Lines On A Map Don’t Define Us

Many people have their lives mapped out. They see the patterns they need to go and follow them in sequential order. They are the roadmap to where they want to get to in life, and those lines show every encounter they will deal with throughout their lifetime. That’s not true, but the perceived notion is for many different individuals. I’ve known quite a few of them as I grew up, and some of them managed to make their dreams a reality. Many of them are very powerful and influential people now, but you can tell they’re not happy. They married the right people, had the right children, then got them into the most prestigious schools and followed their map lines down to a science. There was no room for error on their maps of grids. And if they didn’t build the roads on their maps, they made sure they got built. Nothing would stand in the way of their success stories.

Part of the problem with that mentality is that our lives are often unknown. We can do everything we can to follow a game plan, but many different things in life happen that can throw us off track. We often find that we are part of something bigger than we understand. If you had told me almost ten years ago that I would go back to school and do as much with social media and Web design because of my father’s demise, I would have looked at you and laughed. That was not on my map lines. I was perfectly content with being invisible. I didn’t want to be a leader, nor did I want to bring attention to myself in the way that I eventually did.

Life had a way of changing my map lines. When I married at the age of 27, I thought I married for keeps. I wasn’t keen on having a child with my husband. I wanted a child, and I didn’t want one with him. I should never have married him because the man I wanted would enter my life after my marriage. That’s a whole different story for another day. But it took all kinds of situations for our marriage to implode. You can not build a genuine relationship on lies. Lies made my entire marriage. Instead of talking to each other, we created a fortress around our souls, and eventually, nothing was salvageable. But losing our child almost killed me, both literally and figuratively. Psychologically the stress did the damage. I would blame him for our issues. It was both of us. We both lost communication with each other, and we both harbored resentment for different reasons. I had my walls up to more than I should have, but so did he. I guess it shows that when you aren’t honest with yourself or each other, both parties cause pain. Forgiving him took years to do because his actions made me question other men and their intentions. I had to look at myself and find my faults, and I’ve got plenty of them.

When my dad got sick, I didn’t accept reality. I thought Dad was drinking too much, but it wasn’t the alcohol. Dad would get one glass a night, and his speech would slur. He became lethargic and sometimes would fall. I thought he was becoming a drunk until I found him on the floor one day where he’d been for hours. My heart sank. I was angry with myself because I didn’t believe what I saw. And dad’s voice was almost completely gone. I didn’t know how to handle his illness because this man was my rock. He was the one person who would defend me with his dying breath even when I screwed everything else up in my life. And I was selfish and didn’t believe how sick he was. A particular shame lingers with me to this day over my actions. And while I can’t fix things with and for him now, I can learn from what he went through and try to be there for other folks differently. When you watch someone you love with all your heart fight for their life; you feel so helpless. You become their support system and don’t have time to process what’s happening around you. You find ways to learn about whatever disease they fight, and you arm yourself with knowledge. But you are never prepared to watch them leave you with their last breath. You don’t have a suit of armor that prepares you for their crossing. Your heart will break, and a part of you will die with them. You go through the various stages of grief and try to get your life back on track to follow the lines on the map, but you have to draw new maps most of the time. When it feels like the world sucks your life away, all you can do is find your place in the right world, and that’s not always an easy task to accomplish.

Society draws lines on their invisible maps too. If you don’t meet specific criteria or aren’t a person of worth in their eyes, society puts you on a map that isn’t clear to you but very clear to those around you. There is this perception that you need to be relevant for whatever society may require you to be someone others recognize for your contributions to the community. You don’t have to be perfect, but you have to be in the right groups. I think we’ve all had a taste of those situations. Some people get more exposure than others. Recently, someone I care for deeply has been posting posts about other people on their page. They’ve been doing it in general, but they are judgmental and pious. Everything is their way or not correct. What they believe is what the only belief should be in their eyes. What’s disturbing about their accusations is that they don’t think other people’s views are valid. The last I checked, they weren’t God. They have no right to speak for God. Faith is a personal journey. People need to decide for themselves what they believe. None of us will know until it is our time to leave this earth what God will accept and what he won’t. The Bible has many different books, all written by different people. The lines in the Bible are blurry at times because there are many other books and variations. I pray that I will find my way to heaven, but I’m not unaware of all the sins and stupid things I’ve done on this earth. If you aren’t a believer, I hope you can tolerate those with solid faiths. If you can’t, that is your right. It is not for me or anyone else to tell you what is right for you. But that’s the thing about lines in our lives. We have so many people and forces telling us what to believe, think, feel, and how we should react.

Take a look at the lines you’ve drawn for yourself on your map. Are you where you want to be? Do you have the tools to get you where you want to go? Do you have a great support system that anchors you? Ask yourself these and other questions to help you along your journey. The cool thing is that you draw many lines in your lives with decisions based on free will. Where you go from, there is entirely up to you. Have a great day, everyone.

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