Ok, this sounds kind of strange, I grant you. But it’s true. Tonight I took a cookie from a stranger, something I’ve told my kids never to do. But this cookie had a magical effect on me.
Posts in category Tabletalk
John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
This week’s news of the Boston Marathon bombings was a kick in the gut, a story that hits close to home. For me, it was especially close because last year, my brother-in-law ran the Boston marathon and my sister and their family were standing in the same place where this week’s explosions occurred.
I heard the news on my car radio and I felt the energy just seep out of my body, almost as though I was paralyzed. I felt so incompetant to help, to change anything about it. It’s one of the many times I’ve wished I could be a super-spy like Jason Bourne or a detective like Sherlock so I could save the day BEFORE someone gets hurt.
Days like this sometimes make me feel like the dark side of the force is winning. After all, yesterday’s event is just one of many tragic situations we’ve witnessed lately. When I see them happening, I feel a nagging fear at the edges of my mind and I worry for a moment about my children’s future in a world containing people who would set a bomb with the intent to murder innocent people, including children. It is the kind of darkness that steals our energy, our faith in our fellowman, our hope for a better future, if we choose to let it.
Part of me wishes I could gather my small brood and turn inward, away from all the ugliness. Part of me wishes I could protect them from the pain of loss and death. But my own intimate acquaintance with heart wrenching loss have taught me this is not possible. It is only possible to know none of us are immune to loss and to remember to hope because joy does come in the morning.
I remember how, in the midst of my own early experiences with grief, I felt angry that the people around me went on when my world was imploding. How could they continue to see joy when I was hurting so much? How could they go on like nothing had happened when such a huge part of my life was over? How could they be out enjoying the beauty of the sunshine when for me the light of day only seemed to illumine what I had lost? A dark cloud hid the sun’s warmth and life giving light from me.
But I kept getting out of bed each day. I kept putting one foot in front of the other. As the pain subsided a little, I vowed not to live in fear or grief forever but to find the moments of joy along with the pain of each day.
One day when I woke, I opened my eyes and realized there was a smile on my lips as I faced the prospect of a new day. And I realized that those around me needed to go on while I felt so lost, not only for their own survival but to ensure mine as well. Somebody had to keep the world turning so it would be there when I was ready to rejoin it.
So while I went to bed Monday night feeling undone by the day’s events, grief wrapping around my throat, the morning was a different story.
Tuesday morning, I woke with the warm light of the sun on my face and I found hope filling my thoughts. I know those who were hurt or lost loved ones might not be feeling that hope yet. But this time, I am one of those who will keep watch until they have regained their strength.
I don’t need to have Bourne’s secret agent skills to stand against the darkness. I don’t need to be able to hunt down the evil doers with the focused intensity of Holmes. We certainly need people who fight that way but my role is a little different.
Today I grieve with those affected by the bombings and with those who suffer pain around the world at the hands of those who channel darkness. Feeling that loss with them reminds me I am not an island. I am connected to my fellowman.
But I will not just grieve. I will be part of the light brigade.
Today, I will do my part to face down the darkness within my own circle of influence. I will look for those who are feeling hopeless, discouraged, hungry, desperate, grief stricken and I will offer what I have – even if it is small – to help.
I will teach my children kindness.
I will encourage them to choose to live honorably, with integrity.
I will teach them to love all people and to treat them with respect even if they do not believe the same things about life, God or politics.
I will show them how to stand up for those who need a champion and a hand up.
We cannot underestimate the value of taking the time to look outside our own needs. It could change the entire course of another person’s life – for the better. It might even make the difference between a life spent in the shadows or one bathed in Light.
I will grieve.
But I will also pray. I will also hope.
I will also believe that each person has the potential to turn to that Light and I will encourage every person in my path to do so.
Today, I will blaze a light in the darkness by being one myself.
It’s our third time doing this, yet I still forget how hard the first year with a new baby is. The first few weeks of a baby’s life seem blissful as people offer meals, babysitting services and “ooo” and “ah” over mama and babe. In that idyllic moment when your partner looks at you and considers you a queen for bringing the most beau-ti-mous child EVER into the world, it’s inconceivable that you’ll ever feel anything but adoration for each other.
Four to six months later, when you’re sleep deprived, your house looks like a clothing/toy/paper bomb has exploded in.every.room. and your true love is suddenly being sooooo unreasonable, you begin to wonder how in the world you had children with this person anyway!
You don’t know what I’m talking about?
Uh, me either.
Just stop reading here and check out this post about how perfect my husband is.
Whew. Now that we got rid of all the perfect people….
This morning, a friend and I laughed (wryly) about the marital challenges in baby’s first year. She observed that she has seem a lot of marriages end in that time period. I had to concur. I recognize that even couples who might not divorce may see their quality of marriage begin to erode around the time babies arrive.
It seems ironic that the moment in which you see the physical manifestation of the love and passion that drew you together – a new life – may be the very moment you begin to drift apart.
Rob and I have noticed this in our own marriage and we’ve been taking a few steps to keep our relationship intact.
Get some sleepLook, I know your baby may not be sleeping through the night and once you have more than one that advice to “sleep when baby sleeps” goes right out the window! But life is so much easier to face when we’re at least a little caught up on sleep. I am not the same girl when I’m majorly sleep deprived. Plus, we tend to make dangerous mistakes when we are tired. Check out my friend Megan’s story!
Lower your expectations of, well, life – just for a while.
Pretend life is in a temporary state of suspended animation. Your house, dishes, toilet, tile floor, living room (not that I’m talking about me!) may not be perfect for a while. Get over it.
When you start to freak about the condition of your normally clean bathroom, take a deep breath, turn to your lover, the one with whom you made your precious little darling and – KISS them. In our house we say, “What’s more important – Your sister (husband, friend, mom) or your stuff?” Uh-huh.
Give your partner the benefit of the doubt.Moms – Dad is not going to do everything like we would. That’s what makes us special. Remember nesting and how crazy we get? Don’t turn that hormonal protective instinct on a supportive, loving partner.
Dads – remember that the woman of your dreams is under the influence (she probably thinks she’s normal) so everything is slightly blown out of proportion. A little compassion please.
Remember to use ‘safe’ language to communicate.If you must talk about some relational issue whilst under the influence of hormones and severe sleep deprivation (I advise against it but…), try setting some ground rules.
Instead of –
“You did… to make me feel like…”
try, “I know you probably didn’t mean it this way – but – when you said xyz, I felt like…”
LAUGH – at a funny movie, at your sleep deprived state, at yourselfLaughter eases the tension. When we had some pretty tense moments a few weeks ago, Rob decided to go all “Ryan Gosling” on me and make me a few memes – of himself. I’m still laughing!
Make-out like you’re dating Remember dating? When you just couldn’t get enough of each other and you steamed the windows in your car while saying goodbye in the church parking lot?
Wait. That wasn’t you?
Yeah. Me either.
But, pretend for a moment it was. Making out like that might remind you that you’re actually in love with this person.
I am SO preaching to the choir today, friends!
The first year of a baby’s life sure introduces some challenges into a marriage – even if it’s not your first. I know this will pass. In the meantime, we’re learning how to love each other through it!
What do you do to protect your marriage in times of change or upheaval?
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Have you seen the video about news anchor, Jennifer Livingston’s “you’re fat” email? She’s the WKBT news anchor who received an email informing her she couldn’t possibly be a good example to her young audience because she measures “obese” on her doctor’s chart.
Well, here it is.
As someone who has struggled through years of image issues due to my own experience as a thin (who thought she was fat!) young girl who became a larger woman (who now feels better about herself!), I have wisdom to share on this issue.
Being a larger person – who doesn’t fit on a doctor’s “healthy” weight chart – does not necessarily indicate poor health. Weight alone is simply not an indicator of health.
Skinny people can be very unhealthy.
Heavier people can be extremely healthy.
Does that blow your mind?
We need to move away from judging people based solely on their appearance. It is a shallow judgement on so many levels. See my post on Dove’s “Finally REAL Women” campaign.
What of Jennifer’s CHARACTER??? That is, by far, of more interest to me in whether or not she is influencing my children for good or for evil based on her dress size.
How short-sighted of this person!
People of larger stature experience this often, people confusing their dress size with the substance of their spirit, their intelligence (they must be dumb not to realize they’re fat!), their accomplishments, their integrity.
Don’t make that mistake.
Let the teaching of kindness should be on our tongues daily and learn to see people as whole, not just a caricature of themselves!
That is all.
Go forth and seek authentic, meaningful connections today – not based on the appearance of those you meet. You never know who you will meet.
Don’t be silent. Speak out on this issue of discrimination and share this post.