Remember To Stop And Smell The Roses
I've said this many times before: God is the same God of both the STOPs and the GOs of our lives... as well as the PAUSEs.
When He tells you to wait, it's often the case that He is preparing you for the journey ahead, which usually means tougher challenges and responsibilities, but also greater rewards. He wants us to seize this opportunity to take a moment to reflect on your circumstances, notice what's going on, and learn valuable lessons. Most importantly, He wants you to appreciate these lessons because they are essential to your progress. They are the tools you can rely on when dealing with the obstacles ahead.
Last year, God presented to me a few valuable lessons while I was at a pause in my journey... and these lessons came wrapped in the persons of three elderly women whom I will refer to as Mrs. B, Mrs. G and Mrs. F.
Mrs. B is unyielding when it comes to her routines and preferences. She knows what she wants and it's extremely difficult to introduce her to something new. She's hardly open to experimenting with new stuff, and in the rare occasions that she would agree to trying out something new, she would often conclude the experience by saying that she'd prefer to have it done the usual way next time. At the end of the day, the comfort and security that the old routine brings into her life is something she values most and remains to be very disciplined about.
Mrs. G has always been the outgoing and friendly one. She's always the first to greet everyone a "Good morning!" and "How are you today?". She always has something good to say to everyone she meets; always ready with a compliment in case someone is feeling down. From how nice your hair looks, to how beautiful your shirt is, to how smart you are and how she believes you're going to do well in your endeavor, she's always got something positive and encouraging to say to everyone.
Mrs. F was the one who always says "I love you sweetie". She can be annoying at times, especially because of how stubborn she can sometimes be, and how she tends to insist on doing something no matter how ridiculous the idea is - like that one time she wanted to paint an image of the neighbor's lily. However, when she expressed that she needed to look at the flower more closely - close enough to see the texture of the petals - before she could paint it, she wasn't implying on merely taking an up-close picture of it. She wanted someone to knock on the neighbor's door and ask them to snip one of their gorgeous lilies off for her! I've argued a few times with Mrs. F but at the end of the day, when she says "I love you", I forget about how much of a pain she can sometimes be.
Beginning this Thursday, I will no longer be seeing these women as I will be moving on to a new chapter in my life, and will be on my way to another place, but the lessons I learned from these women will stay with me for the rest of my life.
As I start the new year, I will remember to remain steadfast in my goals and just how I prefer my life to be, and that there is no shame in it. Life is what I make it, and under no circumstance should I compromise my beliefs, my values and my preferences... that I should be unyielding when it comes to living my life the way I want to.
In my intention to love myself more this year, I will remember to also aim to make others feel loved, appreciated and valued. Self-love isn't just about making a conscious effort to feel good about myself, but making others feel good about themselves too.
I will remember that it's perfectly fine to be stubborn when it comes to nurturing my passions. I'm an artist at heart and it's good to be reminded to never ever let that part of me slip into oblivion again. I will remember to continue nurturing my heart by staying true to who I am. That a lackluster life is what you're actually settling for if you're not willing to go against the grain - even at the cost of looking ridiculous - from time to time.
I will remember to say "I love you" more often to make sure that the people I love are made aware of how much I deeply and sincerely appreciate having them in my life... that my life would not have been the same if God didn't put them on my path. At the end of the day, isn't that what each of us is yearning for? To matter, to make a difference, to bring value to the life of another?
Last but not the least, these three women taught me that whatever you invested earlier on in your life will determine the harvest you're going to reap towards your twilight years.
To Mrs. B, Mrs. G and Mrs. F... you are the roses that God had planted in my Garden of Wisdom. No matter how busy I get, I promise to always remember to "stop and smell the roses" and reflect on the wisdom that I picked up from each one of you. I appreciate you, and I will always love you!