I’ve never been a player of card games. Still, when Cassandra Banks used a card gaming analogy, even I got it.
Cassandra has bright, engaging eyes and an infectious smile. She, in her mid-40s, also continues to have at least as much energy as my three-year-old grandson, Landon. And, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone with a more positive outlook on life. Cassandra simply gets it, even on an early Friday afternoon after a busy week.
We sat together in a business meeting on this particular Friday going through some business. And as it turned out, she seized the opportunity to offer her unique, and well-earned, perspective on how to live a well-lived life.
I say well-earned because had you been sitting with us, you’d have looked across the same table and said to yourself, “This woman has it all together. She’s vivacious, happy and successful! She’s likely lived an enchanted life! I’m sure she’s the product of an exceptional family life, filled with opportunity!”
If you had come to this conclusion, as a result of the meeting, I would have understood. But your conclusions, while understandable, wouldn’t be correct!
“When I was a young child, my mother left us,” she said. “My father had a drug habit and when I was about 10-years-old, I found a cassette recording of his verbal documentation of all of the things he had done to me. He was upset when he saw that I had found it, because he didn’t want me to hear it until after he was gone! I think it was his way of attempting to apologize at his end.”
I looked into her eyes as she was sharing her story with me. I expected to see tears well up, but that’s not what I saw. Instead, I saw wholesome resolve and compassion.
“When I turned 18, my foster family gave me the contact information for my mother,” she said. “So, I gave her a call, hoping I could begin to have a relationship with her. When she answered my call, I introduced myself. She responded with, ‘I have enough problems in my life and I don’t need to deal with your problems as well.’”
The strength expressed in her eyes showed stronger as she told me how, at that defining moment, she made the decision to cut her dysfunctional family out of her life. She didn’t want their bad influence to continue to hurt her. She made the decision to create her own positive, personal future at that very moment.
“I created a great life for myself, have a strong, loving immediate family and now I have an amazing grandchild!” she said. “I just want people to know that it doesn’t matter what cards they were dealt. They can exchange whatever cards they got with new ones!”
Cassandra’s encouragement made a difference for me at that very moment. I knew she was presenting me, and you, with a philosophy for a new path, a passageway allowing us to leave the past in the past while creating hope for a longed for, dreamed for and anticipated, new life.
Cassandra has shown all of us that we can choose to let the dealin’ be done.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.