Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lower me down

Took the tree down and all the other Christmas crap that I could find.
Never fails...every year I find something a few weeks later that I've forgotten to put away.
Felt good to do it too. To get it all put away.
Each year the amount of decor seems to get smaller and smaller.
Don't feel like putting out anymore crap than I absolutely have to.
Not sure why this is.
I love the season, the cold and snow, the winter scenery
I even love my Christmas decorations
Everything's all red and green, silvery and golden glitter.
But the thought of having to re wrap in tissue paper all of those
doo-dads fills me with despair.
I am a portrait of contradictions!
I love Christmas but hate putting up and taking down the decor.
I say that I love the season yet I call the trappings of it crap.
I feel rushed and harried even as I tell myself to slow down and savor it.
I like getting gifts but am disappointed every single year by what I am given.
We eat the same foods, bake the same cookies and call it tradition.
Her pork roast gets drier every year and I am sick to death of "puppy chow"!
We must make this or eat that or it doesn't feel like it's Christmas.
For 7 years we've had no snow for Christmas.
This year we got it and people bitched!
On December 24th I watched people drive like the hounds of hell were chasing after them...
Rolling through stop signs, speeding through neighborhoods, almost mowing down pedestrians in the crosswalks and the excuse they use is called
Last Minute Christmas Shopping.
For me, it gets worse every year.
Seems like people are getting madder and more fed up
and way less tolerant of each other during the holidays.
And I guess you could include me, myself and I in that group.
Although I don't feel mad or fed up.
Just rather blah and tired of it all.
The Christmas dinner that I don't want to go to but I do cuz it keeps the peace in the family,
The decor I hang but want to take down ASAP,
The horrible over-played Christmas carols about Italian donkeys and Hippos on the radio,
Not being able to find anything to buy the Sad Man for a Christmas present every. single. year. because he is the man who has everything, plus he won't give me a wish list.
Trying and failing to keep Jesus is the Reason for the Season in my head.

Yes. Yes. Yes.
I realize that I am blessed.
I'm filled with gratitude.
Thank you Jesus for all that I have and am.
Warm, fed, healthy, surrounded by family.

I ask myself all the time why I feel that I must bitch about my life.
I think the saying is something like....First World Problems.

I've never lived in a hut, in the desert, without clean water.
I've never known gnawing hunger, I've never lived in a war zone.
I've never had to worry about Militants or Guerrilla warfare.
I don't know anything about Famine or selling children into forced labor
in Indonesia making shoes and shirts for Walmart to sell to me.

In my own little corner of the world, I'm safe and healthy and spoiled.
I complain about putting up Christmas decor and detest eating a dry pork roast.
"She made those cookies, again?!?"   is something I've said recently.

So I ask you...Does anybody else feel this way?

Then I find Addie's Blog and part of an answer:
God loves the cynic heart. I thought a lot this year about my own cynicism – the years when it was so ever-present and the ways it continues to linger in certain aspects of my faith life. As with so many things, I think when you begin to recover from cynicism, it’s easy to dismiss it in others. And yet, as I remembered my own mad season, I realized that cynicism is a kind of paralysis that keeps you from asking for what you need. And I want to be the kind of person who picks up the edge of the mat where the paralytic is lying and carries her through the crowds. I want to haul her to the top of that roof, lower her straight down to Jesus.

I realize after reading her blog that maybe I am a cynic.
Well maybe.....

Maybe I am.
Maybe I am mad and ungrateful at times.
Maybe I am tired of eating a dry pork roast from a woman who talks bad about me behind my back.
Maybe I am spoiled by living a healthy, happy, charmed life in the USA.
Maybe I am sick of reading about all of the horrible things we humans do to each other.
Maybe I am done eating breakfast cereal coated in melted frosting and calling it Puppy Chow.

So what? Who cares if I am a cynic?
Me. Maybe I care.
I don't want to be a cynic...not really.
I want to be sweet and nice and loving.
And I fail at this every day.
To be perfectly honest, I am that paralyzed woman on the mat.
I'm unable to get up and do what I want.
So here's what I'm gonna do...
I'm going to let the people around me lower me down into that hut.
That hut that has a hole in its roof.
And through that hole I can see Jesus.
I'm going to reach out to Jesus and let Him heal me.
And when He asks "Who reached out and touched my robe?'
"Who just touched me?"
I'm gonna tell Him it was me.
Me, Lord. It was me.
Me, the tired cynic who feels too paralyzed to change anything about herself.
Me, Lord. The one who complains and gets angry and pissy and crabby.
Me, Lord. The one who's tired of Christmas and puts the decor away too early.
Me, Lord, the one who knows You are the answer.
It was me, Lord.
It's me.

And this from Addie's Blog too:
There are so many of us quietly struggling along the same rocky path.
And if we have the courage to be honest, we just might find each other.

Here's hoping that I can find that same rocky path
and be honest enough and find courage enough
to let someone lower me down into that hole.
Because I believe that there's healing down there folks.

Lower me down People, lower me down!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What I wish I had said

The name of this blog is Lessons and Blessings.
My philosophy was/is/or has been in the past this:

Everything that happens to us in this life is a lesson for us to learn something from or a blessing from God above. 

Most of the time that philosophy, for me, fits right.
And then other times its just plain hooey!
And then sometimes that clap trap philosophy
can mean that the lesson wasn't mine to learn,
no blessing is forthcoming, it was someone else's lesson
And I just got caught up in the cross fire.

Here's my point...And my story-

Standing in line at the grocery store, a very tall elderly gentleman gives me the evil eye.
You know the one...kinda like the stink eye; squinty eyes with the brows drawn down together.
I see that he only has 2 items in his cart.
I have much more than that.
I'm feeling generous cuz, hey....Christmas Season and all so I let him go in front of me.
"By all means", I say, "please go in front of me."
I am genuinely feeling pleased with myself. My second good deed for the day!
The first good deed being that I helped a cantankerous elderly woman find the canned cranberry sauce 10 minutes before.
I honestly wanted to just walk past her, but I kid you not when I say I felt prompted to ask her if she needed help.
I showed her where it was on the shelf, she said thanks, and I went on my merry way.
So there I am standing in line, waiting to check out, when I hear it.
What sounds like two cats fighting, or maybe two elderly women disagreeing about something.
I turn to see what it is that has got them so disturbed and low and behold it's me!
That's right! These two women are looking into my cart, and counting my items!
Talking loudly amongst themselves to draw my attention to the fact that they are talking about me, about the number of items allowed in this check out aisle... a number that I apparently exceed.
And the anger!!! Oh my goodness...the anger and rage of these women!
The word well that she huffs at me, the other one clicking her tongue loudly as if to shame me.
Tsk, tsk.
And I am shamed. I feel shame.
Instantly I feel hot and flushed and stupid as these two women count my items and roll their eyes in exaggeration at the sign that says 15 items or less.
I'm in the Express check out lane and I hadn't noticed.
I said to the first woman who seemed the angrier of the two that she could go in front of me, that there is no reason for her to be this angry when she interrupts me with her response of how some people are just here to only pick up one or two items and she can see that I have more than the allotted 15 in my cart. She cares nothing for my excuse of not having seen the sign.
She is still huffing and fuming and angry that my cart holds more than 15 things and she has only these bananas that she keeps lifting up to show me.
I apologize to her for not reading the sign, I tell her to have a nice day and I take my cart with more than 15 items and go two lanes over to wait my turn in the "correct line".
As luck would have it, I am behind a woman whose order totals $396.00 and some change, and she's got coupons, Oh! and she wants to cash in her points for the Rachel Ray plates that are on sale.
I wait in this line for 20 minutes until it is my turn to be checked out.
And the whole time I am waiting in this line, I keep asking God what it is exactly He is trying to show me.
What is He trying to teach me?
What does He want me to see while I wait in this line?
What am I supposed to be learning here?
I keep thinking it is patience that He wants me to learn.
He wants me to wait for a reason...to learn to keep my cool?
To look around and see others and pray for others? Help others? How?

I'm kind to the woman in front of me who seems rushed and apologetic for buying $400 dollars worth of groceries and Rachel Ray plates.
I'm nice to the lady behind me who only waits for 5 minutes then she huffs at me and leaves for a different checkout line.
And still I wait.
And still I sense nothing.
God ain't trying to show me a damn thing here in this grocery check out line.

I'm pleasant and nice to the check out lady and to the bagger loading my items into plastic bags.
I end up have a grand total of 23 items. $50.00 worth of stuff that fits into 3 plastic-pollute-the planet- forever- bags.
And in my mind I wonder if that angry old lady in the express aisle thinks I have paid my penance yet.
The fact that I waited 20 long minutes to purchase 23 items.
Was that long enough for her?
Did she feel some sort of satisfaction in correcting my error?
Was she glad that she got to buy those bananas in a hurry, without having to wait in line?
Was she proud of herself for using her anger to shame me?

I  had plenty of time to think things over while I waited those 20 minutes.
And for the life of me, I cannot understand that woman's rage directed at me!
Why so furious over groceries? Or the number of items?
What made her think that I deserved her wrath for having 23 items in the 15 item express line?
I wonder now if she feels vindicated for having made me feel such shame.
Did I deserve that treatment for not reading a sign?
Did she have a right to spew her anger at me because I had milk, baby food, ice cream, coffee and liquid creamer and she had only those bananas???

I wish I had said something to her about the fact that she and I were both lucky to even be in this store.
We had both woken up that morning, fed ourselves, clothed ourselves,
Had walked in to that grocery store under the power of our own legs,
Even the fact that we have a grocery store in our town is a blessing,
To  even have enough money to purchase 1, or 15 or 23 items.
The freedom to think for ourselves:
To crave coffee creamer in a different flavor and think to oneself-
I will just run to the store and get some, Oh and while I am there I might as well get more coffee and milk and baby food, and bananas.
Bananas for heavens sake!

I realize now that it was her lesson and I got caught up in it.

My hope is that I made her see that her anger wasn't necessary
as I told her to have a good day as I walked away.

I wish I had said that her rage at a stranger was misplaced.
That it was only bananas she was wanting to purchase
And waiting in line can sometimes be good for the soul.

Especially if you pray for the person who is mean to you,
Or who shames you,
Or who is buying $400 worth of food,
Or the cashier,
Or the lady behind you who wouldn't wait,
Or the baby you are buying the food for.

It's the Christmas Season....

May God Bless us, Everyone!