There is a beautiful poem which I would quote verbatim to you were not my daughter sound asleep in her room where it is, so easily awakened by a turn of her doornob. But the jist is that different animals want to play but it is always conditional. The skunk won’t play with the monkey unless he wears his scent. The tigeroo won’t play with the lamb unless he wears his stripes. And so on it goes. Each animal will only play with animals conditionally, sometimes unrealistic conditions. And the end line, the moral, is to play when you can but “Do not let their different ways make you a different you.” We were made beautifully exactly the way God designed us, according to His plan and purpose. When we find ourselves in company with someone who wants us to change and be different according to their plan, their mold, we are not only being disrespectful to ourselves and enabling that person to disrespect us without accountability, but most importantly of all, we are robbing God of His perfect design and disrespecting His workmanship. Think about that for a minute. His work is worth respecting because He only makes masterpieces. He does not make anyone unworthy of love, respect, joy, peace, etc. They can choose to drag themslves into that category but it is their choice not God’s. Food for thought.
I told my son today that one of my friends from back home died when he asked me what was wrong. He (10 years old) immediately asked me if she was a Christian who believed in Jesus and was saved. I said she was because her character spoke of it as did she. He said, “Well, we should be clebrating because she is in Heaven. I am happy for her.” And that got me thinking. A 10 year old’s perspective is full of faith and simplicity. Why on earth would we be sad anyone went to Heaven? If we really believe that to be true, I guess that leaves our sadness to our feelings of missing that person, which is a loss to work out based on us. Selfish really to be sad and mopey about our friend we love changing out of a diseased body into a heavenly one and dancing praises in the most beautiful place we can imagine. We will miss them but knowing where they are going makes it much easier to bear.
We are coming up to Easter, National Hope Day, brought to us by the only One who has any hope to give in this bleak with glorious moments life we live right now. Jesus gives us hope. He is yhe only One qualified or capable of giving us this hope. Without Him we are pretty much without it except that everyone has hope that they come to Jesus and He gives them hope. So in a way, no one is without hope. I have hope that the sun will rise. I have hope that my car will start. I have hope that my kids will stay alive all day tomorrow. I have hope that if I should die, I will go to heaven. That last one is true because of Jesus. And since the Bible teaches that all good things come from God, I guess Jesus is my hope for everything else too then. Fascinating study. But I digress. And sometimes God gives us hope in other loving people too, hope of being lovd, hope of being treated well, hope of being appreciated, hope of helping where we can. Hope is the most powerful weapon and tool in the vast reaches of our minds.Hope gives life.
Having had many past and current personal experiences being hurt, grieved, wounded, torn, bitter, angry, left, abused, cheated on, etc. and having been the independent, strong one who was denied or who denied myself the discomfort of experiencing the emotions involved, I am distinctly qualified to give this unsolicited advice to you or whoever needs it. Feel the feelings. We were made with these complex emotions triggered by pain of various sorts and depths for a reason. We are healthiest when we emote, give in to it for a time (not forever). There is a humanity involved in feeling the pain, allowing the despair to catch you up for a while. Do not listen to the bad advice offered to stay busy or distracted or stop crying or chin up garbage people throw at you when you’ve gone through some sort of personal hell. They offer this advice either in ignorance of what to say (and they may mean well) of because they are uncomfortable with your pain because it looks a little bit too much like their pain they never faced. And I am about over addicts covering their pain in bursts with stimulants to not feel it. Like pain will kill you and drugs won’t. A little backwards there. Masking pain or distracting you from it or ignoring it does not make it go away, it prolongs it and gives it mastery over your life. You are pain’s victim, it’s prisoner until you embrace it and ride it out. Only then can it be transformed into new life. It must be faced. You either accept the pain or it rules your life until you do. God comforts the broken, those who mourn, those experiencing pain. Pain is hard because it is humbling. It is ugly. It hurts a lot. But there is comfort in it when God is called on for that. He always shows up there in the broken who call on Him. Every time. Faithfully. There is no comfort for the proud who think they can control their circumstances and natural emotions and deny God the right to be God and help. So my advice is to feel everything, embrace the pain, get some tissues and let it go, take a day in your jammies and a box of tissues, watch a sad movie, read a sad book, experience sadness, live the pain, journal, talk out loud. Find the strongest and rarest of all friends and the best people in the world, those with the gift of empathy. Ignore those who tell you to be strong for the others because they do not understand that the faster you embrace pain and call on God, the faster you achieve transition past it and can be extremely effective in helping others. The empathetic ones, those rare and incredibly beautiful and strong and wise people who have the gift of empathy will come alongside you when invited and give you freedom to cry and even cry with you. What luxury. What healing this brings! To be u derstood and loved is the most uniquely freeing and lovely thing in the world. Nothing gives you more power. Nothing enriches your life more. To feel is to be alive, to cry is to be human, to call out to your Creator is to be created. Pain is proof of life and produces personal growth and a richer life later. Do not deny yourself the experience.
Body language studies (taught to me in many classes in my field of study) teach that people instinctively gaze out of or glance at exits or windows or doors when they don’t want to be there. When I visit Daddy at the nursing home, I want to see him but there are no chairs and he is too weak to get up into a chair to be wheeled somewhere for a visit, so paying attention to my body language, I find myself forcing myself not to look longingly out his window. I want him to feel I am happy and comfortable to be there. I am. I love visiting him. But I feel guilty when my eye draws to the window. Lately, my eye is drawn to windows a lot. Maybe a restless part of life, maybe hormones (hey, I am a woman, it is always a possibility), maybe I am desperate for a vacation. Regardless, my soul is uneasy. And it occurred to me that it has been some time in all of life’s craziness since I had a few hours of dedicated time for God and I, some time alone with my Maker, a chunk of time. I think I have lost sight of the balance in life between bad things, ugly things, evil around us, buziness, fatigue on one side and what on the other? God is the only goodness great enough to balance out the badness. My batteries need recharging. Badly. And it has to come from my Maker because He loves me biggest and best despite knowing me deepest. As my earthly Daddy declines in health, my Heavenly Daddy is capable of holding me tight in his place. I need to seek hat out, claim it, make it my goal. Nothing else in life is certain at all, especially now. God is certain. He never changes, never has bad days, never weakens, never misunderstands, never refrains from forgiving, never ignores me when I go to Him, is never too busy to talk to me, never lis to me, never even gives me half truths, never keeps secrets from me unlss for my good not His. God is the perfect One, the ruler and inventor of the universe, all we know. He has the answers. He has everything. And He has me. He sometimes feels like the only One who wants me but He’s the only One who needs to. He is enough.