Better Tomorrow

Well here we are, Saturday night, 10:00pm, and I’m…in bed.

People. I am turning into an old fogey.

Seriously. Pretty soon I’m going to be eating tapioca and wearing Depends!


Juuuuuust kidding.

But honestly, that has been one of the bigger changes since coming home to help my mom post-strokeGoing to bed early.

No joke. On a typical Saturday night in NYC, my night doesn’t begin until midnight. Literally. My friends and I would meet at a bar around 11:30, and then be out until 4:00am.

Now, you’re lucky if I can stay up to watch the evening news.


It’s just different.

But one of the things I am loving about being home is the nighttime chats my mom and I have before bed. Growing up, that was always something we did…have these beautiful conversations about everything from boys, to friends, to God, to the future. And now, it’s pretty awesome to be able to do that again, but this time as two adults.

I’m telling you…God has been so generous with me, here, since I have been home. In a lot of ways, obviously. But specifically, in how He’s revealed to me just how much I have “learned” or “grown” since my anorexia, and in particular, how it has formed much of my inner-most thoughts and beliefs…in a good way.

Tonight, during our nighttime chat, my heart became so overwhelmed with just this sense of compassion for my mom. Compassion because, all of a sudden, I realized that her journey in recovering from her stroke mirrors in a lot of ways my recovery from anorexia. Maybe not in the physical sense, but in the mental sense.

My journey to a truly full recovery where I was living free and abundantly, happened only when I realized my worth. And where it came from.

I was finding my worth in my appearance, or the perfect “this or that.” I believed to my core that my worth had to be earned. And that since I wasn’t “perfect,” I was unworthy of love.


My mom said something to me tonight that brought me to a familiar place. A place that I knew all too well.

She looked at me with those big, beautiful brown eyes, and said to me with sorrow in her voice, “I’ll be better tomorrow.”

My heart just shattered.

And I knew that I needed to share with her something that I’ve had to learn and relearn and relearn just about every week.

And I think the best way to express it, is to just share with you exactly what I said to her. Because maybe, just maybe, this will resonate with even one person, too.

I said, Mom, you don’t need to be better tomorrow. Even if this is as much of your memory you get back or if this is as far in the recovery process as you get, it doesn’t matter. Because I love you just as you are right now. You don’t have to “progress” to a certain level or reach a certain standard of “better.” Your worth is in you being you. As you are in this very moment. It’s the same as it was a year ago, the day you had your stroke, yesterday and tomorrow. I love you no matter what. You don’t have to be “better” tomorrow.

And I realized, just how similar these paths of recovery are.

There are few times…very few times…when I can look back at my time battling anorexia in my youth, and be grateful for it. Granted, not for the hair loss, or the shattered relationships, or my flirtation with death – literally. But there are a few times when I realize that I am actually grateful for the lessons that I’ve had to learn the hard way.

And tonight was one of those nights.

When that core belief that has shaped who I am today, and that was learned and formed through fire, made me grateful for having gone through those dark days so many years ago.

And I kind of smiled at God tonight, and thanked Him that I had that experience to draw on to relate to my mom and have empathy for what she’s going through.


Every season of life, no matter how difficult, produces fruit. And this was really the first time that I could take the “fruit” from that period of darkness in my past, and pick one off the tree and give it to someone else.

Strokes are hard because there’s so much focus on your ‘progress.’ How much do you remember today? How did you perform on the speech exercises? What do you have to offer to the conversation.

There’s an obscene amount of value and worth placed on your ability to do or say certain things. Things that are hard, because they target the location in the “dead area” of your brain that died during the stroke.

It ties your value to a “because” rather than a “no matter what.”

Who knows, maybe I’m way off base on this and reading too much into it, but it was just an overwhelming feeling that I needed to share that with her.

And I guess, with you, too.

One of the cool things about families and communities, is that everybody brings something to the table. And perhaps, this is mine.

What about you? What’s something that you’ve learned that has shaped your core being? Maybe, just maybe, it will resonate with someone who needs to hear it, too?

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249 thoughts on “Better Tomorrow

  1. I loved this post, it brought tears to my eyes…and reminded me of the verse in Corinthians…2 Corinthians 1:3-5

    “Praise to the God of All Comfort
    3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”

    Many blessings to you and your mom.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What a powerful post! It’s so good to read/hear/learn of real examples of God’s promises being true. As I’ve said in recent years, “God never wastes a tear.” It took a while, and your investments were considerable, but the fruit, when ripe, was worth the wait, wasn’t it?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Caralyn,

    This is a poem by Steve Stockman, from one of my favourite albums ‘Grace Notes’ by Steve Stockman and Sam Hill.

    God, give us faith to believe the truth
    And the right to ask why

    Give us joy in life’s fulfilment
    And the right to cry

    God give us the strength to carry others
    And the right to wilt

    Give us grace towards holiness
    And the right to confess our guilt

    Father show us a bigger picture
    Jesus put grace notes in our song

    Holy Spirit put us on a road that’s deeper
    And more eternal than the one we’re on.

    I’m soooooo glad for you, for all God is doing for you, for such grace that covers your family, for this journey that you’re on, and that by His great help, you’ll stay on, further in and further up. Don’t leave any stone unturned, it’s always well worth it to look for Him. I know very well the fear of what may lie ahead, but many things that we do, not the least being writing these blogs, keep our eyes on Him. And He knows and loves those faltering steps we take blindly holding His hand, and in the end, it’s worth it, many times over.

    Many blessings, and much love to your parents along with our prayers.
    Indi

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Totally agree. As I continue my trek through my adult years, I’ve always tried to maintain the outlook you describe so well. Many of the adventures we experience in mortality come in very handy when we have opportunities to lift others in need. Just as God has sent people to my life when I needed some lifting. We are a community of God’s children. I believe that the struggles I have in this life are, in part, there so I can help others with similar struggles. Most of all, the struggles allow me to empathize and more fully express my love for those around me. We all struggle through this life, looking for the moments of joy along the way.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I can’t get into details but I’ve been around death quite a bit. It might contribute for my appreciation for the darker side of things honestly. . . .goth and what not. Suicide and suicide attempts of the ones you love can change you. Others’ illnesses and my own battle with type 1 haven’t settled within me as with other people. I am not the same as I was before. I struggled with God and then I feel my faith strengthened.

    I got “til the love runs out” tattooed. It’s from the song “Love runs out” by one Republic. It’s about God being there and being accepting of God’s Will.

    Wonderful post as always. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much for sharing this, Pikku. I’m so sorry that those things have been a part of your journey this far. My heart just goes out to you. What a cool tattoo. I’m so glad your faith has been strengthened through it all. God is good. Big hugs to you friend. Thanks again for your encouragement. Xox

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That little speech (for lack of a better word) was right on. Such wisdom. On the one hand I am sorry you had to live through the torment and hell of anorexia, but, on the other hand I am so happy for you that you were strong enough and ARE strong enough to have pulled through it to now be in a position to teach others. That is a gift. And I am hopeful that your mother was able to receive the message and do something with it.

    My contribution has seemingly always been to give my undivided attention to someone when they are talking. Even in a crowd of people, the person speaking will somehow find me and focus their attention on me when they speak as if I have some gift of listening. And it matters not what “class” or person it is – I could be talking to a honmeless man or lady, or, I could be talking to the head of a company, or some famous movie star. We get along like we’ve been friends for years. So that is my contribution I guess.

    Thank you for sharing what is at times very painful for you and what is so honest about your life. It makes us feel closer to you

    Liked by 4 people

  7. You’re awesome, you know that, right?

    “Every season of life, no matter how difficult, produces fruit. And this was really the first time that I could take the “fruit” from that period of darkness in my past, and pick one off the tree and give it to someone else.”

    That’s a truly great way to look at our lives in general and you’re right. This is wisdom.

    Thank you for sharing with us gorgeous friend. It’s amazing to keep learning. I think we just need to be open so we can see the blessings, even those in disguise.

    Much love to you and family. Warmest hugs xxx

    Like

  8. I’ve been fighting with myself to accept who I am- who God made me to be. I’m just now beginning to burn the bridges of insecurities and walk into the ‘Total Man’. Thanks for reminding me that God doesn’t want us to be perfect and He doesn’t expect us to be. He wants us to be willing to be used by Him – even in our imperfections! He’s using you to touch many lives thru your writing. Like I tell myself these days, I’ll tell you – DON’T QUIT. God bless you !

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Pingback: Doing the Next Right Thing – 24 Hours… Is All We Have!

  10. Very nice words to your mother, more so because I know you firmly believe them.

    I wish I had a good phrase or word of experience….just keep remembering the Serenity Prayer, and your trust in God

    xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for sharing. One of my friends went through a very difficult situation at one point in her life – something that she would never wish on anyone. But she said that she is grateful that she went through it because of what God did through it. I love that you are able to say the same thing. There is so much truth in Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purposes.” Thank you for your encouragement. I have nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award.

    https://thisgeorgiapeach.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/blogger-recognition-award/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for this thoughtful response. That’s so true. God uses our difficult season to teach and grow us and grow our relationship with Him. I love that verse. And thanks so much for the nomination. That really means a lot. I’m honored:) big hugs xox

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Consistency is progress too… May be today you arent any better than yday, but atleast you are same (even though i hate using the word atleast lol…it makes it sound sympathetic)…that consistency towards recovery is also progress…
    Sometimes progresd is within yourself…the outside world will be oblivious to how much your have grown within your mind, in your thoughts and views, but within you, you havr progressed…because more often that not, tragedies happen more within our minds than outside…*hugs*

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  13. I’d say I’ve learned to stop comparing myself to other people. God made us to be unique with our own strengths and weakness, quirks and flaws. Being who you are is incredibly important.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Love the lesson here… one thing I’m learning in this season is that even as I wait for that better tomorrow, I have to realise that I’m actually good today. This is who I am right now; this is where I am. I will love and embrace what exists today even as I hope for something better tomorrow. If I don’t appreciate today, I won’t be content with whatever comes tomorrow.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Great post! I am going through a very difficult time at this juncture of my life. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, no matter how much you try to keep life together, there is always a new lesson to be learned. Trials an tribulations has a way of showing up when you least expect it. But at the end of that trial, God has given you the strength and courage to persevere.😊 Moving forward and praising him through the storms of life ultimately gets you to a place of peace and understanding. As you look back, you thank God for the lessons learned.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Fantastic post and a wonderful testament that respects both you and your journey and your mother and hers. It was an honor reading this deeply personal post. When I looked back on my life to identify a time when I learned a lesson that significantly changed my outlook, I returned to about a year ago when my father passed away. His story wasn’t uniquely tragic, frankly, he was an older man whose life offered me many models of poor healthy behavior, but nothing too dramatic. He just ate at McDonalds more than he should have and didn’t exercise enough. However, me and my brother both grew up with pretty bad anxiety and insecurity. We both learned to mask this with sarcasm and wit, because they got laughs. However, it also kept people at bay and more significantly, hurt our closest humans, including each other. When my dad passed away we had a few epiphanies with each other, most significantly, that we were hurting, that we both had a conflicted relationship with my dad that despite our 12 year difference, was very similar. We began to talk, sincerely with one another. We began to realize that our sarcastic facades were merely armor to protect our deeply sensitive and anxious internal lives. We began to speak kindly to one another and, most importantly, we realized that we loved one another. It was a remarkable transformation and one, for me at least, that enabled the path that led me here to finally share what has been a part of my life for over 30 years: poetry.

    I thank you for sharing this reflection on your life, your recovery, and your mother. May you long continue to be both masterpiece and a work in progress!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. “You don’t have to progress to a certain level or reach a certain standard of better. Your worth is in you being you. At this very moment.” Love this

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  18. This reflection of is so full of love. Bravo to you for seeing the connection between your life struggles and your mother’s struggles. We don’t have to earn love. God has always loved us unconditionally. You chose to love your mother this way freeing her from having to earn your love, What a wonderful story to share with others.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’ve learned in my own life and understanding of the Trinity in my life is that every single experience I had, small or great, and good and bad, were all necessary to get me to the blessed life I have today and will have tomorrow. I learned that there are no mistakes in my life — only consequences that made me stronger and better. I believe the same holds true for you. Without your past, you wouldn’t be writing these awesome BLOGs, which help me carry on in my acting career and give me a new and fresh perspective in the challenges of my own life. You see, IMO, the Trinity is communicating to me through you. Thank you for your honesty and courage for discussing stuff that help me and stuff that people are usually to proud or afraid to share. I will be in my crib in Manhattan in a few weeks for a film production meeting with Paramount Studios — I will check in with you, and we can hit Roses at the Time Warner Building — until then, keep being great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Alfonso! Gosh, you are so kind. Thank you. I think you’re right-our pasts and everything that goes along with is shape us, and make us who we are today, and lead us down the path that we’re ultimately supposed to be on! I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying reading my posts:) that seriously brings a smile to my face! And how exciting about your meeting! Congrats! Sounds good, that’d be awesome! I’ll be back in NYC in a few weeks for a gig, so hopefully our time will overlap! Have a great night and thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Beautiful post 🙂 I hope your mother gets better. Whether a parent suffers a stroke, cancer or any other serious condition, we always pray in the end that their son or daughter (whether they be children or grown-up) either survive the outcome, end up having their parent live or both. May everything work out. Anyway, keep up the great work as always even If I do not always respond to a new post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Thank you for sharing this. Your stories remind me of my own journey searching for my self worth. Someone gave me the advice that you gave to your mom once a few years ago, but the way that you said it really resonated with me tonight.

    All we can do is our best. And if our best isn’t 100% today or tomorrow or even ever, that’s okay because we’re still beautiful and incredible human beings who matter. No matter what, just like what you said 🙂

    Thanks again, God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Since you asked, and I’m prompted to say it: I’ve learned that God is operating every detail of all existence, according to an infinitely good plan that includes everyone, believe it or not, mistranslated Bibles and misunderstandings of the Bible notwithstanding. So, believe it or not, we’re all going to be infinitely better in his tomorrow, not because of any efforts from ourselves, but because of God and what he has planned. My dad had a stroke about a year ago and died within a couple weeks. My wife and I often go to bed at 7:30, and like it. We even eat tapioca sometimes and like it. We haven’t needed any Depends yet. But I know every atom and detail of the universe is exactly where God places it, every moment, right on schedule, for an unimaginably wonderful tomorrow that is on its way for all. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for this beautiful encouragement. I love that – He really is operating every detail and using it for good. I’m so sorry to hear about your father. My heart and prayers go out to you. What a powerful way in which you see the world. Thanks for sharing. Hugs and love xox

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  23. I’m really sorry that i haven’t commented for a long time on your posts. I’ve had a lot of challenges over recent weeks. I read when I can and you help me every time. Your faith shines. You teach me about God and His loving kindness
    I’m so so sorry for what your mum, you and your family are suffering. I can only imagine the pain and fear. God is your “stronghold, the rock in whom you trust” and He will shelter you under His wings. Your loving patient faith is allowing His light to shine into the darkness of uncertainty and loss you and your mum are in at the moment. You are a gift to her. May the Lord give you strength each moment. May Mary, Mother of Jesus, who He gave to us at the Cross as Mother of the Church, hold you tenderly close to Her Son. We are His Body. When we suffer we are united with Him in His suffering – and in His love being poured out, because His Cross was not death but love and life poured out for us.
    You show precious care and love for your mum. What a great help and joy to her and your family to have you there.
    What you wrote in this post means so much to me. What you said to your mum, how my heart has wished (selfish as I am I admit freely) that someone would say this to me. I have several physical and mental health conditions. I am weak right now. I don’t know what’s coming. Very often I can’t be “better tomorrow”. I can’t do what others close to me desperately need me to. I can’t “move forward” on the paths they think I should follow and I have disappointed and hurt them because following support they’ve given me in the past I can’t accomplish the things they feel I should as a result, and to them that’s a moral failure to use gifts I’ve been given and ungrateful and irresponsible.
    It both hurts me in itself because it makes me a failure or a fraud, and hurts (selfishly again) because I really needed them to be there even if I don’t get “better tomorrow”. And I hurt for them because I know they’re angry, disappointed, upset, I’ve let them down, they can’t accept what my situation is right now.
    Your words really helped to hear and made me feel not alone. Through God’s eyes now is okay. Now is how He is coming into my heart. Now is right where He needs me to answer Him, call for Him… I can be loved even if I’m not better tomorrow.
    Please may I link to this post in my own blog?
    Thank you xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Dearest Writer,

    I don’t know why you deleted that Valentine’s Day post, but it was both charming and romantic. Where are people like you in Australia? Someone who loves loving. Not sure. But as a hopelessly single man, who — in my defence — have seen unpleasant dating experience despite my innocent intentions to love someone unconditionally, I feel your pain.

    For you, my dear Writer, is a rose. You deserve a beautiful Valentine’s day — daily. 🌹

    -D.V.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh thank you so much, DV. That’s so kind of you to say. That post accidentally published before it was ready to go. It was meant to go up at 7pm but the scheduling feature messed up and it published two hours early. It’s up in its finished form now though. But thanks for saying that. Big hugs xo

      Like

    • Aw, thanks again for your prayers and kindness 🙂 *I’m* the one that is blessed by her! Truly! She is my rock and I am honored to be by her side during this time. And my dad too. He is the most incredible human I know – so strong and kind and God-loving and with just a good heart. I feel so blessed to be by his side during this difficult season too. Thanks again for all your positivity 🙂 massive hugs to you x

      Liked by 1 person

  25. It ties your value to a “because” rather than a “no matter what.”

    This is a key theme for me to understand and own. I have lived too long in a world of achievement based self-worth. I am only now beginning to understand the idea that life is precious in itself, and those that live it, share a gorgeous gift. to be alive is to have all the opportunity in the world. Too often, we are fixated by that which we don’t have.

    I will wait for more from you.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I think one of the few times that I stayed up way past mid-night in NYC was when I went to the movies with a friend. I had ice-coffee about 10:30, p.m.. Well there I was a-buzzen’. I knew my friend was gay, but that did not mean that I was, nor that I had any interest in sex that night. He did not appreciate his sense of rejection. Just too much cafine late, nothing more intended. Anyway, what I’m getting at is expectations. If we get stuck on our expectations that an exciting life means hanging out on Saturday night in after-hour clubs, or recovering from a stroke in a certain time frame, etc. then we are likely to be frustrated. However, if we stay in the moment, and appreciate a good night sleep or staying up late to watch SNL, or sharing the level of verbal communication that your mother has that day, then we are less likely to be discourage. I don’t drink coffee at night any more. — Oscar

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    • Hi Oscar, thanks so much for sharing this. Yeah I don’t do well with caffeine either! Haha but that’s such great advice at the end there-to be in the moment and appreciate the blessings as they come. It’s actually a pretty difficult day today with a lot of discouragement so this really helped me tonight. So thank you. We’re going to celebrate the progress she’s made and be grateful for the conversations we’re having. Hope you have a great night. Hugs and love xox

      Liked by 1 person

  27. “I love you just as you are right now,” excellent! That’s the sincerest love, unconditional love, Godly love. After reading “Late Bloomer” and then this one, I would say, you’re ready for a committed relationship. However, the whole looking for a Brad Pitt-type….not so much unconditional love. 🙂 You’re either setting expectations too high that a poor guy can’t reach OR you’ve set the goal too low because most of the time, guys that are drop-dead gorgeous are usually shallow and full of themselves, they would not possess this unconditional love!

    Prayers for your mom/your family/you. ❤

    Like

    • Thanks so much Darlene. I really appreciate you reading my blogs this morning and for your kind words and prayers. Yeah, you’re definitely right about that – I’m setting the bar too high. I need to be open to love and whoever god brings into my life 🙂 big hugs to you xox

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  28. Thank you so much for posting. i am going through a tough time lately and it was great to hear about your time with your Mum. Your words are good. They meant a lot to me and i need to believe I will look back on this time on my life with gratitude.

    Like

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