I’ve spent a great deal of time at battered women’s shelters. Gratefully, I’ve been there as a visitor and volunteer, not as a resident. However, on a recent visit to a nearby shelter, some girlfriends and I spent time with a few of the younger, less often considered victims of domestic violence, the children. We frequently send toys and school supplies to these shelters but rarely have a chance to spend time with the children who receive them. It was a moving experience to be able to play board games and watch TV with a group of regular kids who were only different because they were “hiding out” in a shelter while mom sorted out the details of their lives.
I’ll always remember this particular visit because it was a day the moms called “Independence Day”. You see, as the afternoon went on, and we began to talk with the ladies, it became clear they felt trapped and frustrated. Although they were trying as hard as they could to repair the damage done to themselves and their children and move on from their current situations, they seemed to be getting nowhere. They didn’t want to give up, but they didn’t know what else to do. So, one of my girlfriends provided them with information, available resources and contact information they didn’t know they needed, in an effort to put them on a path in the right direction. Until then, they were standing still.
The moms were all very grateful and finally found themselves in a place where there was once again hope for freedom and independence. They couldn’t wait to get started on making the right calls and creating a plan for taking themselves and their family in a new direction. As we said goodbye and began to leave, the moms declared that day, “Independence Day”. For them, the sky lit up with fireworks and the firecrackers were bursting all over the place. Soon they shall be free.
In the face of adversity, there is no room for defeat, no matter how long or hard we’ve fought. We always have a choice in how we are going to handle every situation though it may not always be clear right away. Emotion often clouds our ability to see clearly. Be patient, never doubt yourself, and continue to remain persistent and unyielding to your purpose. Remember that the path of self-pity is a short one and will not likely lead you where you want to go on your journey.
A dear friend of mine always says, “It’s not the negative events that will change our lives, it’s our reaction to them”. No matter what our circumstance, if we can find a way to keep our positivity and our strength, we will eventually find our freedom. Our forefathers did. Happy Independence Day!
Until we meet again,