I love my life.
These are four short little words that make one pretty big statement. It is, however, a true statement and not intended in any way to make any reader feel envious or less blessed, for that matter.
In past columns I have shared how my life is not at all what I envisioned as an ambitious 20-something and that statement still holds true. The past two years of my life have been everything other than what I would have hoped for myself, or anyone else for that matter.
Two years ago, my husband lost his job; thankfully after six months of searching he found another one. It was at a much lesser income than we were used to, but it was a job.
To bridge the income gap, I returned to work full-time. My little one was just a little over a year old at the time, but it was necessary.
Then, one year ago after 15 years of successful homeownership we lost our home.
Now, that is a big sentence and writing it today still brings me a great bit of sadness. The house we left, I loved. It was not an investment, like the others before it … it was our home. But when rain brings you stress, because you do not know how you would fix a leaky roof, or cold makes you worry over if you can afford another propane fill-up, well you have to face some grown-up decisions.
As I write this, I honestly cannot believe I am revealing this to our readers. It’s a very personal and painful thing to walk this path and watch everything you have worked for go by the wayside.
Yet in spite of all this … I truly do ‘love my life.’
Am I happy about any of this? Of course not. Yet I take comfort in knowing we are not alone and that those who know us — I mean truly know us — do not judge us. For those who do, well who cares — certainly not me.
Our family is far from alone in this journey of watching our hard work and devotion go back to the bank. Each of us has tried to manage the journey a different way, each ending with the same result.
Tears have been shed, hugs exchanged and words of encouragement offered.
These past two years have taught me so much about my husband, my children, my family, my friends and yes — even myself.
My husband and I worked hard for many years to prepare ourselves for parenthood and creating a ‘home’ for our family. This experience has now taught me that a ‘home’ is not defined by the person’s name who appears on the deed, it is much deeper than that.
Today, I am happy for many things. We are all healthy, we live in a rental property we love as if it were our own and we have each other. Someday we will have another house and well, if we don’t … that’s okay too, as long as we are together.
So what’s my point here, really? My first hope would be that someone reading this facing a similar decision, know that they are not alone in this. More people than many realize in this community have faced these challenges in the last several years. Good, honest, hardworking, taxpaying people who had to make one tough decision.
As I told a friend, after months of trying to work with the bank and figure out a compromise so that everyone fared well, we came up empty. Last winter we had to finally make a decision based on what was best for our family, not what was best for the bank.
Stress is not our friend.
My other hope is quite simple, but it takes a little work.
Bob Marley sings a song titled “No Woman No Cry,” it’s one of my personal favorites. In this song he sings, “Everything is going to be all right.”
I believe that … honestly. It’s the basic glass half full or half empty argument. Only you can choose how you view the glass. But, again, it is work.
It’s easy to get depressed and feel badly for yourself in a world where we highlight the negative and sensationalize the awful, but you control what you do with it.
Life is unpredictable and as much as some of us like to control any and all situations … well, it just does not always work that way. In the end, I guess it gets back to faith and if you truly believe, then greatness is still awaiting you in spite of your difficulties.
The ‘faith’ I speak of can be in any number of things, but the question still remains — do you have it?
What this journey has taught me is that I really do rely on my faith, my willingness to believe that we cannot always control our destiny. Now, I have a newfound faith in mankind, in the friendships that I have built and in the family that loves me.
In the end, isn’t what it all comes back to — love? For our family this journey has been tolerable because of the love of our family, our friends and our love for ourselves.
Now, who knows what the next two years hold for our family and so many others throughout our community. For now, I will take pleasure in living in the moment, laughing with those I love and quite simply … just loving my life.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 847-3021.