Heard this lyric last night from the song “Sober” by Pink:
“When its good then its good, it’s so good til it goes bad.
Til you’re trying to find the you that you once had.”
My stream of consciousness turned out phrases like “I lost myself in this relationship. That makes me afraid. I need to get back to who I used to be.” Then I wondered why? What’s so great about going backwards?
Perhaps we aren’t losing ourselves as much as changing or growing in who we are. Relationships make us different people. We are exposed to new ideas, new ways of thinking, new interests and experiences. A wise friend told me years ago that when she got married, she didn’t wonder, “Do I want to be with this same man for the rest of my life?” Her hope was that she could say, “This is the man I am committed to growing and changing with for the rest of my life. Neither of us will be the same in 5 years.”
That would imply that relationships are fluid or perhaps in motion. Constantly moving. Constantly making course corrections. I think we like the idea of getting into a comfortable seat with a view that pleases us, hoping it never changes. Rather, hoping the feelings you get from it never changes. Its not possible. I look back over the last 20 years or so and realize, thankfully, that I am not the same person I was. My husband is not the same. Neither are my friends and family members. Do you know the saying, “If I knew then what I know now…” But we didn’t. We can’t go back. We must go forward. Adjust. Refine. I have not lost myself in my relationships. I am just a different person. Hopefully for the better! If not, then move forward, not back to the you that you once had.
I have never sensed a spirit of fear, confusion, and despair in the community more than I have in these last few weeks. I am surrounded by horrible things happening to fabulous people. It would seem there are few if any places to turn. We have GOT to make it a priority to ramp up our commitments to each other and to listening for God’s voice. The systems we think should be in place or stable just aren’t. No amount of anger or whining will help our neighbors fill their frig or gas tank or soul when there is no income and abundant worry. Followers of Christ, lead the way in compassion, hope, and charity.
Read this today in Eph 4:1-3(NASB):
“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” (emphasis mine)
So Paul is talking to believers in Christ. Here is a commentary I thought interesting:
“Nothing is pressed more earnestly in the Scriptures, than to walk as becomes those called to Christ’s kingdom and glory. By lowliness, understand humility, which is opposed to pride. By meekness, that excellent disposition of soul, which makes men unwilling to provoke, and not easily to be provoked or offended. We find much in ourselves for which we can hardly forgive ourselves; therefore we must not be surprised if we find in others that which we think it hard to forgive.” (Source: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible; emphasis mine)
So apparently a life that is appropriate for one who follows Jesus, isn’t about doing all the right things. Its about being gentle, humble, peaceful, unprovoked, able to let things go. Just maybe?
I read the following on SuperMom…Or Not’s blog and thought the words were amazingly powerful. Mel gave me permission to copy it over here. If you haven’t already, make sure to visit the SuperMom. Thanks Mel for the great words!! (and beautiful picture–also by Supermom)
“He may not always do it the right way, say it the right way or show it the right way. But then neither do I.
We should have given up a zillion times. Many times I have said, just one more day and then seen those days blur into years.
He has been hurt by me. I have been hurt by him. Emotionally I have divorced him so many times.
Somehow though, somehow he finds a way to make me realize that despite our differences, despite the fact that we come from different worlds and totally have the odds against us, we do still love each other. That giving our children a home together is better than going at it alone.
Love is a very strong and unrealistic emotion. It’s also a very real decision.”
Thanks Paul for a “coincidental” post on having a relationship with Jesus vs. religion which was a theme this weekend at The Orchard. Scott related the story of Mary, Lazarus’ sister, who at one time sat at Jesus’ feet, hanging on his every word. Yet when Lazarus dies contrary to the message Jesus sends that his illness will not end in death, Mary is not the first to greet Jesus when he finally arrives 4 days after Lazarus dies. She stays in the house until Martha tells her Jesus is asking for her. She tears out of the house to meet Jesus and throws herself at his feet in agony–possibly anger?–and cries out “Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died.” Yet later she is the one who pours expensive perfume on his feet in blatant unashamed worship.
Definitely a woman with a genuine relationship with Jesus. An ebb and flow of devotion, doubt and worship. We see she did not have all the answers. And Jesus did not scold her for that. He was sympathetic and mourned with her even though he knew everything would turn out fine. She didn’t always do the politically correct thing either and was actually defended by Jesus, again not scolded. There is something freeing about reality. Scary too but most definitely freeing if you’re willing to go there.
Sorry, there’s lots of links to reference these stories. For the full scoop, check out the book of John in the bible, chapters 11 and 12.
The last 10%. That’s what I heard (from somewhere) is the most important part of difficult conversations that never gets said. So then you sit down with your spouse at an uncharacteristic quiet moment in the house–provided you have DVR and pause the “Everybody Loves Raymond” rerun–and talk about the last 10% that’s been on your mind for awhile. Then after all has been said and discussed in the best interest of the other party, your eyes settle on the last 10% that hasn’t been spoken to you.
So many of the things that irritate me about my spouse are the very weaknesses I see in me that drive me crazy. I begin to question who it is I’m actually disappointed with and who exactly needs to make a change.
So this is the part of marriage that sucks. The ongoing realization that although I have come a long way, I am still very much into all that is me. If he would just do ______, I would feel so much better. Well, good for me. There is totally a need for expressing your feelings to your spouse and/or asking for certain behaviors(how clinical) yet the majority of the time, I find these conversations reveal more to me about where I am lacking than about him. And that’s just if the conversations go well. I’m not EVEN talking about mis-communicating and misunderstanding body language, tone of voice, facial expression, word choice. Sheesh. That’s a whole other post for another decade.
The cool part of this though, is that I have a spouse who will listen to me when I talk. After 12 years, we’re getting the hang of communicating with each other efficiently. As far as I know.
I feel like having ice cream and Coke for dinner. I don’t think the kids will mind, do you? All I need is ice cream and Coke. I wish the grocery store would deliver.
Went to a funeral today. One of my neighbors passed away young from cancer. It feels like one of the porch lights went out in the neighborhood. Can summer really come if she is not sitting in her driveway after a day poolside, finishing her tan with an ice cold something or other in hand? I’m going to miss her. She liked our kids. Especially JD. At least most of the time. I’m sure she remarked on their volume and ear-splitting playtimes. Or maybe MY volume. I will miss her beautiful flowers. I will miss her encouraging me not to sweat it because after all, I do have 3 small kids and can’t be expected to do ____________(fill in the blank). That line always bought me another 10, ok 30 minutes in the driveway. I didn’t get to sit with the neighbors a lot last summer. After all, I do have 3 small kids and can’t be expected…
I’m glad I got to see her and talk to her before she died. I’m glad my kids rallied and painted her pictures. I’m glad she was still able to see the pictures and know who they were from. If God has a driveway, Jane is sitting in it in a much nicer lawn chair, most likely with a Corona in hand and getting the PERFECT tan.
God bless you Janie! See you after awhile.