Carnival Hair

My sisters are incredible.  The finest women I know. Not the first time I’ve mentioned that.  Won’t be the last.

This is a semi-sisters weekend.  One of us is overseas on vacation in Israel, but the remaining three are together.

It’s always pretty funny when we spend time together.  A lot of laughing.

Last evening was carnival night at my nephew’s elementary school. Dunk tank, Booger Wars (not kidding), pizza in the cafeteria, and kids and parents everywhere.  I loved it.  We had such a great time, and I adore being an Aunt. I’m sure I’m the favorite one!  Sorry, girls.  Get in line :-)

My nephew was still excited and cranked up this morning.  His mom, my little sister, not so much.

Had to giggle when  the seven-year old got a little sassy.  My sister crossed her arms, put on her ‘serious’ mommy face  (I had that face, too, back a number of years ago!), and said:  “I will flatten that mohawk, Mister.  Don’t think I won’t”.

Crack me up:-)

In the mirror

It’s a simple fact. They seem to be everywhere.  Every store, every office building, at home, in my purse, in your purse.  Nearly every hallway…even in and on my car.

Pretty inconvenient if you are someone who has little interest in self-reflection.

I’ve come to appreciate those painful moments of coming face to face with myself.  I’ve had a few lately.  Not pleasant at all, but so very necessary.

The surface things I have so little interest in.  I know that I’m changing on the outside, and when I glance I see those changes.   Women age.  Men age.  We age.   The reality of that is something I won’t rail against.  Willing to face the fight for my own best self at my age and for the future, but never ever will I be fighting for a younger looking me.  Just the best mid-life I can do.  Life happens.  I happen to like the beauty that experience brings.  It’s a rare beauty,  seen by the wise in the eyes, soul and attitude..  I want that, not the elusive flat tummy and perfect outer me.

The question I’ve been asking myself in the last few days is how I look at others. Do I judge and value based on what self they present? Am I wise enough to look past the fear, the bravado, the makeup or the clothes, to look for who is underneath?

It’s harder more often than not, to extend the Golden Rule of treating others as I want to be treated, because I judge myself by my intentions, yet others by their actions.

I apologized to a friend this week, for insensitivity and immaturity I displayed.  I slipped into judging, and none of it was kind or caring.

Forgiveness is especially sweet when the offended chooses to look beneath my surface, to my heart, and who I am longing to become.

So many mirrors.  I plan to keep looking.

The gift of crisis

Over the years, I have perfected every single response there is to crisis.

Panic… fear…hasty resolutions…screamed prayer, often shouted in doubt.

Best laid plans.  3.5 lbs of brain  doing its best. My best thinking got me here.

Intervening……desire to see things differently…changed attitude

Perspective…not mine…miracle.

Doubt turns into shaky cries.

Tears into faith. Faith to peace.

Crisis always returns, almost always newly disguised,  and the agony of that search for God’s perspective is there to repeat, if I want to.  I do not want to.

We see through a glass darkly, but it won’t always be that way.  I know that these gifts of crisis will at last become gifts of clarity.  Seeing clearly here isn’t my task.  Trusting through pain is.

Elitism

I’m not at church this morning.  I’m at Starbucks.  In my favorite corner, listening to  music.  I’m in yoga pants and a t-shirt. Just thought I’d admit that right off. Try not to judge.  What I needed this morning was this exact thing. Turns out God is at Starbucks.

In the last few days I’ve been thinking about the uniqueness of us despite the common membership in the human race.

Clear concept of who I am is something I’m always working on.  I absolutely yearn for proper perspective.  Not inauthentic humility, nor boastful  arrogance.  Just a thankful heart for all I am.

I ran into someone a few days ago that frankly brought out my sarcastic side. That’s something I am working on eradicating, so not all that thrilled to see that root of a stronghold.  Love witty ‘banter” but not so fond of degrading someone else with my sarcastic verbal skills.  It’s a broken part of me.

It just irritated me.  This person said, repeatedly, repeatedly, how elite he was.  Maybe he is, but it’s unappealing to say so.  I suspect, however, that he is as common, incredible, and created as all the rest of us.  Being created in God’s image is pretty astounding, but it begs for a grateful, humble, receiving posture.

His self-concept, announced repeatedly, met with my ‘witty’ sarcasm. It could have been different, on my part.

What if people like that intersect with kindness. A conversation isn’t always possible, but surely avoiding posturing is.  I didn’t have to be better than him.  I just wanted to.

Hold the biting sarcasm…even if it is funny.

I’m Not Big enough

When my children were younger, sometimes things would come up where they were mad..at each other frequently, at me even more often, and sometimes at God.

I always reassured them with replying that it is it OK to feel mad at people, and even God.  “God can take it.  He can handle what you are feeling.”

Things continue to come up, don’t they.  I get mad at others, with myself most often, and occasionally at God.

The sheer devotion to my good and His own glory shows itself in his tolerance of my emoting….in my questions…in my venting.

Chris Rice has a line in a song that says:  “I hope you don’t mind me asking the questions, but I figure You’re big enough.”

God if you’re there, I wish You’d show me.  I believe we’re meant to be filled up with more than questions.

I figure You’re big enough, because I’m not big enough.

Listen to Chris here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zf0axKL9zhk

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

It’s a book by Dr. Gordon Livingston (great, mind you!) and it’s a commentary on far too many lives.  Mine included, unfortunately.  In some areas of my life.

I woke up a few years ago, when I came face to face with expectations, perfectionism, and resentments.  Coming up to the surface for air wasn’t easy, and the journey has been equally hard, if not more.

I used to say aloud  “I just like things the way I like them”.  Inside I was saying “My way is best.  You need to see it my way”.  No, that’s not it.  Really it was  “You have to see it my way.  I insist that you do what I want.”

Unmet expectations lead to resentment.  In my world, I had mountains of unmet expectations. And what did those lead to?

That insatiable quest for control led to migraines, mean-spirited comments, criticism, and unbelief.

Those that were hurt by me have personally heard my cry for forgiveness, and have welcomed me back into their hearts. Some relationships will never be the same, but were made brand new.

Apologies are best made in changed behavior, repeated consistently over time.  A changed view in action.

The heart of perfectionism and control?

Incredible selfishness, self-absorption, and me trying vainly to unseat God.

While I was insisting that there was no way but mine, He might have been saying “I’ve got this, dear one.  Just follow Me”

What I know of her

I am solidly in mid-life.  Maybe just slightly past…

I am very sure of who I am.  Isn’t that amazing?  I think that’s amazing.

I may not be entirely sure of who you are, but I know this woman.  Today, anyway.

I realized recently that I no longer flit around, morphing into what you want me to be.  No more melting, no more being a woman I’m not.  Could never be. Don’t want to be.

All these years of searching?  Finally got it….got her.

Who am I, that God would even care to know my name.  What is man? And although I still ponder those questions sometimes, it ends the same way.  When my name is on His heart, I know exactly who I am.

Loved.      Enough.   Incredibly made.    Forgiven.

And although I’m here today and gone tomorrow, my definition is settled.

I am Yours.