The choice is yours
By Michelle Hernandez
Although 2020 is over in all its infamy, the effects of the pandemic, quarantine, hurricanes and social and political unrest go on. How these things affect your life is up to you.
I am not sure who coined the phrase “One Day at a Time,” but I was introduced to it by Al–Anon after my dad entered recovery from alcoholism. If we have not learned anything else from all the uncertainty of the past year, I hope we have learned to take life one day at a time. We truly do not know what the future holds. We don’t even know what the day holds. If we spend our time and energy trying to predict and/or control what is going to happen, we are going to feel very anxious and unsettled. We are made by God, and we have to TRUST that He is in charge. Only when we let go of worry (different from concern) and control and turn things over to God’s care can we truly have the peace He intends for us.
Healing and growth
I often thank God that my dad was an alcoholic, not because of the codependent dysfunction it created in my family, which I carried into my marriage, but because of all I gained from the recovery and healing that unfolded in my life as a result of Al–Anon. For anyone not familiar, Al–Anon is an anonymous support group for family and friends of alcoholics. It is a twelve–step program of spiritual growth and building healthy relationships, that begins with admitting we are dependent on God.
Always an independent, adventurous person, I thought I could conquer anything I set out to do. One result of being the daughter of an alcoholic was becoming an overachiever. “Every moment of every day must be productive, or I am wasting my life” is the mentality I have held for much of my life. Two major events in my life have taught me how DEPENDENT I am on God and how PROVIDENTIAL God is—when we let Him into our lives and “Let Go and Let God.”
The first thing that really put me in a tailspin was going through divorce and becoming a single mother of three. At the time my children were ages 3, 9 and 14. We moved in with my aging parents, and for several months I did not have a steady job. Over the next few years as I rebuilt my life, there were countless times when I did not know how I was going to pay a bill or afford what my kids needed, and somehow from somewhere would come a helping hand, assistance in many forms, people stepping up to help in ways many of them had no idea I needed. I call it Providence, and I have noticed that the more I have needed God, and the more I have allowed Him to help me, the less I worried, and the more peace I had.
The second major life event that showcased God’s providence was being diagnosed with cancer. I was still single parenting three children, although one was in college and mostly on her own, and I was self-employed. I did not have a choice but to continue working. I took it ONE DAY AT A TIME. I created room in my schedule for rest and learned to actually enjoy and appreciate NAPS! I reached out to others for help with my children, my house, my laundry—whatever I fell short on to keep my life going during that time. God provided BECAUSE I RELIED ON HIM.
What will you take from 2020 as we move into 2021? The choice is yours.
Michelle Hernandez is a parishioner at Our Lady of Wisdom Church and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice in Lafayette, LA.