Every day I wake and hope for the best.
When I rearranged my hectic schedule to meet with friends and it wasn’t reciprocated, I felt it. When I’m blown-off because something/someone better comes along, I felt it. When I voiced my words and the recipient’s body language hoped I’d just go away, loud and clear, I felt it. When the customer, after six months, has still not paid their invoice, I felt it. The changing season turns cold and I can’t seem to layer myself with enough protective layers to not feel the sting.
How does one keep moving forward?
One morning a week, in the predawn hours, I lace up and head outdoors; flashlight in-hand. I traverse trails in the dark, sifting through my thoughts and looking ahead to my day. Today I headed out in the sun, squinting as my run seemed longer, harder, in the harsh light of day. I pounded out my frustrations on hills; the sharp intake of cold air hurting as I pushed through. It was at the end that I felt the sense of accomplishment, the sore muscles becoming conditioned to get stronger.
It is through disappointment and pain that I can discover my strength of character; my threshold of resilience.
I was grateful for the mid-week Veteran’s day holiday to recoup. I pulled the covers over my head, wishing to hibernate; losing faith in finding good. And then I read the long Facebook post from the girlfriend who has not returned home for almost a year; battling a host of illnesses and setbacks. She is upbeat and grateful and I am humbled as she shared the every day trials and tribulations from a hospital bed. She hopes for the day she will return home.
The whir of the vacuum could be heard at 9:45 PM; the hubs cleaning. He chose not to partake in the various Veteran’s day freebies or festivities; instead, longing to be away from the crowds. He does not need the ceremonies to affirm who he is; his reasons for serving. Our wish for all our veterans is for them to return home. It’s what they all hope for as they serve long deployments in far and distant places away from their families. On this day we picked-up our house; the mess of two months of busy weekends taking its toll as we put things in the places where they belonged. We enjoyed an impromptu date to celebrate a birthday with a dear friend.
When the discussion comes to finances the hubs and I go round-and-round. He reminds me that money matters; that it pays our mortgage, the clothes on our backs and the food we eat. Money is a necessary evil, I argue, but it is not what makes the world go-round. I place value on principles and morals, not large bank accounts. I am not a money person.
It is a grim twist of fate that I am always accounting for money. I have served in volunteer organizations as a treasurer, auditor and finance director. I handle our home and business finances; reading financial ledgers and tax forms that make my head spin. It goes against my nature to make people pay; to follow through on debts and fair shares owed. I stared at my computer screen at debt collection agencies and procedures for small claims court; reminded of the arduous process of evicting tenants from our home. Why don’t others honor their financial and moral obligations? I wanted it all to go away for another day.
I push through my issues. It’s not really about the money. It’s all about principle.
Principle: noun. a moral rule or belief that helps you know what is right and wrong and that influences your actions [Def. 1]. (n.d.). In Merriam Webster Online, Retrieved November 11, 2015, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/principle.
And so I must follow through with the arduous process of filing. Of confronting. It is daunting and I find that I would much rather talk about death and dying than money. I argue with the hubs and with myself, grinding my teeth in frustration. This is not who I am! But the hubs reminds me that it is. I always follow through for what is just and fair. It has always been who I am.
I am finding through this process that I have become my father’s daughter; the man who died too soon and could never know who I would be. The small businessman who handled all people with aplomb. Who brought his wife a Mounds candy bar and his daughter an almond Hershey bar home, every day. To this day I cannot eat either candy; choosing other chocolates instead. My father was a man who stuck to his guns and advocated for what was just and fair; even if unpopular. I felt betrayed when he didn’t live; his lack of follow through to survive when I needed him most.
I’ve recently realized what matters to me above all else.
To stand by one’s word. To do the right thing. To follow it through.
I hold my head high as I briskly walk, hoping for warmth. I feel the wind whipping my hair as I tighten my scarf; the visual of the cemetery with my parents’ headstones vivid in my mind. I think of the girlfriend who pushes through physical therapy; to return home once again. I am accustomed to walking alone, in the dark, finding my own way. But on this day, my own veteran home, I know that his quiet presence walks alongside; embodying the values of my father and providing the strength as my mate. He who always stands by his word and does the right thing.
Thank you for humbly serving. For always coming home. For always following through.