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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.