Thursday, October 16, 2014

No Conditions

Last night I played for a "Healing Service" at my church.
Any parishioner who would like to be anointed and blessed was welcome to attend.  It is a lovely ceremony, because the students in the 7th grade religious education class are there, and they sit behind the parishioners who have come for the anointing.  When the priest comes around for the "laying on of hands," the student who is sitting behind the parishioner puts his or her hands on the shoulders of the person being anointed.  It is beautiful.  It is also hard to watch sometimes, because there are many tears that are shed.  I typically find myself trying to continue playing through my own tears, just because it is so moving to watch how profoundly moved these people are.  The first man who was anointed immediately began to weep as Father laid his hands on his head.  One can only imagine what inner turmoil these people may be going through.  I see them every weekend at church, and we smile and say hello.  I, of course, have no idea who amongst them is actually dealing with illness, sadness, loss, or any number of things that they hold in the silence of their hearts.
I think a lot of the emotion during the anointing has to do with the fact that in that moment, that person is feeling fully cared for, fully loved, and fully blessed.  Who doesn't want to experience that?

I think of the times in my life when I am going through hardships, and someone comes up to me, looks me in the eye and asks, "how are you really doing?"  I usually break down at that moment.  Not because I feel sorry for myself, but because some one really cares.  
Isn't that all we really want in life?  To have people who really care about us?
I was discussing this with my husband on the way home after.  The concept of truly caring about people...with no strings attached.  I think we all have people in our lives who seem to care when it is convenient for them.  But there always seems to be an ulterior motive.  Maybe there is something they want from us, or something they need us to do for them.  And, once they get what they want, they seem to fade into the woodwork, until we become useful to them once again.
I have never understood that.  I will never understand that.  Actually, I don't want to understand that. It must be a sad existence when your relationships revolve around "what you can do for me."

It took me a long time to figure it out, but life is so much better when you just open yourself up to the good, and brush away the bad.  I have people in my life who care so much more about things than people.  When I finally took a step back to look at the big picture, I realized that sadly, that is all they have.  Things.  There are no people in their lives, because the relationships that could have been built and nurtured were broken and destroyed.  It's all about priorities.

I think the first step to creating strong relationships with others is to start with yourself.
It goes without saying that anyone who is miserable and who enjoys stirring up trouble for others obviously has lots of issues of their own that they need to work through.

My biggest problem used to be worrying about what everyone thought about me.
"Stinkin' thinkin'"
I actually went to a therapist once because a guy in my choir didn't seem to like me, and wasn't responding positively to me at all.  It was completely throwing me for a loop, and rather than just ignoring it (what I would do now) I was going crazy about it.  I was so upset about it, I sought help for it.  The therapist gave me a handout about "stinkin thinkin"......the crap we conjure up in our own minds to make ourselves miserable.  I just assumed the guy hated me, and I couldn't figure out why.  It turned out he was just sitting back and trying to figure me out....that's all.  Now we are best buds.

Because of my obsession with worrying about everyone "liking me", or approving of me, I was seriously a constant ball of anxiety.  If anyone looked at my strangely, or leaned to the person next to them and whispered something, I KNEW they were talking about me....and it was NOT something good! (And I used to teach!  Middle and High School!!!)
Insecurity was the name of my game.  It was ridiculous.
I am not going to say that I'm not insecure any more.  I still am.  I still get upset over stupid crap.  I still doubt myself.  I still feel totally clumsy and frumpy whenever I'm around a group of perfect, gorgeous women, or really smart people, or a football team...or whatever.
What is different now is that I DON'T CARE.  I have always been pretty outspoken, but I no longer worry about whether or not what I say is going to make someone mad.  
I never write or say anything to intentionally hurt anyone.  I state what I'm feeling.  That's it.  If anyone gets mad at me for what I'm feeling....well, that's is just plain silly.
I know some people think it's inappropriate that I write about my mom.  Here is my take on that.
 She is my mom.  I write about her because she is going through something awful, and A LOT of people ask me how she is doing....ALL THE TIME.  I am not going to sugar coat this damn disease.  I am not going to pretend it is all rainbows and ponies.  I am going to write the TRUTH.  The more honest I am about what Alzheimer's does to a person, how it changes everything about them, how it affects their loved ones....the more AWARE people become about the disease.  
I think it would be ridiculous to NOT write about her.  It would be a disservice to not spread the truth about how horrendous this disease is.  I had no idea until I was thrown into it.  I used to joke about how I would "much rather lose my mind than my body."  Now I know better.  This is why I write about my mom.

And this is also why I write, period.  I always have something to say.  Most of the time it is just ridiculous gibberish, like the fact that both of my dogs are currently covered in parmesan cheese.  (And I really wish I was making that up.  My husband needs to maintain better control of the cheese container when shaking it over his pizza. ) But, sometimes I hope that I can put something useful out there that maybe helps someone work through some difficulty they are having.  Lord knows I have gone through just about every trial and tribulation known to if I can save someone the heartache of plodding through it....I would be thrilled!

And so, I am going to continue down this path.  The path where I try not to take things too personally.  The path where I put myself out there, bare my soul, and live my life authentically and honestly.  I refuse to hide behind secrecy and shadows.  I will respect the privacy of others, but I will not be shamed into muteness when it comes to what is in my heart.
I will choose the high road, and I will always go to the source, because that is the respectable thing to do.  And, if someone takes issue with me, I expect them to do the same.  Nothing ever gets solved if people can't communicate with one another. Directly.
I hope that every one of you who reads my words knows how much your willingness to take the time out of your day to spend with my writings means to me.  YOU are the reason I stay up way past my bedtime staring at my computer, trying to come up with something profound to entertain you with.  You are the reason I am motivated to write EVERY SINGLE DAY.
You are the reason I am finally doing something in my life that truly FEEDS MY SOUL.

So, thank you!
I hope each and every one of you takes some time out of your day to do something that breathes new life into your spirit.  And if you haven't figure out what that is yet....take some time to just breathe!

Happy Thursday! xo

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