Today we are going to continue with the stories of hope and change. Imagine meeting the love of your life when you are young – age 15. You marry this man of your dreams at 19. In less than three years you have a son together and your husband finds a great job that supports you. You are just moving into your dream house. Life is great; you see smooth sailing ahead. Your husband gives you a kiss, saying “I’m going for a ride to get something to eat. I’ll be back.” You look forward to an afternoon working together set up your new home that you’re in the middle of moving into. Then life hits.
Let me introduce you to Ruth. And have her share a little about her story.
“On a sunny summer day my life was forever changed. My husband hugged our one-and-half-year-old son, told him that he loved his buddy, then rode off on a motorcycle to pick up lunch for us to enjoy on our break from moving that morning. It was June 29th 1996, and my twenty-six-year-old husband never came home. He died in flight, from trauma following a motorcycle accident. The next day I woke to the realization that not only was I a widow at twenty-two, but now also a single mom, with no income. All my dreams had just turned into nightmares, while my friends’ dreams of getting married and having children were just beginning for them. Even my friendships took on a new transformation while some friends drifted away from me and others drew nearer.
My husband was my reassurance that everything in my life was fine, and his passing left me searching for understanding and purpose in my life. Hope came in attending a Christian grief support group where others shared of similar pain as mine. Wisdom came through the realization that I could let the situation define me, or allow God to refine me. Healing started when I sought to create new memories for my son and myself.
It was while working to support my son and me that I went back to school and received my GED, following which I graduated with honors from college. Second chances came five years ago when my son walked me down the aisle to the wonderful man whom I remarried.”
When I asked Ruth for her story I had a different idea of how I wanted to use this story to help share with you the story of hope. However, after talking with Ruth and reading the portion that she wrote I am moved to share with you something different.
There are many stories out there about single moms, many of them clichés. This is a real story about a real woman with a true-life nightmare that she turned into pursuit of a dream.
For me, life is a simple thing. In my life I’m not chasing riches; I’m not looking for the promise that if I follow these three steps each week, money will pour into my bank while I sleep. I work with people who have a dream, and I love that I wake up each day and get to live my dream, do what I love. And what I love is helping people achieve their dreams.
Ruth had her dream. She was going to raise her son, be a wonderful wife to a loving man. They met when she was 15. At the time I’m writing this story it’s a stretch to think back to 15. I’m 45 years old and still chasing new dreams each year I’m alive. To imagine knowing what my dream in life was at 15 is a hard concept. But I live in a different world than Ruth does and this is about her dream, not mine.
In many small towns all over this world, people meet the love of their life at 12, 15, 18. The get married as a young adult and stay married for years. My mom and Dad were married for 45 years until my dad’s death. My partner’s parents were married over 50 years before her mom passed. This is a significant dream to many young girls.
Ruth lost that and had to continue living the dream of raising a son while living in her own nightmare. But she found hope again through a grief support group and through her own faith, which grew stronger. From there, she saw her son grow to school age and found she had a dream of going back to school herself. She went about her life, taking the next steps to what she believed God wanted for her. She also maintained her hope that God had a plan for her life and, by faith, kept that hope alive.
She wasn’t necessarily hoping for another shot at her original dream but she was still dreaming of doing the best she could for herself and her son. It wasn’t always easy but she faced each struggle and moved forward.
One thing not shared by Ruth in her story was how it became a struggle to keep her son in a Christian school for his education. It was something that would have been part of the plan for the whole family but was difficult for her as a single mom. Her mom and dad helped with support to keep him there.
Another struggle was how to maintain a relationship with parents of her husband after he died. Letting her son see this is grandparents was important for the child, but tough on the mother having to face pain each time she sees the parents of her husband.
But, as she said in her story, she found hope through a support group, found wisdom when she realized she could either let her circumstances define her or allow herself to be refined through her faith in God, and found healing in making new memories with just herself and her son – a change of her original dream, but still a worthy dream. It’s at that point in life that the miracles walked in – like her new husband. When we keep hope alive, better things show up. It’s the hope that attracts them.
You won’t see Ruth having her story made into a film for the big screen and I don’t think a TV network will approach her for her story to make a Sunday night movie. What I can tell you is her husband died by hitting a wall. Ruth hit a different kind of wall the same day and lived. She made changes to her life and kept hope alive. At some point in everyone’s life we hit a wall. The wall is not the issue in life; it’s what you do with the wall.
In your life, what is that wall? Once you hit a wall in life, will you become bitter about it? Or will you sit as some people I’ve met who blame the husband who ran off with the young girl at his job. Will you blame the person who cut you off in traffic causing the wreck that left you without an arm, or a leg? Or will you accept that you’ve been dealt a tough blow, have hit a wall, but won’t let it kill hope inside of you. Will you keep hope alive, living with a positive attitude that better days are coming?
Great stories may be told on film, but if you look at the disclaimer they put up it’s based on a true story – meaning it’s been embellished. Try talking to the people who actually lived a story and you’ll see the truth about hope and change.
Pain will be part of your life. It’s what you do with your pain, or the problems you’re facing that will make your story great to the people that matter: your son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister, or even a spouse or close friend. Hope is something you must have for yourself. It’s not something that a minister at church can get for you, or a person in political office gets for you. You must keep your own hope alive in your life.
I hope your life is full of hope, I hope you are able to keep your spirits up for the people who need you to. If you need help to find hope in your life, email me for a free 30-minute life purpose coaching session.
I’m Tim Gillette, the Rocker Life Coach. It’s time to Live the life you always wanted, by Loving what you do and the people around you. Then you will become the RockStar in your world.