Sunday, September 19, 2010

Know Where You're From

My last two weeks have been filled with angst. Stress, frustrations, name it. It was not a fun time. All the while, I tried to resolve the situations one by one, rushing to fight the proverbial fires here and there, never feeling like I got anywhere and getting more and more irritated and exhausted by the hour.

My husband and boys went camping this weekend, which gave me a great opportunity to chill out, breathe, and see if I could find the big picture view to put the last 2 weeks into perspective. On my way to the library, I was listening to a Bob Marley CD. The lyrics to one of his songs go like this, "We know where we're going. We know where we're from." And there it was - the perspective to help me rise above it all and dump the angst.

I know from whence I come. All 4 of my grandparents were immigrants from Poland. They came with next to nothing and built lives and and raised families in a strange country. They may not have been educated and they certainly were not wealthy, but they were not afraid of hard work and they learned whatever they needed to know to raise their children and make sure they were educated. My grandparents were strong people, both physically and spiritually, whose courage, determination, and perseverance is at the root of the U.S. branch of my family tree.

As every gardener knows, what comes in through the roots of a plant is used to send out blossoms and, once those flowers are pollinated, ultimately nourish the fruit. As the roots of my tree, my grandparents' strength, courage, determination, and perseverance is in me. I come from a family of survivors. They faced fears and jumped over hurdles that I'm sure I can not begin to imagine, so why should I let some day-to-day irritations get the better of me? I don't have to leave my country for a chance at a better life somewhere else, I don't have to worry about feeding my family, I don't have to worry about my children's health or their educational opportunities. Life is relatively easy.

Once I remembered where I come from and how far we have come in 2 short generations, the stress and frustration of the past weeks melted away. I regained my focus, realizing that I'm a survivor. I'm strong and courageous. I live my convictions and teach my children to do the same. Nothing and no one will trample me for long, for I have the fortitude and perseverance to get right back up again and keep on going.

I tell you all of this so that, when life gets difficult, you, too may remember and draw strength from where you have come. We've all been beaten up by life. We've all lived through crises, drama, and trauma. And we are all still (hopefully) going forward.

Know where you're going and know where you're from. Look back for strength, look forward with hope and conviction, and keep following the path that you know to be right for you.

No comments: