This beautiful piece of prose by Nikita Gill reminds us of all the roles we have played with a diversity of personalities within us….that have taken a lifetime to mold …and if we are really lucky…our clay remains pliable enough to continue creating new roles within each stage of life.
Even though I have always endorsed and cheered on the mantra…”Don’t let your circumstances define who you are”….circumstances certainly play a role in our development…in either positive or negative situations. It is, however, up to us to strive and lean towards the light in our lives that guides us to becoming who we were created to be.
It is has only been lately that I have come to realize the importance of others in the final “product” we turn out to be. At different crossroads in my childhood, youth, young adulthood and older…there has always been someone to help me find my way…these days I can’t help but think they were all carrying out roles God had commissioned them, consciously or unconsciously, to steer me in the right direction.
Circumstances played a major role in my early childhood….the loss of my father at age five and mother’s loss of her left arm to bone cancer at age 6… these circumstances definitely left scars for years inside me that visibly manifested themselves into extreme shyness, exaggerated fears of personal loss, excessive bouts of homesickness, and an introverted personality.
But then came the “messengers” to the rescue…..first my amazing aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides of my family… my grandmothers…all who tried desperately and relatively successfully, to fill in the voids with their love and generosity of time.
At 10…Mrs. Williams, my fifth grade teacher, would take me on as her personal “do-over” project (aware of my family’s challenges)…I was her personal helper, I was selected for every recognition and award that year…and miraculously… instead of being labeled the ‘teacher’s pet’ and shunned by my classmates…they started looking at me differently…Mrs. Williams was an older, strict disciplinarian, and if she had chosen me…there must be something there.
I came out of my shell, my true personality… hidden for so long behind a facade of timidity and fearfulness, bloomed into a metamorphosis of extroversion. From that grade on…I saw myself differently…as someone special….what a gift Mrs. Williams gave me that year.
At 13…my “messenger” was Pat Richardson and her little boy, Gregory…they lived on the other side of the duplex and she let me come over after school to help with Gregory who I loved as much as his mother…she talked to me about adolescent things I couldn’t talk to mother about….problems at school…she single-handedly helped me survive those difficult middle school years.
I emerged from them still intact and ready to take on high school. *I loved Pat, also, because she loved my younger brother, David, who was struggling under the physical challenges of Marfan’s Syndrome Disease that ended up taking his life at 21.
We had moved to Laurens my freshman year and I was reunited with my cousins…so I was easily accepted into my new environment and thrived there all four years (class officer, cheerleader, etc.) before heading to Erskine College.
And it was there, on the first day of school that my life-altering and life-long “messenger” arrived in the form of my unknown roommate…Brooke….my long-lost sister growing up in a mirror-look-alike home environment, a parallel life, who was always upbeat, funny, and taught me to loosen up, not take life so seriously, and always land on my feet.
Once again…circumstances came into play those four years…Brooke losing her mother, being “adopted” emotionally by mine…adored by my whole family…my sister by friendship and love.
To finish out the college experience…Libby and Jackson, our suite mates, completed our circle of friendship….friends forever. Each bringing their personalities and outlooks on life that somehow complimented each of our own personalities…making us complete and accepted …true friendship. (Our “honky-tonk” days! 🙂
Marriages, children, jobs….all came and went in a blur of busyness and daily challenges…but through it all…also came love, family, and friendships to connect us to the world and each other through the thick and thin times of life.
And now….now I am happier than I have ever been….a proud mother and grandmother (five times over-adorable grandchildren)…blessed beyond measure with amazing friends, neighbors, as well as, time finally to follow my own passions…writing and gardening.
So until tomorrow… “Remember our bones have grown, but what made them has never changed.” (God, our Creator, remains the one true constant, the compass in our lives…sending out messengers to keep us traveling true north.)
The Turners left Tuesday for Disney World and the Dingles returned yesterday from Fripp Island…in spite of the rain and in between showers they managed to hang out at the pool and beach and had a wonderful time!