Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh how I love it when....

Some of my life's greatest and simple pleasures:

  • taking your ski boot off at the end of the day

  • making every green light when you are in a hurry

  • finding a great parking spot

  • when there is no wait/no lines

  • when something is on sale-and there is actually one in your size

  • losing weight and not trying to

  • a clean house

  • fresh sheets

  • a warm sunny day-with blue skies

  • sleeping in

  • sound of children laughing

  • old friends

  • new friends

  • volunteering in my kids' classrooms-and knowing all the kids' names

  • new socks

  • warm blankets at the hospital

  • actually finding something in the lost and found-seriously-now often does that really happen?

  • bacon

  • when I hear the garage open, and I know it's Paul

  • cooking something that people really enjoy

  • the smell of rain

  • finding money in your pockets

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Do I make you proud?

Children-regardless of gender or age, long to be someone their parents are proud of, or at the very least, not ashamed of. My mom is what I consider unconditional love in my life. Since the day I met her, she has had an open heart and an open mind. She has accepted my flaws and celebrated my strengths. She is my biggest fan-she will laugh with me, cry with me, and everything in between. Essentially, she is what love always meant to me. I have never really felt that way when it comes to my dad. I have never felt like I lived up to his standards, I doubt I ever will. No amount of money, no level of education, no accomplishments can ever measure up.

I was at Jackson's basketball party last Friday night. I was talking with Hunter's dad, Azeem. He and I share similar coloring (dark hair, dark eyes). We were talking about our heritage and what made our coloring so unique. He, like most people who meet me, would never have guessed Iranian-and first generation at that-heck, I lived there. And for the first time in my life, I realized, I was remorseful to the point of ashamed that no one can ever believe I am Iranian. And it occurred to me that I have effectively erased that part of my identity.

I spent so many years of my childhood wishing it away-the times I remember wishing I was Italian or Greek or Spanish-which are what most people think I am today when they meet me. I remember getting married and being so thrilled to get rid of my maiden name (Haddad). I have lost the ability to communicate in Farsi-although I spoke it fluently when I was 3 and stopped speaking when we moved back to the US when I was 7. Those are prime years to learn to speak, read, write, etc. There is no reason I should not be able to still communicate. I have zero friends that are Iranian. I have always felt like a black sheep (along with my brother, sister and mother) when it comes to the Haddad side of the family.

My father was someone I resented most of my childhood. He was always angry-never seemed happy or even present unless we were with other people that he was putting a show on for. He was hyper critical, he seemed to really hate my mom-and the three of us as well. Looking back, I don't think he was a kids kind of guy. I think his cross cultural marriage and subsequent offspring caused him great sorrow in life. I believe he should have married an Iranian woman and had perfect Iranian children. He resented us more and more as the years went on. He would not speak Farsi to us-that is when he even spoke to us. I remember he would get so angry when we talked at the dinner table, which is odd now that I have a family-it's one of the things I enjoy the most is hearing about their day. It seemed an easy and natural transition to eliminate the Iranian part of my being. My family from Iran certainly didn't care to include me-my own father didn't even consider me part of his culture or his family.

And that brings me to today, at 41, I find it very sad that I have eradicated that part of my heritage almost completely. I am sure through the eyes of a young child, the perceptions and the reality of the situation are rather far apart. But I do know this, growing up feeling unloved and unwanted has a lot to do with the way I tucked my culture away-never to let it come out again.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You are More

There's a girl in the corner With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she's wandered And the shame she can't hide
She says, "How did I get here? I'm not who I once was.
And I'm crippled by the fear That I've fallen too far to love
"But don't you know who you are, What's been done for you?
Yeah don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

Well she tries to believe it That she's been given new life
But she can't shake the feeling That it's not true tonight
She knows all the answers And she's rehearsed all the lines
And so she'll try to do better But then she's too weak to try
But don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

You are more than the choices that you've made
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

'Cause this is not about what you've done, But what's been done for you.
This is not about where you've been, But where your brokenness brings you to
This is not about what you feel, But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade
You've been remade
You've been remade

Now I can't take credit for this post-my dear sweet friend Carrie posted it to me on Facebook. It's things like these that remind me that God is watching, He is listening-and He is responding. These lyrics moved me. It is so easy to make everything about me-especially when I am feeling guilt and fear and saddness. But then I think about the big picture (with a little help-thank you Carrie); and it puts comfort where I have fear, it gives me relief where I have worry and peace where I have intense strife and self-hatred. I don't have to look hard-it's all around me. We are all battling and making our way there

This week in Bible Study, the book of Isiah had a verse that really gripped me:
This is our everlasting God! Our Creator! He never weakens or grows weary. None of us can comprehend the depth of His righteousness. It is this powerful and mighty God who sees us and hears us! He gives us strength when we feel weak and empowers us when we are tired and worn out. Yes, “Those who wait upon the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

Giving me strength when I feel weak...ok, I just want to come out and say, I am really feeling tired and worn out. I feel so weak and it does not feel like I could run. But then I hear this song, and I read this verse. And I realized-I don't have to. And what a relief.