Happy Week of Love! I’d like to share a story that my mom once told me.
Some time ago, I was going through a really rough patch as a single mom, working long hours, getting sick from the pressures at work.
My boss wanted me to cover up for him and if I didn’t, he threatened to fire me. I didn’t know what to do, I desperately needed the job and the paycheck.
That’s when my mom reminded me of a time during her childhood.
My mom grew up during World War II. At the time, when war was about to hit their village, my mom’s dad, my grandpa, had a plan to hide my mom and all her siblings on a steep hill at the village graveyard so soldiers can’t find them.
Right before the village was invaded, Grandpa told my mom to take all the children to hide in the graveyard and stay there till it was safe to return. “I won’t be going with you,” Grandpa told my mom.
See, my grandma couldn’t walk — she had bound feet. The hill was too far away and too steep for anyone to carry her. So Grandpa had planned to stay behind with her.
Back then, it was customary to have arranged marriages and take on concubines — second and third wives — but Grandpa, when he married Grandma — declared to the entire village that this was not an arranged marriage.
He married her for love — and he made a vow that he would always love only her, that he would never take another wife, and that he would never leave her side.
But Grandma said to him, “What about the children? You must go with them.”
Grandpa replied, “The children are old enough to take care of themselves. My place is with you.”
By now, my mom and her siblings, all crying their eyes out and scared, begged Grandpa to go with them.
Seeing the children like this, Grandma said, “But you’ll have a chance to live.”
Grandpa took one look at Grandma and said to her, “What’s the point of living, if I can’t live with myself?”
That day, my mom had escaped with all five of her siblings and left my grandparents behind.
A few days later, when the bombings finally stopped, my mom brought her siblings back home.
The village was utterly destroyed. Bodies strewn in the streets, signs of torture were obvious on them.
When my mom reached her home, she found all their valuables had been taken, the house in shambles, the furniture destroyed and—
Grandpa and Grandma still sitting where she had left them — alive and unharmed.
Turned out the soldiers that had found them, were so touched by the scene, they left them alone. My grandparents were the only lives spared in the village during that invasion.
Grandpa and Grandma ended up living very long peaceful lives, watching their children and grandchildren grow up, and both passed of natural causes and old age many, many years later.
When my mom told me this story, I knew what I had to do. I had thought I was trapped, powerless, and under the mercy of a horrible boss.
The power of love gave my grandpa the courage to stay true to his vow. His act made me realize I have the freedom to choose my own path.
As scared as I was about losing my job, I stood up to my boss and refused to compromise myself. In the end, as you can guess, I wound up in a much better position today.
So the next time you are tempted to compromise who you are, remember, “What’s the point of living, if you can’t live with yourself?”
Stress Release Tip
When you find yourself in a pressure-cooker situation, being asked to do something that is against your integrity, take a step back and breathe. No one has control over you. You have the freedom to choose, always. Go you!
If you are blessed to have a special love in your life like Dana’s grandparents, take a moment to write that person a love note. If you are single, that’s wonderful! Write a love letter to yourself — after all, your relationship with yourself is the most important. Happy Valentine’s Week!
Quote From Dana
“Where there is love, there is life.”
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