Sunday, April 21, 2013

When Somebody Sees

I had quite the day yesterday. My company sponsors an event every year and it is the biggest fundraiser we do. There are bouncy houses galore, and games and face painting and food and all things that make kids happy.

After I signed up to volunteer I got an e-mail asking how many hours I wanted to work and where I wanted to work. We get to flex our time so however many hours I volunteered I would get to take off the week before. I volunteered for all 6 hours. I also said I would work wherever they needed me. Big mistake.

I was told I was going to be at the food tent, but when I showed up yesterday morning I was told I would be at the soccer game. I headed out to find my spot and learned that at our game the kids would get 3 soccer balls to kick and a minute to see how many they could get in the goal. I started out with about 4 other people helping me and a couple of kids to help chase balls. We had it down to a science. One person to get names and phone numbers (it was a contest), one person to time, one person to take money and the rest of to chase the balls and get them back to the kids to see how many times they could kick it in that minute. We were having fun. We were all cheering and laughing and things were going great. Then, I learned that everybody else was leaving at 1:00. I was there until 4. I assumed someone else would be coming to help me. Eventually a teenager came and she sat in a chair and timed for me. While I took money, got people's names and numbers, lined up balls and chased and kicked and threw balls. At one point I wanted to text my supervisor and say, "I NEED HELP!!!" But, I didn't have time. By 2:30 I was wore.slap.out. I'm too out of shape for that much runnin', y'all. And bending over. Way more people were subjected to looking at my backside yesterday than should've been. 

Anyway, the crowd finally died down and there were just two siblings. Their mom asked me, "How are you doing?" It took a minute for it to register that she was talking to me, because for hours the only thing people had asked me was "How much?" or "Can I do it again?" or stuff like that. She then said, "I know you are tired, you've been doing this all day."  And at that moment it was like she had given me the most special gift. She saw me. Or had seen me. She had witnessed the physical bootcamp it had been for me all day and recognized that I was tired. I know that may seem very silly, and it really was no big deal. I had a lot of fun and got some much needed exercise and sun. I can barely walk today, but I know I will have good memories from yesterday. But in that moment, I was just tired. And somebody saw.

I share this because I know some people who are going through very trying circumstances right now. Real stuff, not what I experienced yesterday. The kind of trials that are scary and life changing and feel lonely. They mostly feel lonely. At times the hardest part of suffering is feeling so alone in it. Sometimes, you just need somebody to see. To recognize. To know. So that you know someone knows and cares.

I pray that we would all have our eyes opened to those who suffer in silence. But for those times when we fail, I pray that those who are suffering would know that we have a God who sees. 

13 Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” 

~Genesis 16:13

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Every Mile A Memory: An Ode to the Jeep

Something happened this week that I felt was blog worthy. We purchased a new vehicle. I feel that is blog worthy because those of you who have suffered through followed this blog for awhile  know that a great deal of my life has been spent in my Jeep. And a great many posts on this blog have been dedicated to me being broke down on the side of the road. Or in parking lots. Or drive thru's. Or everywhere. Let's just say, I've needed a new ride for awhile. We have so enjoyed not having car payments for a few years, but when I returned to work we knew it was time.

I have been so excited about a new vehicle, but as the time came near I noticed I became increasingly emotional. One night I asked Josh if he remembered the time I put the Jeep in reverse and then forgot and got out (that's a long story that I wrote about a LONG time ago on MySpace and I don't even remember how to get on there anymore...). Anyway, as I laughed about that experience Josh informed me that he thought I was going through separation anxiety over the Jeep. And, I realized he was right.

I'm not usually a "things" or "stuff" kind of person. There are very few material possessions I feel emotionally attached to. Turns out the Jeep is one of them. :)

Do y'all see that number? That's a lot of miles and memories. I took that pic at the car dealership. The last trip the Jeep took before it was replaced. And I was so proud it was able to make that trip. In the last couple of months we have traveled to Jacksonville, Orlando, and Birmingham for dance competitions and every time I've told Josh, "I'm pretty sure this is the last trip the Jeep is going to make. Like ever. For real." But it always made one more trip.

And that's what I love about that Jeep. It's perseverance. It's been through a lot. We've been through a lot. I've probably spent more time in it than I've spent at any other place or with any other people. It's been my constant companion through good times and bad. I've brought babies home from the hospital in it. I've ridden in funeral processions in it. I've laughed in it. I've cried in it. I'm not proud of it, but I've even had days where I've screamed in it. I've taken trips to visit favorite people and I've taken trips to make hard visits. We've moved in it. Several times.It's been my sanctuary at times when it is has been the only stinkin' place I could get a few minutes by myself. God has spoken to me in it.

It has repeatedly taken abuse as I've run over curbs, slammed on brakes, and pushed it further than I should have with the gas light on. It sports stains so old I couldn't tell you where they came from. I've changed the radio station so much that it is now so sensitive that if I hit a bump the station changes by itself. You always have to crank it 3 times to get it started. Always. If you have to wait in the drive-thru for more than 3.5 minutes you have to turn the heater on as high as it will go to cool off the engine. And when did I learn things like that? Well, let's just say I feel like I could be a mechanic after my years with the Jeep. :)

Dear Jeep, I hope you enjoy your retirement from the Fidler family. You've earned it! You have been so faithful, and even when you broke down you were dependable. I knew exactly what was going on. We're alike in that way. We frequently break down, but it's always the same issues. :) Thanks for hangin' in there. And for 327,904 miles worth of memories!

P.S. I'm going to miss getting love letters like this one. :)

For those of you who might be immobilized in a full body cast and have nothing to do this weekend, I've included some links to some of my favorite Jeep stories. :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sometimes You Need to Cry

I like to laugh. I use smiley faces way too much. It is easier for me to be funny and make jokes than to be serious. In fact, I get down right nervous when things start getting too serious. My brain says, 'Quick! Make a joke. Lighten the mood! Stuff's gettin' real up in here.'

And sometimes "stuff" is uncomfortable. I have come to realize that we live in a society of extremes. We fluctuate between feeling sorry for ourselves because our internet is down and posting obnoxious amounts of quotes and statuses on Facebook trying to convince everyone else (and ourselves) that everything is just peachy and we should all hold hands and sing Kumbaya. 

This is on my mind because I've spent a good deal of my life telling myself to "suck it up buttercup". That's a saying I learned from my friends Donna and Raquel, and while we always used it jokingly, I've realized that it's become part of my internal dialogue. I often tell myself that whatever I'm feeling is not important or that somebody else has it way worse. Last night I read some words that I knew I needed to read. "Deal with your feelings before they deal with you."

Many times I find myself frustrated with my own emotions. How can I ever feel sad when my life is so good? What do I have to really feel down/angry/frustrated with? The truth is that I logically know how blessed I am and how amazing my life is. But the reality is also that I am human and unfortunately at times find myself ruled by emotions that are as ever changing as the weather. This isn't as much a problem for me now as it has been in the past, but I constantly have to work on dealing with my emotions versus stuffing them. 

When I went through my depression I was put on a medication that made me numb. I'm talking zombieland. I will never forget going to the movies with Josh one night and watching 2 little girls. One of the girls had Down's Syndrome and it moved me to tears to watch the kindness and gentleness the other little girl showed her. I have never forgotten that, because it was the first time in a very long time that I felt anything.

Recovering from that depression I have constantly struggled with feeling that it is wrong for me to ever have a down day. I am supposed to rejoice in all things, right? I know how quickly I can slip into a pit and so the slightest not so great feelings leave me desperately clawing my way out as fast as possible.

I share this because I had a moment (or 80) last week. I was just down. It was after a tour of an organization in our community that exists to help abused children that God really dealt with me. I had just walked through a beautiful building that existed for such an ugly reason. Bright, colorful rooms decorated like a child's dream, but their purpose was anything but bright. A kid's court to practice being in the courtroom. Observation rooms where they are interviewed  and asked questions nobody wants to ask. Exam rooms where the stuff of nightmares exist. I found myself crying and yet trying to pull myself together before I got back to work. (Thank goodness for long drives!) And I felt like God told me, "Sometimes you need to cry." Let's face it, there are plenty of things to be happy about in life. God is good and He blesses more than we deserve. There are times to suck it up. Really, there are. :)  But there are other times when things that happen in this broken, cursed world break the heart of God, and it should break ours, too. 

I'm not saying that we all rend our garments and pour ashes on our heads. I also am not suggesting that we take on the role of Eeyore or a prophet or doom. I'm just saying that there is a time to cry. And God hears.

"Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry"
                                                                   ~Psalm 106:44