The birds made me mad today

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I’m composing this on my iPod as I sit at my mother-in-law’s kitchen bench. We needed to have time here because Great Grandma’s health is declining. Life keeps speeding by and we haven’t been able to visit at all this year. My hubby looked for a weekend where his work and church schedule allowed him to be gone. The plan was to leave Friday morning.

Cut to Friday afternoon. Hubby still at work and packing not started. It was a rare sunny day and we were outside carpe-ing the diem.

Cut to 10.40pm last night. Our toddler had been awake and crying most of the 3.5 hour drive.

Cut to 3am this morning. Our toddler was still awake and screaming.

Cut to 6.30am this morning. The birds were chirping a sweet song. Their joy was offensive to me.

Cut to 11am.  He’s finally napping. The screaming has stopped. I’m on the couch looking at some oh-so-cheery flowers and writing to you. The flowers are a little too cheery.

When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. (Romans 12:15)

Here’s my next thought about the devaluing of / cultural restrictions on the “Mother’s heart“: Since when is my sadness more important another person’s (or chirpy bird’s) happiness?

I’m feeling aware that I give room and support to people who are in sorrow above giving room and support to those who are in joy.

Example: I’m having a great day but you’re having a crappy one. It seems it is socially expected that I dull down my joy out of respect to your bad mood.  But not vice versa?

More important example: One of my dearest friends had a miscarriage when my daughter was a new-born.  We had dreamed of our kids playing together. But her sweet baby had gone to live with Jesus.  Clearly, in that moment, her grief was more important than my joy.  I put aside my joy and brought my heart to support her.

But I went a step further: I felt tinges of guilt about the aliveness of my baby.  Why did my baby live? It wasn’t fair. I didn’t know how to share her sorrow and still love my joy.

Thank God for my amazing friend. She was the one who showed me how to live out Romans 12:15. When I asked her what I could do to support her, she asked if she could hold my baby.  It’s the opposite of what I thought she would want.

She held my little daughter and cried.  She touched her toes and smiled.  She smelled her sweet baby skin and loved every moment.  In her deepest grief, she celebrated the wonderful joy in my life.

This was so healing for me.  Funny, right? I didn’t realize I needed healing. It turns out that each of us needed the emotions of the other’s journey.  Oh. Do you feel the power of that?

Simultaneously… When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. (Romans 12:15)

I think this is a very important function of a “Mother’s heart”: The power of the interchange of our emotions.  Protecting sad people from happiness is not a gift. Suppressing happiness ends up robbing the lives of those around us.

Being mad at the chirpy birds this morning did not help me.  Misery loves company… but healing comes when we allow each others’ journeys to touch our hearts.

This “Mother’s heart” is going to try to do this better. I’m a bit edgy today from no sleep. Father God, open my eyes and heart to share life today.

I’m very aware that I’ve approached this from one side of the issue.  We could have talked about all the times when grieving people are told to “buck up” and get on with life because happy people don’t want to be pulled down by the sadness anymore.  This issue totally goes both ways. Sometimes being positive is way more socially acceptable and supported.  There are a lot of grieving people who are having to suppress their grief.  Right?! All because we think it’s the right and mature thing to do.  Yikes.

I have more thoughts about this… like what is the reason why we “like” to dwell in our emotions and not get support by others?  But that’s for another day’s bloggings… 😉

What do you think? Have you seen this in your own life? Are you better at sharing sorrow than sharing joy?  Are you suppressing joy?  Are you suppressing grief?

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7 responses »

  1. Wow, just found your blog by a friend sharing another one of your posts on Facebook. I LOVE it!!

    I recently had a similar experience…I just had my 5th baby in November, and my neighbor and dear friend, who desperately wants to have a child is still waiting. 😦

    I found myself just as you described, holding back a bit, not offering for her to hold Maggie due to not wanting to cause my friend any pain and sadness she might feel. She did ask to hold her, and of course I let her.

    Also, I would like to thank – you for your diligence in your study of the Word. I have read many “christian” blogs that are not nearly as scripturally accurate. We are each at a different place in our relationship with the Lord, and perhaps this is a portion of it. Every relationship takes work, even ours with our heavenly Father, and it is evident that you put time and effort into your relationship with Christ!! THANK – YOU!!

    • Thank you for your encouragement. My heart really is for the Word to be the framework that everything else is built on… in my bloggings and in my life. I really appreciate you reading and commenting. Looking forward to following your blog too.

  2. Pingback: Plans and Passions « coloursofcolor

  3. This is so true, and I think we make it hard for ourselves as adults. I am wrestling with what it means for me to find balance in my work at the hospital amid a lot of loss and grief. Sometimes my ability to see humor in a moment or to remind someone of joy in their shared history has been as good as my ability to walk with them in their grief. I have wondered about the socialization of women and what it means for us to place others’ emotions/needs above our own.

  4. What I think about this .. and your other blogs .. is that you are giving people permission to BE REAL! You’re enabling us to learn how to step outside of the expectations placed on us by our culture, whichever that is. What we “should” say and how we say it. Whether to confess our faults to one another. Whether to be private about what we’re going through, in case others will think certain things about us that we don’t want them to think!

    So thank you for setting a HUGE example to those of us who NEED that permission to be real. Giving me .. whoever “me” is .. the confidence to express my true feelings and reactions and responses to life .. to MYSELF!

    Belief in a personal God helps this process tremendously. Knowing a God who is Father, Friend, Paraclete (that wonderful Greek word with multi-meanings in our language: Helper, Advocate, Intercessor – ” the one who comes alongside”). The point is – HE knows us anyway! We’re not hiding anything from Him .. most of the damage within us is that we’re hiding it from ourselves!

    Reading what you and others are sharing, so candidly, will encourage us to let go of the “protection” of not being honest with ourselves – myself!! Learning to be real to myself, honest to myself, but then being able to know the safe places where I can share this revelation, so that others who’ve not yet got to this place, will not be hurt or offended!

    Thank you for showing us that taking away that “protection” does not necessarily increase our being vulnerable (eventually!) It will bring out the strengths, to enable us to be the Mothers that we’re created to be! In the wider sense that you speak of .. to our families and in our households, yes. But in our workplaces and to our communities! To our world, however large or small that may be – to widen our sphere of influence. Our hurting world which so much needs to see the joy in people who are honest with themselves!

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