On my own journey I have seen and experienced so much negativity: domestic violence, depression, anxiety, as well as mental, physical and sexual abuse. Those who are close to me know the experiences I have had, including my journey with brain cancer in 2017.
It amazes people when they hear my story. They all look at me and say, “To look at you, you would never know.” That C- shaped scar on the top of my head which was once covered by a bandanna is finally now covered with hair. The abuse, depression and anxiety may be experiences in the past but never leave the heart. My light still shines because I choose to allow it to. Did I always shine this brightly? No. It took years of healing from the inside out. I had to stop blaming myself for my experiences and the feeling of deserving it. I had to learn how to focus on the present moment without fear. I had to learn how to forgive each person who ever hurt me, including myself for allowing things to transpire for so long. I had to learn how to have goals and focus only on the positive. I had to learn that we cannot change people and that it is selfish to even try. We all must learn to love and accept people for who they are, without feeling guilty from distancing ourselves from them if their energy is hurting our spirit. I had to learn how to be alone and enjoy the single life. My views on life had to completely change. Hope, faith, trust, acceptance, patience and gratitude became important aspects of my life. Learning to love myself was absolutely the most important lesson.
When I hit rock bottom and fell to my knees in prayer in desperation for God’s help, which I didn’t feel deserving of because I had walked away from Him for over 20 years, that is when the miracle happened. My life completely changed. It was as if my eyes could finally see where I was going wrong. I no longer felt alone. It was as if God wrapped me up in a warm, safe blanket and carried me to a place of unconditional love, which is really what I was missing in my life. Aren’t we all striving to feel loved and accepted? I believe most people are. We definitely are searching for it in the wrong places. Relationships are wonderful ways to fulfill your spirit, yet if your ego is running the show it won’t be long until you’re wanting more or not feeling as fulfilled as you once were. We MUST be fulfilled within in order to be happy and fulfilled outside of ourselves. We attract the same; if we are unfulfilled, our mate will be as well. And then we discover that we are constantly in charge of filling the other up, and we are feeling empty. We blame them for not making us happy. We are in charge of our happiness.
I have recently heard stories of domestic violence from people close to me–people that I never knew were suffering from depression and/or anxiety because they seemed to hide it well, yet their lives are falling apart around them. People that I never thought possible are filing for bankruptcy, struggling to provide for their families and pay their bills. I’ve met people recently who have had the worst pasts that anyone could ever imagine: abusive parents, stuck in horrible foster care situations, alcoholism, drugs, etc. People are grieving, struggling to survive. Do you know these people? Maybe. But chances are, until you hear their story, you don’t know them. And once they do share, if they feel inclined to do so, you have never walked in their shoes. So really, no one knows the heartaches and trials one may be feeling and facing.
The next time someone cuts in front of you on the street, bless them. You have no idea if they are on their way to the hospital to say goodbye to a loved one who’s ready to leave this world. The next time someone takes their frustration out on you, rather than taking it personally, know they are struggling in some way and not dealing with it well.
What this world needs is prayer, light and so much love. Criticism and hate only create more criticism and hate. Stop judging, please. Let people live their lives and you focus on living yours. You are never going to see all the bruises and scars that people have hidden on their body and in their heart and carry with them daily. Spread kindness, especially to those who are mean, because they need it most.
Amy Musser, a Hellertown resident, is a spiritual adviser and owner of The Angel Whisperer based at Sacred Space in Hellertown. She was diagnosed with grade 3 astrocytoma, a type of brain cancer, in 2016. She documents her progress fighting the disease and shares inspiration on Facebook.