HEATHER HOPES: Giant Scrap Heap of Life

September 22, 2014 Posted by admin

By HEATHER CATHLEEN COX
Special to the NEWS

Heather Cathleen Cox

Heather Cathleen Cox

Everyone receives one lot in life, or what I refer to as one big, giant scrap heap. Yes, life gifts each person one giant mess, full of the splinters of dysfunctional relatives, the thorns of broken-heartedness and the snakes of evil motive.

Your life may have gifted you a predisposition to many things. From riches to diseases, from royalty to criminals, your family heritage may have added many ugly bones to your giant scrap pile. But just like the rest of us, it’s up to you to rise up and start sorting through the rubbish.

It’s up to you to begin pulling away from the wooden planks, the termite infested boards, the rusty nails. You’ll have to work through some splinters, some rats, some rotten findings and perhaps some despair. You may or may not find treasures of earthly value beneath the heap. Whether you’re one step away from uncovering gold and rubies, or whether the rarest jewel you will ever stumble upon is a pearl of wisdom, the only way to find life’s true gift is by digging.

Beyond the rubbish, beyond what you may or may not uncover in your pile, lies a beautiful gift. It’s found in the changing of yourself, the character you develop when you survive each thorn that pricks you and each nail that scrapes you. This gift will only be found past the pretenses and the façade, and it’s a lesson you cannot pay someone else to uncover for you.

I cannot help you make beauty out of your giant scrap heap anymore than you can help make beauty out of mine. No one gave you the mess; no one can take it away. No one on earth, that is.

Proverbs 14:10 says, “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” Here on this earth, we’re all just pilgrims on a voyage. I’m finally learning that my giant scrap pile doesn’t define me. It doesn’t have to haunt me, and it doesn’t have to scare me. I don’t have to lug it around with me, either. I can deal with it, work through the hardships, make something beautiful out of what I’ve been dealt, and move forward with my life. Or not. The choice is mine to make.

My maternal grandmother, I called her Garnie, was the first to teach me: Life is what you make it. She would always add, “And mine is wonderful.” If you knew Garnie, you knew she was orphaned during the Great Depression by two parents who threw her out to fend for herself. You also knew she had to quit high school and take a job building airplanes during the war. You probably knew how she met my biological grandfather, a handsome man who nearly beat her to death, and tried to beat and starve their children. You knew she suffered from Epilepsy and that she was ostracized by many when my grandfather left her for another woman, and Garnie became branded with a scarlet letter upon her chest as she raised three daughters alone in the 60s. If you knew all of that, you might not see the “wonderment” at first glance, either.

But from life’s big, giant scrap heap, my grandmother raised her daughters as best she could; they always had food to eat and were able to finish school. Garnie opened her own dress shop, where her daughters were chosen to model her original fashions each week for a television show, an effort which produced great publicity for her shop. As time tarried, my grandmother took a job as City Secretary and met a kind farmer, who she married. He was good to her the rest of her years. My grandmother never finished school, yet she went on to be Mayor of her town for three terms, and in her golden years was a very respected political figure, renowned writer, and celebrated artist.

There are many things in my life I cannot change. Things I didn’t ask for and can’t delete. Things that I found in my giant scrap pile; perhaps you can relate. And after 20-some-odd years of digging and hurting and bleeding through the madness, I’ve finally discovered something: The mess of life is its own gift.

Today, I’d just like to tell you, in case no one else has: If out of 100 miles of scraps you can manage to salvage a few rusty nails that hurt you, to sand down a few boards that cut you with sharp splinters, and you somehow find the gumption to build a little birdhouse that means something to you, that’s a bigger accomplishment than you realize.

What you are is God’s gift to you. What you make of yourself, that’s your gift to God. Until next time, friend, be blessed. Be a blessing.

 

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Article source: http://sbnewspaper.com/2014/09/19/heather-hopes-giant-scrap-heap-of-life/comment-page-1/

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