What if one day you came home after finishing work for the day only to find that your home had been burgled, only on second glance you see it isn’t quite what you thought, you notice some of the items taken have been replaced…
One afternoon over three decades ago that’s exactly what my mum came home to.
My parents’ families originated from India where arranged marriages were common practice. My father grew up in England but my mother was raised in India, and only left at the age of 23 when her marriage had been arranged - would you believe the first time she met my father was when she arrived at London Heathrow Airport! Lucky for her she thought he was good looking!
Fast forward 4 years, they were married and now had two young daughters that would be me aged 3 and my sister aged 1.
When the rug is pulled out from beneath you...
After finishing work one day and picking up my sister and me from the babysitters my mum returned home, to a house that at first glance looked like it had been burgled. But on second glance something wasn’t quite right. My parents didn’t have much money, mum had been working full time and had been slowly furnishing the house with her income, buying new appliances as and when she could afford. But now as she walked into the lounge from the hallway she saw that the new TV and video player she had bought had gone, as she moved into the kitchen she was baffled, in the place of the new refrigerator stood a refrigerator half the size and considerably older. At that moment it dawned on mum that they hadn’t been burgled at all and that the only other person with the keys was my father...
It occurred to mum that she had money saved under her mattress, she ran upstairs and as she suspected, that too had gone but so too had the new bed she had bought and in its place, yes, as you might suspect, another old one.
Unfortunately my mum soon discovered that my father had decided that he’d had enough of playing grownups and had moved back home with his parents taking everything he wanted with him and leaving behind everything he didn’t – including us.
That day our lives changed forever. My mum found herself presented with a choice…. to lose herself by focussing on what she had just lost, which was significant, her husband, her savings, her identity as a wife, her hopes and dreams of her future with the man she loved or.… to find herself by recognising her value and through acknowledging that her purpose was much greater than her fears.
That day when my father chose to leave, my mother chose to stay.
She got focussed, organising for the locks to be changed that same day so that my father couldn’t take the gas cooker the last valuable item she had and needed.
She had an incredibly tough job bringing up two daughters on her own in a country that she wasn’t native to. My mother didn’t speak English, yet she ensured my sister and I got the best education we could get access to. She saved and bought her own home and slowly replaced all the things that my father had taken. She showed us how to stay strong in the face of adversity and to see the possible in the impossible.
She created an environment at home that was full of love and joy and to this day continues to support me and my sister in any way that she can.
I have no doubt there were days when she felt like she couldn’t go on – her parents were in India and she didn’t have a support network where she lived. She was raising two daughters alone with no financial or emotional support from my father. Mum turned to her faith to see her through the darkest of days and continues to show gratitude every day for surviving the days when she didn’t have enough money to put food on the table.
I cannot express enough how grateful I am for my mum recognising at that time her purpose was greater than her fears, her purpose was my sister and I. She could have quite easily lost herself and it would have been totally understandable given what she was facing, but her resilience, determination and resourcefulness have showed me that the power of purpose is significantly greater than the power of fear.
With all my heart, I will be eternally grateful for the gift that she gave me, the gift of her every single day. The gift she continues to give.
Make a choice...
Ask yourself today – 'What if my purpose was bigger than my fear?'
What would you do that you have been afraid of doing so far?
What would you strive for now that you understand that the power of purpose is significantly greater than the power of fear?
Life doesn’t always unfold in the way we expect or hope for but we have a choice and to quote a line from my favourite film, the Shawshank Redemption, we can either ‘‘get busy living or get busy dying.’’ You choose...