Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hurt

My feelings were hurt. I didn't say anything because I understood the other person's perspective of why they had "disappeared." The only person I mentioned it to was Joel. He's a great sounding board and agreed that this person probably needed some time to lick their wounds as I had been unable to help them. That's all fine but I was still hurt, annoyed, and even angry that instead of talking to me directly that I was temporarily cut out.

This morning I was pondering what I should do. Do I reach out to this person or wait until they reach out to me? Do I act as though nothing has happened or do I acknowledge it? What does this other person want? Do they want the help I can give or is all of that too late?

On my way to work I remembered the DR asking me "Do you always take care of other's emotions?" He said that even in the psych eval process I was trying to take care of his emotions, gauging my responses based on what I felt he could handle. I owned it, "Yes." We spoke about how I learned this as a child as a coping and survival method. I developed empathy so that I could manage the emotions of the people around me. It kept me safe(r).

At what point is managing other people's emotions damaging to my own? I'm hurt and frustrated. I know the other person is as well. Is it my responsibility to keep my feelings to myself as not to further injure the other? On the other hand, I can feel my frustrating building. As a parent, as a manager, as pastor, in whatever instances we have the opportunity to exercise "control" or "power-over" another person we must be aware so that we do not abuse our power. We must be responsible, but when do we get to say "That hurt me when you said X or did X?" Or is that never appropriate?

I've had plenty of parenting moments in which I told my girls "I may be the grown-up but I have feelings too and that hurt." Or am I teaching them my empathy for the wrong reasons? Am I teaching them to take care of others versus taking care of themselves?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

It's been several years but here I am again.

I'm now in process to become an ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ!  It feels like I'm entering a period of renewal and getting back to my true roots and calling.

Thankfully I have a fabulous mentor for the process. She has given me homework. One thing is totally creative and not using words--only pictures to collage themes of fear and failure. The second piece is to journal about fear and failure. I've decided that it's highly unlikely that anyone actually reads this blog anymore since it's been inactive for years so it's as good as place as any to journal.  Plus I found a great community when I was actively blogging and my hope is to renew that community as well.

A few things for you to know, this year I broke my 40+ years of biting my nails!  This is HUGE and something I've tried to do most of life. Unfortunately, I have developed a new bad habit, I fiddle with my fingernails and often end up tearing them and so they are still really short. But I am working on it.

Back in February I started working out at a kickboxing gym called 9 Round. It kicks my butt and I absolutely love it!  My start was sporadic but over the summer I was going 4-5 times a week and feeling fantastic, feeling like I could do anything!

Back in January a doctor told me I might have Celiac's Disease. To get the actual diagnosis you have to have stomach biopsies. I chose to skip the biopsies and cut out gluten and stay away from dairy (that is nearly impossible for me! but I've been pretty fair at skipping it).

A few weeks ago I went on vacation and turned off my work emails from my phone. I felt like a self-care rockstar! Then I went to my psych eval for the UCC process. The DR asked what had changed that I was worthy of a week without work (I seriously think it's the first time I had real time off from work for an entire week in 3 years!). I went on to describe how great I've been doing this year and we spoke about the horrendous year I had in 2015/2016. He suggested that I experienced a sort of brokenness that put me through far more stress than I've ever had before and therefore I had to learn how to take care of myself.

So what does this have to do with fear and failure? The past 2 weeks since my vacation and psych eval I have completely fallen off the wagon. I've worked out once. My nails are the shortest they've been in 2 months. I've eaten both gluten and dairy on a few occasions. My self-sabotage has kicked in on high.

What the hell is that about? Is it fear of success? Do I not deserve to feel good and look good?

I'm not sure so I emailed my shrink to see if I can get back to work on these issues. I want to use this discernment time, my time with my mentor, this time of my life to be healthy. I want to be physically, mentally, and spiritually in good health, the best health of my life as I move forward towards ordination and I know that I can't do that on my own.

Ciao!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Domestic Violence and Children

In the domestic violence training I teach we watch a video called SinnaMan (Angry Man in English). It gives a highly accurate account of DV from the child's perspective. While Boi is hiding under the covers in his room as his father decimates the living room Boi's pictures on his wall tell a story as they come to life. One of the things we know is that even when kids are in another room and not "seeing" the violence they are imagining it.  Sometimes their imaginations are even worse than reality. Their fears are larger than life, understandably so.

The night my mom left my dad he took his pistol into my bedroom while I was in the living room saying goodbye to my mom.  He shot the gun. In my head I saw and heard, can still see and hear, a herd of buffalo running through our house. It was how my young brain could understand the danger, the fear, the sound.

I was a little girl obsessed with "Indians" and the Wild West.  A buffalo stampede is what I felt I was stuck in.  It was terrifying and I wasn't sure if any of us would make it out alive.  Thankfully we did.  Just barely. Enough that my obsession has turned from all things Native Americans to helping other families survive and conquer domestic violence.

Kids see the violence.  They don't sleep through it.  They hear it.  They cower under their beds in fear. They see the aftermath--the bruises, the mess.  They feel the tension as it builds.  They believe that if they change how they act it will get better.

For more information on the effects of domestic violence on children please check out this video featuring Dr. Bruce Perry

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cradled by God

I went to church this morning. It was the first time in months. I arrived 45 minutes early because I didn't remember the correct time.  

The upside was sitting in the solitude of the sanctuary. Then the choir came out and practiced.  It was lovely.  

Then came the sermon...it was exactly what I needed to hear. While we sang one of the hymns I felt as if I was being cradled by God.  Between the words of the sermon, the words of the hymn, and the music flowing over me I realized that I was where I needed to be.  Not just this morning but in my life.

My good work is part of my calling right now. I need this time to rest in church, to listen to others' preaching, to remember that it is not all about me.

I'm also learning to be a part of church again. I'll be leading an Advent class at the end of the month. This week I'm meeting with a woman (UMC no less) who is charged with planting a church --she was told I'd be a good resource. That feels pretty damn good.

It's not about me. I am being cradled and healed.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Good work vs. God's Calling

"Do not do good deeds for the sake of doing good. Doing good work is not the same as following God's calling on your life."

These are the words that escaped my mouth during a sermon in a dream. It seems that I was preaching to myself as these words continue to haunt me now.

The dream was wonderful.  There was an beautiful old abandoned church in which several groups had begun to gather--different churches, homeless people seeking safe refuge, children hiding from parents, people starting new churches with no where to meet.  We all gathered here and shared space.  As I preached in one section of the church a conservative pastor preached to his congregation in another room.  It was rather magical and finally someone came to shut it down.

But as they did another person led us to a less beautiful but abandoned mega-church.  The altar was a small circle in the center of a circular sanctuary.  Nothing separated the altar from the sanctuary except for the details in the carpet.  There was no pulpit.  The altar was not lifted up.  Actually the pews sloped up from the altar--sort of like in a movie theatre where the seats in back are the highest part of the room. I remember pointing out that it was beautiful because the altar and pastor were not higher than the rest, they were not separate, they did not look over or down on the people--they were equal.

As I began to worry about how we would pay to cover the utilities, if we would be kicked out again, we discovered the building as a gift to us--all of us--utilities included.  Outside of this modern and non-descript church where fields for the children to run and play.  I worried a bit that it was far from the main roads but in the field there was room and safety for all to come and stay.

It was quite joyful as we discussed ways to share the space so we could all have a voice, take turns preaching and learning from one another.  It was paradise.

Yet,  I still feel haunted by those words, "Doing good work is not the same as following God's calling on your life."  In the next few weeks I start my new job. I'm excited about my "good work."  I also recognize that it is not my calling.  I keep wondering, can I do both?  If I can, how?  Where is the line?  What counts? What comes next?  

Friday, November 7, 2014

I'm a liar

I'm a liar.

5 days later and nothing from me.  Good intentions be damned. 

Why did Journey just pop up on my Pandora Macklemore and Ryan Lewis station?

I tend to be confused more often than not these days.

Life is a strange and twisted journey. 

Here I am. 

I

wrote

something

today.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hello Again

It's been a long time but somehow I just can't quit you. No matter how hard I try I end up back in your arms, your warm embrace holding me and I feel safe.

So many changes since we last spoke. I know, I left you for someone else and here I am begging you to love me again. Thanks for being my constant over so many years through all of my changes. Thankfully have grown but you haven't outgrown me.

This month I start a new job. I'm both excited and a little terrified. I'll be in charge of a whole program. I've been in charge of two churches at once but this has a lot more challenges. But I'll be working with fantabulous people so that helps a lot.

I've also been seeing a shrink. She has encouraged me to start writing again. It was just the encouragement I needed to come back.

This month...this November I'll see you at least once a day. It may not be good or purposeful but I'll be here.