Considering Creativity

Creativity: What is it? When I think about creativity and creative people I picture the stereotypical woman/super mom who is better at life than me. You know the one: she bakes and makes adorable crafts and plans church Christmas parties the likes of which “normal” people (meaning people like me, of course) could never have envisioned. But…vision. That’s what creative people have. It is the ability to look at a blank canvas – a room, a pile of burlap and ribbon, a list of ingredients, even an actual canvas – and see what it could become. They are then able to translate that vision into actual substance (and then post pictures of their magnificence on facebook and Pinterest) to the general amazement and ill-hidden chagrin of their audience.  Oh, you, creative person – God love you, because the rest of us want to punch you in the face.

The notion of creativity has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Perhaps it is because my own creative mind has become benumbed by Christmas break and family-at-home-every-second-of-the-day inactivity, or perhaps I am being challenged to think outside the cozy this-is-where-we-keep-the-helpful-stereotypes box, but I find myself wondering, what does it really mean to be creative? What exactly is creativity? As a word nerd, I bet you can guess the very first place I looked to answer these questions.

Yep, Google.

But then? The dictionary (the online kind, of course, where you don’t have to do anything as retro as “turn pages” or “know the alphabet” in order to find a word. Then I looked up the word “retro” to make sure I was using it correctly. Goodness, I love the dictionary.) Here is the best of what I found:

Creative: having the ability to create

Creativity: the process by which one utilizes creative ability.

Because I’m me and my brain tends to dance circles around a subject in order to understand it, Jesus’ words from Luke 6:45 came to mind: “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (NKJ).

Out of the treasure of his heart, man “brings forth.” The very act of bringing something forth – something tangible, something measurable, be it an idea, a talent, or a Snickerdoodle cookie with which to bless a friend – requires the ability to create, and everybody has it. God created us to be creative, to bring forth the treasure we store up in our hearts. The abstract or concrete or sweetly sugared thing that we create is an expression of that treasure. How that creation is manifested depends on the individual process by which we utilize our creative ability.

As an example, I’m sharing a facebook post from Greg Zellers, a blogger I follow, who wrote:

“There was this cutest little early teen couple in front of me at concessions at the theater. He offered to buy her snacks and I don’t think they had a clue how expensive it was. Two drinks, a popcorn, and two candies. He pulled out $8 all shy thinking that would cover it and I think he almost fainted when she asked for $26.50. His date was so sweet saying they could just share one drink. I didn’t even hesitate to pay for them. Their reaction was worth every penny. Told them they could just do the same for someone else someday. So fun.”

Your initial question might be, What does this have to do with creativity? Greg didn’t create anything, not by conventional standards. He is, however, a practical example of what it looks like to bring forth good out of the good that is stored within. In this case, his heart-box was full of generosity; the process by which he utilized the content of his heart-box was opening his wallet; the product brought forth from that generosity was blessing. He created blessing. He was, in that moment, creative.

And now another, closer-to-home example: Nikki Saylor’s message at DLC (9 a.m., Claremore campus) was about obedience, but the sweetest part of her story involved creativity – hosting a bake sale to raise money to bless a family for Christmas. She utilized her creative ability in a few different ways through the process, two of which were using her newly-learned skills to make pie and cookies to sell and then using the money earned from it to provide $400 to a recently-unemployed single mom. She combined the practical skills and desire to obey that were stored in her heart-box to fulfill the vision God had placed in her heart. She created blessing and connections and the opportunity for this mom to experience the Father’s love and provision.

Other examples come to mind: peaceful atmospheres, yummy desserts, and beautifully decorated houses; youtube videos, web pages, and perfectly organized offices; hugs, encouragement, and quality time spent with a friend. Some creations affect a wide audience; others are noted and felt by only a few. Regardless of the breadth of its impact, the ability to create is universal. The process by which each individual utilizes that ability is unique. The results of our creativity express the remarkable diversity of treasure stored up within us.

I don’t know about you, but that’s something I can get excited about.

So what does creativity look like for you? In what ways do you utilize your ability to bring forth the treasure in your heart-box? For me it often looks like words: blog posts, facebook updates, the occasional poem, and unpublished articles about subjects that dance on the outermost rim of importance. I’ve done quite a bit of creating the last few days, most of which no one will ever see, but the audience of creation is not the point. The satisfaction of creating something doesn’t stem from the attention it receives, but from the very act of expressing the overflow of the heart. With that in mind, I say to you, go and create something! And while you’re at it, celebrate the creativity of another person, which can only create blessing.

Create blessing. I think I’ve just found a new motto.

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Some Musings on Potential

This morning I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a parent, to have in mind goals I would like to see my children achieve, qualities I would like to see them develop, and a level of maturity I would like to see them reach. Whether vague or crystal clear, I think all parents must have such goals or desires for their children. How can we not? How can we not dream of the absolute best for our kids? And how can we not know – I mean, just know – that they are capable of achieving great things? Any child born into this world is imbued with the potential to change it, and it’s our job as parents to help them reach that potential.

Beyond parenthood, this line of thinking leads me to ponder what it means to be a child. Regardless of my age, with its husband and children and grown-up-adult responsibilities, I am a daughter. I have biological parents who love me, a spiritual mother who cares for me, and a heavenly Father whose purpose and goals for my life are beyond my own wildest imaginings – beyond anything I could think or ask or dream. Just like my own children, I was born with the potential to positively impact the world I live in, beginning with my family and extending outwards in ever-widening circles of possibility. The potential never fades, never passes, never packs a bag and waves goodbye, saying, “Well, you missed it. You had the chance to be something great and you let it slip away. Nice job, loser.”

Potential is not a jerk.

Nor is it a one-time opportunity.

It is, however, a constant presence and urge to be…better. I hate using that word, though. What does it even mean to be “a better person”? Or a “good person”? It doesn’t mean anything. As descriptive terms, they are too vague and unwieldy to be of use to anyone. Perhaps potential’s effect could be more aptly described as a constant urge to improve, to advance, to develop, and to grow in maturity. My potential is not a set goal or level that I can reach and then go no farther; it is knowledge of the ever-present opportunity to grow and keep growing throughout my life into the best possible version of me. The idea of it fills me with courage.

Potential is a very sweet friend.

Still, I’m just a kid – bullied by weakness and beat up by failings, fearful that potential is only friends with the popular kids. My weaknesses, after all, have had plenty of time to firmly entrench themselves into my personality. I sometimes imagine them as screaming, fire-breathing demons. They clutch my ankles with their knife-sharp claws, laughing and screeching at my feeble attempts to free myself, smug in the knowledge of their power over me. Potential probably sits in the cafeteria with all its real friends, watching piteously as my weaknesses render me utterly useless.

Weaknesses are definitely jerks.

And now, at last, we’ve arrived at what I was really thinking about today: the possibility of being tripped up and prevented from growing by my own stupid weaknesses. It’s been on my mind for quite some time, actually, slithering around the corners of my every goal and dream. Thankfully, every time it rears its ugly head to strike, I am aware of something that my weaknesses, in their smug self-satisfaction, have never considered: who my Father is. I may be “just a kid,” but I’m not just anybody’s kid. I am a child of God, the daughter of the Most High King – Him, the ultimate winner of the “World’s Best Parent” award. And as my Father, does He expect me to overcome my weaknesses on my own? Does He leave me to myself, to muddle through as best I can on the off chance that I may become the victor? No and no. Absolutely not. As much as I desire to raise my kids in such a way that they are ever-growing in strength and maturity, it cannot even compare to the unconditional love and perfect parenting of my Father God. In His faithfulness, He begins a good work in me and then carries it out to completion. He provides opportunities to grow and then makes growth possible simply because He loves me and I’m his favorite. He has determined my potential and now keeps me on the course to obtain it. No fault, no failing, no tendency or propensity can stump Him. I will never be the child at whom God shakes His head and says, “Well, I did my best, but you were just too much for Me. Damn you and your moral ineptitude!”

My weaknesses don’t stand a chance.

So today I’m thankful for truth. I’m thankful for promises. I’m thankful for potential, for mercy, and for the sword of Spirit that hacks sneaky little liars to pieces. I’m thankful for grace and freedom to dream impossible dreams.

But mostly I’m grateful for daughterhood…and the endless opportunities for thankfulness that it provides.

Why are Titles So Hard?

I’ve debated with myself for a week about what I want to say in this post, and to be honest, I still haven’t quite decided (so I guess we’ll all be surprised by the way it turns out). Last week I addressed some big things: big dreams and big plans that I hope to see accomplished. To be honest I was hoping for a big response, but that didn’t exactly happen. At first I was discouraged – I won’t deny it – but I quickly realized that it almost had to be that way. How could it not? The whole purpose of this blog and raising awareness of sexual abuse is because nobody wants to talk about it. If we did, there wouldn’t be a need, right? This point was driven home by the fact that only 6 people read that post, and I’m sure at least one of them was a friend I’ve acquired in the last year who had no idea what this blog is about. You know what that tells me?

I have work to do.

I would still like to get together with some people who are interested in helping me develop a pamphlet and presentation, but I realize that everyone needs time to get used to the idea. In the meantime I’ll continue to work on it and do my best to be more consistent with this blog, even if it’s only to keep the topic from falling off my massive readership’s radar.

That’s not sarcasm, btw. It’s drollery. There’s a difference 🙂

A Bigger Vision

Considering how long it has been since I’ve posted on this blog – especially about its intended purpose – one might assume I have lost my passion for sexual abuse awareness and prevention. It’s true that I have been derailed for the past year or so, but the time has come to get back on track. The last few weeks have brought more inspiration than ever and I’m excited about the new mission and vision God has given me to make a difference in our communities. It’s a big vision – bigger than I ever would have dreamed of dreaming of on my own. And it’s a life vision – a vision that begins today with small and practical things and extends largely and effectively into the future. Here’s what I’m talking about:

  1. I’d like to develop an age appropriate presentation/curriculum that would teach middle school age kids about their rights over their own bodies. As adults we assume that kids naturally know that they don’t have to allow abuse, but the truth is they don’t. Love, loyalty, and family ties blur the lines of what a child will accept from a person they trust; we need to be purposefully teach what is acceptable rather than blindly hoping that they’ll figure it out on their own.
  • This presentation/curriculum would not only provide a safe and informative dialogue where children who are being abused can get help but would also seek to prevent future abuse by teaching the kids what signs to watch for in the pedophile-victim grooming process.
  1. I’d also like to design a pamphlet to inform parents of the risk and prevalence of sexual abuse and provide guidelines for prevention. As well as the pamphlet, I’d like to determine the best way to get it into the parent’s hands.
  1. I’ve already begun and will continue to contact Oklahoma’s state government to encourage (and hopefully help with) the development of a state sanctioned abuse awareness program.

As you can see, my hopes and plans extend far beyond the scope of this blog. And, strangely enough, I’m not the least bit intimidated (OK, maybe the least little bit) by the work ahead even though I know that it extends far beyond the scope of me. Or maybe that’s the reason I’m not (too) intimidated – I know that I cannot possibly do this on my own. With that in mind, I’d like to get together with a group of people who would be willing to donate their time and talents to help obtain these goals. It would be a one hour long, informal meeting for the purpose of brainstorming and talking out ideas and/or any foreseeable obstacles. If you have ever wished there was something you could do to impact the appalling prevalence of childhood sexual abuse or if you’re simply a parent who wants to be intentional about protecting your own children, this is your opportunity. Please contact me, either through a comment here, a Facebook message or an email (jegetzfreid@aol.com) if you would like to join me. I look forward to taking the next steps on this extraordinary journey…and I hope to be taking them with you.

A Bigger Vision

Considering how long it has been since I’ve posted on this blog – especially about its intended purpose – one might assume I have lost my passion for sexual abuse awareness and prevention. It’s true that I have been derailed for the past year or so, but the time has come to get back on track. The last few weeks have brought more inspiration than ever and I’m excited about the new mission and vision God has given me to make a difference in our communities. It’s a big vision – bigger than I ever would have dreamed of dreaming of on my own. And it’s a life vision – a vision that begins today with small and practical things and extends largely and effectively into the future. Here’s what I’m talking about:

  1. I’d like to develop an age appropriate presentation/curriculum that would teach middle school age kids about their rights over their own bodies. As adults we assume that kids naturally know that they don’t have to allow abuse, but the truth is they don’t. Love, loyalty, and family ties blur the lines of what a child will accept from a person they trust; we need to be purposefully teach what is acceptable rather than blindly hoping that they’ll figure it out on their own. This presentation/curriculum would not only provide a safe and informative dialogue where children who are being abused can get help but would also seek to prevent future abuse by teaching the kids what signs to watch for in the pedophile-victim grooming process.
  2. I’d also like to design a pamphlet to inform parents of the risk and prevalence of sexual abuse and provide guidelines for prevention. As well as the pamphlet, I’d like to determine the best way to get it into the parent’s hands.
  3. I’ve already begun and will continue to contact Oklahoma’s state government to encourage (and hopefully help with) the development of a state sanctioned abuse awareness program.

As you can see, my hopes and plans extend far beyond the scope of this blog. And, strangely enough, I’m not the least bit intimidated (OK, maybe the least little bit) by the work ahead even though I know that it extends far beyond the scope of me. Or maybe that’s the reason I’m not (too) intimidated – I know that I cannot possibly do this on my own. With that in mind, I’d like to get together with a group of people who would be willing to donate their time and talents to help obtain these goals. It would be a one hour long, informal meeting for the purpose of brainstorming and talking out ideas and/or any foreseeable obstacles. If you have ever wished there was something you could do to impact the appalling prevalence of childhood sexual abuse, this is your opportunity. Please contact me, either through a comment here, a Facebook message or an email (jegetzfreid@aol.com) if you would like to join me. I look forward to taking the next steps on this extraordinary journey…and I hope to be taking them with you.

Reflections

Sometimes it seems the big things do their best to disguise themselves as small, insignificant things. That way when you stumble across one and finally realize what it is, the thing gets immense satisfaction from the brightly lit light bulb banging you on the head.

Big things are sneaky.

Take this verse for example: Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.”  This verse is surrounded by other good ones so that it is easy to overlook, not to mention the fact that its familiarity probably dampens its stand-out-from-the-crowd-ability. Regardless, when I read this verse the other day I almost skipped right past it. I was several lines beyond (honestly not even thinking of what I was reading) before the words registered and I went back to read it again: Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.

Well, duh.

You see, there’s something else about big things: they’re big. So big, in fact, that it’s quite possible to lose yourself in them completely – floating along happily or drowning in misery, depending on the nature of the thing. They can obfuscate reality until it is only dim shadow of the truth you know. They can snatch up everything else in your life, stuff it into a box and wrap it with chains. When that happens you’re just stuck, staring disconsolately at the box and whining to yourself about that stupid, huge, insurmountable thing.

Hopefully I’m not being too vague : )

What I’m getting at here is that sometimes a big thing comes along out of the blue that takes over everything, but then another big thing comes along, this time masquerading as a small thing – like a Bible verse – and shines its great big light on the whole situation, bringing truth and perspective.

Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.” This is merely a suggestion? Perhaps an exhortation? Maybe even a command. I see it as something God has called us (by us, I mean Me) to do, regardless of how big and ugly the thing is that has taken over our lives – if such a thing has happened. But what do we (again, talking about me here) do? Instead of remembering to rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction and be persistent in prayer, we get overwhelmed and frustrated and barely able to withstand the urge to scream. At least some of us do. So, to someone facing such a situation (like myself) I would say the following:

  1.  Rejoice in hope. No matter how dire the circumstances, there is always hope – in His word, in His promises, and in His faithfulness. Our hope is like an anchor for our souls, always there for us to cling to when a hurricane comes along to blow us away. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He has a plan and a purpose for your life that will not be derailed by loss or grief or anything else. There’s always hope. Always.
  2. Be patient in affliction. Your afflictions are not in vain. Affliction produces endurance, endurance leads to character, and character makes way for hope. The work he began in you will be brought to completion. He works all things – big, small, beautiful, ugly – for your good. Rejoice in the hope of His promises and be patient in affliction.
  3. Be persistent in prayer, the reasons for which are obvious and shouldn’t have to be restated. Just know that without it, all that whining you do is nothing more than a pity party…and pity parties are annoying.

I’ve been trying to make these postings less about me (and by me I mean you, but by you I mean me – well, now I’m just confused) and I hope I’ve done a better job of it. Thanks for reading : )

Confessions of a Napaholic

Can we be honest for a moment? I mean, really honest? Not awkward “I’m not wearing any underwear” honest; more like funny but obvious “I’m addicted to ice cream and facebook” honest. Can we do that?

The thing is, I like naps. OK, I more than like them. I love them. LIVE for them, in fact. I love naps so much I wish I were taking one right now. And if you happen to see me out and about sometime, like at church or Walmart or Zumba class, you can be sure that right then I’m thinking, “Man, I wish I were taking a nap.” Every time. No joke. Maybe it stems from years of insomnia, or perhaps from an utterly immutable laziness, but it is a truth that cannot be changed. I like naps.

Now, naps for me don’t always include sleep. I know, I know, what’s the point of a nap if you’re not sleeping, right? But the insomnia that assails me at night is just as active during the day, so I have to lie down for a really long time under perfect conditions to actually fall asleep. Instead, I have perfected the art of resting. It’s like napping, only without that embarrassing grogginess when the phone rings: “Hey, whatcha doing? Were you sleeping?” “Me, sleeping? Noooo.” Resting includes a nice, quiet lie down, usually preceded by a little reading time. It doesn’t require quiet – which is good since my two kids make quiet impossible – but is aided by some completely uninteresting documentary from the Military Channel as background noise.  Resting is peaceful, rejuvenating, and above all, relaxing. I like rest.

Here’s the thing, though: there’s more to rest than nap time. Sometimes it’s more than the body that needs rest. Take the spirit, for example. At this time last year, my spirit was raring to go – helping begin a women’s ministry, leading a life group, taking on the spiritual responsibility of home-schooling my son, and, of course, being a voice for childhood sexual abuse awareness. I was, as they say, on fire and enjoying every minute of it. Now, however, my spirit is resting. All of those things are still important, but my role in each has changed – Women of Destiny is up and running, my life group stopped meeting in August, the school year is over, and, though still passionate about abuse awareness, it’s a banked flame rather than a raging wildfire. I don’t feel a spiritual drive to do anything at the moment but rest. It’s not even like waiting, you know? Waiting requires readiness, preparation for the next season. This really is like a spiritual day at the beach – lying on my blanket, soaking up God’s presence like sunshine, and trusting Him to wake me when the vacation’s over. It’s taken a while to accept, but I can so do this.

However, you’ve heard that expression about spirit, soul and body? Well, my spirit and body have got resting down, but my soul (my mind, will and emotions) is in outright rebellion. Picture a group of bescrubbed orderlies trying to contain a wild-eyed, screaming mother of 17 toddlers. She’s been tackled, wrestled into a straight jacket, and sedated, but still she writhes and screams, “No, I won’t go back home! I won’t! You can’t make me!!” Are you feeling her desperation? Are you seeing that crazed look and thanking God for birth control? OK, maybe I’m taking my metaphor a bit far, but understand: that poor, overworked mother is my soul. She can’t face taking care of her responsibilities, which is weird because, unlike my poor metaphor’s responsibilities, all my soul has to do right now is rest. Take a break from all those crazy expectations and relax.

What is the deal with expectations, anyway? We always seem to expect more from ourselves than from anyone else. I, for one, expect myself to always be able to handle everything, regardless of how exhausting or traumatic or life-changing it is. So when I don’t handle something as well as I think I should, I’m the first one – the only one really – in line to beat myself up: What do you mean, you need rest? Why are you still grieving? It’s been almost 4 months, get over it already! Stop all this whining and get on with your life!

Ugh. See why my soul needs a straight jacket? She’s merciless.

However, in the last few weeks I’ve heard two bits of wisdom that are getting me through. The first was, “I know it seems like forever to you, but it’s really only been three months.” Well, duh. Three months is not a very long time in the grand scheme of things. It does seem like forever to me, but God, my family and my friends do not expect me to be back to “normal” already, so why should I expect it of myself? The other wise tidbit goes right along with that. Part of my problem is that I’ve been beating myself up for my perceived failings – that I haven’t been a good enough friend, good enough wife, good enough mother through all of this. I’ve failed everyone who loves me! Drama, drama, drama. But then my sweet friend Deretha told me that not only do I have to trust God in all of this I also have to trust my friends. I have to trust my husband and my family. I have to trust them to love me when I’m not myself, when I don’t meet my own expectations. These people love me more than I love myself at times and they are not messaging each other on Facebook about what a terrible friend/wife I am. Again: duh. So that’s it. No more excuses. Today, my soul rests. End of story…Pray for me.

Wow, this is a long post! And why is this blog always about me? Still, thank you for reading 😉

Synonyms for B#&%@y

Women can be awful: catty, hateful, venomous, caustic, vindictive and controlling. Sweet to your face but nasty behind your back, gleefully cataloging your faults and weaknesses. Even little girls can be like this – it’s like they thrive on making at least one girl feel left out and ganged up on. It’s sad when you think about it.

But…

Women can wonderful – encouraging and loving and supportive. They truly can give voice to the heart of God. It’s an amazing thing to experience.

Twice in the last week this has happened in my midst in a group setting: with tears and vulnerability, women opened up in a way that was real and honest, and each time they were met with love, acceptance, and sweet words of encouragement. One fears she’s a failure as a wife and mother? Let us tell her all the ways we’ve learned from her. Another thinks she’s not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough? Let us tell her how beautiful she is, how special, how necessary to our lives. Let us tell her what we see: her strengths, accomplishments, and gifts. Let us take this opportunity to minister to her, no matter how long it takes.

It’s not flattery. It’s not insincere. It’s not even dependant on relationship – whether they are close and precious friends or mere acquaintances doesn’t matter. What matters is that each woman’s needs are met and that she leaves strengthened and encouraged.

Every day, the women God has joined me with are sowing seeds of love into my life, just as I do my best to sow into theirs. Friendship is a ministry, but more than that, womanhood is a ministry. It is an unmatched opportunity to be the hands and feet and voice of God, to build up instead of tear down, to bring forth life just as God created us to do.

Now, if you are one of those stereotypical catty women who prefers to put another person down in order to feel good about yourself, shame on you. But if you are one of those other women who are serious about being a life giver, give yourself a quiet pat on the back. You totally deserve it 🙂

About Seasons

“For everything there is a season; a time for every purpose under heaven…A time to laugh, a time to mourn…a time to gain and a time to lose…A time to keep silence and a time to speak…A time of war and a time of peace.”  Eccl. 3

I am overcome. When I think of where I’ve been these last few months, of the gut wrenching agony, the suffocating grief…I am overcome by peace. Blessed, blessed peace. These last three months have been like living in hell, so much so that I wondered briefly if death itself wouldn’t be preferable. I was just so angry,and so terribly afraid. The hidden depths of my heart were being revealed – all the fears and emotional issues that I’d been stuffing for God knows how long. They crashed over me like a giant wave hell-bent on sucking me out to sea. I almost gave in, almost dove head first into it and damn the consequences.

But when the moment came that I just could not – absolutely could not – take it any longer, He was there.

This post has been on my heart for several days, but when I sat down this morning to write I prayed for God’s leading: God, what do you want to say to me through this? I had the tv on in the  background, and I wasn’t really that focused on what I was writing, but then it happened: the video for “I Won’t Let Go” by Rascall Flatts came on. The song goes like this:

“It’s like a storm that cuts a path. It breaks your will. It feels like that. You think you’re lost, but you’re not lost on your own. You’re not alone. I will stand by you. I will help you through. When you’ve done all you can do, if you can’t cope, I will dry your eyes, I will fight your fight, I will hold you tight. And I won’t let go.”

How could I not lift my hands and praise Him? Even through my tears and sobbing (thank God I was alone) I could not help but praise. He has stood by me. When I was so angry with Him I wanted to spit in his face, He was there. When I could no more worship Him than I could forget my loss, He was there. Through it all and in it all, He was there. And now, through His grace and patience and faithfulness, through his perfect timing, I have peace. Sweet, blessed peace.

For everything there is a season; a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to rest. I am in that season of rest, and also, I pray, a season of healing. Confronting my fears has not been pleasant, but I know that in order to experience life and life more abundantly, they must not only be confronted, but overcome. The roots of them must be healed and I want that healing. Part of me is chaffing – who would have thought that someone as lazy as me would feel this constant need for spiritual action? But the rest of me is just enjoying the quiet. I’m grateful beyond words for the peace in my life right now and I will enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

This post has not at all been about what I had originally thought. I guess sometimes God has his own ideas. If you’ve made it here to the end, all I can say is thank you for listening. And if you’re one who’s been praying for me through all of this, sincerely, thank you.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

About Grief

It has been a little over a month since I lost my Aunt Nadine and there’s only one thing I can say about grief:

It sucks.

How’s that for eloquence and inspiration? But it’s the absolute truth. Grief is like a never ending roller coaster of brief highs intermingled with pitch black tunnels, terrifying twists, and soul-crushing dips and falls. Melodramatic? I think not. It seriously sucks.

There are good days, of course. There has even been the rare week that the good days outnumber the bad. Mostly, though, there are good moments. Minutes, perhaps hours. Then something triggers me and I find myself standing in the kitchen, clutching a bread basket to my chest and bawling like a baby. Just today I snotted all over my sweet Stephanie’s shoulder like a hurting toddler, and all she ever did was love me! Definitely not a fine moment.

I’ve gotta say, though, that I don’t know where I’d be without the support of my friends. I’ve got one who checks on me often, asks how I am and gives me encouragement; another who lets me use her couch like a psychologist’s sofa, listens and counsels and, yes, let’s me cry on her shoulder; still others who don’t ask, and when I’m with them I can get out of my own head for a while, pretend I’m not an emotional basket case. Each friend is precious to me and helps me more than they can possibly know.

Grief is suffocating.

It’s also irrational. I find myself wracked with fears and worries that I’ve never had before, and that’s not to mention the anger – that classic 3rd or 15th or 127the step in the grief process (right now the process seems kind of arbitrary). My anger has found a most unlikely and irrational target, and I struggle to keep it in check. For the most part I wish I had a hole to crawl into and hide until my heart gets put back together. Bears get to hibernate. Why can’t I?

The last thing I will say about grief is this: it is unredeemable. I can’t spin it to make it sweet or inspiring. I can’t say with confidence that the process will lead to something good and worthwhile. I can’t even imagine what I’ll look like when it’s over. It just is what it is…and what it is sucks.

Thanks for letting me vent. Grief is bad; catharsis is good 🙂