Thursday, February 4, 2010

Compassion vs. Judgement

I rarely remember my dreams. And if I do, they are usually innane and seemingly meaningless...easily blamed on last night's pizza (or in this case, German chocolate cake!). When our kids come to our room in the middle of the night for comfort from a bad dream, I pray for them and hold them and do my best to get them back to sleep as quickly as possible....but my empathy level is usually rather low. I mean how bad can it be?

I just had the most vivid dream...David and I were checking into a hotel. I preceded him into our room by a few minutes. There were two beds in our room and the one on which I was putting my stuff had drawers in its base. And I did not notice at first, but coming up from the foot of the bed were wasps. Somehow I ended up with wasps all over my left ankle and shin. I don't remember being stung but I was SCARED. There was a can of wasp killer in our room and I stared spraying it like crazy into the crack where I perceived the wasps were emerging before I realized that they were getting on me. When I saw them on my leg I sprayed myself over and over...then Dave came in the room and was asking what was happening! He helped me get them off myself and we were in the process of exiting and getting somewhere else safe to stay when I woke with a start...SO thankful to be safe in our little house.

It FREAKED ME OUT. So much so that I cannot go back to sleep at the moment (I got up at 3:45 am...). All my speeches to our kids in the past 15 or so years about 'taking thoughts captive' are ringing through my head...a simple choice, right? Or maybe not as simple as I've thought. Tomorrow morning I will certainly be asking forgiveness for impatience with them...and this is but one instance in a myriad that has certainly grooved our kids for the need for therapy somewhere down the line!

I'm frustrated with myself regarding my lack of compassion, my easy rush to judgement on things I am not familiar with. I'm tempted to list things I've been judgemental about in the past, but I'm afraid of alienating someone ("You judged me because of that?") Okay, I'll make a short list, but please don't take this's just my own obtuse insensitivity.

I tipped the scales this week at my all time high weight...YUP. In the past here's my thoughts: 'Losing weight: how hard can it be?' Well now that I'm here, it is hard. Very.

A few years ago I had the DESPERATE need to be on depression thoughts prior to that: 'C'mon people! Think a happy thought for goodness sake!' Now my experience says that I had NO IDEA what I was saying. NONE AT ALL.

Sad to say, I've also judged children of divorced families...I was COMPLETELY CLUELESS to the total devastation that rocks a child's world when parents divorce. Mine divorced when I was 38 and it made me feel like I was 8 years old. And though it has been 9 1/2 years since they've split, I'm a long way from being through grieving over it.

Hopefully the more I live, the more I will RELAX and quit judging. It's so tiring to judge all the time. Maybe I just won't have enough energy to do it after a while? (if only it was that simple!)

Then I think, hmmmm.....certainly this very subject may be one of the reasons that these verses are in the Bible:

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3,4

So I take this to mean that if we haven't received this comfort ourselves, WE AIN'T GOT IT to give out...(I normally don't use the word ain't, but it seemed so appropriate here...) My view is so narrow. I'm so thankful that the Lord's is not. I'm so thankful that

"...we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God...This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." Hebrews 4:14-16

Lord, have mercy! I desperately need this grace...probably most in the middle of the night (literally....and figuratively). Continue to show me my ungraciousness toward others. With Your help I want to turn away from this natural bent to judge. May I see You for who You really are. May I receive Your love and comfort that I may comfort others. May I give out grace as You do...liberally!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Held Close

We met when I was in 2nd grade...I was 7 years old. It was a brief meeting, after school one day and I didn't get to know much about him, but I loved him.
As 6th grader, I met him again through a mutual was an awful time in my life. My parents were going through very difficult financial times. We had moved to an area of the country where I was a minority for the first time in my life and I was picked on a lot because of it. It was scary to walk to and from school because of the teasing and threats and rock-throwing. It was at that meeting I think I knew we'd always be together...I started writing to him almost every day and he was so good to keep in close touch with me.
Through all the changes of my growing up years and beyond, he's stayed close and cared so sweetly, attentively. Even through periods where I ignored him, when he ended up last on my list, he's been there.
Most of the time I don't feel like an old person, but as I type I realize we've been together for forty years now. Only an old person can write that! Through the movement of the seasons, his careful, deliberate attachment has spoiled me. I am safe in uncertain times. When it's dark, he draws me even closer. Though I've known him all these years, there is always more to know, more to love, more to have of him...and I think maybe more of me to give.