Tonight I am alone. It is not my alone-ness that inspired the title of this entry, though. I think that the reason that the alone-ness has not eaten me alive into its large, black, gaping maw is because of the title of this entry. I have found a happy place. I have discovered a path of contentment and joy. I feel that I am living with purpose, led and loved by my God. I have been doing some good reading over the last couple of months, and have discovered that there is no bittersweet, fatal flaw in the core of my being, separating and isolating me from the rest of humanity.
I have discovered that it is okay feel icky and gross sometimes, and that those feelings will pass if I let them- it denies my little girl self no honor to let the sadness go. I used to feel that I had to wallow in my misery, and keep it close to my heart in order to give myself a being-ness. When I was little, sadness was not okay. Crying was shameful. I felt that in order to give myself a voice as an adult, I needed to be bitter, cynical, and utterly sad. I felt I had to spend the rest of my life living a tribute to the "me" that wasn't allowed to "be" when I was growing up. I felt the need to rehash, and recite the sadness everyday, going over a mental checklist of all the reasons why I was not alright, and why I would never be truly loveable or acceptable.
I have found that to wallow intensifies and extends the misery. It just becomes a cycle.
I have learned things recently that seem to be a given due to common sense and basic Biblical teaching, yet altogether new once learned in the heart. I have learned to count my blessings every day. Gratitude is a surefire solution to misery. I list all the good things in my life more than once a day sometimes.
I have learned to respect my husband. I know that seems weird, like "duh....", but it is something to look into if you've never spent anytime pondering it. I have noticed that my old definition of respect for my husband really wasn't all that respectful, and was downright destructive at times. Have you ever considered the actual dictionary definition of the word respect? (I highlighted the things that stood out to me)
RESPECT (from dictionary.reference.com)
1. regard, feature, matter. 2. regard, connection. 3. estimation, reverence, homage, honor. Respect, esteem, veneration imply recognition of personal qualities by approbation, deference, and more or less affection. Respect is commonly the result of admiration and approbation, together with deference: to feel respect for a great scholar. Esteem is deference combined with admiration and often with affection: to hold a friend in great esteem. Veneration is an almost religious attitude of deep respect, reverence, and love, such as we feel for persons or things of outstanding superiority, endeared by long association: veneration for one's grandparents, for noble traditions. 7. bias, preference. 9. revere, venerate, consider, admire. 10. heed.
How many examples on TV are there of a wife expressing admiration for who her husband is, as a person? How many times are TV husbands treated with deference and regard, like a person of "outstanding superiority"? Not that we need to treat our husband as if he is inherently worth more than us- that is not what it means, at least not to me. It means superiority as in a precious stone, compared to normal rock. A big change that has brought me much happiness in my life as of late is making the switch from critique to praise with my wonderful husband David. I stopped looking for what he was doing wrong, and began looking for what he was doing right. I made sure that even if I hadn't said so once or twice (or a few times) during the day, that every night before we went to sleep at night I have told him at least one thing that I like about him as a person or about something he did that day. Such as, "Wonderful husband, I really appreciate your work on the lawn today. I feel so loved when you work so hard to take care of our home." Or it could be as simple as "Thanks for bringing me a glass of ice water earlier. You're a great guy!" He has really blossomed in light of my admiration, and the fact that I notice and compliment his efforts has brought its own rewards as well.
A book that really helped drive the point home for me was "Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs. Here.
If you want a good example of living with grace, the most uplifting blog I could reccommend would be Jaynee Lockwood's blog: http://www.lockwoodfamilytomexico.com/
Also, just a generally delightful place to go for practical tips and inspiration (and my first follower, hooray!)
Okay, I know that this has been a really long post, but I wanted to return to my original premise for posting. I am alone tonight. My sweet husband has gone on a men's retreat this weekend with some of the men from church, and so he is out being inspired and encouraged whilst I twiddle my thumbs at home..... Oh the drama! Actually, that is not true-- God saw my need, and provided a lovely and truly wonderful opportunity for friendship tonight. One of the women from church who was also alone for a short period while her husband and sons were out of the house asked me if I wanted to go out for dinner, and I delightedly agreed. I couldn't have been more blessed by our time together!
Also, as a last note before I stop my ramblings for tonight, please forgive me if I over-used the words "wonderful", "Inspiring", or any other adjectives. I get a little carried away! :P