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So, I’ve Been Having This Pity Party

For the last few days. And, man–is it ever ugly. First, my family headed out of town (they deserve it) for a couple days,  and I couldn’t go. Then, there were all of these obligations–my wife had an art class (scheduled months ago), church, etc.

And it was my birthday weekend.

The rational side of me was cool with all of this, but I guess my inner child was feeling forgotten.

I was whiny, petulent, churlish all weekend.

My wife and I finally got to go out last night, and just didn’t go as I’d hoped.

I’m 45 today, and I just feel a little forgotten.

It’s okay, I’ll get over it.

Have a nice rest of your day.

Coming Up on Randomlychad

Happy Friday, folks! Glad you could be here. Coming up on the blog will be a post on the importance of embracing conflict. It’s neither pleasant, nor easy, but is worth it (something which has taken me far too many years to learn).

Also, some time between now and next Friday, the 28th, I’ll be hosting a Noah themed giveaway. It’s a pretty cool prize pack, and you’re not going to want to miss out on your chance to win.

Thanks, and God bless!

Have an excellent weekend.

The Big Power of Little Words

Yesterday was hard. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. In my quest to achieve a better today (all that each of us truly has anyway), I’ve been delving into the root causes of some my habitual behaviors.

Those patterns of relating that are borne of the intersection of nature, nature, and inclination.

What I’m finding is sobering.

I’m finding that seemingly innocuous, well-meaning words have the power to shape the course of a life.

Don’t believe me?

Consider this: as a small child, when I got a scrape, a bruise, a “boo-boo,” in an effort (I suppose) to toughen me up, I was told to say “I’m alright.”

Thing is, scrapes hurt. There wasn’t the “Are you okay?” Rather, I heard “You’re alright.”

Repeat something enough times, and it gets internalized. Becomes a part of our inner monologue.

So it was, on a visit to my grandmother’s house, and while playing hide-and-seek, I fell through the well cover. Did I cry out “Help?” Or “Help me?”

No.

Louder and louder I shrieked “I’m alright! I’M ALRIGHT!!! I’M ALRIGHT!!!!”

But of course I wasn’t–I was a small boy on the verge of falling into a well, with the very real possibility of drowning. Fortunately, my grandmother found me, and kept me from falling down the well.

“I’m alright” became my modus operandi, my life philosophy. Even when, especially when, things were most decidedly not alright. Here’s the thing: rather than toughen me up, prepare for the harsh realities of life, this little phrase served instead to crush whatever empathy my burgeoning soul possessed.

To this day, I have to work at feeling with, and for, someone. Because they, too, are alright.

Even when they’re not.

And that is the big power of little words.

God help me.

Past the Breaking

Sleep is fleeting… when it comes.
Rising early, I groan “Not again.”
Temples pounding, I rise.

Why, God, does sleep hide from me?
I want to avoid, blame, hate You

When night after night stretches into:

Weeks…

Months…

Years…

Leaving me past the breaking

But is this where you want me?

What is on the other side?

Where is rest

When is the rest?

Where are You when night after night I beg for sleep?

God, can You hear me?

Will You bring me past the breaking into peace?

Will you?

I’m waiting.

Making Ice Cream In 2nd Grade

'Batch 1 ready for the Ice Cream machine' photo (c) 2010, star5112 - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/The boy is eight. Having been held back a year, he is just beginning second grade. After living those first eight years in one place, he’s moved, with his family, to a new house. And this means a new school, new teachers, new friends.

Like a suit of well-worn clothes, he wears a pinched, serious expression on his face. He is quiet, would rather go unnoticed, stay out of the way.

He has learned to stay out of the way.

Life is easier that way. It is easier to forego trying, than to try, and subsequently fail. So this boy lives quietly in his mind. It’s comfortable, and safe, there. He couldn’t verbalize it, but if he doesn’t try, there’s no one to disappoint.

Again, life is easier that way.

But he starts second grade with a glimmer of hope in his eyes. He makes a couple of friends (he’s never had many). Then one day, it happens.

The class is making ice cream. Each child must take a turn turning the crank on an old-fashioned ice cream machine.

On that still-warm not yet Fall day–the leaves still verdant on the trees–the children line up. The boy, red hair shining in the sun like fire, is neither first, nor last; he’s in the middle of the pack.

He doesn’t want to stand out, or draw attention to himself. So he blends in. Even at eight, he’s good at blending in.

Finally, his turn comes. He steps up, grabs ahold of the crank, gives it his all. His teacher says:

“Come on, Chad, even the girls can do better than that.”

The message of those words reinforces one he already lives:

You’re not good enough. You don’t have what it takes. Move on, let someone better do that.

How many moments like that have you had in your life? Did you have someone to help you interpret them?

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