Rise Above: There will always be a Covid

Rise Above: There will always be a Covid

I remember sitting at my mama’s feet, as she tried to communicate with the customer service rep on the other end of the line. I am sure, me sitting there while she tried to make her point, was super helpful…why do our littles always sit right next to us when we are on the phone? She was being asked to repeat herself, over and over again…no doubt her accent was making it difficult for the person unwilling to just listen for a second. She put down the phone with disgust and told me to get my shoes on. We were going to go in person, “so that they can see that I have money and I am not stupid.” Before she hung up the phone, she asked for the person’s first and last name, a practice I use to this day to advocate for myself. I hope my girls learned lessons sitting next to me when I was on the phone!

Meeting in person did not always work. She also told me the story of when the Friendly Hills Country Club ladies came to “interview” her and they obviously did not see her as an equal. When she shared this story with me, she reflected that being refused was good information…better than being admitted and treated poorly. Even when the club changed some policies, she knew it wasn’t a home for our family.

My mother was anything but stupid. She came to the United States, brought by missionaries Chuck and Mary Olvey,  to attend their alma mater, where she graduated at the top of her class, in her second language. I still have a copy of the speech she gave at Biola’s graduation, typed out…a message to inspire others. In her life, she overcame obstacle after obstacle, with a grace that probably gave the impression that it came easily to her. As her daughter, I had a front row seat to some of the obstacles, and it wasn’t easy; she had a deep rooted faith and she refused to give up. And she refused to be mediocre.

Here is my mamacita getting her citizenship…fun day!
Green Card photo….how brave she was!

When California held a vote to make Spanish an official language, I learned how very wise she was….”If California says they are willing to loose language, a uniter of people, there will always be two or more groups, and the English speakers will always have the advantage.” Soon after, she began volunteering, teaching Hispanic adults to read and speak English. She also decided around this time to turn in her green card for United States citizenship, so she could vote.

In the last few years, I have been told by professors, friends who have differing political viewpoints, and popular culture, that my story and my mother’s story don’t count, in my perception of how to really change the world. That is fine. Maybe our story is just for us and the children I am raising.

My daughter is teaching dance in Waco, Texas, and after having classes via Zoom, for 10 weeks, some of the girls were not feeling ready to perform. She shared with me that she told those girls that there will always be a Covid, or a current event, or a personal struggle, that will impact their lives…but they have a recital to perform and they can choose to give it their best effort or give up. She has no idea that she inspired me that day. Sometimes in life, it just seems easier to give up. There is a temptation to forget how hard we have worked to get where we are, and in those moments, we can be willing to throw it all away.

Friends, is there a situation in your life that is beating you down? Is there a job situation, an illness, a broken relationship???? Are you tempted to give up, retreat, or forget that you have life to be lived? I have never met a person who didn’t have a situation in their life, where others were to blame, or the unfairness of the situation was unbearable. But we all do have the choice to press on. Every hero, every success story, has a moment in the story, where all the odds were against them, and they did. not. give. up.

Have faith. Do not give up. Refuse to be mediocre. Thank you, Mamacita, for the lessons you taught me, when I sat at your feet.

As always, let me know if I can help.

With love,

Sonia

 

Gratitude Is Not Faith

GratitudeI often meet with people who begin therapy with, “I have never told anyone this before.” Part of my job is to be an unbiased, objective listener so I am used to this pre-qualifier. I will never get used to what often follows. What often follows, is simply an honest admittance that life is hard and there is no one in this person’s life who will let them be real about life occurrences that happen to so many of us: illness, death, job loss, disappointment, addiction, betrayal, abuse, spiritual battles, and the list goes on. Why is it that so many have few people to share life with?

There is a wave in our society right now that is calling for “gratefulness”, for the abundance that the United States has experienced for a long time. It is true, that as a nation, we are rich in resources and opportunity. Most, and I don’t mean all, healthy people in the United States have access to some support, to live a life beyond the streets. For that, there absolutely has been a lack of understanding of what it means to live without and to fight daily, to simply live. When I travel with Thrive Ministries, around the world, I see firsthand, the poverty and degradation that many in our world are subject to. I serve a population of women sacrificing daily to see this eradicated, so the need for gratefulness is not lost on me. Our first world mindset often forgets that the majority of souls, living in this world, are every day facing the challenge of simply staying alive another day and for many, making life choices that sacrifice their hearts and souls to survive. Our nation would do well to cultivate a spirit of gratefulness, to keep our hearts humble and motivate us to share more than what is expected. Gratefulness is a wonderful attribute.

But as most people can attest if they live long enough, our life journey is more than having food on the table or even, having the latest cell phone. Even those in the most fortunate of situations, still battle through life. From the poorest to the most wealthy, people suffer. All people encounter difficulty far beyond what they ever imagined as they dreamed a plan for their life. As a Christian, I believe that God can turn any pain into dancing. I have experienced it in my own life and I have seen it in the lives of others. However, I wonder if this attachment to gratefulness or a “positive outlook” has clouded our need for honesty, for God’s work, and for faith that all things work together for good. Yes, all things work together for good, but NOT ALL THINGS ARE GOOD!

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