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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

emotional anorexia

Last weekend I watched "To the Bone" on Netflix with my older girls. It is about a girl with anorexia who is struggling to want to recover. As someone who has struggled on and off with my own eating disorder, it was deeply touching to watch her struggle with herself and food.

One line, in particular, has stuck with me. The main character is talking to her friend, who is trying to encourage her to start eating again, and she says basically "but aren't you afraid that once you start eating you won't be able to stop?"

I have been turning that phrase around in my mind all week. I can totally relate to that - on a food level because sometimes it feels like it is easier to starve myself than to make healthy food choices. But I noticed this week that sometimes I do this with my emotions too.

I think of myself as a pretty emotional person - I have big emotions that I find hard to express and I am very empathetic. But I noticed that sometimes I have the tendency to starve my emotions, especially how I feel about other people - like an emotional or relational anorexia. I have this fear that once I start showing my emotions I won't be able to keep them in control and I'm afraid that if I start to get close to people I won't be able to maintain my boundaries.

But this is just the story I am telling myself, a lie that I speak to myself, that if I stay open to friendships I'm going to be disappointed and hurt, or I'll become codependent, blurring all of my boundaries. The reality is that I have had and I currently have some really really great friendships. Like all friendships, they have their ups and downs, times when we are close and times when it feels like we lose touch for awhile. But they love me and I love them. This is the truth.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

for when Mother's Day is not a happy day

Hello you,
You dear sweet face on the other side of this screen. Hello from where I sit, here in the dark and (finally!) quiet of my desk. I wanted to say something to you, because Mother's Day (here in America) is right around the corner, and that annoying ad for the cell phones keeps playing and won't let me forget.

I wanted to remind you because this needs to be said - Mother's Day isn't always the happy cliche you see on the greeting card aisle or the ad on TV. Some of us need to be reminded that this day is not a happy day for quite a lot of people.

For the men and women who long for their family to begin - today is not a good day.
For those grieving the loss of a miscarriage - today is not a happy day.
For the grieving fathers and mothers who lost a child -  today is hard.
For the children who never knew their mother.
For the child who was abused.
For the child who has been abandoned by choice or by death.
For the son or daughter who just feels abandoned - today is something you just get through.
For the mom who is raising kids alone.
For the dad who wishes he could make breakfast in bed but that side of the bed is empty.
For the single woman who is just so ready to start the next chapter of life.
For the young mom who feels like today is only about Grandma and it just means more shuffling kids from place to place just to keep the peace.
For the mom & dad who feel like their marriage is just dangling by a thread.
Today is the opposite of happy.
Today is just plain super painful.
Please do not look away.

So please remember as you give your Mother's Day greetings or go about your weekend that there is a lot of pain in between the smiles and there are a lot of tears right there in the middle and all around of the joy. Please don't look away. Please remember.

Are you still with me? Good. Becuase I have something else to say too. Because chances are I didn't have to remind you of all that stuff above. You already know, boy do you know. You know, as you walk into church on Sunday with your little brood, you are fully aware of how blessed you are. But it is hard to celebrate in the middle of pain, yours or your friend's. It really is. But please listen to me: do it anyway. Because this is the world that we live in, where joy and pain share bunk beds and you rarely get one without the other. Embrace the joy of today in the middle of the pain because that is where true joy lives.

Please don't sit back, afraid to enjoy today in the face of all of that pain. Instead, reach down deep your pockets, and find that deep, true joy. Hold it in your hands and then let it turn to love in your hands.  Wrap it around the shoulders of the women to your left and to your right. Snuggle deep into folds of it and bring your children into it, breath it in. Pain does not exclude joy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

a meditation on Psalm 25

I'm lifting up my soul to you
for your presence
for your comfort
for your wisdom

I don't want to get to the end of the day
and hang my head in shame
I don't want everything I have trusted in
to turn out to be a false hope
I don't want to be full-steam ahead
in the wrong direction
Show me the way to go.
Open my eyes to Your truth
Help me see things from Your point of view

Forgive me for rolling in the mud
when you have clothed me in a wedding gown of grace

You have covered me, head to toe, in your love
You stretch out to embrace me
from my first day to my last
you embrace me
like a friend
You show up in the nick of time
just as I'm about to set it all up in flames.

Please reveal your presence to me
I'm waiting for you
I've been waiting
You know I've been distracted
I'm paying attention now
Please - don't leave me hanging
I know I've messed up,
but here I sit, waiting for you.
I'll wait as long as it takes
I'm listening