What’s Going On?

I’ve read a lot of encouraging articles and essays on how to handle bad situations in our lives, and the first thing that always comes through is how calm and enlightened the author was. What I’ve had to remind myself after reading such a piece was that, mostly likely, when the author wrote, it was from a place of healing resulting in an after-the-fact relaying of the tale.

If you forget this while reading what should be encouraging words, you may come away believing the writer was unsympathetic, unempathetic, and a real know-it-all busybody who never again suffered the way you did or are. That simply isn’t true.

Just because someone overcame a trial and/or testing in his or her life and was able to share it doesn’t mean he or she won’t be down again. In fact, once a person overcomes, there is often barely a moment to catch one’s breath before another attack comes. But this is not the crisis we may believe it is.

Keep in mind that a way through has been made for us. Yes, a way through, not out. The text I’m referencing is often poorly translated to the detriment of many. Not only has the trial or testing been brought to you, or you to it, but it is for your betterment that you’re going through it.

I know that sometimes bad things happen that are simply an evil event, but even then, you’ll not be left without assistance, if you truly want it.

But let’s return to where you may be now or have been in the past. Ask yourself, “What am I learning/did I learn?” If nothing, well, expect to repeat the lesson until you succeed. But if you did learn something, don’t keep it to yourself. From that place of healing, and maybe even from a place of hurting if you’re still going through it, you can move forward by using it to help others.

It sounds so simple when written here, but how many times have we allowed our shame to silence us or believed a negative event was for us alone because we were embarrassed or didn’t want to burden anyone with it? Stop doing that.

While we remember our moments of weakness, we do not allow them to define us. This is done by deep self-examination that should result in a truthful admission of wanting to grow out of and beyond the bad moments in our lives. But again, you must want this.

Society today would have you wallow in your misery at the least and parade your dysfunction at the worst. This is not Adonai’s plan for you. You are better than that, so do not allow yourself to become less than you have to ability to be. You were created for greatness.

Sounds so easy, right? Just jump up, act as if nothing is wrong, plaster on a smile, and whistle a happy tune!

Reality is more often open your eyes, take a deep slow breath, let the tears flow as you put your feet on the ground, and push off into another day. One step at a time. But do it.

Imagine being so unhappy with your surroundings that you decide to take a vacation. You stand up, take one step off your porch, and become even more disgusted, maybe even discouraged and/or enraged, that after taking a single step you didn’t arrive at the beach, the mountains, or wherever would make you feel good again.

Ridiculous, right? And yet, that’s exactly what so many people do in their walk of life when things go wrong. “I tried, and it didn’t work,” they complain to those encouraging them.

How about taking that step toward packing (planning), and getting in your car (moving), and driving to your ideal destination with a few rest stops along the way? Please see that life itself if a process and so isn’t the path to healing.

And yes, it’s going hurt. Consider the beneficial invasiveness that is hip surgery. I watched my own dear mother, who never cried in agony pre-surgery, experience emotional and physical pain post-surgery because healing hurts. She wasn’t permitted to sit until the aching stopped or the inflammation disappeared. She had to move from day one and attend therapy before she could fully wrap her head around what had occurred.

As cruel as it may sound, this is exactly how Adonai works in our lives, especially when something is horribly wrong within. He’ll remove it, and you’re going to hurt during the healing. Again, as hard as it is, it’s for your benefit and quite possibly someone else’s, too.

Consider my experience with thyroid cancer. I would never wish that on anyone but is it only through my experience that I was able to counsel two other people with truth about what they were going through. This is why we must come together as a community. I may have the words you need to hear, and you may have the answer I’ve been looking for.

Do not allow the evil, bad, wrong things in your life to galvanize you against revealing what is occurring to you. Do not be afraid or ashamed. Reach out to those who are part of your community. Seek assistance from wise, older people. Get up and fight. And when you cannot even fight, at least stand until you are able to pick up your sword, take a forward step, and re-engage in the battle. I promise, you will not be left alone or defenseless in your misery.

This post comes to you after almost a week of wrestling with something I still cannot define. But since I’m determined to not let it sidetrack me, I’ve turned it into an article, thus using what was meant for evil to be used for good.

If you’re able, please share a time when you overcame. You never know who may need to hear exactly what you have to say.

If you have comments or questions regarding my post, the comments section is open to you, too. Let’s have a conversation.

I May Be That Mother

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Next stop: Red Belt

You know the one:  she’s jumping up at sporting events, bawling out coaches and other players, encouraging get in there and kick the other kids’ butts. Yeah, that’s me. At least my kid doesn’t play a team sport, but if he did…

What my kid does is take karate at the Dale McCutcheon School of Martial Arts in Uniontown, Ohio. He started in grade school when he received an invitation for a two-week free trial from a former classmate. At first, Joshua was anxious, but his friend and another buddy would be there with him. You should have seen them in their fresh white karate gis, belts tied haphazardly around their thin waists. Joshua looked nervous in the picture I took the first day; you can tell from his cheesy smile.

That was umpteen million years ago. Today, Joshua is a freshman and testing for red belt. The test will be at least four hours, possibly longer. Even as I type this I can feel the anxiety building in me, tears welling in my eyes. I don’t think I can watch this time. Brown belt testing was hard enough. Five and seven-man attacks are the worst to watch.

I remember flying out of the observation room, storming down the short hallway, standing with my toes pressed against the mats, screaming, “Punch ‘im, Joshua! Punch ‘im in the nose! That’s it, baby, hit ‘im harder, HARDER! Knock ‘im into next week!”

The only thing that kept me from flying onto the mats to join my kid in battle was the respect I have for the black-belt instructors, the school, and karate in general. When I returned to the observation room, another parent asked, “Are you all right, Momma?”

In my defense, I don’t do it because I think the whole process is unfair or that my kid is getting picked on. I also realize this isn’t about me.  But ask yourself (not you, dads): How would you react when five to seven larger kids are jumping your kid all at once? So, yeah, I don’t think I’ll be going tonight.

UPDATE: My mother called to say she thinks we should attend this evening up to the point when they conduct attacks. Then we’ll bail out to McDonald’s for coffee and torture ourselves imagining the worst.

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