Lately, I spend every moment possible reading and listening for comfort, from those who have openly navigated troublesome experiences, who possess the inner strength and courage to share–messages of hope alongside their deeply personal and messy details. I, personally, need to hear the mess. The message without the mess can leave me feeling separated and alone. And without the message, I find only a sick commiserative and temporary comfort. I need both, together. The mess and the message: the shit before the shiFt. Daily doses of Bob Goff and Glennon Doyle seem a perfect prescription for now.
I am both losing and finding myself in the teachings of those who who humbly share their hardships, missteps, mistakes, confusion and lessons. It is through them, that God speaks to me and is guiding me—helping me to recover my spirit.
I seek their wisdom with the hope and intent to become a better guardian of the spirits of my sons. They are intelligent, courageous, strong, able, and kind humans. These things just are. What they also are, is deeply faithful– and this, I know has something to do with my recovery and parenting. In all of the many ways I fail and struggle, I am deeply comforted, if not proud of the ways in which I practice protecting and developing their spirits: their senses of connection, belonging and their deep gut knowing of goodness and kindness. Below, I share with you my daily dose of healing from Glennon.
The thing is that I’m not worried about my little man’s brain. I’m worried about his heart.
When I was in elementary school, all of these little teeny things happened to me that made me embarrassed, or confused, or sad. Like when I had to stand against the huge cafeteria wall with my nose pressed against the big purple painted grapes, or when all the girls teased me at my lunch table because my hair was greasy, you could start a car with all that grease, they said. Or when the boys never chased me at recess. Or when a classmate brought a Playboy to school, or when my friend Jennifer called me a gay wad. What’s a gay wad? But these things didn’t seem big enough to talk about, and I didn’t want my parents to know that all wasn’t perfect . . . so for whatever reason, I kept all these little sad and confusing things secrets. And keeping secrets became second nature to me. Which didn’t turn out so well for me for a couple decades.
So when it comes to how my kids are doing at school, I don’t worry about academics. I worry about social things. I worry about their time at lunch, at recess, on the bus. Mostly, children learn to read and add and sit still eventually. But not everybody learns that he deserves to be treated with respect and so do others. And not everybody learns that he is OKAY and loved and precious and that it’s all right to feel hurt and all right to hurt others, as long as he cleans up his messes. And not everybody learns that different is beautiful. And not everybody learns to stand up for himself, even when it’s scary. So I worry about that. Seven is young to navigate a big social sea all by oneself. I feel like thirty four is too young sometimes.
Last week, I snuggled in bed with Chase and told him all about the embarrassing, sad, scary little things that happened to me in elementary school. I told him that I never gave Bubba and Tisha a chance to help me, because I kept my worries in my heart. So my worries became problems. I told him that this was a shame. Because the beautiful things about being a kid, is that you don’t really have any problems. You might have worries, but if you share those worries with your parents, they don’t have to become problems. I told him that his daddy and I are his team. That his worries are really our worries. And that the most important thing in the world to us is his heart.
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