Tuesday, May 20, 2014

And this...

I have a lot of stuff rumbling around in my head, so if you're here, be warned: My mind is a crazy place. I often share too much, but in my family of origin no one talked about anything unpleasant. Everyone pretended everything was fine. You know how effed up fine is, right? Well, then people did drugs and killed themselves and manifested that bad stuff they didn't talk about in worse ways. So...I talk about stuff. Awkward, painful, personal stuff. Really, I write about it because I can barely speak a coherent sentence.

That brings me to a point I've been ruminating on for oh, um, a few days. I realize that in sharing this a lot of you may think that I need mental help. True story: I just read two books about people who are far less crazy than I am spending time in mental institutions. Given that knowledge, I'm pretty sure on any given day, I would be a perfect candidate for commitment, but I digress. The main reason I'm sharing my neurosis is that I think (or hope) others suffer this malady and don't want to tell anyone. Therefore, I'm going to tell you how crazy I am so you can feel less crazy. Ready? Here we go.

Whenever I have a conversation with someone, I spend a lot of time after analyzing (or criticizing mercilessly) everything I said. It sounds a lot like this: "Wow, that was so stupid. Why did you say that? Why did you talk so much when you should have been listening? What on earth made you tell that story? Really? Why would you divulge THAT in a five minute exchange of pleasantries? You're an idiot."

I feel as if I should keep a stack of cards in my purse for such occasions when I have to interact further than, "Hi, how are you?" with people. Then, rather than trip over my tongue and then spend the next week beating myself up over all the things I said or didn't say or should have said differently, I could hand each person a card wherein they would find my sentiments expressed in thoughtful and genuine, if unimpressive, prose.

Would that be weird? Because I really think I'm going to go with that.

My next point has very little to do with the first point, except to further solidify my kook status. I do not like to be touched when I am sad. In fact, I feel violated when people touch me when I'm sad. I don't want to be hugged, cuddled, coddled, or patted sympathetically. Normally, I'm a big fan of physical affection, so this is difficult for some people (my husband) to understand.

When I am sad, I go to a different place, by myself, wrap up in the awful yet awfully familiar feelings until I process them. But it is my place, and I don't take guests there. I will talk to you until my voice expires about my feelings when I'm ready, but please don't touch me. And if I tell you that I'm okay, just accept that; I'll tell you how I really am when I'm ready. Now this makes me think of my non-touching friends and how I try to be mindful of their personal space but still invade it sometimes because I love them so much and want to hug them. I'm sorry. And it reminds me of so many times I've tried to take my friends deeper rather than just letting them pretend they were okay. It's a fine line, and I have terrible balance. I'm sorry.

And then this: On Sunday, I got to see my daughter for about 6 hours, and then I had to say goodbye to her again. Last time for two weeks, this time for a month. Yes, these are the opportunities of a lifetime. Yes, she is so blessed. Yes, we are amazingly proud of her. Yes, yes, yes. Except what some people don't get is this: It feels just as bad to say goodbye to your grown kid as it does to drop your baby off at day care.

It doesn't get easier. Your kid doesn't stop being your kid because she grows up and goes to college. You don't wake up one day and no longer worry about what he's eating, how she is sleeping, if he is safe, if she is scared. It still rips your heart out when your 20-year-old is homesick as when your toddler cries and reaches for you. When she is sad, I ache. I don't imagine that is ever going to change.

Now that this is all out there, I would like to apologize if I said anything stupid to you, hugged you when you didn't want to be touched, revealed inappropriately personal information during an impersonal conversation or pushed you to tell me that you aren't really okay when you just wanted to pretend you're okay. I am a work in progress. For those of you who love me anyway, I am outrageously and eternally grateful.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Knowledge vs. Love

Every morning, after reading a chapter or two in the Bible, I flip through and read a few sporadic verses. Sometimes those verses speak to me. Sometimes they encourage. Other times they convict. This morning's blew me away: "...But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes." (1 Corinthians 8:1-3) 

In this, Paul was talking about food sacrificed to idols and by church he means people, not the place some of us go on Sunday or for weddings and funerals. I specify the church thing because I never realized that before attending The Movement

I promise this isn't about meat, which I don't eat. Of course I've written about that, if you're interested.

Man, I take a long time to make a point; here we go: Sometimes we get so caught up in logistics, and rules, and answers, and figuring things out that we forget just to love God and each other. I cringe hearing people spew hate and judgement in Jesus' name or under the guise of "defending the Bible." Seriously? Are we so arrogant to think God needs us to stick up for Him? I'm pretty sure the Creator of the Universe is solid. And even if He did need our help, hate certainly would not be the approach He would encourage. He might tell us to Love and Serve. In fact, He did.
 
The last few days I have been praying almost without ceasing because every time I think of my daughter and can't talk to her, I pray. Lord, keep her safe. Lord, guide her steps. Lord, I'm scared. But the more vulnerable I am, the nearer to Him I draw, and the nearer He feels. This season of my life is completely out of my control. Rather than fight it, I am choosing to surrender completely, and in my surrender, God reaches out to me. I imagine Him saying, "There you are. Now we can make some progress." 

Last week during OAA's, my son complained every day about the stupid things he had to learn and why did it matter and algebra sucks, and why do we need to know this, and holy crap, I forgot how rough it is to be a teenager. However, in some ways I agree with him. We spend so much time trying to impart knowledge and skills to make our kids successful in this competitive world that we neglect to teach them love, compassion, and respect for others despite the fact that the latter lessons will undoubtedly serve them better in the future. I have never used Algebra a day in my life, but I interact with people every day.

So today, I'm gonna trade in knowledge for love. Instead of trying to figure people out, I'm going to encourage them unconditionally. Today, instead of making a snarky remark, I'll speak love. Today, instead of rolling my eyes at someone's self-congratulatory Facebook post, I will see beneath the bravado to someone striving to feel validated. I might be a complete jerk tomorrow, but I'm gonna really try not to be today :)

Peace out.