Saturday, June 22, 2013

Children, Dogs and Old Men

I have had many people ask me, especially lately, why I don't have a boyfriend. Just so you all know, that is a very annoying question. One for which I have no answer. Also, it is a question that I don't dwell on a whole lot. Not because I don't want a boyfriend, but because I try to live in the moment as much as I can. And in the moment, I don't have a boyfriend. I live in the moment because I believe that is where Jesus wants me to be. I also find that He surrounds me with people who typify behaviors that He wants me to implement in my own life.

However, this post is not about my lack of boyfriend'ness', because honestly, those posts are really irritating. Reading about people who are "soo content" as they wait on The Lord for God's Will... How about you live God's Will right now? How about we focus on today instead of always dreaming about tomorrow? Now, dreaming is not bad, I do it all the time. But, some times I spend more time dreaming than I actually do living.

Typically after the "Why don't you have a boyfriend?" question is asked, I usually try to gloss over the awkwardness with some humor. I answer like this, "Well, the thing is, I usually attract children, dogs and old men. And unfortunately, none of them are boyfriend material." This results in a laugh, and then the weirdness of it all is over. Unless of course, they want to then set me up with their 42 year old, ping pong playing brother who has never been married but needs help loving Jesus. (Yeah, that happened....) I kid you not, I can go almost anywhere, and if there is a smll child, a dog or an old man around.... They will find me. Sit next to me and immediately be my best friend. Except the old men... they usually propose.

When I sit down and think about the type of people that I do attract, I am initially puzzled. Then I chuckle. And then I start to ponder. I mentioned earlier that Jesus surrounds me with the type of people from whom He wants me to learn.

Think about it - children, dogs and the older generation are loving, trusting and very much in the moment. 

Wow, what if I was more like that with The Lord everyday. What if I tried to overwhelm Him with my love, if I innocently and completely trusted Him and lived right now with Him? These groups are all very intuitive and honest. If they like you, they like you. If they don't? Well, there might be a good reason. Even if there isn't a good reason, they don't care.

Children want to play, dogs want to protect, and old folks want to love. Adults make lists, look out for themselves and push emotion to the side. Now, I am a list maker. I like to (and usually need to) make list of everything I 'have' to do, check it off and then look at it when the day is over to see how much I accomplished. This is not a negative quality and does allow me to get a lot of things done at work and at home. Sometimes though, I asked myself if I am putting the right things on my list...
Jesus spent 3 solid years in ministry as an adult, but I don't ever remember reading that He made a list. Yet, He still accomplished in 3 short years, what some of us fail to accomplish in a lifetime. I am not talking about salvation, because obviously, that is not something that we can give to others. I have talking about loving people. He loved people, not for what they did, but for who they were. He met people where they were in life, regardless of how they got there.. He provided for their needs, without focusing on how they could repay such a debt.

Children, dogs and old people are very similar to Jesus in those ways. 

Children love us, just because. Dogs are loyal, just because. Older folks are dependent on and delighted in us, just because.

What if we loved Jesus, just because? What if we were loyal and faithful to Him, just because? What if we were dependent on Him and delighted in Him, just because?

We know What and Who He is. We are able to tell people all the wonderful things about Jesus and then use those same things to try and convince them that they should love Him as well. 

I don't want to convince people anymore. I just want them to know that I love Jesus, and that He loves me.

"For God so loved the world..."


Just because...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Emotional Novicane

Last night I drove home from my mom's house, and I bawled like a young child all the way home...

May 18th of this year marked eleven years since my dad passed away. Sometimes I ask myself if it is supposed to hurt this much even though it has been so long. Sometimes I don't think about whether it is right or wrong.  I wish I could say I don't even stop to think about it, that I just hurt - however, that isn't usually the case.

Usually the case is this - I don't let myself hurt because I am:

1) surrounded by people and I am kind of a loud crier and my nose might kind of get really red
2) too overwhelmed with life to fully process what I am feeling
3) focused on someone/something else that I view as more important than my private pain

I think a good term for this experience would be emotional novicane. I define emotional novicane like this - when something or someone distracts you from your hurt/pain/sorrow/depression/fear/etc long enough to bury it away, only to have it come back when you least expect it.

It is like when I would go to the dentist to get a cavity filled, and they would numb my mouth for the procedure. The novicane is seriously the coolest stuff on the planet. It felt like my lips were melting off of my face and it felt like they were twice the size they normally were. But after awhile, it wears off almost instantaneously and ALL the pain and discomfort hit you out of nowhere.

That is what happens when I stuff my hurt and my emotions. It feels like my heart is numb, sliding off into oblivion, when really it isn't. It is still there, beating and feeling with the same intensity, I just can't feel it.

That's how I felt on the 18th of May. And honestly, that is how I have felt alot over the past 11 years. I felt I didn't have time or a place to grieve my dad. To grieve the loss that was and that would be.

I just couldn't hurt that day. I felt too vulnerable. I felt outside of myself. Truthfully, I didn't really want to hurt that day. Or the day after. Or the day after. I began to think I had escaped the rush of emotions that tends to follow around this time of year...

On Sunday afternoon it hit me out of nowhere. I was at a friend's graduation party, and saw her joking with her dad. I smiled to myself as I watched the look of pride pass from father to daughter. Then it hit me... I don't ever get to have that again. Period.

I was immediately numb and still. Still not able to fully process what I had been avoiding for almost a month. Too many people in the room and too many festivities that would be diminished by my grief should I choose to express it. Emotional Novicane Inserted.

As always when I am transparent, I fear that people will think I am asking for pity. I'm not, and please don't pity or feel sorry for me. Just keeping being the awesome friends that you are. It is what it is, I cannot change it. But because I can't change it, I have to grieve it, and I have to hurt. Else I won't ever heal. And that is something that I am constantly learning.

So as I drove home last night, I started sobbing almost uncontrollably. No trigger, just a torrent of crocodile tears pouring down my face. You see, I cried because the pain in my heart was far too big to hold in any longer. As I cried, I shouted out to  my dad as though he were right beside me, "Why did you leave me?" "Why didn't you take your medicine" "Why didn't you fight harder to stay with me?"

Yet, as I asked those questions, I already knew the answers. He didn't want to leave me. The medicine might not have helped. He did fight to stay - He fought until he could fight no more.

Today I am better than I was yesterday. Although, I still feel my tears pretty close to the surface. This pain is one that will come and go for the rest of my life. That is normal and understandable. I lost my best friend 11 years ago, and that takes a long time to heal. But I cannot continue to heal if I don't allow myself to purge and if I keep giving myself shots of emotional novicane.
I'll paraphrase a Scripture in Ecclesiastes that says, "to everything there is a season.... a time to mourn"
It is good to give yourself that time. Whatever your heartache, pain, worry or sorrow is, HE knows it. HE feels it with you, and HE will carry you through it. It will take time, and the pain may never fully go away. But, you are never alone - even when it feels like it.
When it feels like it, call on a friend. They can't fix it, but you won't be physically alone. And, if you can't think of anyone, send me a message - I am and I will be that friend. No hurting alone if you don't want to:)
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!