Monday, I did final edits on a couple of emotional chapters in my book. I recognized in the moments of reading and highlighting and changing words that I felt sad. I felt depressed. I felt grief. I felt surprise. I felt trapped. I felt free. I felt angry. I felt judgemental. I felt superior. I felt remorse. I felt enjoyment.
I went through this wide range of emotions and then I closed by Macbook. I got ready for the day. I made my coffee. I kissed my wife. And then, I walked outside.
Cold. Freezing. Winter arrived and I could smell it. Snow was not falling, but I could sense it. Winter and I have a long history. I don’t like it. And my mind quickly realized that I have five months of it, starting this day. Five months.
My emotions set in. Sadness. Despair. Fear. Apprehension.
Then I was late for work, by two minutes. Yes, two minutes. Fear set in as I thought about the consequences. What would they be? I didn’t know. Sometimes, it seems like the end of the world if I’m late. Sometimes, it goes unnoticed. What would this be?
Then, I received a text from a friend. A close friend. Can we talk today? Ok, for how long? Just a few minutes. Cool, I’m free now.
My phone rang and my friend began to open up about an awkward encounter we had recently. I was angry and frustrated by what I perceived as insensitivity. He tried to express how he had been sensitive. I had to explain why he wasn’t. He probably felt like I wasn’t listening. I felt like he didn’t hear me. We almost hung up, then we didn’t. Can we just disagree for a moment?
Then we did and we finished the conversation.
I didn’t know how I could go on with my day. I was reeling inside. If something difficult happened that morning, something that required my patience and peace, I was done. I could not have handled it, in a positive way, in a productive way. Thankfully, it didn’t and I was able to move forward completing task after task.
I let God speak to my heart as I did. First things first. I love my friend. I couldn’t let that hang for too long. I knew I had to respond more. I offered an olive branch through text, forgiving for what I perceived as a sleight. He owned his part and we both still disagreed. That was okay. It was truly okay. It still is.
I read an article on the stress in schools these days and how to help students deal with it. I needed it for myself. I needed it for moments when people lose it. We are going through some stuff right now. This pandemic has worn us down. This election has divided us.
I watched football with my son-in-law on Sunday. He loves politics. He listens to stuff all the time and sometimes he processes it with me. I don’t get into politics too much so I mostly listen and at times, try to help him process by offering a different lens.
From the beginning of the football game, every commercial, it seemed was a jab at the political opponent. My son-in-law who loves politics said, “Enough is enough, geesh. Every commercial! It’s exhausting.” (my paraphrase) He was tired of hearing both sides. Aren’t we all?
I needed a reset. I needed peace. The article said to push. Push against a wall. It’s supposed to reset the brain to not respond out of emotion only. I tried it. I was still too emotional. It said to sit and feel your senses. What are they saying to you? Drink water. What do you feel? I tried it. Not much.
Then this morning, I listened to a podcast from one of my favorite authors. His wife and him were talking about what we are all experiencing these days and some ways they have found some relief.
The first, was to pause, and quiet ourselves. Sit in the quiet. Be still. Then listen to the rhythms of nature. Notice our place in the world. The world is big and we are not. Try talking to yourself, but use a nickname that someone you like gave you.
Congy, you’re being silly. Congy, you got this. Congy, you are free. Congy, you are new. Come on Congy, you’ll get through this.
Yep, got it, ready to move on. It’s amazing to think of the things God can use, even silly things like that to lift us up and bring us out of our emotional times. There are some good ideas here from the article and that podcast that might work for you today or maybe it’ll be something else. Or it will work on a different day. I hope you can find your peace. We are all going to need it after today.
The other night, I wrote a poem for the first time since, I don’t know, maybe 8th grade. It was about my book. I think I broke like 18 rules for poems, but here it is. Maybe it’ll speak to you.
The Road ~ I Never Settle
The road is all I’ve ever known
It brings comfort to the unknown
Life, adventure, discovery
What’s coming next is… unknown
It will get better, he thinks
It must, it can’t get worst
Unless he find more hijinks
That, actually he created first
I can’t leave again,
I can’t lose another thing
I’ve grieved all I can,
Numbness is setting in
I can do this on my own,
I don’t need you or your home
I can win it all,
I can be the hero
I can escape this place
I refuse to be a zero
Hut one, hut two
Thank you, Jesus
I can hear you, true
I will reach the top,
Cause now that I know you
I won’t let you down,
I will forgive,
I can’t forget,
I must live,
With no regret
I won’t ever settle,
I want more
I never settle,
Give me more