Week of May 23, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Yesterday’s Facebook status update: Beautiful sunny day! I got to hold a robin and set it free after its misguided visit left it “trapped” in our lunchroom – which inspired the beginning of a blog post I hope will be the first one I’ve finished in a while. Also got to enjoy ice cream and lying in the backyard watching clouds (for the first time in I don’t know how long!) with Jeff, Joel, and Nora while Jonathan had fun at a friend’s. Continued reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, also out under the blue sky. Wow. Chicken and biscuits with the whole family, and looking forward to strawberry shortcake when Jeff and Joel get home from Cub Scouts. Grateful…

So, let’s see… I think that’s more than three for today…

1. Holding a terrified robin in my hands and setting it free.

2. The shapes made by clouds.

3. Chicken & biscuits and strawberry shortcake.

Today’s status update…

Grateful for birdsong, sunshine, cool water, and common weirdness.

4, 5, 6, 7 🙂

8. Completed blog post!

Great day! Great to feel like myself, to “find myself again. And then, a phone call.

Pathetic that one phone call could throw off my entire day, my entire mood, my entire outlook. My colors faded. Sounds I can usually ignore as part of the background bothered me, bothered me, bothered me. I was angry. And frustrated. And sad. And overwhelmed. I was noticing the negative and hating it. Heading right back into finding more bad than good in my life. All because of one phone call. From one negative person I find almost impossible to love.

I could recognize that I was wrong. Unreasonable. But that didn’t mean I could just switch it back off. My better self back “on.”

There are two lessons here. One is that I need more good habits.

God even used Ann Voskamp’s words at the right moment. Well, her quoting Erasmus:

“A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.”

As I’ve seen repeatedly, I can agree with Ann (as she agrees with Martin Luther and John Piper) that writing is powerful.

“Eyes in pencils and in pens. I hold the seeing pen, the one with eyes, eyes that, in due time, might just decode the whole eucharisteo.

I am hard after it” (One Thousand Gifts, page 49).

More about eucharisteo tomorrow.

Oh, before I again forget. One thing that particularly bothered me about my reaction to my caller and her attitude was that I could remember not only praying for her the day before, but choosing to thank God when I did so. I felt a little less hateful, and slightly chagrined, when I FINALLY remembered… I’d thanked God for the opportunity to be a witness to her. Had I appropriately represented Christ during our conversation?

Lesson 2: Don’t affect others with negativity as she affects me. I AM RESPONSIBLE for my response to her, HOWEVER, the fact that everyone around me is also responsible for their reactions/responses is no excuse to risk tripping them up with my negative/bad attitude.

EUCHARISTEO… precedes the miracle… JOY

Friday, May 25, 2012

Note: This entry was written while I was having one of my dark days. When I am depressed, it is almost impossible for me to see Good. I leave it here as an honest representation of how I feel and what I believe when I can’t believe Truth, and to show how God is faithful when I am not. To see the other side of this valley, click here.

How does a woman choose to give thanks, in a truly meaningful way when she believes her entire life is based on lies?

How, at this moment, do I choose eucharisteo… I can’t even believe I deserve a miracle, that I deserve joy. I’m not innocent.

I don’t know how to build my life on God alone. I’ve built my life around my family. It is based on my marriage, which we built on lies.

Not too long ago I read how we need to remember that our spouses are a gift from God, not adversaries. There are many times the thought of Jeff as God’s “gift” to me is not helpful. Not that I think he received any better than I did.

So, what will my seeing pencil bring me to today?

It’s another morning of waking up hating my life. Another morning of just wanting it all to be over. Another morning of knowing this attitude is sin, but not caring, not wanting to care. Another gray day. A monotone day.

It seems more reasonable to believe things will never be good and true.

My rapidly growing list is revealed to be ridiculous. Do I really have to be grateful for these little things that stripped of meaningfulness?

At this moment I will choose to press on.

10. Ceiling fans

11. The ongoing survival and reappearance of the cagey stray tortie Mama Cat

12. Nights warm enough for open windows

There. Not spontaneous. But chosen. Legitimate as they can be at this moment.

On the night before His death, Jesus broke bread with His disciples. He gave thanks (eucharisteo) before He broke it and gave it to the Twelve. He gave thanks (eucharisteo) before He served the wine. Before He had broken the bread that fed thousands, He had given thanks (eucharisteo). He gave thanks (eucharisteo) when He had enough, physically, to feed His friends, though He knew one was about to betray Him and He was going to suffer beyond imagination. He gave thanks (eucharisteo) in His lack, when what He held in His hands was not enough to meet the needs of the people – and what He had proved to be more than enough to meet the need.

The same sun is shining this morning, but it doesn’t look the same. I don’t enjoy it as I did. The birds once again sing. But it’s just another sound this morning.

Beauty is reduced to meaningless empty sensations of light and sound. Pointless.

But I will have to live as though it appears I believe there’s a point to it all so my kids have a better chance to see it, believe it, live it… this Point I keep losing.

Eucharisteo. Not so much today.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Yesterday was a terrible day. Today things have gotten better. Sometimes I’m afraid I’m losing my mind. Sometimes I’m afraid I’m bipolar. I do know I’m self-absorbed – and that is a big part of my problem.

13. The smallest grasshopper I’ve ever seen.

14. Depression doesn’t last forever

15. One Thousand Gifts and timely metaphors

Sunday, May 27, 2012

16. Rhubarb pie for breakfast

17. Three-year-old giggles

18. Church service going on despite failures of technology

“This [pencil]: this is nothing less than the driving of nails. Nails driving out my habits of discontent and driving in my habit of eucharisteo. I’m hammering in nails to pound out nails, ugly nails that Satan has pierced through the world, my heart. It starts to unfold, light in the dark, a door opening up, how all these years it’s been utterly pointless to try to wrench out the spikes of discontent. Because the habit of discontentment can only be driven out by hammering in one iron sharper. The sleek pin of gratitude.

I hammer.” (One Thousand Gifts, page 49-50)

Hammering…

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