It's not as odd as it sounds...

Prayer happens everywhere, even in the tanning bed.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Revelation 21:4

I saw a girl in my Intro to Law class meltdown today. She didn't have her act together. She was missing classes, not ready for the test, and couldn't handle it when I mentioned a paper I thought was due today but not due until next week. I felt bad for her but I didn't know what to say. We all, in the class, have had some opportunity to melt down. Whether it's been on campus or at home, we are, some of us more than others, hanging on by the skin of our teeth. Most of us have our meltdowns because we are behind on our laundry, forgetting to fix dinner, not attending to our classwork because we have to attend to our children's classwork. Or just feeling like we can't put the right amount of time or attention into all the things we've heaped onto our plates. We as women, more so the older ones, like me, heap way too much on our plates. We have this intellectual knowledge that we can't do everything but our hearts have a big "S" for Superwoman branded onto them. And those were the very reasons that her tears were flowing. I didn't have it in me to say "Hey, hang in there, you can do it." Mostly because I didn't think I should. Maybe she shouldn't be doing it. Maybe what she imagined she was capable of right now isn't what she is capable of. Maybe she needs to wait a few years, until her children get older and more independent and then it will be the right time. It's not that I didn't think she could handle the coursework which would lead her to a good job, I just wondered if she should be attempting it at all right now. But then, maybe I was wrong and I should have put my arm around her and encouraged her. Maybe my own desperation to have one more look at my index cards to cram just one more bit of information into my head to be successful on my test that morning kept me from being the support she needed. Maybe my own selfishness blinded me to her hurt and I was able to find a good excuse to make me feel better.

And that brings me to something I've been wrestling with for a month now. Why do I choose to behave differently from one person to another? Why did I not see in her the need to hold her but maybe would have considered that for another? After a month of seriously pondering this and even losing sleep over this I still have no answer. I can only think that I see every situation differently. And even then, I still will rarely hold someone while they cry. I don't think I've held one of my crying children since they've been 9 or 10. It's not that we aren't affectionate, we are all very affectionate. I guess it's just, having boys, I've had to almost have it beaten into me that I have to be very careful about how I manage their emotions. Granted, I'm not the most compassionate woman in the world; that has been made plenty clear to me by many, many people. But I am not heartless or devoid of the ability to feel tenderness toward anyone.

So, I guess this will just be something that I wrestle with for the rest of my life. I have never turned away my crying children, I've never left a crying baby in a crib all night because I care more about my sleep than my child. I've never let my preschooler dry his own eyes after falling down on the sidewalk and skinning his knee. I have always held my daughter close when the girls in 1st grade made a "club" during recess and wouldn't include her. There's just something that happens when they get older. I guess it's almost a feeling that I have that I don't want them to cry. After all, I NEVER want to cry myself. I work very hard at not crying even in front of my closest friends and even in front of my husband. I was even very uncomfortable with MJF when he cried as he held our daughter Rebekah Joy after her death.

I guess the question is this... what is wrong with me?

It's not as if I haven't asked this question of myself before. Not regarding this particular issue, there are many.

I don't anticipate knowing what is wrong with me but I do know one thing. I am not a heartless, calloused person. I never have been and I never will be. I have a very private part of me that will most likely never be unearthed by anyone. I will die with thoughts and feelings and parts of me never being known by anyone but God. The lesson for me here is to remember that if I have those parts of me, most likely others do as well. For me to jump to a conclusion about anyone because of who they appear to be is folly. We are all so complicated, and we put so many expectations on ourselves and others.

I am truly looking forward to heaven where all is clean, honest, and pure. Where our relationships are joyous and our eyes are all on the same prize. I can't wait for heaven. I can't wait to restore broken relationships and be reunited with old friends in Christ. I am excited to realize that I won't do anything to hurt someone's feelings and that there's not a person in heaven who will disappoint me - EVER.

And in heaven, I don't have to be concerned with whether or not I think to comfort a sobbing acquaintance... no one will be just an acquaintance and no one will be sobbing.