This year has really made me understand why so many people have used some form of the quote below. It is also no wonder that I could not determine the original quote. I can only imagine that it came from long ago. This exact version of it came from Thomas S. Monson.
“We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails.”
Entering into the many forums regarding DNA surprises opened a new reality for me. The many parallel yet different stories have caused me to adjust my sails, emotionally speaking. It is astonishing how many people are experiencing this in growing numbers! The one thing that rings true among the majority of us with parental surprises, is that we don’t really like to hear that ‘nothing has changed’. We know that it truly “hasn’t” in some aspects, but internally things have definitely changed. Many, like me, who have had a DNA surprise are now questioning our identity. Most of us know that our parents, as we understood them to be, loved us. We know that our family loves us. But for some that is not the case. Many people are experiencing heartache upon heartache. Some are being told not to ever contact them again or being told not to tell certain people. They are now a “secret”. Some are learning that the one they searched for has passed away. The new families are not all awarding a warm reception or an ounce of acceptance. I am so grateful that my newly found sister wanted to meet and wants to be family. Seeing the stories, which are confidential, I began to feel some closure and healing in my new reality. The stories I have read have also shaped my perspective in a healthy way. Peace has encompassed me even though I will not find any answers. I cannot presume to know how my parents would have reacted. To do that would only put unnecessary worry upon myself. I don’t have to doubt whether either of them loved me unlike some are having to do. However, I will say that the year my mother died was the last year that I truly felt secure. This speaks volumes to me now. My dad loved me, but I did not always feel secure. The only security some people ever have is in knowing WHO they are. Now many are struggling with that very crisis due to DNA results and familial reactions. Even if you do not like, love, or respect your parents, the foundation of your identity began with the names on the birth certificate.
We have had our laughs watching shows which reveal the father. The scene is usually disturbing and chaotic leading us to wonder why anyone would put themselves in such a public position. Now…now, I can understand the innate desire to know, truly know who your father is at all cost. After all, it is the foundation of our identity, right? Until one has been in this situation, it is extremely difficult to have true empathy or even words to say. I have a couple of friends who ask me how I am doing but most just go on like nothing has changed. AND…it hasn’t…or has it? Some days I feel like nothing has changed, then the wave of grief hits me. I will go quickly to the mirror and study my face again. Then I look into the mirror and ask myself, “Who am I?” once again. This struggle is exactly what is happening as my father’s birthday approaches. It feels different internally.
On April 28th, 1942 when Johnny Charles Bone was born. He was a mess but he was a good man. His lifelong best friend, Brenda, has told me many stories. She also opened for Willie Nelson and got to hold his guitar. (I know that doesn’t apply here but it’s pretty darn cool!) Her son, David, even wrote a song about my dad. He tried to sing it for me once when he was performing at the Houston Rodeo BBQ Cook Off. He cried, I cried, my friend cried. I am still waiting for the day to hear the whole song. He loved my dad too. He was Uncle Chico to a lot of people, blood or not. He will always be my dad, blood or not. He was immediately exposed to chicken pox the day he was born and nearly died. My grandfather ran over him with a jeep in the sand. He went to the hospital and was ultimately ok. I think he was 3 or 4 when that happened. My grandmother was a wreck, I am told. He was her youngest, hence the name “Chico”. The closer I get to his birthday the more stories, memories, and emotions slip into my mind. It feels like it is time to once again adjust my sails.
I am finding it difficult to think of how to honor him on his day in light of the news. I am supposed to on a sailboat in the US Virgin Islands on his birthday. Two of my best girlfriends will be there too. One of them shares his birthday, and this touches my heart deeply. We will all know the certainty of this trip in 2 days. I have looked forward to being out on the water on April 28th since last April 28th. This trip has been rescheduled 3 times. (I really hope it happens.) The last 12 months have truly brought home the need to “adjust the sails”. It feels as if I am adjusting my emotional sails daily. So, how appropriate will it be to be on a sailboat while reminiscing and spending some quiet moments with my Heavenly Father? I can feel it in my bones and I am longing to be there. The saltwater has always helped me gain perspective and work through difficult thoughts. The peace the ocean brings, especially to this water loving believer, is difficult to duplicate elsewhere. The waters of the Caribbean have long been my happy place. Even now, I close my eyes and picture myself there. I am ready to literally adjust my sails and feel the ocean spray wash over me.
One of my favorite shirts has this: Saltwater Heals Everything. For me this is true!
Thank you for joining me on this journey!
Abiding Still, Rachele