The most important part of a painful conversation is the conclusion that comes from it.
Allow me to briefly explain.
Recently I was told that I was no longer jovial, or fun; that I was different than I was before.
How that exchange came up, or the pain it caused me is not important. At least not here.
The most important parts of any conversation, are both perception, and and process.
Who said it?
Why did they said it?
What did they really mean?
True motivation of the speaker. Period.
Is what they said true?
Do I need to take it literally?
If it’s false; how do I handle it?
If it’s true; how do I handle that?
Through childhood trauma, and the passing of my mother in 2001, I spent much of my time recovering from a form of PTSD/depression.
God’s Word, the Holy Bible was instrumental as a foundation for my healing.
It taught me to seek out solitude, and gave me steps to begin changing my thought patterns , and learn to avoid the pitfalls of a too painful life.
Reading Susan Cain’s book, Quiet; The Power of Introverts in a World ThatCan’t Stop Talking, (https://amzn.to/33esZWt) gave me an inside look on the real me.
I found that enjoying being alone, was actually quite normal for some folks; and that for me it can actually be revitalizing.
Through reading her material, I was free of the guilt brought on by withdrawing, and began to embrace the quietness, and thus thrust my healing light years ahead of where I was.
Then about two years ago, we had to put our little Cairn Terrier to sleep.
He was to be our forever dog, and at age four, became to ill to be fixed.
I swore off ever having another dog.
The pain of his passing, brought back memories of the pain from my mom’s passing, and without my really noticing it – I was again enveloped in depression.
Withdrawing further and further into my own bubble, using my new knowledge of “Quietude” as an excuse.
Well, a mentor of mine says that even a GOOD thing carried to excess, can become a BAD thing; a burden.
So it was with solitude.
So back to present day, and that PERCEPTION thing;
Was what I was being told true? Probably yes.
Why did they say it? Most likely because now MY pain, was causing THEM pain.
What did they really mean? PLEASE figure this thing out so you can stop being so miserable.
True motivation? No matter how rough their comments came out, they really only have my best interest at heart.
So how about that PROCESS part?
The evening of that fight was difficult; my heart was dark with pain.
But the following morning, I got up and in solitude, prayed my favorite prayer of all; “God, please tell me the truth.”
Was what they said true? Unfortunately, yes. I had been increasingly sullen over the past several months.
Should I take their pleas literally? Yes of course. Even though I was not seeing any issues, they were; and it was causing them much inner turmoil.
Was it false? No. Since it was not false, it could not be ignored, unless of course change was not something I wanted. (To be clear – I NEVER want to cause someone pain!)
So is it true? Yes. Oh God. Tell me what to do. Tell me the truth, and help me to hear it.
Almost immediately, a random thought, of a random conversation with a random friend came to mind.
A conversation about her dog.
She lives alone, and has a large dog that not only keeps her company, but keeps her safe in her ever changing neighborhood.
I of course balked at this random idea, but as I considered her story (boy did she have some stories!) it became clear that perhaps a new dog may be helpful.
It would REQUIRE me to get out of my bubble a bit, and also keep me company.
Always a fan of the “bully breeds”, I began a search for Pit Bulls.
The day we went to see, and maybe pick up the one I wanted at a shelter a couple of towns away, he was sent away to a different home.
Sad, but no harm, no foul.
That night, a friend I’ve known for forty years, placed a video of a dog she knew of who needed to be re-homed – his owner was just too busy to care for him, and he was tied in the yard to a tree most of the time.
His owner was agreeable to us taking him off her hands.
We picked him up the very next day.
All of the problems we could have had with another dog or puppy, are non existent.
He is however making me get up, move about, and TALK.
I don’t know how it will all end, but I’m feeling a bit happier, a little lighter, and glad to have been able to help out a pup in need in the process.
So. All that to say this; Ask God to tell you the truth.
Listen even when it seems random.
He’s here to help.
Oh, and just a note, the pit bull I wanted? Through no fault of his own brought back to the shelter this a.m. Imagine that.
The logistics of ten very full buses seeing the same things, all at different times on the same day, is mind boggling!
Watchmen on the Wall are taught about Israel’s history in depth, and are trained to pray for all things Jerusalem.
Our flight from Tel Aviv was perfect.
We flew to Barcelona.
Waiting for our flight to Chicago (With airplane mode on to avoid roaming fees) and unaware of the fact that we were being rerouted through somewhere else, we totally missed our gate.
Here we were in Barcelona, we only speak English. Zero Spanish, trying to figure out our next move.
With exhaustion and frustration, we did our best not to argue. It was tough.
Then a ladies voice comes from behind us.
“I speak some Spanish. Can I help you? Where are you going?”
Believe it or not, she was going to Chicago as well!
Same gate. Different time. Thank you God!
She went to speak to someone, came back, and told us how we could book another flight.
Needless to say, we were in the wrong, wrong, place, at the wrong, wrong time, (we thought) and somehow, like He is known to do, God turned things around for us.
The flight from Barcelona to Chicago of course was long (ten hours) and we did not get to sit together on the plane, but we were both grateful to have a seat on that plane, and be homeward bound.
Of course when we landed in Chicago, it was far too late for the scheduled flight for the last leg of our journey.
So the airline provided us with a hotel voucher, so that we could sleep, food vouchers, so we would not starve, and transportation vouchers so we could get back and forth from the hotel to the airport.
We used our first transportation voucher to get to our provided hotel, WHICH HAD NO ROOMS, there was literally no room at the inn.
Voucher number two took us right back to the airport, and to the customer service desk, to find out just what were were going to need to do.
The gal was so sweet and helpful.
After regaling her with our story, she looked at her screen, and said “Oh look what just popped up!”
A room had JUST opened up at the O’Hare Hilton. (At 10:30 at night?)
A simple ten minute walk from where we stood.
The photo above is the view from our forth floor window.
We even had some extra time to get to our flight home in the morning.
There is a moral to this story, a punch line, a promise.
God never once tells us in His word that things will be easy.
In fact sometimes, things can be down right frustrating.
But His promise, is that if we trust Him, He will always care for us.
Scripture says clearly;
No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper. Isaiah 54:17 (ASV)
Note; It does not say that there won’t be weapons, it says they will not prosper.
So we ended up home, safe, exhausted, and forever changed.
“He watched where everyone else was going, and went the other way.”
“Half the miles on my truck are from turning around and going the other way.”
It’s all fun and games until we’re talking about eternity.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:1
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28 (ESV)
We get a choice. We get to choose which way we go.
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:8-10 (ESV)
I have chosen the scenic route for most of my life.
Yesterday I heard someone say “Give us the hard way and the easy way, and we’ll take the hard way every time.”
He was joking, but he certainly was making a good point.
And why not? The scenic route is also the most informative. (and challenging and difficult) but it is through that route that we learn what does and does not work, and how to go about life in a better way.
If we are a Jesus follower, it is during these times that we find out how strong we can be through Him, and just how close He walks with us if we choose to let Him.
My encouragement to you is this; when eternity is at stake, to choose wisely.
When the end is here, that choice is all that matters.
And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (ESV)
This post is more about what pushes us into and/or out of that cave.
Don’t get me wrong.
Contact is fine, that leaving the cave.
But in truth, it isn’t always energizing, and sometimes it’s simply exhausting.
People can be loud.
People can be out of order.
People and be stinky and ill mannered.
(And maybe they think I am all of those things!)
People, like myself, are just trying to get back to their caves.
When it comes down to it, the reality is that people are not noticing the people and things around them that have nothing to do with their day, unless they happen to get in their way.
We’re all just trying to return to our cave dwellings.
We live all together, yet alone.
In other words, you really can get too much of a good thing.
Too much time presiding contentedly in our caves can indeed become excessive (or obsessive) to the point of being “too much of a good thing”.
It can turn us into self centered persons, who are really unappealing.
This condition I’ve found in myself has caused in
me something I will call “Holy
dissatisfaction“, here is an example;
-I have a favorite shirt. I wear it all the time. It starts out pristine. It becomes comfortable. After time it begins to break down. It becomes threadbare. It no longer serves its purpose, “dissatisfaction”, has been achieved, and the shirt must be replaced. I get to choose at this point whether to replace it or not. If I don’t, it will further disintegrate, causing sadness and possible regret for me not being able to make the change. If I venture out for a new shirt, I may find that there are others out there that I can enjoy just as much.-
Seeking out others can be loud, and messy, and exhausting; but isn’t that what we’re here to do? Reach out to others?
What if I see out and about in town
today, and I manage to “get in your way”?
What if I greet you pleasantly instead
What if I can help you reach that item
high on the shelf?
What if I let you in on that line of
traffic, or buy your coffee in the drive thru?
What if I could give you just one good
thing to smile about today?
It really wouldn’t cost me much of anything extra.
That would create a wonderful moment for each of us.
But I had to leave my “Cave” in order to make that happen.
So let me encourage you – Make a moment. Make two.
Heck, let’s make it a habit!
Making moments until next time.
where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 (ESV)
Transition = Process of change; A process or period in which something undergoes a change and passes from one state, stage, form, or activity to another. (Encarta Dictionary)
An example of transition is that uncomfortable space in between when we are working for something and are about to receive it.
Or after we have received it, and gotten really comfortable with it, so we are in the place of moving on to the NEXT thing.
Long ago, back in the day, I thought that I would have transition once, and that would be it.
How naive I was; long ago, back in the day.
Through many years of “process”, I’ve learned that we are in a constant state of transitions, usually in more areas than one at once.
I’ve also found, for myself anyway, that if I argue with the process, or hang on to things longer than I should in my “comfortable place”, I simply end up exhausting myself and those around me; all the while never reaching any kind of new goal.
This is where I find myself today.
Somewhat wondering what is next.
So Dear Reader; I was prepared to dump all that process here, all at once, then decided to dump it out just a little at a time.
I hope you choose to join me for this journey, however long or short it ends up being.
And if you do, don’t hesitate to share any thoughts or comments that you may deem helpful.
Sometimes, in order to transition well, we (read I) need a village.