Friday, August 23, 2013

Not Your Door

Quit it.

That door you're banging on so fervently? That door you keep trying and trying to get through?  Honey, it doesn't have your name on it. It isn't meant for you. That's why it doesn't open. That's why it doesn't budge, no matter how hard you try to squeeze it open.

I won't argue that what lies behind it isn't great.  It is.  It would be a great thing, and it will be a great thing for the person whose name is on it.  But, the door beside it?  The door with your name on it?  Oh, if you could only take a moment to see what things lie behind it.

You think this door you're trying to pry open would be great?  It's nothing compared to what lies behind the door with your name on it. THAT is truly magnificent. Not just because it is wonderful, but because it's specifically meant for you. Designed for you. Planned for you. Blessed for you.

But you can't see it, not yet. All you can see is this door. This door that won't open because it isn't yours.

Sometimes, darling, that's why doors won't open.  Because we are meant for greater ones, different ones, doors that don't belong to others but just to us.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thursday Tales: Starting to Like You

I'm starting to like you and it scares me.

Until now, it didn't matter. You were just a person and I was just a person, and we were just two persons living in the same world, not mattering to each other. It didn't matter if we messed up or if one of us thought the other person was weird or crazy. Because we were just two people. Two people who didn't matter.

But I'm starting to like you.  And it starts to matter. It matters what you think of me, even if the world tells me that I shouldn't care about that. It matters what I think of you. What you do matters. I suddenly want you to be someone who is worthy of my respect and my affection. I want you to be all you can be, and I want to be all I can be - because I want to be someone who is worthy of yours.

And this all scares me.  There's so much more pressure now than when we were just two people who didn't matter. Now we matter. Now what I do and say, it all matters. And maybe it always mattered, but now I'm suddenly aware of it.  I guess that's a good thing.

It is a big world and, with so many people in it, it can start to feel like it doesn't matter - like we don't matter.  How could we? We're but pebbles dropped into a big ocean. And so to be suddenly faced with our own mattering, it can be a lot to get our heads around. And it's a little frightening to realize that you matter. That what you do and what you say and what you think and what you feel... it all matters. It's important.

And suddenly I can't go back to thinking I don't matter and that you don't matter and that we don't matter.  Because I know the truth now. I know I was wrong.

It all matters.

Monday, August 19, 2013

What You Don't Want To Do: Commitment When You Want to Quit

Sometimes I feel like throwing in the towel. I'm beat down. I feel like I've done everything I can do, and yet it isn't enough.  So I want to quit.

Maybe you wouldn't blame me for quitting. Maybe if you knew how hard I've tried, you'd understand and you'd say that it was okay. No one would think less of me for walking away.

No one but me.  Because I would know. I would know that I walked away. I would know that quitting wasn't being the person that I wanted to be. Maybe I wouldn't fail you. But it would be failing me. It would be not being the girl I want to become.

and so instead of walking away from what I want to quit, I pick the towel back up. And I don't quit. and I stay. And I persevere. Not because you deserve it, but because I do.


Monday .......................... What You Don't Want To Do
Tuesday ......................... Forgiveness When You're Still Hurting
Thursday ................... Kindness When You Want to Lash Out
Friday ........................ Apologizing When You Don't Feel Wrong
Monday (again) ......... Commitment When You Want to Quit

Friday, August 16, 2013

What You Don't Want To Do: Apologizing When You Don't Feel Wrong

"Casey," I stopped my daughter before she went outside. "Can you please pick up the clutter in the living room before you go?"

Immediately the but-it's-not-fair face slid over her features. "But that stuff isn't mine!!" she whined.

"I know. Can you pick it up anyway?"

Then, the words came. "But it's not fair! Why do I have to do it??"

"Because you're part of the family, and sometimes that's what being part of the family is."

Sometimes I think that's a little bit what apologizing when you're not wrong is like. We've all been in situations like that, haven't we? We're in conflict with someone over something, and sometimes it's not our fault.  Why should we be the one to apologize??

Because sometimes that's what being in relationship with people is. Sometimes you take blame that doesn't belong to you for the good of the whole relationship.

There are a lot of things that go into this, I think. There are always three sides to a situation: your side, their side, and the truth -- which usually lies somewhere in the middle. You're rarely as right as you think you are.  And that doesn't necessarily mean that you're wrong... but you're also biased in thinking what you do.  There's the idea that sometimes being right isn't worth destroying the relationship. I mean, is it? If the choice is "maintain your pride and not apologize" or "damage the friendship beyond salvagability," is it worth it?

This almost feels like this should be a topic for another day, but I didn't want to walk away from this without saying that it's a balancing act. The thing with relationships is that sometimes you give more than your share, and sometimes you take more than your share.  But, if you're always giving or always taking, that's something that needs to be addressed. Being a doormat and always being the one to give in shouldn't be your M.O. -- but neither should always being the one to be the stubborn hold-out.


Monday .......................... What You Don't Want To Do
Tuesday ......................... Forgiveness When You're Still Hurting
Thursday ................... Kindness When You Want to Lash Out
Friday ........................ Apologizing When You Don't Feel Wrong
Monday (again) ......... Commitment When You Want to Quit

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What You Don't Want to Do: Kindness When You Want to Lash Out

I'm good with words. But I'm not good with patience.  When you add the two together, they can sometimes result in a caustic wit. Sometimes that wit is funny, sometimes it misses its mark. But, always, it comes at someone else's expense.

I used to just think that this was the way I was, and I couldn't help it. But, that wasn't really true. I could. But I enjoyed the emotional release of not having to hang on to my patience. And truthfully? I enjoyed the laugh. So I chose not to control it.

Over the past few years, I've tried to walk away from that. I'm not perfect and I still mess up.  But, I've tried to err more on the side of kindness than on the side of impatience. I've swallowed my retorts. I've kept a lid on my need to engage when people say things that sting or rub me wrong. And I'm happy with this. I'm happy with who I'm becoming.

Sometimes I feel like other people aren't as pleased with it. Like they counted on me to fill a certain role and they didn't like me as much when I stopped filling it. But, the role they wanted me to fill wasn't someone I wanted to be anymore.  Don't mistake... I could still be that person -- easily. But that person isn't someone I can look in the eye every morning and think that I'm glad to be them.

It gets easier with time, but it's still hard sometimes. Just the other day, someone made some comments about a lifestyle choice that we have chosen... and they were derogatory, condescending, and cruel.  The old me would have slapped back, and part of me wanted to. But, you know what?  Slapping back wouldn't have changed anything. There would have been a war of words, more hurt feelings on both sides, wounds to lick, and we both would have walked away thinking exactly the same as we had before the conversation started. So, instead, I decided it really wasn't worth getting upset over and walked away.  But, part of me really wanted to slap back.


Monday .......................... What You Don't Want To Do
Tuesday ......................... Forgiveness When You're Still Hurting
Thursday ................... Kindness When You Want to Lash Out
Friday ........................ Apologizing When You Don't Feel Wrong
Monday (again) ......... Commitment When You Want to Quit

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Don't Want To Do: Forgiveness When You're Still Hurting

I sighed.  The hurt was real; I wasn't imagining it. I wanted the relationship to be healed, but I also felt like it wasn't something that I could just sweep under the table and pretend wasn't there. I needed us to talk about it.

But, they wouldn't.  Or, maybe they couldn't. I don't know. Every time I tried, it turned into a conversation about something else. It turned into blame at something else, something that didn't have anything to do with us. Eventually, I realized that it was never going to happen. They were never going to understand my hurt, they were never going to understand what they had done.

So, what happened next was my choice. I could continue needing an understanding and apology I was never going to get and walk away from a relationship that could never be healed. Or I could make the choice to forgive something that still hurt and heal a friendship that needed that salve of forgiveness in order to survive.

What would you choose?

Both are hard... both require sacrifice. Maybe your need for understanding and apology trumps the value that the relationship brings to your life. Maybe you can walk away.  Maybe the promise of relationship is enough to give you the strength to swallow your hurt and keep walking together.

But, here's the thing about forgiveness and relationships.  If we choose the latter, it has to be complete. Forgiveness for something that we keep bringing up, whether in conflict or even just in our heads, isn't forgiveness.

It's just cheap talk.

So what would you choose? What will you choose?


Monday .......................... What You Don't Want To Do
Tuesday ......................... Forgiveness When You're Still Hurting
Thursday ................... Kindness When You Want to Lash Out
Friday ........................ Apologizing When You Don't Feel Wrong
Monday (again) ......... Commitment When You Want to Quit

Monday, August 12, 2013

What You Don't Want To Do

We'd torn the house apart looking for the needed handout that went with the homework. Somewhere between school and home, or between home and now, the paper was lost in the house or the neighborhood. I'd exhausted all my ideas of where it could be, and the only option the child had left was to return to school the next day and ask her teacher for another copy.

"But, Mom," she wheedled. "I don't want to... I'm going to get in trouble for losing it."

I patted her hand. "I know, baby.  I don't think you're going to get in trouble, but I understand not wanting to admit that you lost it.  I don't see another option, though."

She sighed.

"Baby, sometimes this is what growing up is.  Sometimes you do what you don't want to do...  because you have to or because it's the right thing to do.  And you know what, even as a grown-up, it doesn't really get easier. But, you do it anyway.  Because that's what growing up is."


Monday .......................... What You Don't Want To Do
Tuesday ......................... Forgiveness When You're Still Hurting
Thursday ................... Kindness When You Want to Lash Out
Friday ........................ Apologizing When You Don't Feel Wrong
Monday (again) ......... Commitment When You Want to Quit

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Your One Thing

What is your one thing?

That one thing that, in the deepest parts of your heart, you wish you had the guts to do.  That thing that your mind keeps returning to when you're not controlling what it dwell on.  The thing that you keep telling yourself not to get your hopes up over. The dream that you keep telling yourself can't come true.

Today, I want you to think about it. Daydream about it. Feel what it would it feel like to accomplish it. Let yourself soak in that accomplishment. Let your mind go... play the scenarios in your head. Jump over all the excuses, all the obstacles, and enjoy it.

There are a lot of voices... sometimes they're in our heads. Sometimes they come from other people, even. They tell us all the reasons our dreams and goals can't happen. They tell us everything that stands in our way. They tell us we aren't good enough or we aren't strong enough. And they sound so convincing that we're afraid to even start.

And so, of course, they're right. We can't do something we never start.

I can't promise you that the dream you hold in your heart right now will come true. But, I can promise that if you stay stuck in your fears, it definitely won't.

What is your one thing?  Dream about it.  But, today, I want you to think of one thing that you can do now to get you one baby step closer to that which you dream about.

Just one thing. That's all you have to do... and then you're one step closer than you were when you starting reading this.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Needing People

A few years ago, I had a fan page for a vocalist that I liked. (Okay, yes, shut up. It was for someone from Celtic Thunder, Ryan Kelly.) When his first solo album was released, I remember doing a series of status updates asking for input on what people thought about the varying songs on it.

I remember one song... it's a story song called Perfect Man.  The comments on that one always surprised me because I really liked it. I've always enjoyed story songs and I liked the background music a lot. The protagonist of the story isn't exactly the poster child for modern feminism though, and some people really reacted to that with even anger. Many times, in their disdain for the character, I read the statement "I don't need a man!"

It's one that's stuck with me for a long time (obviously, as I'm still thinking about it three years later), and has always given me pause. Mostly, because it makes me a little sad. You see, I grew up hearing that philosophy, and I've always believed that it's one born less out of female strength and might, and far more out of fear.  Fear of being hurt by someone, and so you close off to all possibility of being hurt.

Needing people, whoever they are, isn't a bad thing. It's actually a really good thing, isn't it? It comes with vulnerability and it requires trust, but it's a far braver thing to need people than it is to wall yourself off and convince yourself that you need no one.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fears on Fire

"The way their eyes follow me, laughing with malice, across the room."

Her pen came to the end of the line and she dropped it at her side.  Ripping the paper off the notebook, she folded it in half twice and set it on the top of the others.

"The time I tripped in front of the whole class."

"The day they told me to meet them at the Dairy Queen and then they all went to Starbucks instead."

A whole stack of them.

"How I'm afraid I'll never be good enough."

"How I can never seem to say the right thing."

"How my dreams seem so unattainable."

She fingered the last one and picked it up, turning it over slowly in her hands. Moving almost as if in a dream, she lit the first match and touched it to the paper, watching it begin to crumble into flame.  Releasing it into the air, she picked up the next piece and set it on fire, too.  One by one, she went through the entire stack until the air around her was filled with the burnt embers of her fears and insecurities.

She sat there in the grass, watching it all burn.

She sat there until every flame died away.

Then, she stood up and walked away. Today would be different.

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