Do you ever have those weeks that just start off with an onslaught on your soul and spirit? Yeah, me too. Last week was one of those weeks.

I’ve been trying to figure out how I wanted to put all of this to words. It started suddenly. I met with someone and it was one of those conversations where it seemed nice but then you just walk away somehow feeling a bit humiliated and demeaned and wonder, “what the hell just happened?” I didn’t really know how I felt until the next morning when I told my mom about it and I just started crying and I was able to put words to my feelings.

And that was just Monday.

My child will probably have to have surgery and that is quite unnerving. But, when your son has strep throat twice in one month, you gotta do what you gotta do. It’s his tonsils and lymph nodes and I know that it’s every day surgery. But, it’s surgery. On my child. My firstborn child. My 9-year old child. And the thought scares me a bit.

So far my emotions are: a bit humiliated and demeaned, and scared.

Shall we continue? Yes, let’s.

Work! I’ve got this wonderful job that allows me to put my role as a mother first. This amazing job that just sort of landed in my lap. “What would your ideal hours be?” “Hours where I can drop the kids off and pick them up from school and be first on call when they’re sick? Is that something you can offer?” “Yes! When can you start?” “Right the flip now!” All that to say, I’m incredibly grateful for it. And there were some bumps this week. Dumb mistakes that you just have to own. When I’m coaching my kids through dealing with the natural consequences of their mistakes, I sometimes say, “Kid, sometimes, you just gotta take your lumps.”

This week, I just had to take my lumps. So, now my emotions are: humiliated and demeaned, scared and beaten down.

And to top this wonderful week off, I’m sick. Again. Which is just exhausting. I’ve been sick almost every month this year. But, I’ll keep chugging along, trying to find new ways to boost my immunity. I’m sure it will involve something like ‘more exercise, more veggies, more fruits, less cheese.’ I’m just trying other things first, okay. Because cheese and I go a long way back and I can’t just walk away. Cheese and I will have to talk about the future of our relationship. The outlook is not good. “I can’t quit you, Cheese.”

Now we’re at: Humiliated and demeaned, scared, beaten down, and exhausted. (And sad cause I’ll probably have to break up with Cheese)

Are you keeping score? Because I am.

Paul asked me if it was a test of my character. Was it? I took pause to think about that and yes. Yes, I do feel it is a test of my character. Who am I? What do I offer the world? What do I put out into the world? Am I quick to anger? Am I quick to defeat? Do I get defensive or do I stand up for myself? Do I know the difference?

I think I’m still answering some of those questions but I know the core part of me. Some good, some that need growth and improvement.

  1. Not to get all religious here but I’ll proudly say, I am a child of God. That is no small thing. It takes a great deal of faith to stand firm on that belief. I won’t give the platitude that I don’t follow a religion but have a personal relationship with Jesus. It goes deeper than that. It’s in the depths of my heart. The scripture that is really speaking to me right now is Isaiah 49:15b-16a  “Indeed these may forget, but I, I will not forget you! Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hand.”(NIV)  How amazingly powerful that scripture is to me! It gives me great comfort that God has not forgotten me and nothing can separate me from him because I am like a tattoo on the palm of His hand. My spiritual life goes to the depths of my core. Frankly, it is my core. That cannot be changed.
  2. I love people. I have a bleeding heart for people. That drives so many of the decisions I make. Yes, even my politics. I try not to talk about it because the conflict of some who may think being a Democrat is not very Christian. Yet, I have friends who have felt the heartbreak of abortion and I would never, EVER, call them murderers. But, I sit with them as they mourn and cry. I know amazing people that are my friends and happen to also be gay. They’re not my gay friends. They’re just my friends. Period. I weigh all of this in my politics and I’m sure you can figure out which way I lean. I’ve been a closeted Democrat. I guess I just came out.
  3. I can be angry and stay angry. It takes a lot for me to free myself from the chains of offense. But, I’m trying my best to take a look at myself and see where I can change and the parts I have played (even though it’s mostly the other person’s fault. j/k, j/k). Anytime there is a disagreement, it takes two. I’m becoming more aware of that everyday. I don’t always do it well. What is the difference between standing up for yourself and getting defensive? Those lines are blurred for me and I’m trying to make those lines a lot clearer.
  4. I’m an emotional being. I wear my heart on my sleeve. Which makes me vulnerable. I’m learning how to guard my heart. Even though it’s exposed, it’s still precious and tender. I’m not sure I’ve learned how to power that part of me for good or for destruction, that destruction being mostly to myself.

These are core parts of who I am. As Edie Brickell sang, “What I am is what I am, are you what you are or what?” I am what I am. Growing everyday. With the beautiful parts, warts and all. And I grow confident of the woman I’m constantly becoming, warts and all. I’m learning to love me, warts and all. And just like a kid with growing pains, these are character building pains. Most importantly, I’m starting to believe I can withstand that pain and step into it instead of run away. As any horror movie will tell you, you can run but you can’t hide. I’m choosing not to hide any longer.

I also watch t.v. with the subtitles. I like to read while I watch, because I don’t want to miss anything. So there. There’s that.

Building character.jpg



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