When Allender (2009) opines that people taking certain courses have the urge to study many boring pieces of information but fail to review their own lives, he refers to the failure of people to examine their own lives. Examining own processes of life will result in the realization of various events in our lives which serve to not only thrill us but also amaze and sober us. In my life, I have experienced various events which have served to provide a thrill, amazement, and even sobriety. The experience that thrilled me was when I escaped death during the Gulf War. Notably, I spent 10 years in the army and was exposed to the various wars. We were the leading team when we experienced a heavy gunfire from the enemies we were fighting. The enemy ambushed us as we did not have prior intelligence about an imminent attack from them. The thrilling aspect was when I hid behind a trunk whereby a big cobra was also hiding. However, despite the fact that I was a few meters from the snake, I did not despair but rather knew that God was my protector. When things became calm, I was thrilled to have come out of that situation unhurt.
Apart from the thrill I experienced, there are other instances which served to amaze me. According to Allender (2009), every aspect of our lives us under a curse as a consequence of the original sin of Adam and Eve. In my life, I consider some of the happenings as a demonstration of that curse. One of the events which amazed me was the manner my mother was very calm and composed despite the various abuses that she received from a father who was a serial drunkard. Sometimes when he took drugs, he used to be physically abusive to my mum. However, I was amazed by how my mother did not attempt to even strike back or answer back to any of the abuses which were directed towards her. My mother used to be very forgiving and welcoming even when my father was extremely drunk. One of the days he came home drunk and even fell on the doorsteps but my mother had the courage to pick him up and take him to bed despite the insults he was directing towards her. Such events were a source of surprise and amazement to me.
The sobering event in my life was when after the experience of infidelity and separation with my first husband, and when managed to receive counseling, I forgave my previous partner. Notably, in my first marriage, I had just gotten into married life and thought that it was going to be a bed of roses. However, I was surprised to find out that my husband was not faithful and was in a sexual relationship with other women. We broke up and I hated him and even swore never to forgive him. However, after undergoing counseling, I forgave him, the story of the death of Jesus on the cross for the sake of our sins sobered me and made me understand the power of forgiveness (Allender 2009). Notably, I understood that in forgiveness I am also forgiven because I have also sinned. Indeed, the biblical teachings on the various people whose sins were forgiven irrespective of their (sins’) size were just sobering.
Allender (2009) is convinced that for people to have a better understanding of their personal stories, they ought to consider various characters who made an appearance in their lives whether it is major or minor. Some of the people who made an appearance in my life are my parents who brought me up. They came with their own stories about how I was supposed to behave and passed the same to me. Notably, I was brought up by a single mother as my father was never responsible as he was always taking drugs. My mother was brought up in a strictly Catholic family which was pegged on belief in the Catholic doctrines. Her parents were strict disciplinarians and thus she was brought up as a good and straight woman. She passed the same traits to me and was always insisting that I should be honest, hardworking, and submissive to my parents and elders. My father, on the other hand, was brought up by a mum who never cared and was abusing drugs especially marijuana. As such, my father grew up taking the same drugs which made him a very irresponsible person.
Various stories have been told by my mother about her personal relationship with her parents in relation to aspects such as success and shame as well as power and abuse. Notably, when she wanted to advise me, my mother used to refer to her great dad as the source of most of the information that she passed to me. She told me of how her father used to reward success and punish failure. Specifically, when she passed well in school, her father used to buy and pamper her with various presents which made her very happy. Additionally, success on the family was highly celebrated. However, when she did not perform well in school, her father used to ensure that he shamed her. For instance, her father, my grandfather, could shout so much such that neighbors could know that my mother had failed. Additionally, she used to be denied some of the items such as her favorite snacks as a punishment for failure. Some of the shaming techniques was ensuring that her relatives knew that she was not working hard enough.
Despite the stories of shame and success that my mother passed to me, she also passed stories of power and abuse, as well as love. In specific, my mother used to tell me that her mother, my grandmother, was a housewife and thus was powerless in the house. The fact that my grandfather was the breadwinner made him become abusive to his wife. My mother used such a story to teach me how I should behave in the future and not be blinded by power and abuse it. The next aspect which my mother told me about was that of love. Specifically, she narrated to me how her father was very loving to the family and how he never forgot any of their birthdays. During the birthday of every member of the family, her father always had a surprise gift which was taken as very kind and a show of love for the family. Additionally, despite the fact that her father was strict and sometimes abusive, he was caring. Such stories of the experience of my mother served to shape how I conducted myself later in life even in the present day.
In the opinion of Allender (2009), all people have their own collage of stories which start with the narratives that families make about their family members. There are various stores which I was told by my own family about myself during my childhood. One of the interesting stories was the manner in which I was always joyous. Notably, my mother explained to me how I was just laughing about everything even when people were not happy. Additionally, she narrated to me how she used to warn me about not doing some things and I used to do them despite the warnings. Being her only child, she told me how she used to look at my behavior and think of my innocence based on my actions. The story of happiness was extended to the manner in which I made her happy even when she was very sad. At times, she could be disappointed because of the abuse of my father; however, I used to laugh at it and even make her forget about the behavior of my father. Such a story which was narrated by my mother served to remind me of my childhood.
One of my elder cousins used to tell me how I was very fond of her and would cry to go with her every time that she came to visit us. Her narration about my character and behavior when I was a 5-year-old left me in disbelief. She used to tell me that I was not even concerned with my food as my focus was on accompanying her and not even staying with my mum. As such, she opined that I was very fond of her and we had a connection and bond which could not be broken by anybody. She imitated the way I used to cry to go with her and how I used to refuse my meals because my mom had refused me permission to go with my cousin. Such a story demonstrates that I was very fond of people I did not even know and that I did not discriminate against anybody when I was young. Additionally, it could be proving the point that I had a special relationship with my cousin.
I was told by one of my relatives about the story of how I used to play during odd hours when people wanted to sleep. Notably, the narration was to the effect that I was never conscious of the time of the day and night that I wanted to play. As such, I forced my mother to sometimes take me out during odd hours to just go and play on the field. Additionally, the fate that I had towards my irresponsible father was even narrated to me. One of my family members told me how I used to run and hide behind my mum when my father arrived. Additionally, he told me how I could not stand my father even when he had a gift for me. The same hate was translated to adulthood as I never came to love my father. Such chronicles form the collages of the various stories which I have been told by my family members about myself.
Allender, D. B. (2009). To be told: Know your story, shape your future. WaterBrook.