I feel a Crack Coming On….

Human emotions are complicated.  You never really know what is lying just below the surface to make someone decide one thing or another.

I’ve noticed that quite often, I decide I know – when the reality is – how can any of us really know what is going on in someone else’s head?

I have a theory.  It comes from observing and listening and bungling things up for a very long time.  If you see someone who is acting rude – chances are that person is very insecure, or afraid.  If you see someone act like a snob, and down right unapproachable, chances are that person is acutely shy.  If you see someone acting stubborn, putting a wall up, and shutting down – chances are they are broken-hearted.  No, really, this isn’t just my eternal optimism talking.

You don’t have to be broken-hearted about lost love, there are plenty other things to be broken-hearted over, and I mean plenty.

The problem is, if we all shut down because of our broken hearts, there isn’t going to be any moving forward, there isn’t going to be life.  We might expect the other person to do what ever needs to be done, but what if that person is shutting down?  What if that person needs support?

I recognize how I am made, my personality type.  I took one of those tests from a book called; “Discovering your Strengths”.  Only problem is, my highest scoring trait isn’t very helpful when push comes to shove.  My greatest strength according to the book is “responsibility”.  This means I want to do the right thing at every turn.  What does that equate to?

This means, I am bound to be alone a lot.  If I am not careful, my “responsibility” could turn around and become – resentment.

This is why it is important for me to hang on very tight to Jesus.  If I can’t be sure what the other person is going through, and I don’t want to assume, and step on toes, I can always ask Jesus for help.  Quite simply, “Jesus, how am I suppose to proceed?”

Here is where it gets really painful.  Don’t get me wrong, having a faithful friend in your corner is the best thing you could ever have, but He is always going to ask you to do the hard stuff.  “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than himself” (Philippians 2:3 KJ21).

 So, yesterday, now, and forevermore, I need to move through life with my heart in His hands.  There’s that little word “trust”.  It is only five letters, but it packs a punch, because trusting often means suffering in silence, oh yes and holding the bag.

The bag that has the smiles in it, and the tender voice, and the soft response, and the understanding song, and the hand pats, and the open arms, and the prayers, and the tears….

Sometimes being a Mom, and the oldest sibling isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be.  Wait a minute, maybe it is – I feel a crack coming on right now.

The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17 NIV).

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The Great Masquerade

The purging continues….One black hardcover folder with one very special graduation picture.  Four friends standing side by side.

graduation of four friends, picture

I’ve always told my children that the friends you make during High School may not be the friends you actually share most of your life with.  After all, what factors determine the friends we choose, when we barely know who we are?

For the first time I am looking at this portrait as an outsider.  I am not the same person I was then, and my guess is – neither are they.  But let us dissect the picture and our personalities by the clothes we chose for graduation.

My tallest friend on the far left, who will remain nameless for privacy purposes – wore yellow satin covered in an overlay of yellow lace.  The color suited her darker skin tone and brunette hair, however the sunny choice did not mirror her brooding disposition.  Not that it was her fault.  I learned early on in our friendship that she too came from complications.  The kind that met us every night at the door when we went home.  School served as our great escape.  And I must mention she was beautiful, then and now.  Although I haven’t been able to reach her for over ten years.  My summary of her look in this photo: Cautious and Classic.

Just in from the far left, a dear friend who will also remain nameless – wearing white.  An unusual choice I thought – for Grad.  One usually saves white for their wedding.  But it was tasteful, a gown with straps and a sheer complimentary jacket, trimmed in lace.  I have to giggle – because her conservative choice said nothing of her feisty personality, but perhaps was a spot-on foreshadowing of who she really wanted to be.  A good girl.  She was and will always be that, even if our High School years found us causing our parent’s grief.  We were always out looking for the next big thrill even if it meant heartache.  My summary of her look; Shy and Baptismal.

The friend standing next to me was probably the one I knew the least.  Dressed in a peasant style dress, white patterned, scalloped sleeves, flower in her hair.  She was a flower child, come to think of it.  A free spirit.  Did as she pleased, broke hearts, too many.  I introduced her to her first husband.  Recently I had the privilege of meeting her current husband and they seem happy.  If I was out looking for a thrill, then she was out looking for another planet as long as it had plenty of alcohol.  Most of what we reach for in High School isn’t what we need. And then there’s hormones.  My summary of her look; sweet and virtuous.

And finally, me at the end of the row of four, dressed in a bright pink ruffled dress, off the shoulder.  Did I mention, all our dresses were floor length?  I had worked on a tan, but my hair – who decided to put it in those curls?  I digress.  My choice of dresses certainly showed my love for fashion and the color choice did speak loudly of my extrovert personality.   I talked and smiled all the time.  I enjoyed people, I thought I cared.  For the most part – they pegged me as a princess.  In reality – I was just plain scared.  Everything around me wasn’t really what it seemed.  And no one seemed to want to be real.  High School was nothing but a big game of hide-n-seek.  Our graduation probably would have been more real if we all wore masks.  Come to think of it….Graduation should be called; the Great Masquerade.   Summary of my look: innocent – but not so much.  Oh yes and short.

“It was only high school after all, definitely one of the most bizarre periods in a person’s life.  How anyone can come through that time well-adjusted on any level is an absolute miracle” E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly