Today, as I was rolling through my twitter feed, I noticed one of those habitual “quoters”. You know the ones who almost never, if ever, contribute any original thoughts. They just repost great things that other people have written, and then we are supposed to think they are somehow prolific for having read and regurgitated it… Those types of people are boring.
And now excuse me while I regurgitate their regurgitated prolificness.
“Hope has two daughters: Anger and Courage.
Anger at how things are and
Courage to see that they don’t remain as they are”
That’s pretty much where I’m living right now. Only I’ve just been calling it anger with associated symptoms such as: unrest, discontentment, confusion, confrontation, anxiety and the beat goes on.
Anger is such a huge beast. Because anger cannot…CANNOT… stay hidden inside of oneself. It exists in every exchange. In every facial expression. Completely devoid of healthy direction, anger will guide almost every thing you do. And anger is destructive.
Recently I picked up a new book and while discussing a topic similar to this, the author said that when we feel attacked, our first defense is almost always with our words. Words that hurt. Tearing down the things we most love. The bible speaks of this frequently.
I’m not a licensed counselor but I think I have a keyhole peep into the root of my affliction with this. People, but specifically, I – need to be heard. But more to the point…I need to be understood.
Proverbs 29:11 says “A fool gives vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back”.
My spirit bubbles. My tongue spits words out quickly and with fervor. I hold back very little when I know it’s safe to feel and express feeling. And yet… I feel completely misrepresented, misunderstood… just missed. The more I try to say it, and the less I’m heard, the greater the anger boils.
Sometimes I look to the heavens and ask God why He gave me a husband that physically can’t hear me. I will spend the rest of my life repeating myself in multiples of 10′s just to have one feeling heard. One instruction remembered. One hurt understood. The man just can’t hear me. Not with his ears. Not with his heart. Not yet. Maybe time will repair that. Maybe doctors will. But today… I exist in a vacuum in my home. Thankfully because of God ordained vows, I can feel safe while still misunderstood, knowing eternity awaits with something better for us.
And all that to say…
I’m in a search, spiritually. I’m looking for that beautiful middle ground where I know God, and I’m satisfied in him. And I feel known in my home. In my work. Amongst friends. To feel heard. To let go of the anger associated with only being needed as a function… and finally known as a person worth knowing.
Hope does have two daughters. I’ve clutched too tightly to one. I’m groping around in the dark for the other.
I think I’ve done it. I’ve waited the exact amount of time I could go without writing that everyone has stopped looking for it. No one remembers this space in the inter-webs exists. Also everyone stopped reading personal blogs in the amount of time that I stopped caring to write one. Only the best writers remain and only the most loyal readers still read. I am and have neither. Therefore I may officially begin writing again.
I’m not even sure what I will say. Now that I know for certain no one will see it, I think I can say and do just about anything. I can prose poetic. Or be dry and sarcastic (my specialty). Overly sentimental (my fallback). Or make a list of the reasons why, as I get older, I only seem to become more confused about who I am, rather than wiser and more in touch.
Mentioning that last point, let me just begin by saying, I have just recently finished my first ever season of therapy. See, two years ago I probably wouldn’t have admitted that, but there it is… I’m bat crap crazy and now that I’m writing to no one, it’s safe to finally say it out loud.
Yes, I have deep seeded issues. From childhood. From marriage. From motherhood. From faith. Or a lack thereof. From a career. From loneliness. From an unnecessary need to “do”. From a million little things, that when standing in solitude don’t add up to much. Whip them all together and what do you get?
Head-case. Certified. Grade A. FDA approved. Head-case.
Therapy helped me dig around, look at it from all different angles and decide on a lot of root causes, and I feel better. Lighter. But the truth of all those factors are still reigning true, and the brain that has to calculate and divide the pieces of me that I’m allowed to allocate to those things… is still frying as we speak.
Therefore, I stand before you a fizzled woman. A woman who really thinks she was called to more than an emotional grease fire. I have a desire to believe I am capable of more. Of feeling better. Of choosing better.
But I hear that’s a process. Writing has always been a healthy process for me. Almost always made healthier when I know no one is looking. However, it’s good for me to share. I’m inherently a non sharer when it makes me look weak. So this is a small step in both directions. Writing what’s real and sharing it honestly.
But maybe only to people who trip over me with an incorrect Google search.
Hi. Welcome. You searched for “flashing subway freak” and for some under known reason, Google brought you here. You are in good company. Obviously we both need help. This is my residual therapy. You are welcome to come along for the ride.
This probably isn’t the best time to write you a letter. Christmas is creeping up next week, and in my own personal tradition, I still haven’t baked a cookie or wrapped a single present. I wouldn’t say that I love the last minute, but I certainly seem to always find myself here, wishing I would have done more to leave less on my plate this last week of advent. I suppose I’m writing this today because of what has happened in our country over the last week. Luckily you have no idea what has occurred. At the age of 2, you wouldn’t know the difference between a mass shooting in a school room half a country away, and the celebration of Arbor Day. And because of that Judah, I am incredibly jealous.
I wish this week I hadn’t watched the truth of this devastation unfold. I have felt scared and so desperately empathetic to the parents who dropped their babies off on Friday morning. But most of all, I have been faced with the reality yet again of the fragility of our life here together. A split second. An unimaginable decision from someone we don’t even know. A seemingly normal day… and suddenly we are left wondering, ‘did I do enough to make sure he knew he was loved today?’
But let’s forget about that for a second. Let’s talk instead about sovereignty. Let’s talk about the questions that have been raised regarding human nature. Let’s talk about how a country has come together to talk about grace and giving and the ability to lift each other up. Let’s talk about how we’ve all in some regard, taken responsibility for our neglect in loving well enough… The kind of love that moves mountains by being kind and regarding each other as valuable, even when it doesn’t make sense.
Buddy, this week has been very emotional for us all. So many tears have been shed. But through it, we have found ways to be giving and soft and accountable for our words and actions. Perhaps it’s good that it happened so close to Christmas. It’s this time of year that so many of us remember what it means to be without, and others remember what it means to go without for the sake of their brother or sister. It’s this time of year that our family means the most and our hearts are anticipating the arrival of love and memories are made. But more than any of that… it’s the time of year when we are reminded that our love is so lacking without the love of a God who would send His son to this earth to rescue us from so much evil.
Please hear me when I tell you that in the middle of this tragedy, in the middle of pain and suffering and unimaginable sadness, our God is so great. God saw this day before the earth rotated around the sun. It was because of this hurt we all feel today that He gave us His Son to heal and restore. He knew that by giving us flesh and self-serving hearts, we would cause pain to one another. But we are not without hope my dear son.
I’m 100% certain that if you live to be as old as me, you will see your share of what I have seen this week. The ugly and the lovely. The broken and the whole. The pain and the glory. And eventually, you’ll come to a fork in the road that causes you either become cynical and helpless or reverent and hopeful. Only you can control the eyes in which you see these things. Only you can choose which road you walk down. Pray for help Judah. We’ve been promised great things by a great God. He will help you understand His sovereignty. And through that… you’ll see hope.
Today I was reminded of the scripture Romans 15:13, where Paul writes “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing”
Hope and joy don’t come naturally to this world Judah. They are bi-products of belief in God. Don’t walk faithlessly alone in this desert as you see others do. It’s not always easy to put your belief and faith in the hands of something so many consider to be folly. But the result is joy, peace, understanding, kindness and every other thing your heart will long for from the world. But the world won’t give it to you. Only in the heart of God will you see those things.
Merry Christmas my dear child. This year and every year after, you will stand as the physical reminder of how God has so greatly blessed me on this earth. I pray you know the joy that lives in my heart today. I pray you know Him.
Your Sassy Momma
Happy birthday my love. Two years is quite an accomplishment. Especially when you consider all the hurdles you’ve had to overcome. Like walking and talking and using a fork. And all the while I’ve been standing over you trying to do it all for you, pretending I’m going to be able to willingly give you independence at any point in your young life. Yet, you always seem to find a way to keep me at just about an arms length away so that I am able to see how smart and funny and beautiful you are, and how little I’ve had to do with any of it.
Today I thought a lot about how different your childhood experience will be from mine. I remember playing outside from breakfast until dinner. I remember walking the railroad tracks every single day across town. I remember getting into insane amounts of mischief without ever having to answer to the parental convenience of cell phones or GPS or nanny cams. Since then, however, I have become very accustomed to control. Like for instance, I can send instant communication to whoever I want in a second, including the President of the United States. I can tell you the circumference of the earth without cracking a book. I can have food effortlessly delivered to my kitchen table in 15 minutes or less. I can get cancer tomorrow, and probably beat it. That’s how much control my generation has garnered. So yeah, it makes us cocky. It shocks us when we can’t fix or avoid life’s big problems. I truly believe it is the core of our mass anxiety problems. We’ve been programed to believe that control is within our reach, always. And maybe we have been blessed with conveniences that trick us into believing that. But in reality, we are left feeling emotionally stranded when that control ends up being but a vapor.
I dream of a simpler life for us. One where I don’t have to work. Where we could avoid the hurdle of you being sucked into societal norms of narcissism or materialism. Where you could experience an adventure and I could learn to let go of my need to create structure where there need not be any. It’s a work in progress. But just dreaming of it appears to be helping.
This week you and I went to the park by our little house. It was a really nice cool day but it had started to rain a little. The park was almost completely abandoned except for you and I… just two weirdos who can’t be scared by a little falling water. Towards the end you were starting to poop out on me. You got down on the ground and took off my sandals. We walked around a little, but every few minutes we’d stop to inspect a new leaf or ant pile or really rad long extra cool stick. Those are the moments I life for. They are the moments you force me to be down near the dirt again. Everything down there is so small. My legs have become so long, and my gate so wide, that I miss it all now. I am able to avoid all of those little inconveniences because I have bigger things to attend to. But your little things, like roly polys, that’s how life gets simple again. You take my sandals off and make me see how beautiful things are in your line of sight.
Judah, I hope you always see the little things. I mean, lets be real, if you are still trying to eat roly polys as an adult, we got problems. But if you can still love the simplicity of being small in a big world, your heart will thank you for it. Try so hard to avoid the anxiety of seeking control. There is no such thing. Prepare your heart for life, because life is best lived in adventure. And adventure isn’t truly adventure without a little danger.
I’ve dreamt my whole life about adventure. The places I could go, the people I could swoon, the money I could find. I had that scenario all wrong. I haven’t really seen anything or met anyone or earned anything so great as you. God had me dreaming of capers for 26 years, but nothing so great as the experience I have had being your momma. The millions of kisses and nightly talks in your rocking chair, they’ve surpassed it all. My hope wasn’t big enough to expect something like you.
Your aunt Kelli told me yesterday that God loves you more than I do. This morning while we drove to “yerk”, as you call it, we said our morning prayers and we thanked Him for that.
He still does Judah. You can be an adult reading this, and that truth will not have changed. His love is so great, so still and so real, it is ridiculous for me to attempt to control it. You are His. I pray every day that you know that. And if you don’t, maybe spend some time moving slower with a lower line of sight. See if the smaller things in this world don’t draw your heart to His.
I love you more every single day. And two years is a lot of days.
Your Sassy Momma
It’s just another normal Sunday afternoon around these parts.
To explain further, I work in marketing. I may manage my department, but that doesn’t leave me exempt from having to put on a mascot suit from time to time. And on these occasions, it’s not uncommon that the suit may make it home with me. And you should also know that this isn’t the first time Chris has put on my mascot suit.
This dates back to before we were married and I was in my first marketing department as an assistant. As you can see…even as I have worked my way up the ladder, not a lot has changed. I’m still getting sweaty in mascot suits and my significant other can’t help but take advantage of my mascot suit access.
Your Sassy Sista
I spent the first 6 days of our 7 day vacation last month trying to figure out why I couldn’t seem to unwind or relax. It took me those 6 days to realize that when vacationing with your baby, there is no mommy ‘off switch’ and relaxation may never come. Even when your feet are in the sand, your brain is still focused on the baby NOT getting swept away in the surf. Vacations are henceforth dedicated to the fine art of “creating memories” for the family. Gone are the days of mixed drinks and dark tans.
But on the last day we caught the best sunset.
The three of us sat together in the sand. Judah actually HATES the sand, so he sat in my lap with his head nuzzled in my shoulder. And I just kept thinking about a day 17 years from now when he obviously will be too big to fit on my beach chair. I won’t be able to lean into that nuzzle.
I mean, with a typical vacation, there are moments when you just want to memorize the feeling of being warm and seeing something beautiful and maybe even feeling beautiful. Because you know eventually Monday morning will find you and you will need to rely on that moment to nourish your overly abused patience. But there’s something totally different about experiencing those moments with your child.
Because even next year, if we take the same exact trip, and we see the same exact sunset… maybe he will want to be in his own beach chair.
Independence is creeping up at an alarming rate.
So I didn’t just try to memorize this moment. I am trying to recreate it every day. Even if it’s at 1 AM in his rocking chair. Instead of closing my eyes and trying to fake sleep, I keep them open, watch him watching me, and remember the aching feeling of 17 years from now. There is no beach or orange spectrum sky, but he is there.
Everything all those more seasoned mothers said about it all “going so fast” is true. I want to freeze us in time so that my back is always strong enough to pick him up, and his legs are too small to carry him too far away.
I’m just being overly sentimental because it’s Mother’s Day and I’m allowed. And also, he’s just very cute.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of those out there who have felt the “17 years from now” ache.
His Sassy Momma
2011 Sucked. There, was that prolific enough for you? I keep trying to talk myself out of it because it just feels like I should ONLY be focusing on the goodness of every day. But a broad spectrum, big picture look back on the year of 2011 has me sticking my thumb out, turning it down and making overt fart noises.
Wanna know why it sucked? I’ll tell you.
I was a horrible friend.
This year one of my best friends had a miscarriage. Having never experienced that specific trauma, I had no idea how to react. I let the weight of it sit on my heart for a few days. I sent her my condolences via email. I text her to see how she was doing. I even thought about sending a card and maybe some flowers. But I wasn’t sure how to react with the highest level of appropriateness. So instead I did nothing. Well actually, I did the bare minimum. I let her know I was sorry and then I left her alone to grieve in her own way. Months later, I brought it up again, almost casually. We talked about it a little and then she thanked me for asking about it. It seems I wasn’t the only one who had left her to her own grieving. Not even her husband knew how to tread that murky water. I had made a mistake, for which I will forever be sorry. I should have sent those flowers. I should have been there to see her. To just sit there with her. She lost her child. And I thought silence was the best medicine. Dumby dumb dumb.
In the Fall of last year we left our church. It is one of only two situations in my life that I was unceremoniously ripped away from some very important relationships in my life. Two times in 28 years…that ain’t bad. I call that a win actually. But in the aftermath I was left pretty exhausted from the lack of communication from some people that I loved very dearly. I didn’t get the response I expected, because I expected those friendships to continue without hesitation. And when they didn’t, I was obviously incredibly sad. But the few I did hear from expressed that they didn’t particularly know how to approach the situation and the temptation to do nothing was strong.
It is so strong isn’t it? I can think back now on all the times I did nothing. All the friends I didn’t follow into the depths of sadness because of the overwhelming fear that I wouldn’t have the perfect thing to say. When obviously they didn’t even want to hear the perfect thing. They just needed to know I loved them enough to be their friend. That’s why in wedding vows we have to remind each other that the relationship is bound through good and bad times. We don’t give each other a choice to do nothing.
But friends aren’t forever. Despite whatever Michael W. Smith has told you. We get a few years, more if we are lucky. Jobs and family and circumstance tend to move us around and separate us over time. But in the short amount of time we have, I wish we would take the role more seriously. I wish I would. Not only in the times that I’m feeling rejected and hurt by the loss of a friend.
I want to do better when I get the chance again. When God refills my friend supply, I want to do so much more than nothing. I know the pain of being the neglector, and also the pain of being the neglected.
Neither of them interest me any longer.
I love you dear friends. Enough to do much more than nothing.
Your sassy friend,