As I sit here writing to you, the very first snow fall has started outside my south Dublin window. I am mesmerised by the fluttering white flakes as they chase each other to the ground below. They are each so different and beautiful in their own right. Winter is here early, and the white visitors contrast against the backdrop of autumn colours that my trees display; it is so beautiful that it is hard to keep my eyes from the window. So I stopped writing, wrapped my warm faux scarf around my neck and opened my window to really feel the white wonder, and breathe in the crisp cold air. So refreshing.
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Today I am relishing the thoughts of an impromptu walk I took yesterday in our city’s main central park. It was unplanned and turned out to be perfect. I found my deer friends, and captured a few beautiful photos of them, as I always do. Today I want to introduce you to one of them, he’s one of my favourites. I call him Scar.
When I go to the Phoenix Park, I always look out for Scar. This time I was more concerned about him because of a recent deer culling in the park, and I was not sure he was still with us. I was glad to see him. For some reason he tends to be a loner and wanders off on his own, something I love to do too. If you look at his face you will see why I gave him the name I have. To me, even with his scars, he is beautiful. And today, my friend, I want to tell you the same incredible truth is true about you.
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When we look at Scar, we see his outside wounds, and the proof that he has been hurt, but we also see that he survived what it was that hurt him. The battle left its mark on him but he lived on, and so will you dear reader. Scars are a sign that you are strong, that you overcame something that tried to take you out. Your battle may include disappointment, divorce, the loss of a dream, the realisation that life sometimes gives you what you do not ask for; and you have a choice to make.
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Your scars may be on the inside, where nobody can easily see them, they may be wounds that truly only you and those who you allow to come close can understand. Let me tell you that these wounds, whether internal or external, are things to be proud of because they are proof that you are stronger than the hurt, tougher than what tried to knock you down, and more resilient than the battles you have endured. Your scars tell others to hold on, and not to give up. They shine around your neck like a medal of honour, and you should see your scars as a sign of great victory, even in days of loss or pain.
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“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” ― Kahlil Gibran
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Look at this beautiful Fallow buck, who I have rightly named Scar; he is majestic and strong, and will hopefully live through many more battles, bravely using the skills he learned the hard way in previous encounters. In the same way dear friend, so are you. You are a strong soul with a mighty God who wants to walk through every battle with you. He promises to never leave or forsake you, but to be your refuge where there is found rest in and from the storms of life. Even if you already have scars, you are a display for His Kingdom, shouting gloriously to the world, that you never gave up or surrendered. Your scars tell a magnificent story!
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Scars are evidence of life, of risks, or trying new things, of fighting for something you believed in. They are proof that you moved out of your comfort zone and decided to be brave. So today, instead of hiding your scars, whether they are seen or unseen, choose to find someone who needs the story of courage that you carry in your heart. Tell them how you struggled, but that you are overcoming. Remind someone who is close to giving up, that they do not have to. Look for those who feel so isolated in their battle, and remind them that they truly are part of a great army of those who did not give up. This army may be scarred in many different ways, but their courage unites them. Each has a battle cry put in their heart by the Creator himself. Each one is as beautifully unique as each snowflake falling outside my window.
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Dear scarred one, your scars are the signs of strength and someone who feels weak today, needs to hear your story of strength!
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“Scars show toughness: that you’ve been through it,
For the past few days this phrase has rolled in and out of my thoughts…a lot. And every time it hushes me into contemplation. So today, surrounded by lemons and cough bottle, the morning sun beaming through my window, and a softly flickering fire in my hearth, I write to you…to speak softly yet directly to your heart.
I could write lots on this four-worded title, quite easily and elaborately, indeed until the cows come home…but that is not entirely what my intentions are; instead I want to share something of a gem with you that will shine hope and inspiration, and determination into that backbone of yours. When I ponder over the word broken it brings to mind many images. A person can feel broken from disappointment, unemployment, divorce, loss, disillusionment, sadness or grief. A season of brokenness can overcome a person who finds themselves in unplanned circumstances. Brokenness can come in many shapes and sizes, but one thing it conveys is that the person feels useless, undervalued or discarded. Here is where I want to jump in with a sunbeam and shed some light on this somewhat negative idea.
Think for a moment, about a crayon.
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(Yes, deep I know!)
When a crayon is broken, is it no longer a crayon? No. It still has all the colour and substance inside it prior to being broken, it has just experienced a change to its outer appearance. You may be walking through what feels like a tough battle, and though you feel like throwing your hands up in despair, don’t. Instead throw them up in victory because you are choosing to walk through this and seize your ever-welcome breakthrough. You are still that same person before life sent some things to challenge you. You still possess those amazing qualities that so many admire.
All of the essence of who you are is still within you. You are still that capable, intelligent, impressive individual now. You just need to keep being your amazing self and sit the storm out. Don’t let it weaken the dreams you have, or the value you assign to your potential. You can still colour, and you can still bring your marvelous colour into the lives of those around you.
Resist the temptation to give up. I love using broken crayons, they have an edge, sharpness and accuracy about them that an unbroken crayon just does not have. I can use it to get into tight corners and even leave a greater depth of colour than a blunt, unbroken crayon allows me.
So hang in there, whatever colour you are, you still have it. You still carry all of the great brightness and beauty that make you who you are. One day you will look back on this and see how it shaped and fashioned you into a stronger and more resilient person. Your true colours will keep shining through. You will walk out of this season with the durability and determination that only this season could have given you. Only those who have been lost in the storm are then able to help others find their way out of theirs. People need what you have, in fact they need it much more than you realise.
Find your ‘umph‘ again, turn your ‘try‘ into ‘triumph‘. Don’t worry, you are not on your own, there’s a lot of us right there with you.
Forrest Gump said that ‘Life is like a box of chocolates‘, and sometimes I think it’s also a lot like a ‘box of crayons‘. So today, remember that ‘Broken Crayons Still Colour!’
Sunday night, and I am too tired to study but it is too early to sleep. So here I am.
Today was wonderful. There are many reasons why. It is ‘Thanksgiving Sunday’ and that is always good news. Time to say thanks to a good God, for all the good times, good family and friends, and oh yeah, the good home-cooked food I just devoured…(homemade by me)
But I heard a sentence today that stopped me in my tracks. An hour later, well actually, several hours later, I am still thinking about it.
“Some people survive near-death experiences, but many spend their lives having near-life experiences…” (Well it went something like that I think, but you get the gist?!)
We all know what a near death experience is.
A near-death experience (NDE) refers to a broad range of personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body; feelings of levitation; total serenity, security, or warmth; the experience of absolute dissolution; and the presence of a light. These phenomena are usually reported after an individual has been pronounced clinically dead or otherwise very close to death, hence the term near-death experience. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-death_experience)
May I repeat the line? “Some people survive near-death experiences, but many spend their lives having near-life experiences…” After I heard the phrase, I erupted in laughter, nervous laughter. You know, that kind of laughter you find yourself in when you are facing an awkward moment or you want to squirm your way out of the present challenge. The thought instantly caused me to think about the many moments where life invites us to live, or we are faced with a choice to avoid a great adventure and sit that dance out. When I think of a near-life experience I imagine it is that point in life where we must make a critical decision, where we either live the life we want or we don’t.
So what do the majority of us do when the near-life experience presents itself? Do we run into the nearest telephone box, do our Clark Kent turnaround and spin out of there in our Superman outfit, ready to take on the world? I wish it were so. I think most of us see life sizing us up and we run away from meeting the challenge. So many do not survive these near-life experiences, we avoid those challenging steps that would take us on a new journey to the life we really wish we were living. Why? It takes more courage to believe in nothing than in something, and it takes raw guts to be someone who lives a fearless life. I don’t know about you, but I want to live UNAFRAID!!
I don’t want to reach the end of my life, only remembering the moments I almost lived. I almost dreamed. I almost loved. I almost conquered my fears. I almost fulfilled that incredible adventure. I almost made a difference. I almost became the person I was created by God to be. I don’t want to look back and live with that regret! How about you? I don’t want to see something inside of me die every time I walk away from the ‘almost’ things of a near-life experience. I want to really live. Fully alive and seizing every day like it were my last, for one day it will be.
‘The difference between school and life is, in school you are taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you are given a test that teaches you a lesson.’ (Tom Bodett)
In summary, can I say, grab life by the reigns, ride it for all you are worth. Be ready for those near- life experiences, the white-knuckle rides that scare you to pieces, but take you to heights you never dreamed possible! I am with you – I am doing this. Why, just today I took a leap of faith into the unknown to me, but known to God. And tomorrow I will do my best to look for another opportunity to not miss, to not sit out on, to have the best life experiences I can. I don’t want to miss a thing!
♥ ♥ ♥▬▬▬♥ Laugh, even when you feel too sick or too worn out or tired. Smile, even when you’re trying not to cry and the tears are blurring your vision. Sing, even when people stare at you and tell you your voice is terrible. Trust, even when your heart begs you not to. Sleep, even when you;re afraid of what dreams might bring. Run, even when it feels like you can’t run any more. And, always, remember, even when memories pinch your heart. Because the pain of all your experience is what makes you the person you are now. And without your experience – you are an empty page, a blank notebook, a missing lyric. What makes you brave is your willingness to live through life and hold your head up high. So don’t live life in fear. Because you are stronger now, after all this happened, than you ever were back before it started. (BY Alysha Speer) ♥ ♥ ♥▬▬▬♥