Sunday, May 8, 2011

You Live, You Learn

I have a few thoughts floating around in my head. These songs keep coming back to me, and I'd like to share my scattered thoughts as well as these songs with you. Keep in mind I chose videos of these songs that had lyrics (so they are not the artist's official videos). I hope they inspire and cause as much reflection for you as they have for me. (P.S. Remember to pause the music player at the bottom of the page before playing the videos otherwise you will have a hard time listening to the videos).

At this point in my life, if I had to choose a life's anthem, this song would be it. I cannot even begin to express the truth in this song. It's been so applicable to my life.

I mean is there anyone out there that can honestly say that there is no truth or depth to these lyrics. "You live, you learn." Everyday that I have on this earth I learn something new. Something new about me, about my family, about God, about life, about my friends.. The list could go on and on for pages and pages. It's true, and it's my motto, well, at least at this point in my life. I often think about what the soundtrack of my life would sound like, and I have no doubt in my mind that this would be the cornerstone of my life's soundtrack.

"And it's crazy to think that one little thing could have changed all this.." Wow. Have you ever thought about that? Where would your life be if you'd taken a right instead of a left? What would your life look like if you'd gone here instead of there?

When I reflect on decisions I've made, and wonder how different my life would be if I'd done the opposite of them, it's a little scary. I mean who doesn't wish that they could at one point or another take back the crazy, stupid, reckless, irresponsible, childish, wild things they've done? Is there nothing in your life you've regretted, or hoped for a "do-over"? Like I said, "One little thing could have changed all this."

There's times where I've really doubted a lot of my choices, and felt ashamed or regrettful of certain decisions. I'm not going to lie, but from the age of about 13-16, I did some really stupid things that probably should have left me dead somewhere, but only by the grace of God did I make it through.

I've wondered why I could be so reckless and careless for a young boy who cared more about me than I could have ever understood at 15. And I've wondered why the other boy I thought would love me forever at that same tender age could cast me aside after taking far more from me than he could have ever deserved. And I've also wondered why I could be stupid enough to allow myself to get wrapped up in yet a different guy that scarred me in more ways than one - and how I could be stupid enough to continue to endure a physically violent and volatile relationship. This last guy stole more from me than anyone in my life ever has, this is the one that still has open wounds and will probably always cause me to have nightmares. There are so many things in my early teenage years that should have gotten me killed, and I know it wasn't by luck that my life was spared.

I should regret the behavior that got me grounded in May of 2000. After all of the above took place in 1999, I was at a point where I really didn't like myself, and didn't really care what happened. I was so lost, and so confused. Although I was 16 at the time (and did have a valid driver's permit) I did NOT have a driver's license. One of my girlfriends and I convinced her mother to allow me to drive her car. We knew it was wrong. I knew it was wrong. I knew it was illegal. I also knew that if I got caught I could probably kiss any chance of having a driver's license in the near future goodbye. Again, I didn't care.

Again, by the grace of God, my life was spared. My friend and I had stopped at a local ice cream place to have some treats. The car was parked in the parking lot next to the building. We were in line waiting to order when all of a sudden a person came careening off of John R and smacked into the rearend of my friend's mother's car. The person who caused the accident was having a stroke or seizure at the time and had lost control of their vehicle. It was a freak thing. And of course now I had to explain how the car got there when neither one of us had a license. So I did the only sensible thing a stupid, irresponsible, reckless teenager can do, I lied. I lied to the police. Suffice to say, they didn't buy my story. My mother was called. I was grounded. Which given the offense was probably a very mild punishment compared to what I really deserved. The police didn't press charges.

It was this accident that led me to one of the most important events of my life. The event that would shape the rest of my teenage years and lead me to where I am today. Since I was grounded without any chance of parole, I begged to be allowed to get a job. I thought at least this way I could get out of the house. Since it was summer my mother agreed that I could get a job, but I would still be grounded. I could go to and from work but that was it.

The first place I applied for, Target, hired me on the spot. I was to work in the food court and cashier occassionaly. I was excited to have a reason to leave the house again. On July 5, 2000 (which was my 2nd or 3rd day of work) I was working with another new face. This co-worker (named JJ) would be showing me the ropes of closing the food court for the night. It was this night that God delivered my soul mate right to me. It was on this night that I would meet my future best friend, husband, lover, and father to my children.

Hindsight is 20/20 they say. It couldn't have been truer. If I hadn't had my heart broken, if I hadn't been involved with a violent person, I would have never got to the point that I did. All of those stupid things led me to the stupidest thing of all, driving without a license. And all of these wrong turns, these dead ends, led me to where I am today. I am saved. I am forgiven. I am happy. I am married to the man of my dreams. I am a proud Army wife. I am thrilled to be a mother.

So that leads me to this last song. I know that He loves me. I am living proof that try as I did to mess up my life and hurt my body and soul with my irresponsible behavior, God loved me more. He had and still has a plan for my life. I can let go of these regrets because He forgives me, and He will always love me. I serve a faithful, loving God. And although I may not understand why things are hard sometimes, I have no doubt, whatsoever, that my life and future are in His hands, and He will never EVER, give up on me or leave me. He loves me even when I don't deserve it.

Learn from your mistakes, and never doubt that those choices you've made have led you to where you are today. "Life ain't always beautiful, but it's a beautiful ride."

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