Friday, May 14, 2010

What Could the World Be Like?

I am regularly amazed at the memories that just pop into my head at random times for random reasons. This morning, as I listened to the rain outside and filled the dishwasher after Randy had left for work, Bricks ( a restaurant in Sulphur, OK that I used to visit annually before it closed) on a rainy 4th of July materialized in my mind.  For those familiar with the once a year meeting, you might know what I'm talking about. In an instant I was taken back 10 years (more or less) to that sleepy, euphoric feeling that always came upon me as the vacation came to a close.

For me, many significant points of my adolescence and young adulthood were lived in a dream-like state.  My imagination ran so much higher than all other parts of my brain that a simple outing or chance meeting held enormous possibilities for me.  The best way to describe is an Anne of Green Gables type of approach.  Loved the movie and never actually read the entire book before so the past month I've been trying to finish it. Anne was a hopeless romantic and not in the boy crazy kind of way.  The adventure and fanciful ways that she saw in the world made it an entirely new experience for her.  I know now that I did some of that, and though it wasn't all good or bad, there are many lessons from that.

Imagination can cause all kinds of problems if it isn't grounded in fact and reality.  On the other hand, facts and rationality can suck the very fiber of life out of you if you're not careful.  This would suggest my options are childish Anne, who though sincere, got into a host of trouble for keeping her heads in the clouds or a Sheldon-type existence (Sheldon from the sitcom, The Big Bang Theory), literal to the core with no sympathy for the human condition.  Surely neither are ideal.

In living with a very rationally motivated man, my daydreams have ceased to fly quite as high and this morning I was nostalgic for the feeling again.  Though my dreams of talking to a boy or getting included in the slumber party are clearly irrelevant now, there is a need to see the world as it COULD be and dreaming of ways to see it through.  A friend posted a conversation with her son on her facebook that I'd like to share with you that illustrates the abounding imagination we can't completely let go of as adults.

"Mom, do we get to pick what we are in heaven?". Me, "No, I think God takes care of that but that's good because He knows everything and He'll make a good choice". (long pause) "hmmmm..... I REALLY want to be a squirrel".

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Be The First

Fairness sunk into my head deeper than anything growing up.  The only problem was that the fairness was important when life wasn't fair to me.  Other people, especially in direct relationship with me, didn't matter as much.  And yes, that was planted in my marriage from the get-go.  I expected him to treat me certain ways and if he didn't, it wasn't fair.  And sometimes it honestly wasn't. He should've done differently, better, whatever.  But I used circumstances "not being fair" as an excuse to treat him however I wanted.  I expected him to treat me just right FIRST and only then would I give him the honor he deserved or wanted.

The reality is that most people expect others to act right first. I guess it's a human thing.  So as I'm waiting on him to straighten up, he's doing the same thing - feeling justified to do whatever he feels because I'm not acting right either.  And so we get nowhere except more fighting or mistreatment.  Does absolutely no good.  I often thought I could guilt, shame, or bully him into feeling bad for his imperfections and take the grand high road, but all that ever resulted was more of the same.  And while his tendency was/is to just shut down after a while, especially if what I'm saying is irrational or emotional, after a couple of years he's learned to argue the same way I do.  And that is awful, let me tell you! Grid-lock deluxe!

I read something about parenting that said you can apply different techniques and methods all day long, many of which may work, but it went on to say that if you really want to have a deeply positive impact on your kids, be the person you want them to become. The writer's argument was that they will become who you are, whether you're full of desirable traits or not.  And this not only seemed like a great piece of parenting advice, but it spoke to any relationship.  Though my stubborn will does not yield as quickly sometimes as I'd like it to, when I make the choice to have the attitudes, use the words, welcome to imperfect will that I would like from him (or anyone for that matter), it is amazing how quickly love reaps love.

So, this week let's try to be the first to act right, take the high road, show the love we're begging for, or maybe just smile first.  If patience is your guide,  you won't regret it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Attraction of Opposites

They say opposites attract and we are living proof of that!  The funny thing with that though is that with the slightest tip of the attitude scale, that attraction, so to speak, can turn ugly REAL fast.  Think of all the people, hobbies, subjects that are the exact OPPOSITE of anything you want in your life.  Now, throw out all of the obvious things that everyone would usually agree on (murders, etc). What's left?  A lot of people and things that are really different than you, right? I'm thinking that a lot of conflicts with other people, spouses, friends, co-workers, anybody really, have their origin in this point. Other people function differently than me.  Certain hobbies or forms of entertainment value different things than I do.  Some organizations are managed in ways that don't make sense to me. That's really a part of life for us all.

The issue arises at this very critical point. I don't share much with this entity (person, hobby, etc) so what am I going to do about it? The very natural response is to reject, dismiss and ignore it.  In some instances it escalates to a challenge or pushing and shoving, resulting in them or you winning and someone losing.  The thing is, that won't bring much good to anyone.  The other option, which does take more thought and work, is to look for ways  it/them can fill in areas you are lacking.

Randy is like a robot sometimes - accomplishing because it is to be done.  I am like a an emotional willow sometimes that accomplishes reactively if at all.  Though in extremes neither are healthy, both of us could use a dose of each other.
In any high school  you may have a group of very cheery cheerleaders and a group of very laid back, non-extra curricular activities/school spirit kids.  Some of each attitude is good and both could gain from each other.
Environmental, tree hugging  hippies vs capitalist, take no prisoners businessmen. Both extremes that can still maintain values while rounding out their methods and mentalities.

No, we aren't all the same and I'm convinced we'd all be miserable if we were.  But at the same time we all need rounding out and those most different from us are the best for the job.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sittin' on the porch

As kids we've all found ourselves saying, "But I don't want to!" to the many parental suggestions to take advantage of a good deed opportunity.  Depending on the age, we're often met with many reasonings why it is imperative we act right then: There might not be a situation like this again, It will be beneficial for you as well, It's the RIGHT thing to do, or even that this could be God's design and plan for you.  As a kid you can come up with a million reasons not to that are completely justified in your head.  The problem I have is sometimes I find that all of those childish reasons haven't necessarily left my head and certainly not be replaced by adult and mature-like motivation to "do it anyway!"

Today marks my 13th week of pregnancy and I dare say I think I'm going to live. My brain is a little less mushy and I seem to be feeling better overall.  Thankful as I am, as this has happened I've been met with just a circumstance as described above.  What I want, I cannot have.  Instead, it is clear to the adult in me that my efforts and energies will be put to good use in another area - a situation most likely providentially provided.  And yet, my heart says "but I don't wanna!"

We were blessed to spend the afternoon at Ken & Laura Butler's house yesterday for lunch and fellowship.  If you've ever been there, you'll know they have a beautiful example of nature at work, highlighting animals, outdoors and some of God's best and cutest creations.   There is a child-like spirit that I fear many lose if not cultivated. Riding a horse, watching tiny kittens sleep, just sitting on the porch swing talking are examples of things that I think our souls need to experience and appreciate daily to really see Him. So, when I speak of childish attitudes, I guess I'm referring to a very basic selfishness.  A selfishness that is just too strong to let go. It can be a daily battle, I think, but perhaps if we fill our thoughts with grand appreciation for the beauty and accept the opportunities God provides with more of that appreciation, selfishness can be easier to let go of.

If you haven't yet, do something outside this week before it starts heating up to a more summer-like temperature.  Spring is never long enough. :)