On a more serious note

Though you may not agree with my religion or with faith in general, the following is a post regarding an experience I have been having through scripture reading. I invite you to read on if you are feeling open or respectful; likewise, I invite you to close this blog window if you are feeling the least bit contentious. The topic is one of a very serious and personal nature for me, (and I hesitate to share it for those reasons) while at the same time I feel that I need to open my heart to my dearest blog readers. You guys and gals and your support mean so much to me in this little global community we call the Internet. 🙂

Last May, I began reading the Four Gospels in the New Testament of the Bible, namely Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I have finished Mark, am half-way through Luke (I read that at night with my little ones) and am concluding Matthew in my personal study.

And I hurt.

You see, as I finished Mark–by far the shortest of the four books–I mourned at the suffering and death of Christ.

Yes, of course, I relished in His resurrection and triumph over sin and death…but I hurt for Him.

Recently, when I read Matthew’s recounting of the plea from the Master to His disciples to “watch with him” through His sufferings and atonement for all people on earth, I could barely hold back tears. I found myself hesitating to finish, not wanting to hurt with Him and for Him, and because my own weaknesses and issues caused Him pain that He willingly took on so that I could feel the power of redemption.

But when Matthew is finished, I will begin again with John….

“In the beginning was the word.”

And I will read of his words to Nicodemus regarding baptism; I will sit by the well along with the Woman of Samaria and feel the power of His word.

And I will walk again along the Sea of Galilee as He calls, “Come, follow me.”

And I will hear Him call to me…and the pain, bringing about a change in my own heart which draws me closer to Him will be fruitful.

So, I will continue reading.

(Photo credit for all photos pictured in this post is here.)

Parenting is Hard.

After an experience with one of my precious children this morning, and after some weekend reflection, I’ve come to this conclusion:

PARENTING IS HARD.

Maybe that isn’t news to you. If I stopped parenting long enough to think about it (which only happens in tiny little moments), I might have figured this out sooner. Maybe? 🙂

Anyway, these recent moments of reflection have shown me similar traits in my children to my own personality flaws (which are actually quite difficult to view). For example, remember when you have read a novel or watched a film and you find yourself identifying with the feelings or habits or personalities of a certain character? Those connections have been happening abundantly lately for me…only my children are not mere characters in a book or movie. They are my children.  And they are flawed (which I knew) like me (which is what is so difficult currently to view).

Maybe some of the difficulty is knowing the path they have ahead of them…and my desire to help them wake up to a realization that certain behaviors that I have wasted years of my life practicing can lead them to heartache and sadness.  I find myself defensively saying (in my mind) to them, “I’m getting over [that behavior].  Why can’t you?”

But, some lessons need to be learned from the inside out, not vice versa.

I guess what I’m saying is, after this weekend and this morning, I’ve got some work to do…both for myself and also with my children. And I’m wondering what I can do to change today….

Each of my children (and yours) is a gift, a life, an opportunity for love and learning and greatness. My children don’t need the fame of a Super Bowl ring, a Julliard degree, or a name in figurative lights to be valued and precious and productive in society. They are each amazing in their own spheres of influence as they develop and share their own talents and gifts with those around them.

I wish I had learned that earlier. I still find myself fighting feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness daily. But, at least I am fighting them (most days) instead of giving into negativity.

On the way back from taking one of our children to school (the one having a rough morning), my husband gently said my name, followed by the words, “You are a good woman.”

My immediate thought was, “If I was a good woman, I could cure more ills and take away more pain.”

As I fought tears in the thought, I saw something else, though…a smattering of light…of truth.

Pain is part of life and a tool to help us grow, just like a flower fights the adversities of gravity and wind to grow and stand straight and bloom.

So bloom. As a person. As a parent. As YOU. We can make a beautiful bouquet together.

Forgive and…forget?

I’ve been pondering the gift of forgiveness lately…and one morning lately, I wondered if “true” forgiveness involves actually forgetting the wrongdoing (or whatever action called for forgiveness).  Can you forgive and still hurt inside your heart?…or inside your head?  Can you remember the pain and still consider yourself to have forgiven those around you?  Do you try to remember and hang on to what hurt you, like tying a ribbon around your finger?

I don’t have answers yet, but I certainly welcome your thoughts.

As always, sending hugs your way.

A Prayer

She dipped her hand into the warm, soapy water, releasing the scent of pine oil throughout her kitchen.  Her hair fell into her face and almost into the water as she retrieved her scrub brush from the bottom of the suds-filled bucket and envisioned the image of a singer with blonde and red streaked hair, with a fashion sense ahead of her time, singing about that very subject.  As the beating of the song’s rhythm fell in time with her own heart, she recalled the harsh words she exchanged only hours ago with the person she loved best and most in the world.

“…Confusion is nothing new…”

Why? she asked herself as the warm water dripped from her cleansing tool onto dark grout lines.

“Sometimes you picture me…I’m walking too far ahead…”

She pushed her frustrations of misunderstanding, of raised voices, of emptiness into the floor as she wondered if an onlooker, should one appear, would compare her to Walt Disney’s Cinderella singing about a nightingale; sadly, her song was not so sweet.

“You’re calling to me…”

Tears mixed with water and Pine-Sol on the already soaked tile, as she knelt in a penitent posture, wishing away pain, willing it to wash away from her soul, to be clean like the floor she was so diligently scrubbing.

“Secrets…stolen…from deep inside…”

Her wrist wiped across her eyes in an attempt to dry them, but her hands were already wet.

“Time after time…time after time…time after…time,” echoed the striped-haired singer through the Bose speaker on the counter, the one she bought herself when she felt he asked more than he should have…but, if she were honest with herself and with him, he had not asked her at all.  She volunteered.  Her main complaint in the earlier yelling fest had been of him not getting her, of taking too much without returning…but even that was gone now.

Her hands returned to moving in circular motions across the squares, creating shapes in soap that really weren’t there…just appearances…impressions.

Maybe I’m the one who should apologize?

The song on her Pandora 80’s station changed, and her mood followed as the tears shed only moments ago soaked deeply into the grout outlines around squares of hard, cold rock.

She pulled out her mop and towel and began the work of rinsing over the soap bubbles (and tears)…a baptism of sorts for the floor, which bore the weight of all their harsh words to one another, their flippant remarks.  She pushed the frayed towel around with her feet, soaking the rising water into fibers of blue cotton.

Have I any hope for redemption now?

(lines of the song used are from “Time After Time” written by Cyndi Lauper and Rob Hyman)