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More than mere existence

mere: being nothing more or better than

During my quiet time this morning, I found myself writing something I frequently say, “I don’t believe in coincidence.” And this is true. I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe that everything happens for a reason, though it may be a while before the reason is apparent, if ever. Then out of the blue, a question appeared.

“If you don’t believe in coincidence, why do you still question your own existence?”

Growing up, I was frequently told that I was an accident. Not maliciously mind you, but nevertheless the message stuck. I grew up the quintessential people-pleaser. I lived my life as directed as others saw fit. I was desperately trying to prove my existence, my worth. I didn’t believe my own thoughts and feelings were valid or credible. Every time I failed to do something “right,” no matter how well everything else in my life was going, that message would ring through loud and clear: I was an accident.

It is amazing to me how blind we can be to our own negative beliefs and habits all the while dispensing grace and great advice to others. We are truly our own worst enemies.

On my own journey to wellness, the negative tapes from long ago have by far been the biggest hurdle I’ve faced. Cutting gluten and dairy out of my diet was way easier. But I’ve found if I look back over my life from a place of love instead of punishment, I see undeniable proof that I was indeed meant to be here, that I am not a coincidence. One such incident happened when I was very young, probably about five or so. It was the 70s, so we didn’t have the onslaught of media and information that is prevalent today. We had three TV channels and went to the library for more information on anything. Instead of scrolling through the Twitter feed, we learned by watching the world around us. For a young kid, that meant watching our families. I lived on a dairy farm in Tennessee, the youngest of four and the only girl and I was frequently left alone.

Daily I watched my parents pull pills of some sort or another out of the medicine cabinet and take them. I couldn’t tell you what the pills were, only that they did this almost every day. One day I got the notion in my head that I would take pills too. This wasn’t to do harm to myself, but instead to be like everyone else, to do the right thing. You see the little people pleaser I was growing into, right? So anyway, I pulled out every bottle from the cabinet and I took one pill out of each bottle. I lined them up on the counter and proceeded to take them one by one. There are very few memories from that time that I see vividly, but this is one of them: pills of all sizes and colors lined up in a row. And…nothing happened. I didn’t get sick. I didn’t have any sort of adverse reaction at all. And no one knew that I had done it. I didn’t even tell my parents about this until after I was well into my adult years. It just didn’t seem important. It wasn’t until I was in my late 30s when I started questioning my beliefs that this memory surfaced again. Being a parent myself, I am amazed and grateful that I survived that.

This is just one of many such memories that have surfaced in the last few years. I can no longer look at my life, at the events and circumstances I have survived, and believe I am an accident. I cannot continue holding onto this belief that doesn’t serve me, that only hinders me. My life is not a coincidence. Neither is yours. We are each born with our own unique set of gifts, quirks and points of view. There may be similarities, but never sameness among any two people. We each have our own voice. We each have something to contribute. So today I choose to embrace this. We only get one ride in this life and I no longer want to live mine as a mere existence. How about you?

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