Chapter Ten – Step Into The Light
By Steven Maisenbacher
Family. They say you can’t pick your family. I don’t know if that’s absolutely true; sometimes your family picks you. I know that recently I’ve gone through some real serious events and those that reacted with words of compassion and anger against the machine that created the situations were family. They didn’t falter, they didn’t run for cover or opt out of helping me; they stood their ground over what had been done and what had not been done. They have gone through all the hoops, contacted people and encouraged me to contact others. They have given me strength when I really just wanted to curl up in a little ball like a wounded animal.
You know who you are but I want to name you anyway cuz you are my family: Bob and Babs, Mike and Karen, Janice, Leontien, and Sings. And there are others as well, special people who sent messages with words of encouragement or to express their outrage at what had happened.
Sometimes we take our families for granted; sometimes our families take us for granted, but one thing is certain they’re still your family. You don’t have to like everything they do or have done; they don’t have to like everything you do or have done, but that doesn’t change the simple fact that they are family.
I’ve learned that families mean unconditional love and forgiveness. I’ve learned that families mean encouragement in the face of all odds. I’ve learned that families are really all that matters outside of love, but that’s what the word family means to me – love. Often times I reflect on the sad person that I was and then I’m amazed that my family has stayed with me throughout.
Whenever I needed a helping hand they were there. Whenever I was being wronged they voiced their outrage and did whatever it took to make someone hear their screams of anger. Because they are my family and they love me and they care, just as I love them and care. I’m thanking the Creator in this moment for allowing me to finally have become the man that can realize what family even means.
In this time of holiday seasons we must let the past be the past. Nobody guarantees the future so we had better live life now. In this world that seems so full of anger and selfishness and disappointments, one thing is for certain, you always have your family and you can always cherish and nurture the love in your heart for them. When you gather for Thanksgiving dinner, smile and tell each one that you appreciate being able to be with them and to share this meal. And when you give your thanks to the Creator for this meal, give thanks also for your family.
Families will sacrifice, say things you don’t want to hear, say things you need to hear, and be there when you need them; that’s what families do. I know I’m truly blessed by the Creator to have my family and I’m very proud to be one of them.
In spite of all the madness of the past, they are still my family. I can think of no greater blessing, no greater reward for having finally found my way through the Creator, back to my family. I want you guys to know that I love you. I want to tell the whole world I love you. Just like I put all my heart out in these chapters, I want you to know that my love goes out in this chapter as well, to you with thanks for all that you do.
Bob and Bab you guys are some kind of special. I don’t even know how to put my feelings for you guys into words; all I can do is tell you that I love you and know that you’ll find your understanding of that in your own ways.
Mike and Karen you guys also are the best kind of family. You’ve always been there for me and you always will be. Just knowing that brings peace in my heart. I love you and I thank you.
Someone that I love deeply, dearly and profoundly told me this morning that she was humbled and honored to be loved by me. I need you to know, Janice, that I’m the one who has received the blessings in this; you have finally come back to me and we are family. Our love endured for more than thirty years. Even when we were apart, we were together. There is no stronger bond than that kind of love and I cannot wait to hold you in my arms again.
Leontien, you’ve been a sister to me for more than a decade. You stepped into my life just when I needed you. I had lost my sister years before and still grieved for her. You never had a brother so with your love and kindness you made me your brother and you shared your family with me. I’m glad to know your brilliant husband and it makes me proud when your beautiful girls call me Uncle Steven. You came across the oceans to see me while I was in prison. You said it was no big thing, but for me it was a very big thing. Your warmth radiates from your smile and your love illuminates the world around you just as you’ve illuminated my life and those around you and all you touch. Goes Far Woman, I’m so honored to call you my sister.
And to Sings, I can’t imagine my life without you in it. I’ve said it before but it’s still just as true in this second. In this moment you make me be a better man because I never want you to be disappointed in me so I will do everything in my power to keep that from ever happening.
There are a few more people that I want to mention. To me, they are family too. Even though some of my other family do not know them, you have heard their names from me often because these friends have stood by me for years. They have helped me and done so many things for me. They’ve kept me sane! Paints On The Rocks, you’ve talked me off the ledge more than one time. Karen, yours has always been a voice of reason as well. You guys have never denied me anything that you knew I needed. For all of this, I want to tell you I love you and I’m thankful to have you as family.
My love to Jessica and Cat In The Forest. Cat, you’ve been one of my best brothers for all these years. When you went home I felt like a piece of me had been torn off. But then you met Jessica and formed your own family and what a beautiful family it is! Jessica is a wonderful woman and a good mother. I know she loves you dearly with the unflinching love that only comes from family. I no longer feel a part of me is missing; that part of me has found its home too. You two have welcomed me into your family with open arms and I want you to know that I love you and I thank you for it.
I don’t know whether this should be called family or thankful but what I do know is you are my family – ALL OF YOU – and I’m thankful.
I’m Walks On The Grass and I Will Never Surrender!