Nicholas Garcia Remembers His Father, Part Two
Part 2 – Every day may have its struggles yet our blessings remain
In dealing with my Dad’s death I grew a stronger faith and became more certain of my religious beliefs than ever before. The important things in life became more evident and visions of what and where I wanted to be in life had never been clearer. Although I became very reserved, I grew a deeper connection with God as well as with my Dad. As hard as it was to believe, I became closer to my Dad than I ever was when he was alive. In the last few years of his life I lived out of state and therefore didn’t see him as often as I would have liked. Yet now that he has passed, I am with him every day and the signs which he’s continued to send prove that. Although I wasn’t at full peace with everything in life, I was finally able to be at ease with his death. After two plus years of battling through loneliness, I finally began to see glimpses of my old self as regular jokes and the smart-ass Nicholas everyone knew finally started to peek through. While I had desired so much, until then I truly wasn’t ready to allow anyone else close in. I had come to a readiness from a state of emptiness. I had forgotten to count my blessings and be thankful for everything I had; something my Dad had engraved in me for so long. All my blessings were masked by pain and loneliness. I had allowed my tribulations to get the best of me until I once again realized just how blessed I truly was. I had finally found happiness, something I wasn’t able to say for far too long.
Then just as my path seemed to be opening up, I found myself on yet another dark road. In March of last year my Mom was informed that her cancer had re-surfaced in her lumbar spine. One would think that with the faith I’d grown I’d handle such news well and put all trust in the Lord; yet that wasn’t the case. I wore a mask in order to stay strong for my Mom and sisters, yet broke down inside. Rather than putting my faith in the Lord to get me through yet another tribulation, I couldn’t cope with or understand how any loving God could allow a still mourning widow to battle through yet another crisis. I went back and forth between asking God why and ignoring my faith all together; the exact opposite approach I took with my Dad passing. All of this weakened the faith that had gotten me through everything in my past. I grew an anger within that required efforts to control. Prior to this news I couldn’t have been happier with where my life was heading, yet due to the state in which I lived in for so long, I quickly reverted back to the state I had embarrassingly become so familiar with; a sadness, a brokenness, a state which oddly enough brought a sense of comfort. I was searching for the negatives in every situation rather than finding the positives in which my experience in losing my Dad had taught me. I was blinded by hurt. I felt let down and no matter which way I turned, none of it made sense.
Yet despite being so deep in sadness, a separate misfortune allowed me to understand what I still had in life and all that I truly had to be grateful for. Whether this separate loss was caused by the way I handled my Mom’s news or not, I realized that despite it all, I was blessed to have what I did; a family which loved me, my health (sadly enough), a job which allowed me to make the best of the current situation, a guardian angel which has always assured me everything would be ok, and a reminder that with God, I was not alone. Through the Lord’s grace I became aware that I was folding to the demons in life; that I was allowing life’s tribulations to override my beliefs. Through family, friends and the things I love most, I was able to find myself once again. No, my pain has not disappeared, yet the Lord provides me with more than enough to get through all that life has dealt me. The lessons in which I learned through my Dad’s passing had fallen by the wayside, yet were now brought back to realization. I had broken a promise to myself that I would not take life for granted and assume we’d all grow old together. Ashamed of the way I dealt with it all brought me a deeper sense of humility; a deeper understanding of just how important life is and how I demanded change in my life. Despite the fact that my Mom’s cancer had resurfaced, for the most part she felt healthy and more importantly, she was still alive. Children all over the world, who are far more deserving then I, are born every day without either of their parents; how could I have the audacity to complain for what I’ve been given? I am, we all are, blessed beyond measure! Regardless of any future outcome, I’m blessed to have the best Mom in the world; one who does everything in the world for others before she does anything for herself. I allowed news I didn’t prefer to change the man I am and began to question the beliefs and faith that had brought me so far.
We’ll never have control in what life throws at us, yet what we do have control of is the way in which we handle it all. Life is bound to throw us all hardships for reasons we’ll likely never understand, for that's life. The unknown will always be dealt. In fact they say if you ever want to make God laugh just tell him your plans. While it may be easy to understand that God blesses us with all the good in our lives, we must also remember that it is he who guides us through the bad.
Deuteronomy 31:8 – It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
Often when we hurt we reach for the quickest fix of self satisfaction; attempting to heal ourselves by masking the pain. Despite how temporary these fixes are, we somehow remain blind to the reality of these selfish, meaningless lies. Our vices will never fill that emptiness we have inside. While there are plenty of positive ways in which we can free our minds from the stresses in life, very few will fill the voids that scream from within. I believe before we ever attempt to find happiness elsewhere we must find happiness from within. In fact I believe there is only one true way to fill the emptiness inside, and that’s by creating and building a relationship with the Lord. For those of you who doubt this, then why does that empty feeling always remain despite our selfish attempts to fill it elsewhere? Why is there always something missing when we attempt to satisfy our needs with anything else? No item or person can bring us full happiness. We must find happiness from within and learn the true meaning of God’s love. Deepening our understanding of the love God has for us will in turn deepen the love we have for ourselves and everything around us.
As a whole, my past and current trials have allowed me to grow stronger in my faith, yet in ways they’ve hindered the way in which I’ve dealt with situations. A scarred heart kept me from pursuing things in order to eliminate the chances of getting hurt. Unwanted news or outcomes created an unloving and even worse, an unfaithful person. Negative approaches don’t change or make anything better; in fact they make things worse. I am blessed to have come to such realization, yet I know it’s all a work in progress. I know the life I need to live and the mentality I must have in order to get where I want to be. While I may fall to the tribulations, empty lies and temptations life so often presents, I know these are merely the battles I must get thru in order to win the war. I know my true beliefs and faith will always supersede my failures and allow me to find the right path. Despite having these beliefs I still struggle every day, yet believe that the speck I see is the light at the end of the tunnel. I know that if I continue believing and building a relationship with the Lord each one of my issues will be taken care of. I can promise anyone going through any sort of sadness or depression, that life does in fact get better and it is all worthwhile. While we all may have a hundred reasons to cry, we have thousands of reasons to smile!! In the end, while I am not at peace with where I am now, I know I’m headed in the right direction. I understand that while every day may have its struggles, my BLESSINGS REMAIN!! I know that when the two footprints in the sand turn to one, it’s not that God left me alone, but that I came to a period in life that required him to carry me!
If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it!
God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but he did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.
I would like to dedicate this article to two very special people in my life – My Aunt Barbara Romero, who has been a spiritual blessing to our lives, and my beloved father, Vince Garcia, whom we miss more than words can explain!
Thank you for all you do for us on a daily basis. Thank you for providing us with such an amazing spiritual and faithful example. Thank you for your guidance during a time where I needed it most!
Although I have perfect reflections of so many things you did, I won’t be content until I see them again. While another year has passed without your physical being, I continue to be blessed as you provide me with just enough guidance to succeed while still allowing me to experience life’s struggles in order to learn. I miss you more than any words could state, yet your well being brings me just enough happiness and peace to move on. The man you were to so many encourages me and defines my desires in life.
To anyone struggling in life, whether you’re someone who’s battling through an obstacle or someone just wanting a better understanding of life, I recommend the book The Shack.
Whether we’ve known each other our whole lives or you know me simply through these articles, if you ever need someone to talk to, someone who can in many ways relate, email me, for you’d be helping me, just as much as I’d be helping you!!
May God remind us all just how bless we are!!
Part one of this story can be viewed in our archives. Type in: Nicholas Garcia Honors His Father, Vince Garcia