Monday, September 6, 2010

heat and freezing

(photo from flickr)

When someone reveals the nature of their character, believe them.

This is the thought that keeps popping in and out of brain lately. I know there is some famous quote along these same lines, but the point is that one should play close attention to actions. Do they match beliefs? When someone, maybe in their worst moment, or angriest moment, or most desperate moment, shows you a side you don't want to believe is there, well- believe it. I think, especially women, we tend to minimize behaviors. We tend to dismiss them and sweep them under the rug. Especially if we can find some outlying circumstance to attribute the behavior to. He was drunk... she was really angry... he was under so much stress... you know how it goes.

I know it seems like very basic stuff, but I am really now learning that we teach people how to treat us. Personally, I am terrible with boundaries AND I am very much a people pleaser. The two together makes me a prime door mat material. It is more comfortable for me to accept mistreatment than it is for me to stand up for myself or create conflict. I don't really want to continue to be this way. So what if I piss someone off? My self-respect is on the line. Who do I love more? Myself or that person? Who's happiness is more essential to the well-being of my daughters? That persons or mine? I challenge women like me to protect themselves. To stop fearing conflict, or the thought of being "displeasing" - honor yourself. Love yourself. Respect yourself. If you don't, nobody else will.

Lately it seems like I have been encountering women married for twenty plus years who are newly divorced. I feel a significance when they share their story, and I know it is supposed to mean something to me. Maybe I am supposed to be grateful that I didn't spend thirty two years in an unhappy marriage, raising kids, emptying the nest, and then get a divorce? Maybe I am supposed to recognize that even those that follow the typical lines I sometimes feel guilty for coloring outside of, well, they don't have it any better. They aren't happier. We are all susceptible to failed relationships.

I miss feeling connected, and feeling like I have a sense of community. Lately I have been feeling disconnected from even my best friends. I go to church but don't feel the love. Its a great collection of strangers. Last night I was crying to my mom on the phone, mostly feeling lonely. About ten minutes after our conversation ended, Brooklyn comes walking into the living room, and she crawls up on the couch with me. We laid there, and talked. I didn't feel lonely anymore. Her chatter slowly became quiet, and I could hear her little girl snores. She fell asleep in the nook of my arm. I decided to lay there and savor everything about it. I wanted to memorize the way it feels to hold my six year old baby sleeping. A bit later, Charlotte comes toddling up to the couch, carrying her favorite soft blanket. I pull her up on the couch with us. I held my two sleepy baby girls and looked at the ceiling, and smelled their freshly washed curls, I listened to their sleepy breathing. I noticed I was anything but lonely. I thanked God. And I fell sleep.

In an earlier post I shared a video of a poem that I love. The last line is "There is heat, and freezing be a testament"- we have to know what its like to freeze to truly appreciate the heat. Warmth exists. I believe that. I typically don't struggle with loneliness or being single. In fact, I quite prefer it. But once in awhile, loneliness creeps up and pesters me. I am thinking, though, its a blessing. Yep. Loneliness is a blessing. It is the freezing that makes heat so beautiful. And, if you are as lucky as I am, you have little people who can't get close enough to you. They fit in your arms like puzzle pieces. They get their heat from you. There is no such thing as freezing for little girls who always have a mommy to hold them. Is there anything more beautiful than that? Does anything else really matter? 

Somewhere out in the world, there is a nook that I fit perfectly in. I am his puzzle piece, and he is mine. Maybe he longs for me too. Maybe not. Maybe he knows the freezing all too well. Maybe he gathers his warmth from talks with God, and his own little people, like I do. 

If you have community, connectedness, companionship, take a moment to praise God. Be thankful for the beautiful relationships in your life. If you are otherwise a little cold, or maybe freezing, I will share my blanket until warmth finds us again.

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