Hello! This afternoon I am getting right to the content, so grab a cup of coffee, tea, or … whatever (is it too early for wine?) and join me if you feel so inclined.
In case you’re new around here or missed my previous sessions, they all stem directly from the discussions I attended during a women’s weekend retreat hosted by my church earlier this month. I have received a lot of great feedback on these posts, so I am continuing on to finish off the series with two more sessions. I hope you’re ready for ’em!
Session 3: Embracing the Role You Never Wanted
As I previewed each session subject in our pamphlets, I wasn’t sure what to think of this one. Embracing the role you never wanted… that’s a thinker.
After the introductions and warm-up into the session was over, the lights went down and spotlights appeared on four women wearing backpacks on stage. Each one told a short story of who they are and what role they never thought they would have to take on.
All stories were true, came from real life situations, and ended with nothing but the following words on stage:
Our speaker, Kristen, opened the discussion by sharing her background story of what seemed to be the perfect life.
After graduating college, she married a great man, moved to a new city with him, bought a nice house, and started a family. She was living the American Dream.
(Or so she thought.) At that point in the story, she walked over to a large camouflage bag with what appeared to be boxes inside. Unlike Santa Clause, she went on to describe how she unwillingly carries her satchel filled with past troubles and hard times around with her. Not gifts.
She didn’t say this, but I also think the camouflage also gave the illusion that we may seem strong and put together on the outside, but all have concealed inner struggles going on the inside.
Her story continued by showing how quickly life can change. After complaining about his neck hurting, Kristen took her son to get examined by a doctor and, eventually, he was diagnosed with lymphoma. Her ten-year-old son had cancer, and it wasn’t in the first stage.
At this moment, she felt alone. She became one of those women on stage.
For a while, she wore a brave face. She took care of her son to the best of her abilities and did everything with a smile. She knew it was her job to keep him happy and healthy and she was going to do her best to assure that’s what would happen.
As the months passed by, the treatments became more aggressive, and her mentality weakened. She spent weeks at a time living at a hospital and said the hardest part of it all was watching her son getting treated by doctors dressed in what looked like astronaut outfits. No matter how hard she tried, she had to be on the outside and watch her son go through the pain and suffering without her help.
I’m not a mother, so I can’t even begin to relate or know how hard this must have been for her, but I do know that watching anyone I love that much go through something that hard, knowing there’s nothing I can do to help them would break my heart.
Before long, the brave face became harder and harder for Kristen to portray. She was angry with God for putting this hardship in her life and questioned the motives. Why her? Why her little boy? Why now?
She described her lowest point as going up to her husband, weeping, saying she quit. She didn’t want to be this mother. She just couldn’t do it anymore.
The response she received was the exact opposite of what she expected. No “take the day off honey, you deserve a rest” or “I understand, and it’s going to be okay”s were spoken.
Instead, her husband held her tight and with a stern voice told her she IS that mother. It’s not role someone can quit. Whatever is required of her is what she is going to do.
When he needs to be carried to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, she will help him. When he needs to be spoon fed when he can’t eat on his own, she will do it. When he is tired and hurting, she will do her best to keep him positive and get the most out of each and every day.
He was telling her to embrace the role she never wanted.
This is the point in the story where I started feeling a connection to her.
My thoughts returned to the words left on stage and got me thinking.
Through all of the crazy, imperfect, and unexpected events that happen in our lives, we are all bound to take on at least one of these roles. If not most of them.
I realize that some people are directly affected on a much larger and more personal level than others, but at one point or another, all of us experience some kind of role we never wanted.
It’s there, it’s reality, and it happens whether we like it or not. Even when we’re not ready for it.
You quickly become the person you never saw yourself being, and you’re staring the rest of your life in the face with the option of embracing that role or continue carrying the camouflage bag around with you.
Which do you choose?
I feel fortunate for never having to directly experience the first two roles mentioned above, but I can’t say the same for the latter. No matter what it may look like from the outside, nobody is perfect and nobody bypasses the struggles.
What you learn and how you come out of the hard times is what shapes the attitude and outcome of the rest of your days.
The biggest take home I got from this session is that we aren’t alone. We all deal with our own struggles, and we react by choosing to dwell in them or move forward.
We morph into that person who went through this and that, and tend to carry the past issues to the present. Those four powerful words is what we define ourselves as, and we have to get past that.
How we handle the hard times is what shapes our future, and we either ignore the lessons or embrace them.
Embrace them. ♥
Previous Session Discussions: