Monday, October 15, 2012

Sorting Things Out

    I had a weekend that I feel should have filled me with joy, as I got to spend time with a number of my favorite people who are both loving and uplifting, but instead I felt like crying through much of it. 
     On Friday, I went over to Mom’s and was sorting through things alone again.  I worked my butt off, got through a number of boxes from the attic, and recycled tons of old papers, set aside school supplies to give to a friend who knows a program that could really use them, and put some things in a pile that I want to bring home.  I know I may end up sorting through the things I’ve brought home again, but I’d rather have the chance to do that than have everything be thrown into huge black garbage bags and taken to the dump.  This has been a very painful, emotional process. 
     One thing that’s quite overwhelming about all of this is being reminded how many periods in my life when I’ve felt isolated, alone, and as if no one in my family could or even tried to listen to me, understand what I was feeling, or what I was going through.  I spent so very long covering up the darkness and depression that I lived in. 
     Only when I couldn’t take another thing going wrong would the stress come out.  After I’d spent half an hour talking about things that were really inconsequential, then crying for half an hour so hard I couldn’t speak, I’d finally be able to talk with my mom about what was really troubling me. 
     I keep reminding myself that all of this sorting, saying goodbye to the family home, etc. could be a whole lot worse.  I could be sorting through everything from my mom’s house to throw it away after it was ruined in a fire, flood, or some natural disaster.  (FYI, I’ve made a point of praying for all who have lost their homes to fire, flood, or a natural disaster knowing that would be much more devastating and overwhelming.)    
     The trouble is it doesn’t help me feel better to know that things could be even more depressing and seemingly insurmountable. There’s not much progress made when I get angry and frustrated with myself because I’m feeling sad, lonely, depressed, sorrowful…even when I am fully aware that others are suffering in really significant ways.   
     I have lots to be grateful for.  That’s not really the issue.  The problem is more that I have spent so much of my life trying to cover up my emotions that I need to be reminded that it’s okay to feel whatever I’m feeling without beating myself up about it.  I touched on this subject in a post I wrote a while back entitled Living the Lie that Everything’s Fine, but I’ve been thrust back into this place of tension lately whenever I feel down but think that I shouldn’t be.     
     We had a number of plans to spend time with people we care about this past weekend.  I felt that I should have been joy-filled and happy all weekend since this was the case.  I became frustrated with myself when I wasn’t Mary Poppins’ with a cheery disposition and practically perfect in all ways. 
     It’s no fun to feel sad, anxious, depressed, sorrowful, or disappointed, but I’ve learned it’s better just to let myself experience those emotions rather than berate myself for having them in the first place. 
     In accepting how I’m feeling (even if I don’t like it) then I’m being more open and honest.  When I stop trying to be (or wish that I were) a non-feeling, completely objective robot, then I’m more likely to discover what’s driving the negative feelings and come up with some possible solutions or practical actions I can take towards remedying those hurts.  I am more likely to be compassionate to those around me who are also carrying hurts or crosses of their own. 
     Lord, help me become a better vessel for your love, compassion, and understanding by accepting my emotions and those of others as opportunities to grow closer to You and others. 
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