Category Archives: Mistakes can be a matter of perspective

Mothering is Not Easy, but it is Good

Remember how easy it was to run to Mommy when you were hurt or in pain? Needing was natural then.

“Admitting the problem is half of the healing.”

I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Why is it so hard for us to do? Especially if we know how much it helps us?

I think, because we have all been hurt, we are in self-protective mode. We try to shunt responsibility elsewhere. For instance, I always think all the dirt in my house comes from my husband. I don’t even question it! Well, lately I had a humorous and painful thought. When he dies, I might be surprised at how much dirt is still here–and then I’ll have to admit that it’s me.

When you admit responsibility you have to do something. You have to look at yourself–admit you fail, admit you aren’t perfect, admit you are vulnerable.

Or, you get to do something! People who can’t admit they are wrong strain the relationships they are in, putting pressure on the people around them–the ones closest, including yourself.

We think admitting fault or weakness makes us less. Makes us look bad. Or this one–makes us vulnerable.  We don’t like to feel vulnerable –it scares us. We think we have to protect ourselves. What a silly notion. As if we really could! Most of our attempts make things worse–including us. It hardens our response ability into defensiveness (fear), instead of the free-flow of creative thought where solutions or new ideas come from. Defensiveness keeps us from growing. It makes those around us uncomfortable, and sometimes feel hopeless.

Welcoming a new perspective helps. Brene Brown has researched vulnerability for years and has found it to be  the most healthy attitude a person can have: knowing that you aren’t perfect, can make mistakes, and admit it.

Today I am so proud of my daughter for admitting she has post-partum depression! She has already started to feel better three days later! Yes, it can respond that fast. (And for any of you who are fighting depression, research has shown that 1000-4000 mg. of Omega 3/daily, and half as much of 6 and 9, is more effective than anti-depressants, as is exercise, and sunlight, or vitamin D if you have no sun, and in her case iron because of blood loss from birthing).

We knew she was suffering from sleep deprivation, and I noticed she looked like she did when she was depressed after her last son, but she wasn’t into the vulnerable place of being helped yet then. Her main coping mechanism has been to do it herself, take care of everything, be perfect.

In fact she confronted me on being judgmental about her technology. That wasn’t how I saw it, but man, did it hurt. There was just enough truth and just enough misunderstanding to really make it sting.

I didn’t know what to say, but when it hurts that bad, you have two choices: go into defensive mode or pray. So I breathed, and said to God, I don’t even know what to say. We were with her husband and mine, and someone said something, and I heard myself saying, “I just know that looking at yourself is really hard. It’s so painful that you can barely see yourself with any clarity.”

That broke the tension and everyone became more vulnerable. Everyone started sharing, and we even ended up praying together. It ended up making our last day much better.

A real big-picture perspective would show us how futile are our attempts at self-protection. With what we are up against–living in the war zone between good and evil–we regularly get slammed with discouragement and pain, and what fun the dark side has with our pretending to be good and right. They help us make big messes with denial and self-protection.

How much better to let God protect us, so we are free to be real: broken and vulnerable, not hiding, not defensive. Able to hurt, to need help, to be wrong–to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is good, healthy even.

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Filed under depression, Health, Love ed, Mental Health, Mistakes can be a matter of perspective, mothering, Parenting

Good from Bad

Have you had the experience yet of something wonderful coming from something you thought was horrible?

Christmas is tied to such a memory. Arriving at an airport 30 minutes before my flight was scheduled to leave, I had checked-in before I left, so thought I’d have no problem. It was an unfamiliar airport but still no problem. Until I looked for my boarding pass and couldn’t find it. No text. No email.

“You’ll have to go to the kiosk and check in,” the agent said.

“But I don’t have time,” I replied.

“Sure you will, it’s right over there,” she waved in its direction.

I went and the kiosk said, “It’s too late to check in for this flight.”

I started to panic. I walked around all the ticketing lines up to the desk and said, “The kiosk is saying I can’t check in for my flight.”

“What time is your flight?” she asked, and when she heard said, “It is too late; you have to check in 30 minutes ahead.” I had bucked line, there was no point in wailing, “But I did check in!”

An agent came up and said, “You have to get in line,” as I fought back tears. Normally I don’t care about a few extra hours, but this time I wanted to get home.

A couple of minutes later I remembered that God can bring good from anything and thanked him that I had missed my flight. Not yet feeling thankful, I went back to the kiosk and checked in for a new flight two hours later. But I wasn’t satisfied and stood in the special helps line. It didn’t move, and a thought persistently came: Go to the gate.

It seemed silly, but finally I went. My plane was still on the ground but they had just closed the door, and for some reason I went to the next gate which was also leaving for my connecting city ten minutes later. I asked if I could still make my connection.

The agent said, “I don’t know but I  can get you on this flight if you want.” And just like that she printed a new boarding pass and I was on the plane.

Arriving at my connection I was intent to see if my flight was still there. It had gone and I had to wait almost three hours. I found another flight but they were oversold and asking for volunteers. Disappointed but resigned, I called my husband about the three hour-delay. He was gracious and I settled in to wait.

I finally got on the plane–an aisle seat on a 747 (!)–by a good-natured 13 year-old boy.

Then his dad came and asked me to trade with his sister so they could sit together. I can’t deny I was the tiniest bit irritated underneath my good-natured cooperation.

Bella was 83 and last to board, and got to my traded aisle seat just before me. I got the window seat. I don’t mind window seats, but…

We were both exhausted and planning to sleep. She had just flown in from Belgium so to her it was midnight. She was trying to sleep when the food cart came, and I was reading. She invited me to share her “picnic” and soon we realized we were kindred spirits.

I’ve met many great people on planes and would like to stay connected, but the persistent present closes over pleasant people who become pleasant past experience.

What made the difference with Bella?

Maybe it was her wonderful attitude toward life, compliments of cheating death after a heart attack nine years earlier. Maybe we had so much in common except that she didn’t believe in God. That usually isn’t a plus for me, but she was so open and authentic in her disregard. Maybe it was her openness to hearing me reframe her choice to live after her heart attack as choosing God because God=Life.

Whatever it was, four and a half hours later, I felt I had made a friend for life. Thank you, God, for getting me on that plane, in that seat.

I was trying to have a good attitude about a series of mistakes. God had a bigger perspective.

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Filed under A God perspective, Becoming real, Mistakes can be a matter of perspective, What is God like?