The most defining moment. . .

“You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.”
― Barbara De Angelis

The most defining moment. . .

If we never know how others feel: what matters, what creates, what ruins. . .how are we to learn enough to matter in our lives?

Defining truth from just our personal experiences will always impede us from knowing enough.

We need those tales of "others" to show us things we may never otherwise understand, ever see.

Choosing my defining moment is a journey for me.

I have come back to this question many times since someone asked me some months ago.

It would be reasonable to say it was when I was young and taken advantage of; blamed myself, afraid I had done something terribly wrong and decided to be quiet for too long, creating a mindset that followed after far too many years.

That left an impact, to be sure.

Or when I met the most amazing fellow I will ever know . . .in a bar. . .of all places, Who would somehow end up being the constant that holds so much together here.

It might have said it was when my second son stopped breathing reflexes during an ultrasound when I was 7 months pregnant and was born through an emergency C-section or when the perinatologist told me an aortic aneurism meant living through my 3rd pregnancy was not especially likely, and yet, I delivered a healthy baby at 38 weeks.

No. Those aren't the moment.

That night I walked into the back of funeral home to see my father, a man I loved to the moon and back many times over, who was 86 years old, and looking at my mother to say, “I do not think he has ever looked so happy, so good," and I tried hard to be happy his journey that was so long and hard was over. . .

But I do not think any of those moments changed everything about who I am today. Those moments do not create the meaning of my life. . .they mean a great deal to me; that is not the same.

Because for me, only regret and a lesson that caused me to turn around and go in the opposite direction would mean enough.

I wasn't in control of those things. I am either happy or sad over then, but that isn't the same at all.

The night after my sister and brothers perished in a fire. . .

Wait, I am not telling you it was the actual night I stood in front of the building, flames separating me from all of them forever here,

I am telling you about the day after when I laid in the shower and remembered an argument I had with my 19 year old brother hours before I could never take the words back.

I never said a kind thing to him after those words. There is no going back. He got out of my car, and he was visibly shaken from what I had said. Theology. Of no value. Words and theory of no value.

He was a solemn, sincere boy. I was loud and loved to have my thoughts heard more than anything back then. What I said, in those last words to him, had no value at all, and he closed the door in tears. And he was gone. I could never right that wrong.

Can never right that wrong.

So you see, that was our end. He and I get no do overs.

And I have never felt so worthless and unable to go on before or since. . . I remember nothing more than that span of time. It is the moment I have found myself coming back to for nearly a decade since.

That moment defines who I was, who I will never be again, the moment I turned and decided to be better than I had been before. . . and I can say with assurance that moment comes back to me at the drop of a hat.

It left me destroyed, and it allowed me to be better than I was before. Better than I was before. Regret, repentance, a way to take faults and work forever to do better. . .

And that is who I am today.

You never learn from glossing over your mistakes, folks. You learn by admitting them and then walking in another direction, remembering what you've done so that you may do better as time goes.

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow