Anniversary

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Today isn’t about my parents.

It’s about me and my husband and the love we have for each other.

Today is our 2 year anniversary. It is also the 1 year anniversary of my parents telling me they are getting divorced.

Call it want you want, but I feel like God guarded my heart. When I think of Sept 15, I think of Barry and I on our wonderful day, not the heartache and pain that would follow one year later.

I know that I am in the middle of series on pain, but today is about love. I will pick it up next week.

Today, love wins.

 

Your Pain Matters

This week’s blog is brought to you by http://www.storylineblog.com, you see the original post here. It’s written by Cadence Turpin

I found it quite freeing. I hope you do too!

 

We’ve all experienced moments of feeling like our pain is being “put into perspective.”

Whether it comes from witnessing horrible tragedies on the news or walking with our friends through unimaginable circumstances, you’ve probably, like me, sighed in the heaviness of it all and said something along the lines of, “man, the stuff I go through is so petty in comparison to this.”

The sentiment is common.

For years, I’ve heard myself and other Christians make similar comments over and over again when discussing news stories, social injustices and the burdens of the poor and hurting.

This way of processing tragedy isn’t exactly wrong. There’s no denying God uses external tragedies to give us inner perspective. But pain is pain. And I have a hard time believing God ever intended for us to go so far as to let others’ pain shame us into believing our pain is a “petty” problem unworthy of God’s attention.

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This idea came up last week when I got a call from my friend Jamie. I was telling him about the teen mom I mentor, Emilia, who had just opened up about years of sexual and physical abuse.

I was telling Jamie how petty the relational hardships I’d endured seemed in light of Emilia’s, how she’d really shifted my perspective, how I’d wasted so much time mourning heartache that wasn’t even close to what Emilia’s heartache must be like.

But before I could continue, he cut me off.

“Yeah, but that stuff matters too, Cadence.”

I paused. “Yeah, I know…”

Truthfully, I was kind of annoyed. Yeah, yeah I get it, my stuff matters but it doesn’t really matter. Not as much as Emilia’s stuff. I shouldn’t be mourning my stuff when there’s more important stuff to be mourning in the world.

Our conversation continued and I didn’t think much else about it.

But my friend’s words came back to haunt me a few days later. I got an email from an ex that was hard to swallow and as I started to tell myself you shouldn’t be upset about this, I immediately remembered my friends words: That stuff matters too.

All of a sudden those four words I’d found slightly annoying and uncomfortable a few days earlier felt like a breath of fresh air.

They actually felt true.

And even healing.

I slowly began realizing how years of belittling my pain in the face of others’ pain had only been filling me up with shame. You shouldn’t care so much about this. Just think of what so-and-so’s been through!

What my friend Jamie taught me in that moment, without realizing it, came directly from working with thousands of hurting people over the years who’d been held back from healing because they were carrying so much shame about their pain.

Your stuff matters too.

We need to stop shaming ourselves about our pain and instead acknowledge that we are all fragile humans who are trying to figure this life thing out. We need to remind one another our pain matters, even when it feels petty. 

And especially when we’re tempted to compare and conceal it.

Let’s practice more compassion without comparison. Let’s gain more eternal perspective while giving ourselves permission to mourn our worldly losses.

Your pain is not a problem.

 

Real Talk

It’s been almost a year since my parent’s broke my heart.

Yep, I said it.

The two people, who I thought would never hurt me, left a gaping hole.

Divorce doesn’t kill it’s victims, no, it’s much more cruel. It tarnishes every memory, leaving you guessing if what you believed, what you saw, was even real. Every kiss, hug, “I love you” spoken between them is now a question mark.

Uncertainty clouds every memory.

I have a lot of question marks in my memories now. My memories look like swiss cheese. Even my future memories, the moments I hoped for. When I married, I longed for the days when the 6 of us would spend holidays together.

Not anymore.

Apparently, my parents have had issues ever since I was a baby (insert massive question mark spanning most of my life). Sometimes I wish they divorced before my childhood happened. I wouldn’t be haunted by doubt. A child should never doubt the love between their parents.

I know this sounds idealistic. I know many people out there never witnessed love between their parents. I know I should count myself as lucky for having loving parents. I do, please don’t misunderstand me.

My parents’ marriage influenced more than the two of them. They promised us they would never get a divorce. They instructed us on how to avoid divorce and how to have a healthy marriage. How are you supposed to think, when you are taught to honor your marriage vows and to honor each other, and then this happens?  I guess I have high expectations of my teachers. I try to be mad and then it hurts to be mad. I try to be happy, but that hurts too. I get caught in the middle and the only thing I can do is cry. No matter what I do or what I think. It just hurts.

No matter how hard I try, I will always be in the middle.

If want to have a relationship with the each of them (Confession: I considered, briefly, divorcing my parents and never talking with them again), I will always be in the middle.
I will always have to choose a side. I can love both equally, spend the same amount of time with each, say the same words (and mean them), but now, one parent always comes before the other.

Now a first and a second. Now a choice.

Both are calling at the same time, this happens more than expected, who’s call do I answer?

I have to make a choice.

Thanksgiving is coming up. Who do I spend it with?

I have to make a choice.

My parents tell me they understand. Loving parents will understand. However, as a child, I have to make a choice every time, and the agony of even having to make a choice at all breaks my heart every time.

I get heartache for choosing to stay, for choosing to love, for choosing to forgive. Divorce sucks.

I know my posts aren’t usually this raw, but pain needs to be felt if you are to ever achieve healing. These feelings have been with me for the last year, and thought there might be others who felt the same way about their situation. For the next month, I will have guest bloggers post about their pain. We are united by our pain. Because of our pain, we have compassion for each other. October is the month of healing and I will post stories of healing as we are only truly healed by love.

Easy

Any fool can create conflict. It takes an emotional genius to broker peace.” – Donald Miller

This tweet showed up on my phone and to be honest, it was not easy to read.

It’s easy to create conflict, to make carefully calculated remarks aimed to inflict the most pain.

It’s easy to dig your heels in and say “NO!” to any act of kindness or love.

It’s easy to not answer your phone and withhold conversation.

It’s easy to blame, complain, and justify.

It’s easy to build a wall and be alone.

Just because it’s easy, just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.

 

Next week I will dive into what I think it means to be an “emotional genius”.

Run

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I couldn’t control my parents’ marriage, but I can control myself and the role I play in mine. In order for me to be my best self, I must run.

I started running 27 days ago.

I started running because my husband wants us to run a 5K in November…I hate running.

But I love my husband more, so I downloaded an app to help. The Couch to 5K is a great app because you conquer your goal in small, achievable steps. But, you have to stay consistent. It only requires you to run 3 days a week and for only 30 minutes.

Each day is easier than the last…much like the healing process.

I run early in the morning, though I am not a morning person.
This is my time. I get to see the sunrise and feel better about myself.

I run because I like who I am when I run. 

Running (really most physical activities, but I am highlighting running) makes you stronger, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. You set goals, then you meet those goal, and BOOM! a sense of accomplishment and achievement. You feel like a conqueror, even if it’s just making it to the next mailbox. Running helps me clear my head too. I organize my thoughts in my journal, and then I figure out my plan while I run.

Once you have gone through your cry, replaced hateful thoughts with loving ones, then, you might be ready to hit the road. Everyone has their own process, I had to get to a healthy place emotionally and mentally before my physical body followed.

Change

This is my first year to celebrate Father’s Day as a member of a broken family, not the easiest or most celebratory thing to ponder on, but why?
My Dad is still my Dad. He’s still alive, he still loves me, and we have a great relationship, so why is this Father’s Day uncomfortable?

I had to change.

Change accompanies just about everything. Travel, you have to adapt to your surroundings. Job, you have to get to know the ropes. Relationships, you have to train your brain to be mindful of the other person. Divorce, you have to change your way of thinking, and how you classify things.

Classifying? What on earth does that mean? Yep, classifying. For 27.5 years the word Father was synonymous with “husband to my mother”, “Mom&Dad” (said as one word), and “my parents.” “Father” was defined as the other half of the two people who greeted me when I visited, was in attendance at family holidays, and was sitting with my  mother during a Facetime session.

I can’t classify him like that anymore. No longer can I say, ” Hey, Mom&Dad!” and this saddens me.

Change has to happen for healing to happen. I can cling to my nomenclature and become bitter, or I can adapt.

I choose to adapt because life is to short to grow old and bitter.

“Father” means something different to me now, I am not sure what that is yet, but I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Perspective Part 2: focus

“You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want”. – Zig Ziglar

So how do you get perspective? Focus on someone else.

They say the best way to study/learn is to teach someone what you are learning.

Find someone who is going or has gone through the same thing and compare notes.

Don’t just focus on survival, but rescue other survivors along the way.

Today, focus on being there for others.