Grant me patience
to deal with my

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"I Won't Give Up"

I listened to this song on my way home from dropping the kids off at school a few weeks ago. It had an impact on me and so I wanted to share. Have you ever given up on someone or something? I know I have. Sometimes we are forced to, often we do it willingly, or in moments of frustration, sadness, or in desperation. We might give up because we feel it is in ours or someone's best interest, or we give up because we have too much on our plate to deal with already. Whatever the reason, I think we should go back to those moments and see if whatever or whoever we gave up on is maybe worth another try. Pick it up, dust it off, see if it has any potential, value, or hope left in it.

When I was 14 years old I moved into my grandparents home. My dad had been to prison and then gone through a rehab program and was out and trying to make a new life. For me, I was very angry...and that's an understatement! I was just so angry about all the things I had to go through with my siblings, so many awful experiences that, at the time, were so fresh in my memory and my heart still hurt tremendously because of it all. If I were to guess which of us kids was the most unforgiving, it was most likely me. Not only did I not want to see my dad ever again, I didn't think I would ever be able to forgive him. After he served his term in prison, he went to a place called the Walker Center, where he was able to get help with his addictions and figure out his plan for going back into the real world. My grandparents took us to visit him for our first time, and I don't remember much about that day, but I do remember feeling very reluctant to go, and even more reluctant to be near him and talk to him. Within the past year before that visit, my parents had become so bound by drug addiction that our home and life was in a state so repulsive, so full of neglect, and filth, hunger, abuse, and fear that the shock of it all was extremely difficult for me to recover from. The last person I wanted to see was the man who caused the living nightmare I went through.

 This April I will turn 30 years old. I don't know the exact year when my parents started doing drugs, but I do know that when I was in sixth grade, there were a lot of warning signs that were making family quite suspicious and wondering about what my parents were doing. By that following summer, life and our living circumstances had deteriorated significantly! I was only 12 years old. When I think back to 17 almost 18 years ago, I feel like I am remembering a life that belonged to someone else. There were moments of such extreme depression that I went through, that I had thoughts of wishing my life were over so I wouldn't have to suffer anymore. One day, when I was twelve, my mom was actually out of her bedroom (since that was the main place she remained, locked up in her room, high, getting high, or just coming off a high) and I followed her downstairs to where the washer and dryer was. I asked her, "Mom, what would you do if I committed suicide?" All she said was, "Oh Amber! Don't say things like that!" and then she returned to her bedroom upstairs. I cannot even describe the hurt and pain I felt, standing in our dark, dirty, cold basement. I was ready to give up.

But here I am, 17 years later. The reality is that a person can overcome the most difficult circumstances if they can find in themselves the courage to never give up. When my dad was clean and sober, and he had to face the monsters and demons from his past, he didn't let any of that take away his will to survive, to seek forgiveness, and find happiness again. When he had to look into the faces of his own flesh and blood, and see the emotional damage he caused, see the unforgiving anger that some of us felt inside towards him, he never gave up on himself, and he never gave up on us.

"I Won't Give Up!" It's a message worthy of sharing! It's for the mother of little children, who can barely manage to stay ahead of the mounds of laundry, sticky messes, tears and tantrums, and dirty diapers! She won't give up! It's for the neighbor striving to lose all that weight gain, to do something that seems almost impossible, to lose 20 or 50, or 100 pounds! To beat the cravings, pass up dessert, find time to exercise...but don't give up! It's for the kindergartner struggling to learn to read, the single parents out there doing it all on their own, the mother going back to school, the widow who misses her husband so terribly, the couple buried in debt, the family trying to mend broken bridges in relationships gone sour...

'Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We've got a lot to learn
God knows we're worth it
No, I won't give up

I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you're still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn't break, we didn't burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not, and who I am'

Almost 18 years ago, I found my reasons for not giving up. And when I struggled in high school, college, marriage, raising kids...."I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not, and who I am."

So, sometime today, tonight, at 3 a.m. pick up that dusty old thing you gave up on and give it another try. This time don't walk away so easily. We have worth and value, we have something good to offer this world and now is the time to be determined to never give up...on a child, a relationship, a cause, a dream...God knows we're worth it, now we just need to believe it too.

*thanks dad for teaching me to never give up.