My World

No pictures. Just sentences.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

cleansing by fire

I have to share about my doctor's appointment today. I've been feeling a lot better (except that the summer heat's kicking my butt!) and when I was not feeling as well I did something. It started out with a feeling I had long held that there were 2 sets of rules in the world--everybody else's and mine.

I decided to take some index cards and write down those rules. It evolved into any irrational and negative thought or belief I held or felt. I took my time doing this. I had a pretty huge stack when I was done. It was so great to get them out of my head. I literally felt like by putting them on paper, I was getting them out of my head so I wouldn't start thinking about them again.

My original plan was to post them on a wall where I could see them and realize their ridiculousness. Then I was going to put them in a paper shredder and dispose of them. However, the cards had a post-it type backing and I decided that shredding wasn't the best idea because the sticky would gum up the shredder blades.

I took those cards and presented them to my doctor, explaining that I was through with them and I was giving them away, getting rid of them. She thought this was cool and looked through them. I would see her get a disgusted look on her face and thought she was upset with me, however, it was the thoughts that were upsetting her, but she was excited that I was ready to part with them.

She asked me if I would consider burning them. We went outside and while it took a while to get the fire going, I burned every last one of those horrid thoughts. It felt SO good to be free of them. It was actually a cleansing, cathartic moment. I started with the one I've struggled the most with "Don't take up space." I know that I'm worthy of living and not just surviving and that I have just as much of a right to get what I need as anybody else. Burning that one first and using it to start the rest of those cards on fire was kind of symbolic for me. I can't even remember the other one that I "did something special" with, but it had to do with my mother and I ripped that baby up into a million pieces before adding it to the fire.

Inside my head, I thought something like "I surrender these thoughts because I know they're not true and that I deserve better" but outwardly I said something less ceremonial, like "let's get rid of these things once and for all!"

I can't tell you how differently I felt this afternoon having gotten rid of those cards and what they represented. I didn't think it would impact me the way it did.

Lest anybody think I was a reckless firebug, we poured 2 cups of water on the ashes before throwing the mess away.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sunday thoughts

There are a lot of people that I know that are hurting right now. A friend is coping with the recent death of a colleague. A lady at my church is watching her son in critical condition after a motorcycle accident. As of today, it's still unclear if he will survive. Those who know these people are struggling watching people they care about hurting, and in some cases aren't sure what to do to help.

The answer is rather simple. Love them. Pray for them. Pray with them if they are willing. Listen to them. Love them.

Okay, I said the answer was simple. I didn't say it was easy. Some don't think they want to be loved. Some don't know how they want to be loved right now. Others are just trying to keep it all together, either for themselves or for their family.

Having been through a few trying times myself, I still can't say "I know just how you feel", but I can say "I know how it feels to hurt. I know the pain that loss can give you. I know how it feels to have a loved one hover between life and death and not be sure what to do. I know you don't think you can get through this right now, but I was able to get through it and I know you can too."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Bargaining

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Marianne's been going through the loss of a dear friend and I'm still struggling with some of my losses over the past few years.

I guess this all started last week when she was asking about the stages of grief (as described by Kubler-Ross= denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance) and asked what bargaining was. The easiest answer is "if you let them live I'll do anything." But I think it's a bit more than that, especially since it comes so late in the process. I've noticed my thoughts going to a place where I keep asking, "did I do everything possible for this person?" or "Was there anything else I could or should have done?" I think that's a little bit of the bargaining as well, because you're doing a lot of questioning about what happened. By the time you enter this stage, enough time has passed that you can think a bit more clearly about the events without being so caught up in the emotions.

I think that once I realize that yes I did do everything possible and there wasn't anything else I could or should have done, I will arrive at the next step.