Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady

Over Christmas break I had a falling out with a good friend.  Well, falling out is putting it nicely.  I only sugar-coat it to make it okay to go back to "normal" when I am needy again.  If I don't tell you how awful it really was, then I leave the door open.

It really wasn't a falling out.  It was ugly.  I mean, I have never been spoken to this way....ever!  Even in the midst of an earth-shaking divorce I have never had those words spoken to me, and with such a vengence.  Ugly.  Unkind. Mean.  Cruel.  Loud.

Gotta say it.  It hurt like H-E-double hockey sticks.

God has answers for me that almost always differ from mine.  I think I know what would work best for me and impatiently wait for Him to fulfill the order.  But He knows exactly what I need and when.  And it is always "spot on".  He meets me with a warm blanket and some loving salve to soothe away the aches of trying too long on my own.  God is good.

Many of you know that I am reading and re-reading Eat, Pray, Love.  There is a chapter that comes to mind that describes,

I was married for 23 years since I was 19 years old.  I never knew adult life without my husband.  Good, bad, happy sad.  There were always distractions (insert children) to deter me from really taking a good look at the situation.  But when the end came, people very close to me said they had seen it coming.  Now why didn't they tell me???

Anyway, during those 23 years I ignored (or tried) the changing of the dynamics.  We're just busy.  It's just life.  He didn't mean it that way.  Basically, it was boundary issues.  Mine.

Now, as it says in the book, (and here is where I am beginning to paraphrase the book),

"to have boundary issues one must have boundaries.  But I disappear into the one I love.  I am the permeable membrane.  If I love you, you can have everything.  You can have my time, my devotion, my money, my family, my dog, my dog's money, my dog's time-EVERYTHING! If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain.  I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word).  I will protect you from your own insecurity.  I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family.  I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check.  I will give you all this and more, until I get exhausted and depleted. I do not relay these facts about myself with pride, but this is how it's always been."

I have spent more time making sure the other one in my twosome was happy, fulfilled, successful, on time, fed, had a backup toothbrush...well, no need to go on.  And then after I have completed this feat, when I am whipped and tired and needing some care myself, the big dump comes!  And because I fed the expectation that their world would always be "right", my personal expectations fade into the woodwork.  Like they say in the movie, The Christmas Story....I never saw my mom get a hot meal.

In both cases, my friend and my husband, I finally realized that I can and should say no.  Enough.  I can and should receive, at minimum, the common courtesies that we give to absolute strangers.  And if that isn't possible, well then, I will just be alone.

God knew that those harsh, unexpected words from my friend would cause me to stop the insanity.  Deep breath.  Consider yourself.

We cannot and should not buy love. We don't have to trade away ourselves to have it. We deserve it, just by being us.  And if it's not there, either do something about it or move along.

For the past few days I have been humming a song I hardly know, but the one line that has jump started me to action is sung with a twang by Helen Reddy.  "That ain't no way to treat a lady, but maybe it's a way for us to end."

I deserve better.  Friend, you deserve better too.  And to balance this out, we must do better as well.  It is a two-way street.

Remember, words mean things.  Excuses and reasons after the fact do very little to heal.  Our words are flying out there and resound over and over. We cannot get them back.  We can be sincere in our apology and make amends as possible to show that sincerity.  Amends...that's a whole nother discussion.

God knows that I get wrapped up in significant others and lose all thoughts of process, due diligence and self awareness.  I thank Him for answers that I don't want just when I need them!

Dear God,  You are mighty and strong.  You love me and You have my back.  You see my insides and out, my dark and light and You love me anyway.  You think I am the best thing You ever made!  I love You and want to trust You more with the details of my life.  Left to my own devices I just create drama and reek havoc.  Please fill me with peace that only You can supply, no matter my circumstance, no matter the weather, no matter the  feelings, no matter the finances.  You have the right plan just for me! Amen. ~A Lady

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You Don't Need an Invitation

Where have I been?  I think during the past month I have dropped out of life.  Just plain and simple.  I have written before about being my own best friend, and let me tell you, I did not follow through with my own sage advice.

I did not reach out to many for a friendly ear or a coffee chat.  I didn't write for weeks.  I just let that old Loneliness and Depression take a front seat in the car.  In fact, they took the wheel.

What changed today?  Why am I writing today?  What prompted this sudden and unexpected effort?

Need, friend, need.

As I lay in bed early this morning, peering out the bedroom window and hoping for the cleansing white snowfall that I love so much, I realized I had to do SOMETHING.  Just begin. 

It's not like I don't have plenty to do.  Obviously there is the end of the year stuff, the desk is piled with a mixture of work and personal and Christmas stuff.  I have friends that I haven't spoken to in weeks and well, even the trash needs to go out!

But I am starting here, to talk it out, think it through, find a path through the maze.

As my mind continued to wander during the wee hours this morning, I remembered a commercial that I recently saw for a new show coming on.  I can't remember the show but I sure remember the clip.  The adult daughter said to her mother:

"You don't need an invitation to your own life!"

Well now.  Was she talking to me???  Sure felt like it.

So again I let my mind wander down the places I had not gone in the past few weeks.  The opportunities that were missed while I chose to wrap up in a blanket and disconnect.

You know, nothing good comes from disconnecting.  It just gives Loneliness and Depression an open-mike.  And believe me, even the best antidepressant cannot chase them away without some effort from us.

New Year's is always a time for folks to reflect.  We make promises to ourselves and others.  Sometimes they are kept; most times I wager not.

But Laura, let me remind you that this is YOUR life.  It is not made up of your successes and failures but of who you ARE in your heart.  Don't waste one more minute.  Reach out to those friends.  Take out the trash. File 2010.  Get ready for 2011. 

Folks, let me tell you now.  YOU don't need an invitation to your life.  Don't go to bed tonight feeling the same as you did when you woke up.  Get moving.  Get busy with living or you will be busy dying.

And one more piece of advice as you enter the new year with a fresh approach:  One must be kind to oneself when trying something new. 

Hey, if you are one of those already ahead of the game, be sure to reach out to someone else and encourage them.  You just never know how much it will help.

Wow....and not in a good way.  It's been nearly a month since I have written and ignored the me that is so hungrily searching for my path.  I think I could have used the therapy! 

Dear God,  You have reminded me that I have not asked YOU to help me find my way in a while.  I have been trying to do it on my own.  Help me remember that the castles I build are made of sand.  Only with YOU can I be safe from shifting sand.  Help me feel your love fill my heart so that I have something to give to others.  Thank you for your blessings of a loving family.  ~Me

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What Do You Have in Your Hand?

Today I am enjoying the "sweet spot" in life.  I may fall short in my explanation of the sweet spot, but here is my understanding of it.

When a batter has a special place on the bat that knocks it out of the park; or someone scratches your back and hits the itch right on; or you get your pillows plumped just perfectly to sleep comfortably.....The sweet spot.

For the moment, I am working from my home office.  I am employed by a company who lets me set my hours from home, about 10-20 weekly.  The other 4 jobs I have are commissioned based and I must set appointments and actually "sell" something to earn a check.

My home office has a 2nd story view of the library and park.  It is a great little room to work in and I enjoy being able to do so any time of the day or night.

But today....The Sweet Spot.  I have been working at my dining room table amidst all of the Christmas decorations, pretty lights, manger scene, snowmen and poinsettas.  Since 7:00 this morning, with my own cup of what is known by my children as "hot drink", I have been hard at work sitting in the sweetest spot of all.

Reminders of the season bring on the joy of Christmas and the giving spirit that seems to take over during this time of year.  I love the routine of the seasons.  They are a comfort to me.  And I intend to enjoy this love, to feed, to care, to call, to reach outside of my sweet spot and perhaps let a little sweet fall on someone else.

What do you have in your hand?  What could you do for others that would create sweetness in their life?  It could be as easy as a warm smile to your neighbor.  A caring note to your grandma.  Babysitting for an overworked single mom.  Give some sweetness and it's funny how it flows right back through you!

But maybe it's more about what do you have in your heart?

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin....with me.