About Me...

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In a nut shell : I'm a wife, a full time working mom, a teacher, a Star Wars geek, comic book nerd, Disney enthusiast, hockey Mom, a decade long breast cancer survivor, and oh let's not forget such a happy, sassy, southern mess!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dealing with Perfect People and the God Complex

Have you ever thought about having super powers? Maybe supersonic speed, invisibility, x-ray vision, oh the possibilities are endless aren’t they? Now what would you do with your life if suddenly God handed you these extraordinary powers?  Have you ever thought about how amazing it would be to be able to heal someone with just a single touch or to be able to love them so unconditionally you had the power to banish fear and insecurity from a loved one’s life? Sadly, there are a few out there who would reject these abilities, reaching instead for power, ungodly and abusive in nature, seeking to destroy what they themselves cannot  obtain. What are these powers they seek to destroy? Well my friend, these powers are sometimes looked upon as ordinary, but they are so much more than that. True LOVE and COMPASSION are two of the greatest super powers we as human beings can ever obtain. For this reason alone, the Bible says, “and the greatest of these is love.”

My next question probably hits a little closer to home than dreaming about out of this world super powers. Have you ever been around someone who has an authority complex? Maybe they unnecessarily feel they have God -like powers, being sinless, acting on your behalf to save you from yourself? You know exactly the kind of folks I am talking about don’t you? Sure they seem harmless at first but over time and given just enough room they will pop your bubble as quickly as you can say huba buba!  

You may first notice this behavior when they mistreat someone you know recovering from an illness or injury, maybe they over step themselves using a small amount of knowledge as a weapon against the injured. Possibly you notice how these folks make demands of others yet seem to require little of themselves, neglecting the real needs of those who need them the most.  

Honestly it must be tiring looking over folks shoulders, making lists, checking them twice,  putting on robes of spotlessness just back from being bleached, climbing up into a broken judges seat and looking down on everyone else from the chambers of hypocrisy.  All I have to say is I want whatever energy drink they are drinking! Seriously where can I get my hands on one? Alright on a really serious note I just can’t imagine being so bold as to believe I could sit on God’s jury! I have to give it to the folks who have the audacity to ask God if He will give them power of folks in a way which derails His love and grace though, it takes guts! Seriously, what kind of super power is that? Doesn’t the Bible say they shall know you are Christians by your love? Is love not the first fruit of the spirit? And if they shall know you by your love, would not compassion be the foundation of a spirit led life?

I know what I am about to say makes many uneasy, opens a can of worms we would love to see disappear but who am I to stand by and watch the innocent be led into a den of lions, led to the slaughter just for their entertainment? How can I look myself in the mirror if I knowing stand by watching all the gory details, the lies of the slanderous and malicious to emerge without challenge?

I am coming today from a perspective not unlike many of you, from my own experiences with those who have falsely sought to gain access into my life through judgment, acting the parts of judge, jury and executioner. These types of people may even be loved ones who under dire circumstances keep lists of your transgressions, frailties, and your weakness only to manipulate and bend them into their own tablets of thou shall not’s!  Sadly, this self righteous game of thrones is a stark reality for most of us at some point or another in our lives, especially if you have dealt with any kind of long term illness. The truth is, I have kept this a  hidden place, a door I rarely share with or open to anyone, that is until today. Being under the thumb of a self righteous, all knowing, all seeing, emotional and spiritual abuser who lives each day with the hopes of bringing to light any dirty little secret they feel you may have can be downright exhausting. I am out of breath just  trying to spite it all out! Living in the light but feeling the need to cower in the shadows because some half crazed, dangerous kryptonite carrying, gold plated caped, God complexed abusive personality is insane! I still have yet to understand how these super power types believe they are invincible, sitting in pious judgment, looking for each and every rock they can possibly find and turn over all while praying to bring shame down on your head or any other poor soul they happened upon. 

You yourself may be in this very same situation at this very moment so let me fill you in on a little secret right about now: It’s NOT you! You are not the problem; you are not undeserving of love or of God’s grace.  God tells us to come just as we are, not washed up, hands neatly folded, hair brushed, laces tied and cheeks rosy with a smile on our face clones!  No, the down and dirty secret these spiritual sounding trapped inside legalism, guilt performance and begrudging folks don’t want you to know is this: God loves us in our  torn, worn out jeans, dirty faces, unwashed hair, smelly shoes and all! The real problem I have found when facing these types of people is that they are so insecure in themselves they have to tear you apart limb by limb in order to build themselves up! Sadly, these few need to imply you are lost, fallen so far from grace, that only” they” can intercede upon your behalf!

Listen up here friends, if you never take my advice ever again listen to me on this one: Do not put one tiny toe inside their stinking, pungent, sinking dingy! I repeat, back away from the dock, grab your running shoes and run as fast as you possibly can in the other direction! I am warning you if you buy this rotten load of a fish tale hook, line and sinker than these “ I have arrived” before you folks will have you on the brink of suicide, feeling incapable, worthless and unworthy of God’s love.  I know because I have been there, questioning my own sanity, my own relationship with God and my own strength all while battling the Big C. I have been to the brink of exhaustion, had guilt heaped upon my head, scolded for not going above and beyond to the point of death all while they themselves have scoffed the idea God would ask them to do the same!  I bet you have been asked to go beyond what is humanly possible, to believe, just like I have, God would ask us to give our lives away to feed these ludicrous egos. From a personal perspective injuries inflicted by those we know and love are crushing especially when they administer these wounds in the Name of God. Do not believe for one second this is the will of God! The truth is these kinds of demands are outright Godless requests, made in His name for the benefit of men and their own selfish nature!

Of course if you listen to the words of these few who come in sheep’s clothing, they can most certainly confuse you. If you slow down, using the super power of discernment you can actually watch them conspiring to siege your free will, convincing you they can save you and you’re spiritually lacking life all while handing over the keys to a great big bridge they have for sale too! Unfortunately if you do not agree with their dominate, I am right, sign the deal and just surrender to my total authority point of view  you  lose their approval and are shunned. By all means they will guilt you into surrendering your free will. By the time these super powered manipulation inspired authority figures use spiritual means to gratify their desires of importance, power, or intimacy it can be just as tormenting as having your nails peeled off during an interrogation! I can certainly tell you I would much rather live in the muddy, flea infested trenches, dealing with cancer and her consorts, battling hand to hand in combat than live my life under the microscope of anyone who feels they know my heart better than the God I serve does!

Oppression and domination are two of the key components a spiritual and emotional abuser will flaunt in your face on a daily basis, especially if they see you as weak. The real honest to God truth my friends is your weakness is actually strength, strength which has been forged, made strong by the refiner’s fire!  Do not be deceived by those who come to destroy you, hold your nose to the ground just because they feel they have the power to do so! I encourage you my friends to hold your ground, to cling to what is just, to what you know is right, and not to be swayed by those who cannot produce righteous fruit, full of unconditional love and true compassion.  Remember God does not require anything from us to come before Him, so if someone is preaching that you must obey their laws first, then you are in the presence of a false teacher! 

I know this post today is one of the strongest I have ever written, but there comes a time in one’s life when you must stand for what is not only just, but what is right! I myself serve a loving God; yes He is just, allowing me to fall and pull myself back up again but like a kind, loving Father He does not take delight in my failures, taunting me, abusing my spirit for His own gain. I have spent too much time around those who speak in God’s name yet know nothing of His true love, of His plans for our lives. Real Christianity in its truest form does not paint a picture of God sitting in a judge’s chamber handing out condemnation with each strike of His gavel!

 I challenge each and every one of you my friends and family not to become victims of these wolves in sheep’s clothing. Flee from those who come to steal your joy, who present you with legalistic misinterpretations of God’s word! Truly guilt and spiritual enslavement is the only outcome of such appalling positions of power.  Look closely at the fruit in their lives, what do you see? Is there strife, anguish, hatred, anger, lack of self control, lack of compassion and complete chaos? If these traits are the only fruits hanging upon a leader’s tree, then it is time to walk away, to stop inhaling the pungent smell of rotten fruit! If you do not see Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control than you need to pack your bags and run for the hills! 

My words to you today are to break free from those chains, the lock and key binding you to this zealot, religious, crippling kryptonite. Remember there are always villains in this world wearing super powered capes crusading as super heroes but real love comes from a deeper source, a spring of grace, living inside of each of us, giving to us the power to heal and to bring hope into the lives of those we love.   

As I close this chapter of my life today, I choose to live free from oppression. I choose love, grace and infinite forgiveness.  I am absolutely comfortable with my less than perfect, dented fender, rusted out door, multi- colored Hippie van. When push comes to shove I am perfectly happy with staying as far away from the perfect people parking zone as possible. I know I am not perfect by any means! I mess up constantly, I am human after all, not blameless or sinless but imperfectly saved!  I know my God is real; He lives within my heart, guiding me through the darkness, out of the shadows, not chasing me into the dungeons of despair. Besides, Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. So the real honest to God truth, is this: when all is said and done at the end of the day I know without a doubt my Lord is not compiling a list of my failures, instead He is working on a Christina –can- do- list and you know what, I am alright with that!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Falling Into the Great Big Pink Abyss

If you are a breast cancer survivor or have been actively involved in the life of one then you understand the feeling of falling into the pink abyss. I sometimes feel as if I am living out my life inside a strange other worldly type of experiment.  I seriously question my sanity some days noting my unusual view, humor and tango with the keeper of this abyss. I for one have felt trapped inside a strange lab, living inside a test tube at times but lucky me on special days I’m let out, set loose, in a big giant bubble to live among the normal folk. Being tagged or labeled and yes at times even feeling permanently tattooed with a BIG PINK RIBBON across my forehead if not the way I saw my life turning out.  Honestly speaking, if you feel the need to run from the giant pink abyss trying to swallow you whole,  possibly referring to this crazy breast cancer woman as the pink blob, then imagine how overwhelming, if not a tad strange it must feel for  those us  living , taking up residence inside the abyss.

Pink was never my color, I was more of a bluesy kind of gal actually. Beautiful blue skies, blue bonnets and bluebirds filled my dreams, not Pink roses and bows. That is of course until BREAST CANCER decided to run her claws across the front of my chest, digging deeply into my internal highway, setting me on a crazy detour through something called chemo and ripping away my breast literally from my body.  Now I can’t say she took everything away from me without giving something back in return. The truth is this beast was kind enough to leave behind a nice big scar and a map leading me and anyone else who dared follow me into the Pink Abyss. 

So the question now is what do we do now that we are here? Well, we can sit and pout, we can get mad, hide in the corner and give up, hand over the keys to the next victim of her detour or we can get busy, working together inside our special bubble!

I for one did not see my life turning out this way. I was not one to go head on with a beast who has never been taken down, not once! I  can tell you I would have rather worked in technical support, leaving the battle to those more seasoned, stronger, able to not only carry a sword into battle but to be able to run, charging toward the beast as well. I was the weak one, the less than perfect, totally laughable, wall flower. I defiantly did not think I would ever lead the charge against anything, much less breast cancer. But you know what; I am living inside this crazy experiment, in and out of test tubes, pink slime, bubbles and all without regret.

I am painfully aware living inside this great big pink abyss can be tiresome, and if you are just along for the ride, in the passenger’s seat so to speak, then you have a helpless pit growing in your stomach as well.  Life with breast cancer is not an easy road to hike. I can tell you from experience, it gets harder! Friends, family may even abandon you, leaving you standing in the middle of the journey alone. Fear, is like weed and it can choke the road, keep you from finding the light, leaving you looking at what seems to be an impassable fork in the road.

So where is all this hope I am always going on about? Well it is inside you, growing into this great big pink abyss, opening up doors, carving out new pathways, throwing open windows and providing you with the strength to light the way for those following you into this strange, other worldly experiment  you have fallen into. Grab hold of it, put hope to work for you, allowing her to consume your fear, surge through your soul and pulse through your heart. I don’t know about you, but life inside the pink abyss isn’t as bad as I once thought it was. It’s not my first destination choice, but it’s where I landed once I stopped fighting the turbulence. I have made a home for myself here, opened my door to those who need support and comfort, dealing with breast cancer’s frequent raids, and overcoming her need to rip away any other additional pieces of me.

Life is underscored by struggle, but the truth is we are all stronger than we think. I can tell you straight up breast cancer was not on my list of things I wanted to experience in life, definitely not on my bucket list. I certainly didn’t want imagine myself as a cancer survivor as a child, but it’s what I am today, where life took me and this is my point, we don’t know what life has up her sleeve for us. We can make the grandest of plans, design the blueprints and still end up in an abyss of overwhelming defeat. So I encourage you today, each of you to put your perfectly laid plans aside and embrace the life before you, find a way to plant your garden of hope right where you have landed, not where you hoped to be when you grew up. Each journey into the Great Pink Abyss is remarkable and yours is no different, just take a deep breath, grab my hand, close your eyes and let’s go…..

~ Christina

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fresh Off the Chemo Couch

Five years ago, I sat in my living room, just fresh off the chemo couch. I was facing another five months of being squashed under the weight of chemo’s poisonous  twin and triplet monsters as I wearily celebrated Mother’s Day with my family. My scalp was shiny, my tummy was turning and my boob was gone. I felt like a freak of nature to be really honest with you. The life I had planned on, dreamed about was not the one staring back at me.  I wanted to run, to hide to break every mirror in the house, to go back to my life as a two boobed, raven haired, slightly curvy, wanna be fem fetal. The truth was ugly, or at least I thought it was, as I sat there with lights flashing and giant signs pointing to the hole in the left side of my chest wall, boobless where once a multi boobed chest used to poke out from under my T-shirts. Now I was sitting, on the couch, with a self imposed gag over my mouth, a bandanna on my bald head and a swollen face, chemo induced, steroid filled body!  Who knew when I celebrated my first Mother’s Day in 1997, holding a small, precious bundle in my arms I would have been sitting there nine years later surrounded by my two children watching a bad B movie version of my life, with breast cancer as the guest star? I sure didn’t!
 I will be honest with you; I really, really wanted to fall back, to run away from the cancer monster and her consorts. I can tell you I tried a time or two, but in the end I did not cower in a corner, nor did I retreat to my bedroom, off and away from the hustle and bustle of my everyday ordinary life. Instead I held to my core belief: hope is an action word.  For one, ordinary is not in my vocabulary, two, life with children, even if you have the C word stamped across your forehead , it’s just  not an excuse to stop being a mother. Now before you get upset with me, understand, having cancer is a concrete  reason to feel over whelmed, to be tired, over come, even defeated, but the truth is , in my life anyway, it cannot be the excuse you use to give up! Believe me I have lived through many storms in my life, cancer being just one of them. So  I can truly tell you when giving up was on the table, when anger and spite felt like the best course to devour or when feeling sorry for myself absolutely held the top number one spot on my list of things to do for the day, I took a deep breath and out hope into action.
Oh man have I felt the need to give in, give up and let it all go and Mother’s Day five years ago was no different. What shook me out of my self induced pity party, and believe me it was a party complete with party horns, streamer, banners and cake,  was the fact my children did not deserve a my pity to rule the day. What they needed, was hope, to believe mom was going to pull through, to see mom embracing life, holding on, hanging on to this beautiful, yes crazy life God had given me. On Mother's Day 2006, I was just beginning to make strides in this journey through the dark back roads of cancer. My body was tired; it was dying to be honest, poison pumping through my veins, killing off those crazy, tentacles breast cancer was stretching out into my life.  Giving in to the pain was definitely a possibility. Believe me the pain was incredible, at times leaving me crawling up the stairs, pulling myself up, out of breath, while the pain seared through my body, through my chest, phantom pains in place of where a breast used to sit. Was I wonder woman? Absolutely not, I was as plain Jain as they come but what I did have was determination; resolve to give my children a legacy of hope and courage in the face of death. I remember pulling my body out of bed and embracing each new morning, looking out at the day and wondering if it would be my last. I found myself determined to soak it all up, impress those tender moments deep into my heart like a pressed rose in between the pages of a favorite book. I forced myself to smile as tears fell from my eyes, willing myself not to take the day for granted in any way, shape or form. I was not in the clear, not yet anyway and life was not anything close to my aspirations as breast cancer invaded our lives. I was not happy about this plan, but looking back, I see God’s hands, I see His work and His might in my life. I do not see my own strength, but I see His, I hit rewind and I know it was, and is still, the grace of God in my life holding all the broken pieces together.
 I found hope at a time in my life when I was still looking for higher ground, to escape the flood waters rising from this fight against breast cancer. I was definitely uncertain of what lay ahead of us. I had no clue what was in store for my husband and my children.  I did not know if Joshua and Micah would be motherless, if Johnny would be a widower, raising our boys without me.  Who knew what might befall our lives as cancer tried to root herself deeper and deeper into our world. I surely passed through the valleys of pain and fear, sometimes on a loop, passing by the same “Detour this way” sign 100 times a day. But I’ll tell you what kept me sane, what held me together was this: Holding on with all my might, even if it was by a thin string, to my faith, to hope, both kept me from falling to my doom below. Somewhere along this journey I gained the strength and found the courage to keep living, breathing and even loving those who lashed out at me in spite of the obstacles.
As a mother, watching my boys play on Mother’s Day, I felt weak, as if I had let my children down but it was their love, and tears which inspired me, spurring me on, showering me with determination to see the battle through, no matter the ending.  I would say even today, five years later my life is full of uncertainty. Many times I still feel as if I am holding my now teen age boys hands, skipping painfully and singing over the river and through the woods, pushing our way through murky waters and cloudy days.  But, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt the gifts I have given by being a mother are strength, hope and endurance. I live my life, one day at a time, as richly and fully as possible. I celebrate now, realizing I have indeed been given the gift of mortality, viewing life for what it truly is, fleeting and precious. I live each day as if it were my last. This year, five years later, as Mother's Day has come and gone, I choose to continue, battling by my family’s side, cherishing their unique, powerful, extra ordinary place in my life. Today I celebrate my children’s lives and their precious unconditional love in my own life.  Yes, being a mom is bittersweet; but the results are tried and true, giving each of us Moms the extra push to continue keeping our feet on the less beaten path, cancer or not.
So today, the day after Mother's Day I celebrate the life, the hope and the passion I have been given. I celebrate the gift of motherhood. I celebrate my boys, goofy, silly and wonderfully made, both, in their own way inspiring my courage in a world where breast cancer does exist. After all, fresh off the chemo couch or not, those of us battling cancer may own her scares, but she does not own us!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Escaping Worry-Ville

Have you ever noticed we tend to live life just inside the city limits of worry? We inevitably bypass the country road detour of serene, calm and still choosing instead to floor the apprehension peddle before idling at the intersection of pain and panic heading on to the highway of uneasy.  We have even been known to turn down the side streets of distraught and concern, drive over the Bridge of Fright, while traveling to the worrisome, nervous city hall of Worry-Ville just to be sure our license for Alarm, Fear, Fright, Dread, Dismay, Hysteria and Anxiety have not expired! 

The peaceful outskirts of town always seem within reach but never quite within walking distance.  We sit, lie on the grass, look through magazines dreaming of what life could be away from the anxious, vexed life we feel we have. How fabulous it would be if we could live inside our day dreams, what if we could move to the auspicious, cheery suburbs, putting in a pool of serenity, a garden of hope. ( Of course as long as it’s just far enough away from worry and her consorts but still close enough to get into our idling vehicle fueled by fear and head back into Worry-Ville right?) Are you feeling flabbergasted yet? What about out of breath, is your head spinning from my worrisome descriptions? Are you contemplating whether to make a dash for the door right now? Maybe you are feeling the pressure building up, ready to pop like pop corn inside your head? Possibly thinking on a serious note about the whole do not walk, but run option? Perhaps nervous tension and constant worry feel as if they own stock in your life?

Come on friends, if we are not fretting over money, we are uptight about our neighbors, maybe it’s the way their yard looks, or possibly you are concerned about your health, the new cough taking up residence in your lungs, refusing to pack her bags and scat! Whatever the reason for living inside or just outside of this daunting place we have put roots down, made it our home, a way of life and altering our routine is not on the schedule! OK, I don’t know about you, but I’m done with Worry-Ville! I’m tired of being sick and tired, of panicking over the finances, if my style  are up to date ( believe it never is!), if I’m keeping up with the Jones’ or simply if I am in good graces with the Worry-Ville city council because I’m attending Worry-free Anonymous meetings inside Worry-Ville city limits! Life is too short to let worry, fret and fear get the best of us. Now the truth is sometimes, there doesn’t seem to be any other options available, our bags may be packed, but they aren’t moving. The reality is if we can step back, hand the keys over to our worry infested homes and walk towards the outskirts of town without our self packed baggage life wouldn’t seem so stressful. We may even have the chance to check out some new scenery, catch a glimpse of hope in bloom and find a new residence other than Worry-Ville.

The thing about living our lives wound up so tightly, wrapped up in worry, is we lose sight of the blessings life has to offer us on a daily basis; we can’t see the beauty in the journey. Our day to day mileage begins to add up, and the only thing we seem to see from the driver’s seat is an endless highway of clutter on the road to nowhere.  Unfortunately we get all caught up in our computers, schedules, sports, jobs and school work that we forget to breathe, to relax and enjoy the ones we love. Life is not meant to be packed full, over scheduled to the point we don’t know if we are coming or going.

If breast cancer taught me anything it is to stop living life in a stress zone! Believe me this particular lesson came front and center, with a big wallop on the back of the head, like it or not. A major road block was put up against my protests, I think she even bulldozed my home at some point and sent me on my way into the suburbs away from this crazy place of worry we all reside in from time to time. I can guarantee you she may not have been on my personal docket but she sure pushed her way to the front didn’t she? Now the truth is I do hop into my fear fueled Worry-Ville minivan occasionally but on a daily basis I try to walk in the worry free zone, sharing my love of life and my no worries attitude with anyone exiting the Worry-Ville limits. Personally I say who cares about yard of the month or running out to get your hands on the newest I-something-or-other. Life is too short, grab it by the horns and climb on its back, take a ride across the great plains of adventure and declare the boundaries of your new life a worry free zone!


Monday, May 2, 2011

The Intersection of Complicated and Interesting

Ever notice, especially in today’s age with social media such as Facebook, email, texting, yada yada yada, how you can feel isolated even when you are surrounded by hundreds of friends?  We have all felt the abrupt silence echoing from our computer screen once someone has turned on their "off” button to us haven’t we? It’s much like real life as I like to call it when you notice both your phone and door bell has stopped ringing.  Maybe you have turned on your computer one morning to a “holy cow” kind of take you by surprise moment, an aversion to your point of view or excitement over key details in your life has taken root and all of a sudden you have been brought you to a halt, scratching your head in dismay. I don’t know about you but several times throughout my journey I have felt I could literally look behind me emotionally and actually see the skid marks from where the breaks were applied to my enthusiasm.

Personally I love the whole super market scene when you are directly in front of someone but somehow they missed the fact it’s your feet they have tripped over? The same goes for facebook and all the other quicker than quick, lightening fast outlets which let you respond to all your family and friends in one compact spot.  We have all adapted, learned to read through the lines, or lack of and in just one texted word, we know if someone is unhappy, cross with us or missing in action. So when there is a sudden silence or an abrupt decision to stop responding over and over again, if you  or someone else is quick to chat with everyone else but one person under “the list” of comments, it’s pretty clear you or they are avoiding them right?

 Well not always, because we cannot know what is truly going on in someone’s life until we stop and make ourselves a part of each other’s world.  To really answer the question you have to be willing to admit everything is not always as it seems.  How can you tell, well sometimes the truth is you can’t.  It’s so easy with all the technical assistance we have at our finger tips to masquerade, yet avoid buying one on one real personal stock in one another. Honestly we rarely do more than dance around one other’s lives.  I agree there is a mental button we do turn off from time to time, but must we do so all the time? We have all been there, and asked ourselves how “those” we are feeling separated from do not  understand how, as in real life, we can tell, can read through the lines coming to the slightly lope sided conclusion we have been cut out of any exclusive one on one contact. The only problem is we do not always put ourselves in the very same shoes, how we do the same without ever meaning to hurt anyone.

Now, I can tell you from firsthand experience it’s not easy being ‘The One’, ignored, but sometimes it’s not for the reasons you might think. Maybe it’s because your illness scares some, maybe it’s due to their own fear of losing you, or because they are overwhelmed by the whirlwind surrounding your life and they just don’t have the words to really express how they feel yet.  Is it ever as easy 1-2-3, no, but it does get easier to recognize if someone’s silence is personal or not and to get past the whole, you have abandoned me thing to be honest. I for one have had to learn not to take it so personally. Does that make it any easier to swallow, no not really?  It still hurts, get’s chocked up in my throat, still causes me to stop and do some soul searching, asking myself what did I do, or maybe it was what I didn’t do or simply it has nothing to do with me at all. Honestly, maybe it’s more about being the escape goat and realizing you just have to keep your chin up. Or more honestly maybe it has to do with the struggles your own friends or family may be going through at the moment.

I have had several conversations around this issue during the last week with friends and family. How to deal with or how not to over react when you feel pushed away. Whatever the reason, feelings get hurt, but it isn’t always a personal, yank your pig tails kind of brawl. In fact it may not even be anything as close to an ordeal as all that if you want to be completely honest. It’s very possible you’ve found yourself caught in an emotional bear trap, and you just have to wait for the cavalry to come spring you lose! The thing is this: it’s not always easy to know what to say and then you can bet your bottom dollar it may not be enough or  it may be too much or simply not what they need to hear right there and then. I for one like many of you have been the reason for everyone’s dismay a time or two in my life. Maybe it’s because I did not do something, give up something someone else thought I should have. Maybe I am unable to live up to the standard anymore, maybe I am living too far above the standard or maybe it’s more about how those few see life in the moment. Honestly it’s all speculation until you have a real, hallelujah, come to Jesus meeting with those you love. Sometimes things go back to normal, sometimes they just take time and sometimes they never seem to see you clearly again. However it goes, I am here to tell you not to take it personally.

OK this isn’t the easiest advice to take standing up or sitting down I know. On a good day I have it in my back pocket, on a bad day, it’s gone with the wind. Either way, I am learning to come to terms with living life imperfectly. Life is complicated to say the very least. Nothing about it is ever easy, and if it is, RUN! I mean it ,run as fast as you can, as far away as you can and keep going till you reach the intersection of complicated and interesting. Why? Well because life’s not meant to be a walk in the park, though the truth is we are meant to stop and enjoy, smelling the roses from time to time.  But when it comes to adversity, struggle or illness life will throw you some pretty crazy pitches. You can chose to either grab your mitt and catch the ball life throws your way or you can just stand there and get hit in the face. The choice is yours; catch the ball or get hit in the face… seems pretty simple enough huh? Well the thing about it is you can grab your mitt and still get hit in the face anytime if you miss, right? Again life is all about perception and sometimes it’s not as clear cut as it may appear to you.  

So the next time you feel put out, have your feeling bent a little bit out of shape, I challenge you to step back for a second and grab hold of your mitt. It may turn out the way you hoped, or completely the opposite of how you planned it would but in the end you didn’t just give up or give in. You may still end up with a nice big shiner on your face but you will know you tried right? So you might as well just smile and get back out there. Take it from me, life can get complicated, but a quote I try to live by sums it up best, Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. - Martin Luther King, Jr.