I’ve been in a bit of a winter funk lately. I’m sure many of you can relate. Long, stressful days at work. Illness after illness. (In my case, I’ve had a sprained ankle, bronchitis, a sinus infection, handful of colds, and strep throat.) Endless wining and bickering from my almost-four-year-old. Continued night wakings with the almost-two-year-old. The list of paltry complaints goes on. But thankfully, I kept my ears open and was listening when the universe told me to snap out of it, TWICE.
The first time was during the Sunday church service right before Christmas. Our pastor referenced this Bible passage in passing during her sermon: “When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6 NRSV).“
This passage reminds me of that old joke about the woman who prays every day to win the lottery. After many years pass, an angel appears to her and reminds her to “Buy a ticket!” So after pondering over various life decisions lately, I feel like I’m ready to buy a lottery ticket. I’m ready to jump in the healing pool and walk again. I’m ready to make some changes in my life. I’m starting really small by brightening up the dark, earthy brown walls in our family room. I have four paint samples smeared in various corners and am currently leaning toward “Estate Sale,” a bright, pretty, multi-dimensional khaki green color. (If you know me well, you’re not at all surprised. I don’t care that I’m predictable. It’s me. )
The second call from the universe came from Facebook. (Groan.) My favorite new inspirational person, Glennon Melton of Momastery fame, posted this on her Facebook page: “Please don’t let anyone convince you that your pain is not valid because ‘others suffer more.’ So silly. Should we not feel joy in case others are more joyful? Joy and pain are every human being’s birthrights. Like sunshine and rain.”
To be clear, nobody is convincing me that my pain isn’t valid… except me. The only thing worse than feeling a bit down is being disgusted and angry with yourself for feeling down when you have a PERFECT life with jobs, health, children, love, support, EVERYTHING. As I’ve grown older, I’ve struggled with this a lot. I invalidate my sad feelings because I don’t deserve to be sad. I set aside excitement and happiness because not everyone gets to share it with me.
This. is. so. crazy. I think I have a trifecta working against me in this area. Mom. Midwesterner. Lutheran. I was born to feel guilty.
So this post is my public declaration. I am squaring my shoulders, holding my chin high, and getting happy on a daily basis. Owning my feelings, no matter what they are, and claiming the right to feel them. So HUH.
Andy told Drew a story the other day about winning a contest in Sunday School when he was a boy. He won an entire package of Oreo cookies, and promptly distributed the whole package among his little classmates. I listened intently as Andy explained to Drew that he could have kept all the cookies to himself, and that he would have been VERY happy. But when he shared them with his friends, then EVERYONE got to be very happy.
So I’m resolving to share some ‘Oreos’ with you via this blog. I can be happy even while other people experience hardship, illness, pain, etc. Permission seized. Maybe you’ll even get a shared ‘Oreo’ out of the deal.
In closing, here’s a random list of things that have made me happy recently, both big and small:
-The fact that Drew calls his bank a “penny bank.”
-Gophers actually winning things and being ranked (#1 Men’s Hockey, #1 Women’s Hockey, AND #8 Men’s Basketball! Ski-U-Mah!)
-Holding a brand new person, Ramona
-Fresh fluffy snow that sticks to trees
-A super fun story about Owen picking up Spanish from his friend Tomás (a story for another day)
-Antibiotics, feather pillows, ice cream, heat packs, and other things that make me feel better when I’m sick
-Kids wearing grown-up sunglasses