Friday, January 27, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Tender

 Every Friday, Lisa-Jo invites us to write for just five minutes, no editing.  Occasionally I remember in time to play along.


 I hurt today; my head, my stomach and a sore spot on my foot.  My aches leave me tender, vulnerable, open to stronger reactions than normal.  Because like a dog with a sore paw, when provoked I responded harsher than typical.  My children are also sick, all three of them home today.  They don't seem to understand how miserable their Mama feels, so they whine and bicker until I respond. Too harshly.

 But their little hearts are tender too.  And a mama's angry words, no matter why they come, can lodge deeply in a small soul and fester.  I feel torn, guilt-pain adding to physical misery.  Why can't my kids be kind to me? Why can't I respond better to them? Finishing my rant, I apologize, confessing my sin of anger to them, asking for their forgiveness.  They extend undeserved grace to me, offering hugs and kind words.

 And I am left tender, the good kind now, my heart moved by the compassion and grace extended to me, a sinner.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fear, Dignity and Coldest Night of the Year

 We had exited off the interstate to take the bridge to Canada when I saw two official looking cars blocking the road ahead. Instantly my body filled with fear.  I had no legitimate reason to be afraid, no illicit goods in my car and yet my heart started pounding.   Border Patrol Officers were searching vehicles leaving the States which seemed bizarre to me. I'd never seen this before although I've crossed the border well over a hundred times.  Perhaps they were searching for stolen property or someone being trafficked, but for whatever reason traffic was blocked and cars were being pulled over for questioning.  As we were driving a rental car, the officer doing the questioning waived us over to be searched.  As we waited, I became increasingly agitated. Finally they let us go, after searching through everything in the trunk, even our dirty underwear.

 It took me awhile to understand my agitation.  It wasn't just that I was frustrated over the delay because I wanted to see my kids, but I was also completely panicked.  As I sorted through my emotions, I realized it was because I no longer believe being innocent is enough.  I knew that although I wasn't carrying any contraband and am not a threat to the United States Government, if the security officer wanted to, he could have torn apart our car, physically searched us or even detained us.  And there wasn't anything we could do about it.

 It's been like that in my life these last couple of years.  Things happened that I couldn't do anything about.   My innocence didn't matter, only my supposed guilt.  This led to deeper wariness of authority than I already had. Through this I've learned empathy for the plight of refugees.  I've started to identify more with them, to understand what it is like to leave a home not by choice.  These past few years have also given me more compassion towards the homeless.  I know what it is like to be treated with suspicion and wariness by those around me,  and how it feels to live with the resulting fear of people.  It's a rough place.

 On February 25th, I'll be walking 5k with my daughter and some great people from my church.  We're raising money for Ray of Hope, a local organization that serves the homeless.  Before the walk last year, I had an interesting conversation with another walker.  She was in her late teens, having recently gotten off the streets. She had participated in a program that employs homeless teens, teaching them life skills, providing them with an income, and returning their dignity.  I want to be a part of that, to not just feed and clothe the homeless but to provide better choices for them.  There have been so many this past year who have reached out to me, restoring my dignity and sense of self.  I am so thankful and so I'd like to pass on the gift of dignity, of hope to the marginalized in my community.

 If you'd like to be sponsor Aris or me, give our names a little click.  And if you'd like to walk yourself, click here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cake Party

What do you do when you end up with too much cake?

 Yesterday my children returned home from AWANA with two fancy homemade cakes.  My husband wondered what on earth were we going to do with that much cake.  Thankfully we only have two children in the program, unlike our friends who lucked out with four cakes. One of them was a Candy Land cake complete with lollipops, candy canes and a Starburst walkway.   My husband was really glad we didn't get that cake. :)

 So while he was moaning about the surfeit of cake, I came up with a plan. Why not invite our neighbours over for a Cake Eating Party?  So we invited our friends and neighbours over for a last minute party.  It ended up being great.  Not too many people came, but just enough that our house wasn't empty.  The kids played really well, we had some great conversations and best of all, we have almost no cake left!  Oh, and my house is much cleaner.  Nothing incites cleaning quite like having company over.

 I think we need more cake. :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's Been Two Years...

 since I first opened this space and started writing.  Pretty crazy!

 I haven't been writing as much recently, mostly because I'm attempting to finish up my doula certification.   It's been a long time since I've had to write essays and I have to say I'm not enjoying the process.  I will be ever so glad when I'm finally finished and certified! :) Perhaps I will throw myself a party. :)

  I started writing this blog as a way to force myself to find joy.   Life felt rather dark then, and although I knew there were glimmers, they quickly swam away from me.  Writing was a way to remember, to find those shards of light and capture them.   I find joy much more easily these days, although it's still darker than I would like.  My husband keeps telling me that healing is coming when I get too frustrated.

 As we were away over the holidays and only returned yesterday, I did the groceries after getting the kids from school.  Kian decided that he didn't like that particular grocery store and decided to vent his frustration by screaming.  I should mention that Kian has a particularly high-pitched and piercing scream.  But he wasn't content with this.  No, he needed to hit anyone who came near him.  It was not a pleasant scene.

 I was thinking about the days when smacking a misbehaving child was common place and fighting down my urges to do just that when I remembered I had my phone.  I quickly sent Steve a text, asking him to pray.  I guess he knew it was urgent since there was no punctuation and I actually used numerals instead of words.  After dropping my phone back in my pocket, I headed to the dairy aisle to grab milk before leaving.  At this point, one of my arms was wrapped around Kian to keep him from hitting his brother, while the other one tried to steer the cart.  I'm really not sure what the other shoppers thought.  I'm sure it wasn't all pleasant.  But then in the dairy aisle, peace came.

 Over the weekend, Kian had visited his aunt and uncle, where he was given yogurt drinks.  Money is tight so we don't buy yogurt drinks typically.  These are Kian's new favourite and he had asked me to buy him some earlier.  Lo and behold, I found some on sale.  Kian stopped misbehaving when he saw them.  After getting him to apologize, I extracted a promise that he would behave if we bought them.  Not content with that, I informed him that if he misbehaved at all, the yogurt drink would be returned.  We outlined inappropriate behaviour and went on. Immediately his behaviour changed.   By the time we reached the cashier, he was in a much better mood.  Things were going so well that the cashier actually praised my parenting.  Laughing, I informed him that my now-adorable looking little boy was the same one who had been screaming earlier. The teenager had a hard time believing that such an innocent looking child make that much noise.  Personally, I think God made him extra-cute so he would survive to adulthood. :)

 Anyhoo, it's late, I should go to bed.  Happy blogaversy to me! :)