Perspective

One of my pastors invited me out to breakfast recently, just to check in with me. Delighted, I accepted her invitation immediately. She’s one of my favorite people – wise, funny, grounded, creative… and a fantastic listener.

At breakfast, she asked me how I was doing. I found that so many surprising (to me!) thoughts tumbled out of my mouth as she asked great questions and listened well.

I told her that I know my life is cake, really. Compared to displaced people, those in abusive situations, those dealing with painful medical treatments, those who don’t know when they’ll eat next… My pain is feeling lost in my own life and feeling purposeless. My pastor affirmed that it’s important to hold both realities – my pain matters, but it’s important to keep it in perspective, of course. I have found that it’s helping me to have a part-time job that gets me out of myself and my thoughts. To encounter others with their own stresses, issues, frustrations has been helpful.

Yes, I have a home, a family, enough to eat. I am loved and liked by some really good people. I’m grateful. And yet. It’s still painful living in my skin right now. I *have* to deal with that and not just shove it aside because I feel it’s indulgent. I believe that God is doing good refining work in my life through this process. If I shove it aside and refuse to acknowledge it, I believe I’m also shoving aside God’s work in my life.

The Guest House
by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

7 thoughts on “Perspective

  1. Oh I so needed to hear this today, Lori. We have to give ourselves permission to turn around and face whatever is going on in our lives even when it hurts. It’s a hard process. My Christian psychologist Dr. Dan Trathen (your mother-in-law knows him) used to tell me that “hard” was my favorite word because I use it so much to describe my own journey.

    Thank you for not putting on a mask to hide all of your feelings. And, thank you for sharing this today.

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  2. Marilyn

    Lori, I am not finding it hard to give you some time to heal from the wounds you received from being let go from a successful, much listened to Christian radio program. I find it hard to believe that the dept leaders would cast aside all the talented people that contributed to that program.
    If a death happens violently, it is more difficult to grieve that loss. Your job, your livelihood was taken from you violently, no matter what well-intentioned words were used to try to smooth it over to us…the listener and contributor.
    Whenever l contributed money to Moody, it was because of the wonderful, life enriching program, Midday Connection.
    I wrote an actual letter to Colin Lambert and received a reply that was still unsatisfactory.
    I am trying to process my own grief that the program is ended. I am denied access to some of the most helpful, wonderful, funny, charming, dedicated, talented people on the planet, seemingly w/o any regard for my feelings or concerns.
    Maybe you can tell l am a “smidgen” angry.
    I realize that l have to remain open to God’s purpose and plan, and to be willing to forgive the higher ups that make the decisions. But l am not in that place today.
    It is a process.
    I will trust that God is leading us through the barren land to one flowing with milk and honey.

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  3. Comparing our pain to others never works well, does it.

    Deciding my pain is LESS than your pain,
    I deny the reality of my own pain,
    and refuse myself the freedom
    to give it the space it deserves.

    Deciding my pain is WORSE than your pain,
    I deny the reality of your pain
    and I refuse you the freedom
    to give it the space it deserves.

    For pain is a teacher
    To deny it in ourselves or others
    is to miss much of what life has to offer.

    Let us each pay attention to our own pain
    and help bear the pain of others’

    Note: I just started writing and ended up with this. maybe it will be a blog post of my own! thanks for the inspiration this morning Lori. One of the things I started doing after my brother died was to say my Sister in Laws pain was surely worse than mine. A very wise friend told me not to quantify pain. How right she was. How grateful I was for her advice. I did write a post about quantifying the pain of loss. I think i’ll write another one, this time making it more broad than the pain of loss. For there is much pain in the world. Maybe i just add this to my blog and link to yours!:)

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    1. Hi Nate! Yes, indeed – I see God’s kindness all around me during this time. I’m grateful. It’s still a painful time and I’m thankful for the daily gifts of “manna” from God.
      I appreciate your sensitivity – how you understand that could be a difficult question. I know that you don’t ask that lightly or glibly. Thanks, Nate!

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