, you claim, are words for the lionhearted. Your heart is somewhat less of iron and more of flesh. You know fear first hand, and it is ugly.
It's true, there are people who do not run from anything in this world. Even as they enter this world, they remain above and beyond. Their feet barely touch the ground.
They are the tzaddikim, who never enter the monster's lair. And therefore, they never truly defeat him. But you, with their strength, you will face that awesome fear inside you and you will wrestle it to the dust. For yourself and for all those after you.

From the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe; words and condensation by Tzvi Freeman. To order Tzvi's book, "Bringing Heaven Down to Earth, click here.

Coincidence?.... I think not! Isn't Hashem awesome!!!


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

When You're Smiling...

When you're smiling, when you're smiling,
The whole worlds smiles with you,
When you're laughing, when you're laughing,
The sun comes shining through...

And so begins one of my favorite songs of all time made famous by one of my most favorite people of all time... Judy Garland.

I recently found out that this was one of my grandfather's favorite songs as well. :)

And I have found out just how true this song can be...

I woke up in the middle of the night very tense. I got up and walked my dog and then tried to lay back down. I wanted to turn on the TV just so there would be something to drown out my brain which would not stop. I started to talk to G-d... just whatever popped into my head, but I wasn't 'feeling' any better. Then I remembered what I've heard many times about Rebbe Nachman. He taught that you must force yourself to be happy no matter what. You have to fight with everything that is in you. He said that G-d can't speak to you if you are unhappy (loosley paraphrasing). I didn't feel like getting up to dance or skip or anything, so I just lay there and forced all my face muscles up into a very tight, insincere smile. After a few minutes I began to imagine how silly I must look with this maniacal grin on my face and the smile became a bit more genuine. :-)

Then the most amazing thing happened... I literally felt something release inside me, starting with the hard knot of tension that lay in my chest. The pressure came streaming out like air from a popped balloon. I felt every muscle in my body relax in succession all the way down to the bottom of my feet and up to the top of my head. My fists unclenched as my head sank deeper into my pillows and my brain stopped spinning. It was absolutely incredible and better than any massage I'd ever had!

Finally I fell asleep again and slept like a baby.

It was really like a miracle. Who knew a smile could be miraculous? :-)

Of course this goes to prove my life-long theory of "he who laughs most, lives longest". LOL!

Keep on smilin'!


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

In the middle...

...I'm feeling very 'in the middle' these days. I am still quite a ways from my goal of conversion and yet the closer I get the stronger the pull becomes and more I want to get there, faster. At the same time I know I have to maintain the steady pace that I've set for myself. That is so hard to do. What can I say...

I guess some day I'll look back on these random posts and smile... G-d willing

On the journey...

...I am feeling so 'verklemped' these days, as they say. Can't seem to stop crying. And for all the progress I'd like to think I've made there are days when I feel as if I've regressed right back to a three-yr-old again.

I'd like to stop crying. I hate going to work anymore and I hate being alone and I hate that I can't seem to stop watching television even though I want to. I can only stand the dead silence for so long... anyway...

That's just where I am at... on my journey.


Monday, April 17, 2006

The Chol Hamoed Blues

So this was my first Pesach in the community. I was invited out for both seders and every meal during the first days. I absolutely loved it. I met so many people in the community that I had seen but didn't really know. I made so many new friends and lost count of how many times I told my story.

Today I am crashing hard. I guess I just haven't really had time to process everything that happened. Also, as wonderful as it was, I felt very stretched by the experience. And in a way it was kind of scary. I really had to come out of my comfort zone and it is hard to show up at an orthodox event and say your name when you don't yet have Jewish one. And my name is extremely "un-Jewish".

And I have not yet factored in the three visits I had with my sisters in one week just prior to Pesach. And while they were actually quite lovely visits, I still find it emotionally taxing to be around my family.

And so I find myself trying to comprehend all that has happened. I want to laugh at myself because it was good stuff but I'm not reacting as if it were, but it's probably normal and I'll probably bounce back just in time for the last days...:)

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Long Haul

I can honestly say that in my entire life I have never been happier, never more content.

Just ask my grandmother. She's thrilled. Everytime I talk to her she tells me how she doesn't worry about me anymore.

Certainly I haven't arrived and I mean "happier, more contented" comparatively speaking. But it is true and having direction in my life and such a real connection with Hashem has brought me alot of peace.

It has also made my Yetzer Hara stronger. Oddly enough, when you are a Christian you are taught that the closer you get to G-d the harder it will be for "Satan" to get to you.

Judaism, as always, offers the reality check that it is not "Satan" who is our true enemy, but our very own selves, the evil inclination within us.

Whether I like it or not it's not going anywhere and the harder I try and the stronger I get, it just grows right along with me. It's like a work out partner that never lets you stop...:)

So even though I'm happier, more content with a clear direction, I now face the real me and think often to myself that I will never make it. The end of my journey to convert seems so very far away and even when I'm "official" the "journey" doesn't end. Sometimes I get tired just thinking about it. It's how I feel in these few minutes. Very shortly, however, I will probably think of some small victory that I have won today over my Yetzer Hara or some milestone that I have reached and it will bring a smile to my face and a thrill to my neshama.

And then my Yetzer Hara will smile right back and demand a 100 push ups or 50 more laps around the track...


Monday, February 27, 2006

Olympic Measure

Recently a friend of mine posted the following Rebbe Nachman quote on her blog:

The whole battle is over a hairsbreadth. In other words, If someone wants to be victorious all in one go, it's impossible. But if all you have to do each time is move one hairsbreadth forward, you can! All you have to do is take a little step from bad to good.

As I was watching the Olympics this year this quote came back to my mind. Almost all of the games are measured down to the 1/100 of a second or 1/100 of a point. In the fastest game in the Olympics, the luge, it is measured down to 1/1000 of a second which on the ice comes down to a mere 1/4 of an inch. The games are so competitive that the difference between gold and bronze is often no more than the blink of an eye, literally, a split second.

These Olympians train for four years, morning, noon and night. They eat, sleep and breathe their sport in order to improve by just "a hairsbreadth".

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Understanding the Redemption

My whole life I lived in fear of the end of the world. I was raised in a fundamental Christian group who believed emphatically in the rapture or 'second coming'. As a little girl I constantly worried about being 'left behind', not being good enough, or making a fateful mistake right before this hoped for, yet dreaded, event and being deemed unworthy of redemption. This was especially scary, because we were taught that those who were 'left behind' had to suffer through a three and half year long bloody war and then they got to go to hell.

When I left Christianity, I no longer believed in the 'end of the world' or the rapture because I no longer believed in JC and since at that time I had no idea what to believe, I just chose not to think about it because the whole idea still freaked me out so much.

Therefore when I came to Judaism and started my conversion process, the absolutely hardest thing for me to accept was the concept of Messiah and the 'redemption', which for me sounded a whole lot like the 'end of the world'. Because I knew so little of the Jewish concept of the redemption, it really sent me into a panic. I didn't want to have to spend every moment of the rest of my life once again waiting for the world to be turned upside down. I talked to my Jewish friends about it and they explained that the Jewish concept of the 'end of the world' was not even comparable to the Christian view. First of all Messiah's not G-d and the world doesn't actually end. This was hard for me to grasp, but over time it began to sink in and little by little I became less afraid, but I still didn't quite understand.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of hearing a Katrina survivor tell her story. And her story has given me an entirely new perspective of the coming of the Messiah and the 'redemption'. She spoke of a concept I hadn't quite connected to the redemption. I know it has been mentioned and my whole life I've heard the scriptures of how the messianic age would usher in peace between everyone, 'the lion will lay down with the lamb', etc. But it just hadn't clicked yet exactly what that meant. But when I heard a real life story of a recent event that actually was for her a taste of the redemption, it finally became something that I can REALLY look forward to.

This lady had already lived thru the world being turned upside down. There was literally complete darkness, no electricity, no water, no food, no safety. Murders over gas shortages. Horrors beyond human belief. If that doesn't sound like the end of the world, I don't know what does. And it was the end of the world for those people. It was the end of their world as they knew it. They can rebuild, but it will never be the same. Many people will never return. Those who do return have to start all over. But at the same time, this lady (she is the Rebbetzin of a Chabad shul in New Orleans) said that although she never wanted to go thru something like that again, she would not trade this experience for anything in the world. I was amazed at this statement. It sounded like hell, how could she say this? Then she explained that in the experience she had seen a glimpse of the redemption. In the midst of all the chaos, people came together. They risked their lives to rescue others. A curtain was pulled back and life's true priorities were brought into clear focus in the light of seemingly meaningless disaster. Communities became valued over individual ideals and people were valued over possessions. Families were bound tightly together and strangers became family.

Her story brought tears to my eyes. Finally I understood what the Jewish people mean, when they beg for Messiah to come, for the redemption to come. Sure it will be ugly. It will probably even be dangerous and we may have to wait a little longer and pray a little longer and be patient a little longer, but in the end we will all know why we are really here on this planet and the peace won't come from a magical wand that gets waved over the 'ashes of the wicked'. We still have to work it out ourselves, with the help of G-d. And we will. One day we are going to 'get it'. We are going to come together just like we were always supposed to..... and that will truly be Redemption.

May it be today!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Weight Watchers & Keepin' Kosher

Recently I joined Weight Watchers (based on some good advice from a very dear friend). I didn't have alot to lose. I had just reached the magical age where my metabolism was no longer bailing me out of my bad eating habits...:) And so mostly I joined to retrain myself in all the things my mother had tried to teach me when I was 10. More broccoli, less chocolate. No it's not that bad... of all the programs out there, WW seems to be the most balanced and you don't have to give up anything, you just have to eat less of certain things and more of others. No miracles, just alot of previously-never-applied-because-I-didn't-have-to common sense.

What in the world does this have to do with keeping kosher? Well, up until this point I was still wondering how in the world I was ever going to live without being able to pop into Burger King and the local pizza shops whenever I wanted to. I wouldn't be able to order in. I'd have to *gasp*... cook it myself! And although I didn't really worry about it alot, I still wondered how hard it would be.

Then after almost 2 months on WW, it dawned on me that I had already given up all those things without kosher being the reason for any of it. They were simply too many points to be worth it!! LOL!!

So now, keeping kosher seems a little less daunting and my mom would be quite proud of all the vegetables I consume! LOL!! (I've learned that a little olive oil makes everything taste better and it's good for you too!)

It was a lesson I never expected to learn just by trying to lose a few pounds.

I just love when I realize that G-d has been showing me something all along and I didn't even know it!


Monday, February 06, 2006

The All Merciful One

Recently I was talking to a friend about being tested by G-d. She said she believes G-d tests us not so He can see what we are made of, but so that we ourselves can see what we are made of. It really made sense. G-d is all-knowing. He already knows how we are going to react or what we are going to do. He doesn't need to test us to find out. But when we weather a test or make it thru hard times or overcome temptation, our confidence is built and our emunah is strengthened. Little by little we are able to see that we are capable of serving Hashem with pure hearts and strength of purpose.

This is very encouraging to me. G-d tests me so I can see that I can serve and trust Him. I have also tested G-d by praying right out loud for things that I feel are beyond my control or for things for which I do not yet feel I have the strength to handle. I have been amazed every single day for He has not yet left a prayer unanswered and I have felt Him holding my hand to help me walk thru that, which at the time, look like a burning wall of fire or an impossibly high mountain.

I want Him to know that I am thankful beyond words and grateful beyond measure. I tell Him everyday and just wanted to share about His faithfulness and mercy which have been to me far beyond anything I could have ever imagined and so much more than anything I could ever hope to deserve.

Baruch Hashem


Monday, January 23, 2006

Level of Difficulty

Whatever you do... NEVER tell G-d that you want to have more faith.

Well, actually, you should of course, but before you do you should be prepared for what is to come. He thinks much more highly of us than we do ourselves when it comes to what we think we can handle.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Ride of My Life

When I first started the conversion process someone said to me that it would be like a roller coaster ride. I was amused of course, but didn't have any idea what they were talking about.

Since then I have been moving right along, learning prayers, saying blessings, going to shul, classes... anything and everything that I could do to make me Jewish ASAP. But apparently I lost sight of something along the way because Hashem has seen fit to bring all that to a screeching halt. I must say I'm not happy about it. I was quite content to just roll along and do whatever it is that makes you Jewish. But recently, I was forced to look at the fact that the path I was on would be doing no more than I had as a Christian... what I was TOLD to do. Now I have to look at the WHY.... but why, I want to know, is the why so important. I've been racking my brains for days. And although I'm sure the answer is right there in front of me, it doesn't come. What difference does it make. I honestly don't understand why every person who comes to believe that Judaism is true doesn't just convert anyway.

Once you determine that something is truth, why ask why?

I think perhaps this stems from some leftover Christian programming, that in the long run would make it very hard for me to be Jewish or to have a real relationship with G-d... the kind He reallys wants to have with us. Or perhaps doing what I'm told without questioning is just easier. It comes naturally... I am the oldest of six children after all. Perhaps actually getting to know G-d terrifies me. Sometimes I don't pray for things, just because He will probably answer me and then I am confronted on another level with His reality.... if that makes any sense.

And although I am thankful that He loves me enough to make me think, I am also incredibly frustrated that this is so hard for me.

With hope that this stomach-in-my-throat plunge will soon swing upwards once again on the roller coaster that is conversion to Judaism and knowing that there is a reason for it all, I continue...


Thursday, January 05, 2006


Complete darkness
No voice answers
Cold, alone
Left in a daze, unprepared
Crushed beneath the weight of disbelief

The throat aches from too many tears
The heart breaks, too heavy with fear

Will tomorrow come, it seems unlikely
Swallowed up by the pain... desparately searching for a reason
to put one foot in front of the other

He whispers my name... I follow.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Spending wisely

I have recently learned some very good spending habits which have certainly made my life a lot better. It wasn't easy. It took a good two years to develop a spending plan that really seems to work for me and it is something that I continually refine as my life changes. For me the key to managing money was learning to live within the boundaries of the amount I make.

It occured to me today that what I learned about money can be applied to every aspect of life. Time management, food management (eating healthy) and one I had never thought of before... emotional management. I realized today (after having a good talk with a dear friend) that there have been many times (too many times) in my life that I have put myself into emotional bankruptcy. And just as I learned about money, I don't have to do that. Certainly there are emergencies that can't be avoided; that's a part of life. There are stressful situations in which we find ourselves unexpectedly. But even with money there is a category all by itself to save for the unexpected.

My emotional energy is just as precious and valuable as my money or my time. I need to be just as careful not to 'overdraw' my emotional bank account by planning too many emotionally draining events too close together, so that I have time to build up my reserves in between.

This past holiday season I didn't allow myself any space for mourning the fact that for another year my family still isn't and never will be the safe haven I had always hoped they would be. I just went thru the days as if they were no different from any other. Then my niece came to visit for a whole week, which was wonderful, but brought with it all the painful memories of how I was raised as a child. I see it happening to her and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. Then she leaves and I never took into consideration how much I was going to miss her and at the same time feel guilty for being glad to have the house all to myself again.

In the meantime, I am of absolutely no good to anyone around me because I have allowed myself to be completely spent.

I am most grateful for my friends. They are the balance in my life. They truly love me no matter what and love me enough to point out when I am acting like I've lost my mind. Sometimes they are the only way that I know something is wrong. But with G-d's help I will change that. I will be working on a new spending plan... an emotional spending plan. And the first thing I need to learn is my limits. How much can I handle? What times am I stronger/weaker than others? What emotionally draining events can be avoided, which can by limited and how can they all be on my own terms?

thankful for your continued prayer and support.... OTR

Strength in weakness

I am learning. Learning that admitting I can't handle something doesn't mean I am inadequate. It means I am honest. It means I have a clear perspective of what I can handle versus what I am not (and may never be) prepared to handle.

This is particularly difficult when it comes to family and when you have been raised with a 'hero' (the need to save the world) complex all your life.

I am much better than I ever was before as I had cut off from my family for many years. But recently I tried again, thinking I could be of some help and perhaps make up for all of the years that I couldn't be there for them.

I have learned things that I thought I already knew. That you can't help those who don't want to be helped, you can't make them want to be helped and anything done out of guilt, even the tiniest little bit only makes things worse.

I've learned that I can not, nor do I have to, stand by and watch my sisters continue to allow themselves to be used. I don't have to watch my siblings continually bullied by my father. I have chosen to walk away from that life and to live among people who have chosen sanity. I can only work on me. And when my sisters decide to walk away in search of help, they know where to find me. I have learned that I cannot go back to where they are to help them. I can only go forward and pave a path that they may one day choose to follow.

continuing... OverTheRainbow