A Loving Heart Knows No Boundaries

It’s that time of year again – Valentine’s Day!

Love is in the air. Perhaps for some, it is a time for reconciliation; for others, a time to find that special person. The strange thing about February 14th is that most will do extraordinary things to win someone’s heart. Flowers and chocolates are ridiculously priced while jewelry always makes a flashy appearance. Special gestures make for memories that will last a lifetime. At the core is our innate desire to “be loved” and this is accomplished by giving love in the hopes of a reciprocal response.

Yet for those who have lost their spouse along the way, this day of love can sometimes be a struggle especially after many years of marriage. The man who adorns his wife with those private gifts that only he has the special privilege of providing yet there comes a day when he cannot provide it for her anymore as she is no longer with him. The memories of past Valentines are fun to reminisce beginning with that very first one in which neither had much money to spend but lots of love to give. It’s an emotion that transcends any materialistic gift for that is the treasured memory which can never be taken away.

For those who have lost their treasured partner and anticipate being hurt this Valentine’s Day, I hope that you will find new love that will become an additional treasured memory for the present and future years to come but you have to allow it to happen in your heart. I have learned that the heart has the expansive capacity to love more than one person and to give love freely to others as well. To love another treasured partner will not erase the memories of your first love. The abandonment will only occur if you allow it to absorb your heart.

Choose to live and love freely this Valentine’s Day because your heart will be able to handle a new love! After all, you have already accomplished this many years ago when you replaced your love of being single by opening your heart to your first love – do you remember how you felt? Your heart has always had the capacity to love more than one person. You can experience that same joy once again. The only one stopping you is… YOU!

So I hope you will have a wonderful Valentine’s Day this year, honor your memories, and choose to make new ones. Determining to live your life one day at a time is a gift you can give to yourself – no one can ever take that away from you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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She Will Always Be In His Heart

My older son graduated from the police academy after enduring six months of intense stress, pressure, and physical strain. He almost quit halfway through the program and wondered if he was doing the right thing. He missed his mother and felt that since she was not here anymore, he didn’t have a reason to complete this training. I encouraged him to finish and do his best but that’s easy for someone who doesn’t have to wake up at 4am and working until midnight on a daily basis in the hopes of minimizing mistakes (only get two chances to pass any test with the physical and emotional exhaustion to boot).

Needless to say, I was honored when my son asked that we (my current wife and other son), along with my brother and my son’s soon-to-be fiance, share the platform with him as his badge was to be pinned by my brother (current peace officer). My brother had a difficult time pinning the badge as my son’s uniform was brand new. I’m sure he felt the pressure as the audience patiently waited for the pinning to get done (note: other family members had similar difficulties pinning their graduates as well).

Finally…the pin poked through the brand new police shirt and everyone clapped! My brother felt an overwhelming sense of relief as his job was completed even though it took longer than expected. Posing for the customary pictures with my son’s new police chief, we quietly vacated the stage for the next recruit to be honored. It was a proud moment for all of us!

The festivities after the ceremony was memorable as many of my son’s college friends attended to congratulate him along with many family and close friends who sacrificed their time to attend this special ceremony. What an evening it was! Surrounded by public safety personnel of various types including some from other states, we were ushered into this new family of peace officers this wonderful night. The keynote speaker stated it correctly – it really is the few who are in the news or choose to disrupt the public that are in the minority! The majority of people believe in and support our public safety officers for without them, chaos would be the alternative and that would be a disaster beyond measure!

Interestingly, a few years earlier, my son carried a picture of his mother (my late wife) when he graduated from college. It was in a picture frame and he held it for all to see. He explained that he wanted mom to share in his triumphant moment of graduating from college. I had wondered if, and how, he would repeat this same honor of his mother at such a sacred ceremony for the police academy graduation. There was much more structure compared to a college graduation. Obeying orders in a military fashion was the dominant rule throughout the night. There were family hugs and pictures taken but only at the time of the pinning – all other times, it was meant for the aura of a future peace officer. Tonight, my son needed to simply have his mother’s memory in his heart only.

The very next morning, he confessed that the reason why my brother, had such a difficult time pinning his badge was that my son placed a picture of his mother in his shirt pocket above his heart – yes, the very location in which the first pin penetration needed to occur. He forgot to mention this and couldn’t whisper it to his uncle but was thankful that my brother moved to another spot on the shirt to complete the task.

I believe that, even in death, my dear wife guarded her son’s heart through his inadvertent placement of a simple picture at just the right location.

Yes, even from Heaven, mom was proud and protective of her baby boy growing into a young man today!

To Protect and Serve!!!

Angelic Reminder….

It was nearly six-and-a-half years ago that I lost her to cancer. Nothing would bring her back to me but I had everything to look forward to in reuniting with her one day. What a glorious day that will be when we are reunited with our loved ones who have gone before us. That’s the hope we have as believers in Jesus Christ and His promise of Salvation.

In the meantime, we who are left behind must continue to live on and make life adjustments to accommodate our losses. Some would say that our departed loved ones have become our “guardian angels” yet no one knows that for sure, What I do know is that God will never leave us nor forsake us – it’s His choosing of “which” guardian angels would watch over us.

Yet as the years seem to pass through time like the fog across the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco, our hearts still yearn to have our loved ones back, even for a visit. Not a day passes when I don’t think about my departed wife as her image is reflected in our children’s faces. So it’s a special blessing when God allows some type of vision to appear to let us all know how she is doing in Heaven. In fact, the last time I saw a vision of my wife was shortly after she went home to be with the Lord. Her silhouette appeared at the bottom of the stairs one evening when I was reflecting on the loss and thinking about what to do next. As her image caught my attention, her beautiful smile seemed to tell me that she was OK. In the blink of an eye, it appeared that her image proceeded up the stairs – I ran to see more of her image but alas, it was gone. That was over six years ago.

Today was a blessed day!

My son returned home from church (I was in incapacitated) and told me that while he was praying, God revealed a vision to him. He could see his mother dancing with the angels at God’s feet. She was happy and without pain or sorrow. This gave my son much comfort as he misses her dearly (as we all do). He shared it to let me know that God still loves us and wants us to know that she is OK in Heaven. What a comfort to hear this vision from my son (he was only ten years old when she passed into Heaven).

Yes, I believe there are angels looking over us and I believe that God chooses His timing to reveal blessings to us. I just wished I would have had the same vision that my son had today but hearing him tell it in his words was more powerful than my selfishness in wanting to see the vision and keep it to myself.

Do you have a story about how God revealed a blessing to you? I’d love to hear about it.  Please post your story!

The Dawn Of A New Day

As the sun rises above the horizon, I appreciate the opportunity to live a brand new day! The events that happened yesterday are in the past. My only options are to evaluate and learn from those previous experiences OR to ignore its very existence.

In golf, only the current shot matters! How you arrived at the current ball location becomes irrelevant because your next shot is the only important thing to focus upon. However you hit the shot, it will still count as ONE stroke on the scorecard. The outcome will depend upon your current and present state of mind as you position your body, the club, and your stance. Commitment is the key to making a great swing for a positive desired outcome! When your mind wanders back to “how” you arrived at this current shot (good or bad), your focus is not entirely true to your mental capacity at-hand. Oh yes, there’s the question of whether you have the correct club for this current shot and that depends upon the uncontrollable elements around you such as the landscape of where the ball lies (rests on the ground) and the current surroundings that nature provides (wind, sunlight, haze, rain, etc). One may believe that one is in TOTAL control of their shot when in fact, there are hidden elements that will alter the decision-making process.

Such is life (IMHO)!

How you arrived at your current day does not always rest upon the decisions you made yesterday. Time moves on without you so you may as well enjoy the ride. Unfortunately, you can’t change yesterday but you can focus on today. Your mental capacity will depend upon how you approach this day that you have been blessed with! Commitment is the key to making today a wonderful day. The uncontrollable elements in your life will occur as you step out the door. Maybe for some, it’s as soon as they get out of bed. It’s only uncontrollable if you fight against it – others choose to blend into these elements so that it becomes part of their fluid and ever-changing resolution to life.

An experienced golfer would acknowledge their uncontrollable elements and adjust their club selection, stance, swing, and mental capacity to accommodate this added element. A person who chooses to love his/her life will do the same – make adjustments throughout their day.

The other day, I had the privilege of saying “goodbye (for now)” to a dear friend who passed away suddenly on January 4th (in her sleep). We have known each other since 1986, lost contact in the early 90’s, and reunited only in the past few years. Though time has aged us a bit, our personalities were the “backspin” that rekindled our friendship and made us appreciate our past experiences. We have similar stories as we both have lose our spouses almost about the same time. It was sad to receive the news of her passing but we have the assurance that we’ll be reunited again someday. That uncontrollable circumstance, the sudden death, didn’t stop me from living. I will miss our conversations on the phone and will feel compassion for her adult children but my hope is that I can encourage them to live on as their mother would have wanted them to do.

My book, “Every Day Passes Is One Day Closer“, was originally targeted for one type of audience but I can see now that those who have lost loved ones could also benefit from my story as well.  I choose to have the courage to live  another day as I’m sure my friend would have wanted that.

What are the uncontrollable elements in your life and how are you incorporating them into your present day existence to ensure that those elements will not defeat you but will make you stronger?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts.