I've been out here since 96 and when I first came, I was plotting how I was going to get out, and where I would go -back home to Massachusetts, to Canada, to Australia, to France; anywhere away from Colorado. But as time went on, it grew on me. I began to like living in Colorado.
The mountains are beautiful, I love rafting the rivers, there is plenty to do if you know where to look! But there is more that keeps me here. I've gone through many grievous times throughout my life; many of them right here in Colorado. Some situations were out of my own ignorance and making bad choices, other times bad things just seemed to always keep happening to me. It started to take a toll on me physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I've had times where I didn't believe it would ever get good again. Those times made me start to wonder if my life had ever really been good at all. I'd start thinking about everything I've gone through and it would all add up to bad, bad, bad, worse, and why am I even here? When I got super stressed out, I would run-away whether in state or out of state. I'd go away from everyone and everything. I'd make horrible decisions because I was in a state of depression and just wanted to give up.
Maybe it's happened to you? In that daily struggle (the one you think will never end) you focus on so much of the bad it seeps into how you view everything. You begin to hate who you are because you're always unhappy about certain things happening, the job or lack of job which translates into not enough money, you need a babysitter, always have to do things yourself, separation from family and friends, not achieving goals or feeling successful in life. You become depressed or upset about everything no matter how hard you try to play it off. Things that were a gift and a blessing before all become part of the problem; the home is not good enough, the clothes are not good enough, the car is crap, you hate this place, you despise who you are, can't stand anybody else because they all have bad attitudes or seem to be doing better than you. That was me, over and over again. I pretended pretty good -most of the time. I'd have a good run and then, I didn't want to be here any more. Suddenly, I COULD NOT STAND COLORADO! THERE IS NOTHING OUT HERE! I had to get away before I lost my mind.
I'd make my little get away -say I'd be gone for two weeks and come back two months, maybe a year later. I wouldn't get return tickets. I wasn't ever really planning on coming back. I was hoping that where I went next would propel me into who and where I really wanted to be. The funny thing is, once I got away, no matter how disappointed I initially felt, and how far I ran, I always ended up coming back! I'd be gone for a while and then out of nowhere it would hit -I MISS COLORADO! I had to come back. The dreams I dream the goals I have, while they may extend their reach out of the boundaries of this state, they start here. My church is here, A teensy weensy part of my family is here and I have some good friends who have become family here. To leave forever would be to give up on everything I set out to do. It would be giving up on me.
I had something to learn about who I am and how I let my decisions and circumstances affect me. When my father died, I knew I really had to grow up. To most, I appeared well put together and very responsible and for the most part I did try to be responsible; but there was always a part of me that knew while he was alive, no matter how bad it got, I could always count on my Daddy to get me out of a situation. While I did not actually call him every time I had a problem, he always had a way of getting in touch with me when I got to feeling real low. Most of the time, I wouldn't even tell him what was going on and he wouldn't ask, he would just talk to me and tell me not to give up and to remember to read my bible and pray. The last verse he read that most stuck with me was James 1:2-4 NLT "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." He's gone, but I'm still a Daddy's girl, I've just learned to lean on the Lord in prayer to seek guidance. Those lines got me through his sickness, his death, and my life that has continued. I like to read it in different versions, it gives me a new motivation and reminds me of other things I should be careful to work on. The NKJV is "My brethern, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Meditating on these words and reflecting on my past and has led me to a place of joy, an unstoppable drive and determination. I can see how far I have come, how many goals I have actually accomplished. It changed my state of mind and my feelings about being in this state. I've come to learn that what I really love about Colorado and what really motivates me to stay is not solely my love of nature. It's not all of the things I can have, see, and do. It's my relationships, my community, the character of the people I come into contact with. While I could write a few books and movies about some of the unpleasant things I've gone through, the good far out-weighs the bad. It is because I have been blessed to meet and fellowship with so many wonderful people in this wonderful state! I have been recipient of countless acts of kindness, helpfulness, and yes even courage. I've been protected and taken out of harmful situations because of attentive strangers and friends. I've witnessed acts of love from a multitude of people and been blessed to be able to reciprocate and help others in need. Sometimes all it takes is a smile and a hello! That's something I learned being out here.
I've noticed that we don't give ourselves or each other enough credit for the good we are capable of and daily work to do. The world gets us so focused on getting more things instead of on living more life. Whether a native or an import like myself, the I Love CO Tees are a way for people to share their love for the content of the good character we have within ourselves in this state. There are smiles before and behind the tears; there is courage; there is strength.
Please watch the video clip of Miya as she talks about her symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis and dancing. From an editing standpoint it may not be the greatest clip. It was a struggle just to get it done, there were so many roadblocks that it almost didn't happen. While it may not look like what I thought I wanted, I know it is exactly what you need to hear. It will help you to look at others with a more positive attitude. It will inspire you not to give up on who you are, on your dreams. It will push you to keep going.
We will be posting more clips of other people, and I encourage you to share your own as well on our Facebook Page. Thank you for your time and for helping to inspire someone else today!
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." John 16:33