Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Woman to Woman


woman to woman


Celebrating Me!

This has been a difficult assignment. It is easy for me to talk about what I DO. It is not so easy to talk about Who I AM. There are a lot of things about me that I do not like very much right now. The aging process is becoming brutal - suddenly, it seems. Don't worry, I'm not ill or going through anything life-threatening. I just don't like what's going on with my body. I'm not crazy about what I see in the mirror. I can't seem to get serious about changing what I can change and accepting what I can't. My job has been my joy for almost 14 years, but it has become not so much fun any more. Changes are being made daily that make it more difficult, and trying to do it half time has become more and more of a challenge. My memory is just not what it used to be either!

But this is not what we're supposed to be talking about today. I keep thinking of things that I could say, but I keep coming up with a But . . . Why do I do this to myself?

So much of who I am is because of my past, of course. Being the eldest of 5 in a parsonage defined much of myself. I grew up being terribly responsible. I was left in charge of the younger ones many times, and at a very young age. I don't suppose my parents could do this today, with life the way it is now. That's sad, because I think I developed a tremendous sense of responsibility very early in my life. I was a partner with my parents in a very real sense. I sometimes feel I was never really very young. That is a whole other topic and has its goods and its bads!

I am a missionary at heart
.
Because the church defined our beings so much of the time, we had the privilege of knowing "real live missionaries." They stayed in our home in the days before everyone stayed in a hotel. They ate with us and shared stories with us, and usually left each of us a quarter when they departed early in the morning before we were up. I played missionary. I thought I would be a missionary. God did not send me, but I was willing. I think that's why my passion for missions has never waivered. I have been the mission leader in our church for many years. My love affair with missions and missionaries has never gone away. I do believe God knew what He was and is doing!

I have music in my soul.
As I mentioned recently, I began piano lessons at 7, started playing in church and 8, and have hardly been off the bench during church services since. I am not great. I am a pretty generic pianist and organist - the black and white kind - I play what I see without a lot of fanciness. I wish I had been able to continue lessons beyond age 13, but finances did not allow it. Who knows how good I could have been? But I love to sing - I'm not a great singer. I can harmonize like crazy and have a low alto voice. But the joy of singing in choir keeps me going - I can be so tired on Wednesday that I want to crawl in bed and pull the covers over my head. But forcing myself to choir practice is always the best thing I can do for myself - music energizes me. But - only certain kinds of music! I won't go into that any further.

I am strong
.
Not physically strong in the sense of lifting weights or running marathons. I have learned to enjoy exercise as an adult, hating it as a kid. I was always the last one chosen for a team, and wanted to hide. By strong, I mean mentally and spiritually. If you've followed my story written with my children, you know that I've endured a lot of heartache and stress in the last 15 years. Much of the time I kept it hidden from those who could have helped me through it. DC and I endured a lot that we should have shared with those who loved and cared. I am so happy that I can do that now. It is liberating and cathartic to share our burdens. I have learned that I have the ability to put those things on paper in a way that helps me and hopefully helps others. If you're new to my site, you can read our stories, which are linked on my sidebar. God has kept us going all these years, and I feel stronger because of what we have been through. I am, however, ready for a break!

I am opinionated
. This is definitely one of those good/bad things. I feel passionately about things, most of which I can do nothing about. I shake my head in helplessness when I listen to the news of our world and wonder what in the world is going to happen. But I know God and prayer are the only answers.

I love security
. As a preacher's kid, we moved many times. I've talked about this a lot in this setting, and also mentioned that I was always the one ready to pack up and take on a new adventure. Somehow that has changed. I have no desire to move and my roots are very deep in my home. DC would like to have a more adventurous life as we face retirement, but I can't fathom pulling up stakes and starting over somewhere else at this age. Maybe this is not a good trait, but it is who I am.

I show my feelings on my face
. I don't hide anything - also good/bad. But I don't know how I would change that. I think it also goes along with the above-mentioned passion.

I am Mom and Grandma and wife and daughter and oldest sister and aunt and cousin.
I am no longer granddaughter. My sister and I used to play mommy, teacher, secretary, and missionary. I grew up to be all of those things in a sense. Mommy and Grandma have definitely defined me and have brought joy and sorrow. All of these roles have had a part in making me who I am and I thank God for each and every one.


28 comments:

MommyK said...

Great post! As I read today, I see the same things over and over...what do I say about myself? And how do I do it without sounding braggy? Good job!

Diane said...

Dawn,

What a great post! Yes, age does a number on our bodies...but it truly enhances who we truly are.

You have hit the nail on the head! Our legacy will never be about how we looked....it is about who we have been to those God has placed in our path. And how beautiful you truly are!

I can't hide my emotions either!

Add that to a growing impulsion to share my opinions.....well, you've got trouble! But even the great philosopher, Popeye....("I y'am what I y'am!") caused a bit of trouble! I guess we're in very good company!!!!

(Tee-hee!)

Not too big on spinach...but I have found myself living by the standard, "I y'am what I y'am!" When we look beyond cartoon characters, however, and to our Creator, we discover real freedom! You have done just that!

What a great role model you are.

Diane

Lei said...

"...I DO is not so easy to talk about as Who I AM..." So true... but I am glad you found the delineation! It may be a fine line at times.

I also agree that it is liberating and cathartic to share our burdens. Add to that BRAVE.

Thank you for your confidence and wisdom Dawn!

Morning Glory said...

You are certainly worth celebrating and this was great to read! I'm glad you found the words to write on this today.

Linds said...

I agree with MG, you are certainly worth celebrating, and you are one amazingly strong woman, Dawn. It was a hard job to write it, I know. It took me hours!You are an inspration to so many of us.

Cmommy said...

Great post!!

Susie said...

I found this topic very difficult as well. This seems to be a common thread among all who tried to write about themselves.
I admire so much about you, but especially the triumphs you and your children have made in those most difficult of times. That, just by itself, is certainly worthy of celebrating..
xo

Beth said...

It's funny how genetics are. Your description of yourself is very similar to pieces of me. This was a really great post Auntie Dawn!!!

An Ordinary Mom said...

It is interesting how many of us struggled to write on this topic, but when we finally settled down and did it we realized that we have a lot of strengths to celebrate. You are one remarkably strong and kind person!

Barb said...

It's amazing how much our childhoods were, Dawn. I was the oldest of six and had a ton of responsibility dumped on me when I ws 12 and my mother went to work outside the home. Like you, it feels like I wasn't a kid for very long at all before I had to suddenly be very adult.

And after what you've been through, raising your children, I guess you ARE strong. What you went through would either make you stronger or kill you.

This really was a difficult Woman to Woman. I don't know if my brain is alert enough right now to write something this serious. :-)

Barb said...

See? I told you my brain isn't alert right now. And it isn't.

That's supposed to read, "how much our childhoods were ALIKE."

Sigh. I need a nap.

Tammy said...

Dawn, this was so heartfelt and honest. Even though I'm a little younger than you are, I don't like the aging process at all. I can so relate to these honest feelings.

The attributes you listed are such good ones... faith in God, musical abilities, and being a good wife, mother and grandmother.

And a good blogging friend, too! :)

Such a good post, Dawn.

Diane J. said...

We share a lot of the same qualities, Dawn. Especially music, strength, shouldering responsibility at an early age, and so on.

I ain't feeling too cheerful about the aging process on my body right at the moment either. ;D

Like it or not, it takes the sum total of our lives, the good and the bad experiences, to make us who and what we are now. Many times we're forced to take lemons and make lemonade. You've done a wonderful job of that, and allowing God to use those difficult times to make you stronger.

Diamonds are born under pressure, you know. ;-)

And you are definitely a diamond, Dawn.

Love and hugs,

Diane

PEA said...

This was wonderfully written Dawn and I could tell it came from the heart. I saw a lot of myself in you, concerning the age thing, not being able to hide emotion, etc, and I love knowing that I'm not alone in those feelings. xox

Jungle Mom said...

I could relate to so many of these. I am a PK as well.

Montserrat said...

Your music experience sounds very much like mine, even down to the low alto! I enjoyed reading this post.

Linda said...

That was beautifully done Dawn - it is so "you". I can identify with some of those things, but I don't have the passion for missions you do. I'm working on that one. I was the oldest too - but for all my growing up years it was just me and my little sister - and I was definitely the bossy one.
Your inner strength and beauty come through in everything you write - especially the stories you've shared with Kevin and Kristen.
The whole time I was reading I thought that maybe - once you aren't working any more - you and DC could take a short-term mission trip. Then that dream would come true too.
You could also take more piano lessons. If I can begin at my age, you can certainly learn some of the things you'd like to learn. I'm just very, very impressed that you could play in church at such a young age. I have a feeling you're a lot more accomplished than you say!!
I really enjoyed this one Dawn.

Midlife Mom said...

Wow, you blew me away with this post. I know it would take me a long time to sit down and try to do this but I think maybe sometime I should try. I so can appreciate what you said about the aging process being brutal. It just seems like I have so many things all of a sudden that are happening to my body and I don't like it one bit and it scares me as I have always been so active and don't want to stop. I like my security too. I went away to a christian boarding school when I was 14 and I REALLY missed being home and now I don't like changes and love my home and like to 'nest'. Thanks for a really thought provoking post!

Nikkie said...

I really enjoyed reading this.

Penless Thoughts said...

Enjoyed your story and learning a little about you.
Susan

groovyoldlady said...

You are beautiful, Dawn. Inside and out!

Gran - (Angela) said...

Thank you for your inspirational writing today. I can relate with you during your childhood days of taking on responsibilities early in life. Much of my past has defined who I am and I feel that the things that we endure makes us stronger,wiser and closer to God as the years pass by.

Have a Wonderful Day !
Angela

Ashley said...

it is hard to "toot your own horn" but sometimes, i think it is necessary. i think we get so wrapped up in what we do wrong and the negative ideas we have about ourselves that we forget to realize all of the God given talents we have. this was a great post!

i also read the nixon post--wow!! what an honor to have interviewed him! i could hardly believe it when i saw the note and autograph. that is really awesome!!

thanks for stopping by my blog. i have really been slacking lately but it is nice to know i'm still loved :)

Myrna said...

Very good! I have read some of your story and think you are remarkable for facing the hard times and prevailing. Your story blesses your readers.

Nancy said...

Great job Dawn... I learned so many great things about you. I am with you on this aging thing. I hate that I am physically limited (up and down etc...). Even at our age, you are one special lady.

Grafted Branch said...

What a great meme...I've enjoyed getting to know you even better through what you've shared here.

And I see that you're not "lonely," meaning that you're not hurting for blog commenters! :)

Retha said...

I admire you for being such a 'clear' thinker. I can imagine that everything around you is also very methodicly and practically place. Like the way your post is!
You didvery well.

truth said...

Excellent post. It is hard to talk about yourself in this manner. I used to think being humble equaled never thinking well of myself. I'm glad I learned the truth.