My earliest memories involve white patent leather shoes, lacy socks folded at the ankle, and watching my father preach from the pulpit. This was the uniform of my ‘Sunday best’ and it was a time when children sat in ‘big church’ with their parents. I was taught about the attributes of God–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. As I grew older and questioned my spiritual path, this knowledge learned from a young age became the true north to my moral compass. Throughout my years of teaching and coaching, my spirituality became a journey of recognizing the value of these God-attributes. I witnessed how love and joy were in abundance when teaching little 8-year-olds. I experienced how peace and patience became the healing balm for junior high students when teaching in East Los Angeles. I recognized how children changed, grew, recovered, and healed when they felt loved, cared for, and safe. I witnessed goodness and faithfulness as I journeyed with clients courageously facing what had kept them stuck as they ignited a determined sense of self-control to move forward. Love broadened and deepened in 20+ years of marriage and parenting two kids…it became increasingly multi-faceted and served as the strength to lean on when relationships hurt and life was confusing.
Researching the transition of women in my doctoral dissertation, I came across a theory that explained why some recover and hold an inner resiliency better than others. In cultivating positive emotions, studies showed how individuals had higher levels of success, healing, and overall well-being. Fredrickson’s Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions reminded me of what I had learned from my father’s preaching. I began to see how it is all connected. I am rooted in both the God-attributes I learned as a child as well as the influence of positive emotions as an adult. Honestly, it just makes sense. Truth often shows up in various places and weaves in and out of our life to help us form our life paradigm and remind us of what is real.
During the many twists and turns of my life path, I have been led back to where I started. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…my heart skips a beat when I think about living in relationships valuing these attributes. Wouldn’t the world be less broken…more healed….if we spent our energies on these? Isn’t this what we all want? I hope to offer them as easy as exhaling to those who cross my path. Again, I am reminded that it starts with one.