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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Don't Ask me how I am, because I will tell you.

While it is simple to be happy when things are going well, your team won, you lost a pound or two, it's different when life isn't so great. The fact is it's dang hard to be happy when just don't want to be. And you know what? I don't think you have to.

When I am having a bad day, I bristle when people look at me condescendingly and begin reminding me how I have it so much better than someone else. As if, at that moment, it will make any difference in my mood. Or they start with that tired old adage of "I thought I was bad off until I met the guy with no shoes thing"....Please don't... I need to feel this way until I don't feel this way any more...I need to process my emotions and please step out of the way and let me pout. There may even be a tiny little fit. I think it is cathartic, and necessary. I find it is constipating to keep it all bottled up, and just as uncomfortable. For what? So that I appear stoic?
Will it say on my gravestone....."Here she lies...our stoic friend Donna...we never knew she was brave". No!! That sounds like required reading, or sensible shoes. I can't do it, I can't even fake it. If I am suffering we all suffer.....I do life by committee!

And besides my gravestone is going to read..."I told you I was sick..."

I want to be like my grandmother matter what, her shoes matched her purse, her silver was polished, and her nails were done. She had some bad days...she had some real bad days, but you know what? We all knew when she was having a bad day, we knew it and everyone she came in contact with knew it. There was no pretense, no forcing a happy face. She invented the "I am going to feel like this until I don't feel like this any more" philosophy. She acted on life, instead of letting life act on her. She was authentic, it wasn't in her to pretend anything...

Isn't that fabulous?

And when life is so.....I don't know, miserable? Why do we have to pretend everything is OK? We learn from each other's struggles, mostly we learn that bad times pass....and that is a comfort in itself. Bad days don't have to be forever, but they are reality. And sometimes when life gets to be really uncomfortable there is a up side...that's when I start to hope. I start to hope something incredible is about to happen. I do believe we are saved at the eleventh hour. And on occasion we are pushed to our absolute breaking point. And then we are able to look backward and marvel at our own strength.

It isn't a shock to God how we will react in a crisis, He knows us very, very well. Trials give an opportunity to know how strong we is how we find out what we really believe it. We get to find out who we are, and what we are made of. Trials reveal our true character. C.S. Lewis called it "Rats in the cellar." From Mere Christianity....

Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is. Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth. If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man: it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.”

The rats in my cellar are a constant concern for me.....but then they are for everyone.

So I give you permission to have a bad day, just put a limit on it. For say, I can feel like this for an hour, or an some cases a whole day. But don't go too long, I don't want your bad day to conflict with mine...and it is all about me.


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  2. Oh Donna. This truly is one of the things I feel most strongly about. My stepmom and I disagree vehemently on the subject and I fear it will be the reason we never have a true relationship. One big reason I don't believe in putting on the happy face for the benefit of others: I believe and have experienced that God puts people in our lives for certain reasons. He puts people in our path each day for certain reasons. They may even be strangers to us but I believe they can be our angels or we theirs. If we are not honest in our display of emotions then we may be missing an opportunity for a connection- even for an answer to a prayer. I believe my mother felt very strongly about this as well and I find it a good way to live.

  3. Well, bless your heart, Ms Donna. I agree! How do you know the beauty of rainbows if there aren't ugly (yes ugly) rainclouds for a while! It will get better, but you have to endure the rain - even get wet!

  4. I do think we all deserve a bad day once in a while. I feel so much better the next day when I can see the sunshine and the blessings.

    On a related note, as a kid I was always told to smile. You should smile more! You'd be so much prettier if you'd just smile! Face it! I'm not a smiley person! Why should I sit around smiling all the time? I will smile when I feel smiley.

  5. But even with permission to have a bad day, I hope this Easter is a wonderful day!!

  6. Thanks Donna, I needed that!

  7. Even on your worst days I can't imagine you're anything but joy to be around.

    Thanks for this post. I needed it.

    Carry on.

  8. I love the quote from CS Lewis. I think that we all have bad days. Now I'm not a fan of taking out bad days on other people by driving like a maniac or yelling (both of which I have DONE -- but I'm not proud of), but I think that a good pout or cry or just a no-smile day is NORMAL. And wonderful. I always believe that when we are ourselves, we give other people permission to be themselves as well. And what greater gift is there than that?

  9. Great post. And it looks like I just found another blog to follow!


  10. Agreed!! I love the C.S. Lewis quote. It makes so much sense. Love your blog! Let's do lunch! :)