I recently heard a valuable set of words, “Happiness is fleeting, honor is immortal.” They made a great impression on me. Over the years I have tucked pieces of wisdom into my brain. Most remained in their useless state until after I went through recovery. As I moved through the years that had happened since my father initiated his plan of incest I felt myself growing in wisdom but I kept it all in a locked room in my mind. I had too many locked rooms. It was so hard to forgive my father. I had as many incest survivors before me, adored him. I always thought of him in superlative words. He was God in our household and my mother had him on a pedestal, an image she would never let go of. As she lay dying of breast cancer when she was 47 she told her brother that she wondered if it had been wise for her to not interfere with some of my father’s rulings.
Too late mom!! By then all the damage had been done. He had taken a happy, full of love and goodness, innocent to the core, deeply spiritual thirteen-year-old girl, one he had delivered himself in the middle of a blizzard, and turned her into a frightened, neurotic and thoroughly unhappy young lady. He had torn that innocence out of me and my mother supported his decision. After all, she had delivered four children in four years when she was younger and eight years later came another child, a slip as it were. He needed to satisfy his sexual needs somewhere and they couldn’t afford any more children. My mother was worn down from caring for such a large family and my father’s reasoning went something like this: It’s not so bad. They do it in the Appalachian district all the time. As a patriarchal family, we had no ability to fight back against such a vile decision.
But words have always been my shield, my best friend. I decided when I was three years old that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. My mother had been sharing my birthday present, a book titled A Picture Book of Words. She explained about words and how you could turn them into sentences and the sentences into paragraphs and the paragraphs into books. I can still remember the joy that rippled through me as I found out about words. At the age of thirteen I began writing poetry, agonizing words that ripped through me, telling all, telling nothing. I wrote my first novel in my teens. I read voraciously anything I could get my hands on, some of it to distract me from my despair, some of it to learn. I was desperate to find the truth. I had no idea what was happening in my young life and no way to discover the truth. In those days you couldn’t dial 911.
Many words of wisdom followed me. They showed up in my poetry, they hid in my novels, peeked out from articles I wrote. And while going through recovery they all surfaced a little at a time, sayings I had dismissed as useless in my search for understanding. Some of these homilies are:
A stitch in time saves nine, a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved and a joy shared is a joy doubled, watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves and my personal favorite, An unexamined life is not worth living. These words were first said by Aristotle, one of the world’s greatest philosophers.
Here are some of my own wisdom I have garnished through my journey:
Fall in love fast, it never will last, fall in love slow, it only can grow,
Talk to God often………then listen.
Climb trees as long as you’re able to. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Only the bold moves count.
Never turn your back on any opportunity for joy.
Life is a gift! Unwrap it!
There is much truth and wisdom in words. Explore them, utilize them, share them.