Back in 2008, I took a week-long vacation to Hawaii. I went by myself because my best friend from high school backed out at the last minute and I had just broken up with my boyfriend at the time. It was October and it was hot, but not summer-hot in Honolulu. I rented a white SUV to drive around the island for the week.
One day, I drove out to the North Shore and spent hours relaxing on the beach. It was just me, my journal, a picnic basket of food and wine and the occasional surfer dude coming by to ask me if I wanted to smoke.
For some reason, I had been thinking about my father a lot that day. The whole week, really. I laid out on that beach at the North Shore drinking and wondering how come I wasn’t dead yet.
I was 25, the same age my father was when he killed himself.
As a teenager, I had started worrying that suicide was hereditary, or at least the conditions that made someone want to die. As an adult, I understood that this wasn’t exactly the case, but it remained a present worry that showed up in select moments of uncertainty.
It was a pebble rolling around in my mind, threatening to ruin my life if I let it.
On the day of my father’s funeral in November 1989, Mom had me wear one of my “good” dresses with thick tights that shielded my skinny six year-old legs from the cold morning.
But on the North Shore that day in October 2008, the air was warm and my legs were bare. I was all grown up now, thousands of miles and many years away from that time and place in my life that had caused me so much pain.
I gazed into the blue-green water, the waves rushing up like a question.
I kept thinking to myself: I could be dead by now.
A few hours later, I began to realize the beautiful flip side of that statement: But I’m still alive.
I must be here for a reason. God still has work for me to do.
And then I started doing the work.
I started getting serious about figuring out WHY I was born, WHAT I was put here on earth to do and HOW I could go about doing it.
The answers were always there, but only when I was brave enough to open my eyes and see them. I know now that I’m here to help others, as I have been helped, over and over, by so many people who we will call angels.
No matter what you’re going through in your life right now, the fact that you’re still alive is an incredible gift. It’s OK to make the most of it.
Even if you’ve been hurt, lied to, abused and rejected in the past, you can rest in the sweet, unshakable truth that you’re still here. It’s OK to forgive.
You can still dwell in the magical world of possibility and move forward, knowing that there is a greater purpose for your life, beyond any pain and disappointment you’ve experienced thus far. It’s OK to let go.
If you’re reading this right now, there’s still work for you to do, too.
Are you doing the work you were put here on earth to do? Do you struggle with letting go of your past so that you can live your purpose? I’d love to hear about your experience! Leave a comment below and join the conversation – our HBW Community is becoming a great place to connect with like-minded ladies, ask questions and get support
Rosetta Thurman is the Founder of Happy Black Woman. Follow Rosetta on Twitter.
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