When Emotion is Anathema to Gentleness


Twice so far this week (oh, who are we kidding? Twice in the same day…) I have wanted to get into a fight, or at the very least, a shouting match with people who have made friends of mine feel marked lousy. It didn’t matter to me whether it was a mistake or not, I just knew that they had hurt someone I care about and I was seeing red. It doesn’t help that I have been in a depleted, weary place for the past week and am finding my negative emotions easily amplified right now, but that didn’t matter either. All I knew is that these people needed to know just how much they suck. I even  gave in to internet courage and posted something to that effect on one hurt friend’s FB post about the incident.

And then I immediately felt guilty. I immediately felt like a fraud, a liar.

Here I am, claiming to espouse love and grace and gentleness, and yet I can act and say things so absolutely contrary to any of those things. I wanted my friend to know that she was supported and loved but I tore someone else down to do it, someone I didn’t even know.

I went back and edited my comment (to say that I wanted to yell at the HR person in question rather than hit them), but, obviously, I still feel badly about it. Or else I wouldn’t be sitting here, feeling compelled to write this at 6am the following morning.

Emotion can sometimes be an anathema to gentleness. Mine are currently running high, subject to amplification because of weariness and need to recharge/refresh, and I allowed them to rob me of an opportunity to show gentleness to a stranger. I lost a chance to model the gentleness that I am very much wanting and trying to internalize so that it becomes habit, instinct. That chance is gone now. I can change the post, I can apologize and try to do better, but I cannot erase that first response, that first action, those first words. They are written on time and memory. I won’t forget them, and I am honestly struggling a bit not to be consumed by them right now. I acknowledge my tendency to ruminate on things and cause myself a fair amount of emotional pain because of past mistakes. That is not what I want to do to here.

I acknowledge my humanity, my fallibility, and that I’m going to do the wrong thing at times. But I am not through. My growth is not over. I have felt that nudge of guilt, and I have listened to it. I see where I was wrong and I apologize for my behavior. I will try to be better today. I will strive for gentleness today, even with those I don’t know and may never meet. The words below were published by Jennifer Dukes Lee on her Facebook page yesterday and I am ever so thankful for them and their God-breathed truth.

“I want to be reminded that there is no failure. Failure is just another word for “try again tomorrow,” or “move on; there’s something better for you.” Failure is not the opposite of success. Failure is simply this: NOT TRYING.

Your bravery has a voice. As the week begins, listen to it. Bravery is the voice within that says, “I did not fail. I will try again tomorrow.” — Jennifer Dukes Lee

The Memories of Raindrops and Sunbeams


The weather has a memory. It remembers how we feel, just as the sensations it generates are buried in our minds.

Mother Nature remembers what thoughtful fancies flit through your mind when the clouds look like nests composed of cotton candy.

How your heart leaps, aches, thrills, or yearns when the sunlight is just so or the cool wind caresses the back of your neck.

It remembers how the scent of fall causes anticipation to bubble up in your soul.

How a park freshly carpeted with undisturbed snow can fill you from your toes to your crown with peace at its silence.

It remembers the way your heart beats a little bit quicker with something indescribable when the early-morning  sun races across the horizon to warm and caress your face in that one particular way.

How the blossoms of the dogwoods sparkle like stars in the moonlight, forming new constellations as they fall around you.

For this is the reason that Nature wields and weaves such a vast palette: not only for the nurturing of life but for the nurturing of the human soul.

NaBloPoMo Day 28: On Crying


I am an empathetic crier. It is rare, very rare, that I can see a friend or dear one crying and I don’t start crying as well. Perhaps it is a sense of wanting to be able to comfort the other; perhaps it is to let them know that what they feel isn’t silly to be crying over. I cry when my friends are hurting. I cry for and with them because, often, there little more that I can do from where I am.

I am also a very easy crier. I cried last night when I prayed over Elizabeth as she lied congested and uncomfortable in her bed. I cry when something bad happens on my favorite tv show. I cry at moments in books, at cards sent, gifts given.

Right now, though, I have plenty of tears of my own. I am tired, my shoulder aches where I banged it, the weather is gloomy and wet (see, even the sky is crying), my baby is sick, my husband also isn’t feeling, and I have had nightmares. It’s just been a teary couple of days.

Not all tears are bad, not all crying is painful. Sometimes we go through periods where our heart leaks out of our eyes for reasons of which we are unaware. But it happens, so the likelihood is there that it is needed. I am not sure just what my tears need to wash away, smooth, or reshape within me, but I think I am willing to let them.

 

NaBloPoMo Day 10: Doing


Today, I was drained before I even began. I was sapped and weary upon waking. My spoon drawer has been low and propensity for tears high. And yet I pushed myself to do. I couldn’t mope and wallow and cry, even though that was all I wanted to do. I threw myself into doing – cleaning, sorting, washing, tidying, preparing. Whatever it took to keep me moving when all I wanted was to lie down and be still.

Movement fights the fear. Doing battles the shadows that threaten my sleep. Exhaustion will hopefully quiet the dreams.

BloPoMo Day 8: What I Can Do, I Will Do.


Let me preface this by being very honest and admitting that I have not had a very good (does a quick count) almost twenty-four hours. I went to bed in exhausted tears last night (you know, the kind of tears that you don’t realize you’re crying until you’re in the middle of crying). I slept fitfully and was dream-harried all night, and then I woke up in tears, a nightmare shaking me to my core and filling me with heartache and sadness as I rose to go about my Sunday.

As I drove myself and my daughter to church, I found myself having a very candid and brutally honest talk with God. It’s been a while since I had a verbal chat with Him and was a little surprised when it just all came spilling out. If my girl was older, I probably would have kept it to myself, I think, but, as she was thoroughly occupied with her balloon and rocket drawing, the flood doors just sort of opened.

I won’t rehash everything that I talked about with God. In fact, I’m not sure I could rehash it all. But what it boiled down to, at the end of it all, was this:

While I might at times feel stressed, sad, overwhelmed, lonely, just rawr at the world, etc. (sometimes without even an explanation to be given), there is something I can choose to do. Something I have asked God to help me with especially.

“Please, help me to be what I think I need for someone else.”

Sometimes, feeling absolutely sucks! I don’t want others in my corner of life to have to slog through negative feelings or down moments alone if I can change that, even a little bit. I always have a choice in the midst of feeling of how I am going to act or react. So that is my personal challenge this week: to be what I think I need (company, listening ear, strong shoulder, comforting embrace, truth-speaker, etc.). And maybe I can make those moments and feelings a bit easier for someone else’s heart and soul.

From "Unglued" by Lysa TerKeurst

From “Unglued” by Lysa TerKeurst

Sneaky Contentment


I am constantly amazed by how content I find myself to be in so relatively simple a space as that which I call home. Today, I sat on a bench in the park behind my house, enjoying a bright, cloudless morning, a cool breeze at my back, and the rustle of the trees above in my ears, and, for the moment, the world was still and beautiful and I utterly content within it. I looked out at the world around me – the bright blue of the sky, the shimmering green of the grass, the sight of my daughter fearlessly climbing the slide steps all by herself to slide down with glee – and I wondered just how it could be possible to have all of this and be unhappy? I have a husband who adores me and I him, who is my partner in all things, a house to call our own, a child who is healthy, hearty, and hale, cars that get us from A-B-A, friends to go through life with, and hobbies that make us us happy and keep us challenged and having fun. I have so very much and yet I am amazed to find myself content. Is it a bad thing to find contentment so surprising in this day and age? Maybe it is, but I am content and therein I choose to be happy.

That Other Feeling


There are days when I feel that I am inexplicably Other. Other from other people. Friends, family, companions, peers. Other even from myself. It’s difficult to explain. It’s not a feeling of sadness or anger. It’s more a feeling of being off-center, of having slipped slightly to the left or something. Like I am standing beside my world rather than within it.

I feel like Alice, sometimes. That I am, somehow, not quite myself. Though, I suppose that might be true for many of us.