Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dreams can get HEAVY

Dreams can get kinda heavy, but you know, that's just not on their labeling.
Dreams are associated with things like rainbows and clouds and unicorns. Lately, my dream of being a published author has gained weight and gotten a bit hard to carry around. (Of course, it is fifteen years old and who hasn't gained weight in the past fifteen years?) So I drag it around with me and wish it would get up and walk on it's own two feet, earn it's own way, do some good for a change.
Want to hear something really bad? Maybe that's why I like American Idol.
Each week I get to see bunches of folks whose dreams let them down, too. (Whoah, I probably shouldn't leave that in today's blog, should I?)
Then this morning I got a new thought - I'm not the only one carrying this dream.
God let me know that he was carrying me and then added a new thought - he's carrying me AND my dream. Pretty clearly let me know that neither one of us are that heavy to him.
How cool is that? So now I'm feeling way lighter, much happier, and free to take a rest.
Bring on the rainbows and unicorns!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Is Trusting Easy for You?

The ability to trust is an amazing luxury.
I shared in a small group recently that my ability to trust is great because I've not been betrayed. Their shock surprised me. I hadn't really meant for the focus to be on me not being betrayed, but rather on my ability to trust not being such a great accomplishment on my part. Those who have been hurt by people they love - them being able to trust is huge to me. But, when you've not been hurt by those close to you?
The more I looked at it the more I was able to see the self-fulfilling prophecy of trust. I am able to trust easily because my trust hasn't been betrayed. However, my trust probably hasn't been betrayed because I've been trained to look for trustworthy people. I also don't have a high tolerance for just hanging around waiting to be hurt. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice - you can try, but it ain't happenin' cause I got my eyes open.
There are just so many good, trust-worthy people out there wanting friends and wanting relationships - I never spent much time trying to turn the untrustworthy into people worthy of trust. Maybe that's bad, but that is why I can say I've not been betrayed.
Once when a youth had been betrayed and then he dumped the girl, another adult-leader said to me that the young man would need to lessen his standards and not be so hard. "Hard?" I said. "No, he's someone worth winning. Worth putting your heart and trust into. I know because I'm married to a man like that."
And I have parents like that. People who are who they say they are. No different at home than at church or work. And, yes, I know. I am blessed.
I hope my kids can say I'm the same at home as I am out in the world.
Now, that's a goal worth having.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Who Needs Friends?

Maybe it's because we moved many hours away from family upon Mike's graduation. Maybe it's because I like to be prepared. Maybe it's because I watch people and have seen needs met in hard times. Maybe it's because Mama seemed to operate on the same principle. Whatever the reasons, surrounding ourselves with friends has always been high priority in our lives.
I actually think about who I'd call if we got one of those awful calls. When we left Jacksonville for Tampa in 1986, I talked to a good friend in Jacksonville and said, "If you were to hear anything bad happened to me or the baby, you must get to Tampa for Mike as soon as possible." Our friend promised he would.
We've kept many kids in emergency situations. Four one night and we had met the parents only once. But they had an emergency and I was there when it happened. Another time I was with a friend when the doctor said their baby needed to be admitted to the hospital. So her three older kids came to our house for several days. When their dad came to bring them some clothes it was our first time to meet him. Others would end up staying when their mom or dad would call and ask if they could walk home from school with my kids just for an hour or two - and then that would become a day or two.
And every time I thought, "One day I'll need this done for me." Yet we didn't. Our youngest is 20 and we never had to make special arrangements for the kids due to a crisis. But even now, I know who I'd call if I got awful news.
I have no illusions about getting through on my own. None.
Because I'm just not made that way - I want someone to lean on, count on, someone to be there when I need them. And it's not a morbid thing, or a worrisome thing. It's a comfort knowing who I'd call and knowing they'd drop whatever was going on in their lives at that moment.
Struggling on my own is not my way. Is it yours?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Do It Anyway

Nike says, "Just do it." My motto is more like, "Do it anyway."
When I was asked a few weeks ago to help with confirmation at our new church, the answer "Yes" jumped out quickly because it had been sitting on the tip of my tongue for a while. It's been a couple years since I've done anything with youth and jr. high kids are who I like working with best and I love confirmation classes. Something had been telling me to get involved with confirmation and so when the question came, the answer was quick.
And then I started regretting it. Immediately.
The reasons were many and varied, as they usually are. But my motto stood firm - Do It Anyway. You see I know myself. And myself doesn't like to be uncomfortable, not in control, and/or not in a position of strength. This new situation contained all three and so my regrets grew, but I repeated over and over, "Do It Anyway."
Today we leave for the confirmation retreat and my regrets have not just been growing, they are being magnified. A whole weekend? A 6 hour bus ride? People I don't know? I'm not in charge? But, say it with me, "Do It Anyway."
And about thirty minutes ago it happened. My emotions got in line with my will. Joy came in as I looked again at the weekend's schedule. Regrets melted to a laughable pile of mush. Excitement took over and now I can't wait to get on that bus.
It's good to know how I feel is often a stupid thing to listen to. It would be nice if what God is telling me and how I feel always matched up, but that would mean I'm not human. And, Lord knows, I'm human. That's why he gave me such a simple motto.
Do It Anyway. Most days that's about all I can handle.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Given the Chance I'd___________

Three years ago, this month, a tornado tore through our yard. Two huge pine trees were laid flat along our back fence line and for a long time the yard was a mess. Lots of exposed red Georgia clay, smashed bushes and broken limbs.
Now, however, the giant pines aren't even missed. New landscaping, repaired bushes, and even a bird bath thrive now in that part of the yard. And all is shaded by two maple trees.
Those maple trees are easily 30 feet tall, but at the time of the tornado they were barely there- thin, weak saplings hardly noticed in the shadow of the giant pine.
But the tornado changed all that and the two maples were given a chance. Given a chance to grow - and they took it.
Given a chance I'd ______ - what?
What would you do if you were "given a chance"?
And what does being given a chance look like? Hard to imagine those two scrawny maples thought that horrific wind and rain on that February morning was their chance. Yet it was.
Sometimes I think my chance comes along and I'm too distracted, or lazy, or worried to even realize it. I'm given the chance to _________, but I don't take it.
So, for today I'm going to fill in my blank and be ready so when my chance comes along - I'll see it and take it.
How about you? Feel like filling in a blank or two yourself?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Take Your Place in the Backdrop

A childhood friend's father passed away last week. For several years I saw this dad often, but it's been at least 20 years since we were last together. Still he's there - part of the backdrop for my teenage years. Because, like it or not, that's the role parents play for teenagers. Even for our own teenagers we parents form the backdrop against which their lives are lived out. Then they move to college and their "real" lives, where they begin forming their own backdrops. Backdrops to which parents don't have admittance except in a re-occuring role that serves to pull things to one side or the other while we're there.
We each stand at center on our own stage - and those stages are only so big. Each of us has a backdrop full of folks we haven't dismissed from the stage and standing there behind us they help form our world. Our perceptions. Our images. Our backdrop.
When I look back to those teenage years, my friend's father stands there, slightly off stage, laughing. He was always laughing. He took joy in his son and his son's friends. Life was fun, and funny, to him. He loved his wife passionately and showed it.
A position in the backdrop may sound weak or useless but it provides the boundaries for the stage. Looking back, smiles and laughter outshine the sadness and anger of my teenage backdrops. Makes me think about the backdrops I stand in, and in front of, now.
How about you? What kind of backdrop people surround your stage?
What kind of backdrop person are you?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Old Dog - New Tricks

So, this "self-contained" thing I mentioned in my last blog - I've been thinking about it. Before I mentioned it in my blog it was just a thing. You know, like a cloud hanging around in my head. There is something about me writing a thing down that makes it real and necessary to deal with. Being "self-contained" is all about being in the present, I think.
-About not living in the past with what someone said or did or what I said or did. Hashing and rehashing conversations, events, problems - something parents of teenagers do a lot of, whether vocally or in your head.
-About not living in the future with what could happen, should happen, might happen and then when it does happen how will we handle it? Again - consuming pastime for parents of teens.
My teens are now gone - so does that mean it's time to lay down some of those coping mechanisms that served me well? I believe so.
Besides, this place called "the present" appears an interesting place to live. Cause and effect seemed wrapped up in one package. My thoughts are much clearer without all those other conversations going on. There's less space occupied with coulda, shoulda, woulda and more with actual action. This is all good and that's wonderful to discover.
So, friends, what coping mechanisms are you holding onto that do not belong in your present? Aren't they getting a little cumbersome?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nothing to Say

Nothing to say. Can't quite figure that out. I seem to have nothing to say and I always have something to say.
On the blog page I see all those lists of blogs I've written. Looking more closely I remember writing each of them, remember the thoughts that swirled and needed, needed to be put down in black and white. Reading them I remember the delight as a clever line scrolled from my fingers or the "a-ha" when a thought came together finally on my computer screen. Looking at the comments, things others got from certain blogs sheds more light on my wonderings. So much to think. So much to say.
And then I find that I currently have nothing to say. The word that's been circling my mind for the past couple months has been "self-contained". And I'm not even sure what that means. But it seems to describe how I'm feeling. Self-contained. Very much inside myself. It's calm and restful and complete.
See? Nothing to say. If you figure it out - give me a holler~