Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Difficult Things’ Category

How Do You Love?

Last night Greg and I watched the movie “Three Men and a little Lady” – made some 20 years ago or so. In the last part of the movie – the leading man finally finds the courage to tell the leading woman how he feels about her. She wonders what took him so long (5 years later) in fact on her wedding day to another man – he finally confesses that he loves her, not just for her 5 year old daughter, but for himself alone. Complicated? Yes. Self serving? I’m not sure. Does he have the right to love for just how it makes him feel? With no regard to how anybody else does? Because it brings him happiness to love her?

This has always been a topic of conversation around our house. Greg has always claimed that love in its most stripped down mode – is selfish. I’m not sure I have always agreed. I’ve had my share of relationships (in the love department) gone sour and very bad. And though I agree with the premis – I have trouble coming to grips with loving someone just because it feels good or because they love me. Aren’t people worth loving even when they don’t love back? How about those who choose to walk away? Are we to stop loving them?

The Bible tells us that God loved us while we were still sinners – and far from Him – Christ died for us. That kind of love is far beyond our comprehension. We as human beings have trouble with it. Most people who hurt us, mistreat us, stop loving us, turn away, love someone else, stop speaking, etc. – we write off as being unlovable and unreachable. Even when we have had relationship with them that has been good at one time. How different we are from the heart of God. God loves even when it is not returned.

Marriage – especially a long-term one is a great example of unconditional love. You don’t always feel like loving all the time. There are disagreements and differences. There is not always romance. You don’t say: “I will love you as long as it feels good for me and as long as you love me back – otherwise all bets are OFF!” Love is so much more than that – it is a choice. 7 days a week, 12 months, 365 days a year. Every year. Through rain and shine – thick and thin – in sickness and in health. Even when the person does not love you back in the way you think they should. Even when they don’t always understand you. Even then.

How do you love? Does your love have conditions? Is your love a selfish love that says: I will love you only if you love me back? I will give of my time only if I get something back from it? Are people worth loving just simply because they are?

I think they are.

 

God Bless

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A Dream Within A Dream

I have a recurring dream.  I’ve had it off and on since my high school days, some 35 years or so.  It is always the same theme, although many elements of the dream are different each time.  Two things are always the same:

1) I can never remember my locker combination (or sometimes can’t even find the locker)

Locker

Locker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and

2) I don’t know my class schedule, remember what the assigned material is or even find any of my classes (in each dream the school is different).

I can only assume each time I have a dream with this same theme, that there is something unresolved from my past and for whatever reason, because I cannot solve it – it keeps happening.

Last night I was dreaming the same dream and like so many times before felt those same feeling of helplessness and frustration, when suddenly I decided to DO SOMETHING about it!

I became present inside my dream – kind of like a dream within a dream –  and took control of where it was going.  I grabbed some poor person that happened to be standing by me in the hallway and said, “take me to the office RIGHT NOW!”  I don’t know who it was, neither male or female, but it didn’t matter in the dream – I just needed someone to point me to the office.  Many times before in these same dreams I couldn’t even find the office – but this time it was going to be different!

I arrived with this person at the office and said to the person behind the desk, “Could I please have a copy of my locker combination and a copy of my class schedule?   Look – you have to understand – I will NEVER be able to remember them and need help – AND it is very possible that I will come here again and need the same kind of help – can you do this for me?”

It was there that my dream ended.  I’m curious to know if I am able to stop these stupid recurring dreams and maybe the key was to take control of the situation, I guess I’ll have to see.

Dreams are funny.  Some say they hold symbolism that is key to unlocking your subconscious, others like my husband say that they don’t hold any meaning, it’s just your over action imagination going wild while you sleep.  I guess I fall in the middle somewhere.  I do know that I’ve had closure with people in my dreams where I’ve never had closure while I’m awake.  Five minutes within a dream can “fix” so many things.  One old friend in particular visited me in a dream a couple of times in the last few years and we had a lovely conversation, the relationship was mended and things were said that needed to be said.  There was a sweet hug and everything was fine.  In that moment all the doubt and raw emotions were finally brought to right.  For me, it brought closure and reassurance.  I’ve heard people say that they have had similar conversations of closure with loved ones who have passed away.

Is it our wishful thinking that makes these things happen?  Closure and explanation – when in reality, there is none?  I would like to think that there is.

What dreams do you dream?  Do you find closure and comfort in things that have none?  Do you have conversations with those that have passed away – or walked away from a relationship with you?  Have you ever stepped in to your dream and “fixed” something?

 

God Bless

Faithful

English: Image for BBVA EAGLEs article

Image via Wikipedia

 

My puppy puts me to shame

She is loyal

Faithful

She will not leave my side

even in the early morning when she’s hungry

She waits for me

to have my devotions

and coffee

and to fully

get up

and put my slippers on

even though it takes me

several minutes

to finally go downstairs

She does not get upset

or anxious

she trusts

and waits

 

How faithful am I?

How patient?

Can I wait?

Do I run ahead?

Anticipate?

Set my own course?

Am I willing to wait

on God

for the things

He says I must?

Can I sit

and  quietly contemplate

drink in

calm my scattered mind

and just

be faithful?

I’m tired

and need strength

I complain

fuss and fume

I need

to relax

stop the spinning

sit back

and wait.

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. 
   They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired, 
   they walk and don’t lag behind.  Isaiah 40:31  Message Bible

What about you?  Feeling weary?  Need some fresh strength today?  I know a source of strength that will not only renew – but help you to soar like an eagle.  Imagine running and not getting tired, walking and not lagging behind?

Yes – I think I can – I know I can – Lord help me to...wait.

God Bless

Being Left Alone

English: An anxious person

Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes things just happen.  Sometimes it’s a good thing.  Sometimes it’s bad.    There are things and people added to our plans – and sometimes things and people are taken away.  There are times of happiness, comfort and safety – But  then there is a time of desolation, hurt and loss.

No one wants to feel abandoned, isolated and left behind.  While it may not happen so much when we’re young – sooner or later it does as we get older.  The same comforts, circumstances and even people in our lives, that are with us when we begin our journey, or part way through our journey – sometimes do not continue with us the rest of the way.  It is the feeling of being “left alone”.  It is difficult to understand.  But it is called life.

This week we’ve been training our 14 week old puppy, Daisy to stay home alone – without anyone here.  Training her to wait – be patient – that we will come back again – therefore reassuring her, by our return that she is not being left permanently.  It is a training for us too as we do not want her to feel lonely, brush her aside like she is not important – but at the same time we want to reduce her anxiety by the fact that we will return.  It is difficult to explain that to a puppy.

In the same way – I wonder how much our earthly anxiety is a mixture of “unnecessary worry” and “childlike anxiety” simply because we do not understand our situation and circumstances like God does.  We don’t have the ability to wait and trust that God sees the bigger picture – and that it is only for a “season” and not “forever”.  I’m sure that God must say, “I know best.  I can see everything all at once.  Trust me”  But we miss it – because we’re too busy being uncomfortable at our own perceived feeling of “being left”.  And more than that – that God doesn’t hear us or understand.

There are some lessons that can only be learned without anyone with me.  Feeling that isolation is good for me.  In anxiety I learn trust.  In feeling abandoned by my overwhelming circumstance – I learn faith.  And I also want to remain hopeful that God has all the answers to the questions I have.  That there will be a time when I understand.

And until then – I must learn the same painful lesson that our puppy must.  Being left alone is sometimes how God speaks His most powerful insights to me.  It is in that lesson, that I am stronger, more compassionate to others, and ready for God to use me again.

When was the last time you feel completely alone?  When you lost something you thought you would always have?  Did you hear God speak to you?

 

God Bless

Welcome Home

Beloved, Lift Your Head

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

2 Corinthians 1:2-5

Lately there has been much sadness in our world.  Many losses, hurts and pain.  But when we concentrate on a scripture such as the one above that has so much comfort and hope – we are encouraged and given new strength to go on.

When things happen unexpectedly, such as a sudden death in someone young – it always catches us off guard – but God is never caught off guard.  He knows the total number of our days.  And He promises to be there to walk through any difficult season that we may have to face here on earth.

When we lose someone – we grieve.  But we grieve for ourselvesnot for them.  It is a necessary process we must all walk through.

Some of the comfort we receive is in knowing that they are safely home – in the arms of Jesus.  Other comfort is from family and friends – who offer support and encouragement to go on.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve.  Instead we should say:

When we grieve.

Because we do.  Because we will.  And God knows this.

And because there are no answers to the questions – we must trust that He is still working behind the scenes, far beyond what we can understand – to bring about His purpose and plan to save a lost and dying world – even if it means that we lose something in the process.

For them – to die is really gain.  And when we die – the same is true for us.  As Christ followers we have that incredible hope.

The following video is the story behind the song by Michael W. Smith, “Welcome Home” – I know that the testimony of the parents who lost their college age son – will encourage you today.  And below this video – is the actual song with lyrics.

If you are grieving today, or know someone who is – I encourage you to watch both of these videos today.

 

God Bless

[VERSE 1]
I can’t believe that I’m here
Having to say goodbye.
And I can barely see you through
These tears I cry.
I close my eyes.

[CHORUS]
I can hear the sound
As angels gather ’round
Saying this is where you belong
Welcome Home!

[VERSE 2]
There are the days that my heart aches
wishing you were here.
But I know where you are
The hurt and the pain disappear.
There’s no more tears.

Chorus

Welcome Home!

Chorus

What a lovely sound
Angels all around
Saying this is where you belong
Welcome Home!
Welcome Home!
Welcome Home!

When Is It MY Turn? Please Pass The Teddy Bear!

Teddy Bear

Image via Wikipedia

A couple of years ago Greg and I attended a counseling retreat – that concentrated on intense communication between married couples.  We got to know several couples at this retreat in all stages of marriage – who had lost the ability to effectively communicate.  The retreat was led by a couple of counselors who had many suggestions to encourage the communication and health between spouses.

One such technique was using a teddy bear.  The spouse that had possession of the teddy bear – could do ALL the talking without interruption.   It was a “safe zone” for the spouse that held the bear.   And as long as they held it – they could do all the talking.  After they were done – they would pass the bear to their spouse and their spouse would be given the same treatment while holding the bear – no interruption – no fear.  This required intense listening – and validation to the partner who was speaking.  The idea being of course, that partner with the bear would affirm the other and say, “I hear what you’re saying….” or “I understand how you could feel that way…” thus verifying that they really heard – and not just sitting there thinking of something else.

Until last night – we had not used this communication technique and had almost forgotten about it.  We were having what you might call a “difference of opinion” and I could see that the “discussion” was going no where – no one really listening to the other at all.  No – in fact – we were both talking at each other – no positive interaction or exchange.  The discussion had pressed some “fear” buttons and immediately we went into a very familiar “dance” of words and programmed responses brought on by what we were interpreting as non-validation.  It was easy for us to slip into, “What???  I did not say that!” or “You ALWAYS say that”  “You’re not hearing me” or “That did NOT happen like that” etc.  This went on for some time until I remembered the retreat – grabbed a teddy bear that usually sits on the pink wing-backed chair in our entry way and grasped him firmly.   I brought him into the family room where Greg was sitting on the couch and announced, “I have the teddy bear”.

Of course this brought smiles and chuckles of recognition from him – but he continued to talk, saying, “HEY – I wasn’t through!”  “You know the rules”  I said, “The one in possession of the teddy bear – gets to speak”.

And so we continued in this fashion – smiling the whole time – but also realizing that there is something to this after all.  A “safe zone” where the one in possession can speak freely without interruption – forcing the other to really listen and NOT say anything.  It forces one to “button the lip” as it were.

It was amazing what happened after that – maybe the mood was different – maybe we both just started listening more – I don’t know, but I do know that we were able to dig a little deeper into some past issues that had been lying dormant – all with the bear on our laps.  And it was not long before the real issue came out and we were able to identify it – with no fear – only validation and recognition.

There is something about a teddy bear.  Ask any child who has one.  They are sweet – and you want to hug them.  They make you smile and feel like a child again.  And you just cannot be mad at a person who is holding one – try it and see if you can!

There are many methods to resolving marital conflict – this is just one that seems to really work – because it is a visual reminder that unless you are holding the bear – you cannot talk – you have to listen, be supportive and validate the one talking.  And I suppose that is at the heart of most miscommunication – wanting to be validated and feel heard.

Next time you have a disagreement – try bringing a teddy bear into the room with you – and suggest that your spouse hold it – and then really listen as they talk.  It will amaze  you as you feel the tension in the room lighten up and you find listening skills you never knew either of you had 🙂

Whose turn is it to hold the bear?

Can you sit still without interrupting until your spouse is finished speaking?

Are you one that encourages and validates your spouse?

Try it today!

God Bless

Is It Okay To Be Really Angry?

Angry Birds Plush Toy

I’ve been following along with the documentary show on OWN called “Finding Sarah” – about Fergie – the Duchess of York.  She is on a quest to find out why she has turned out the way she has – and why she seems to be helpless to spin out of control and make wrong decisions in her life – resulting in years of destructive behavior including a failed marriage and loss of several careers to reinvent herself.  In this last episode after meeting with trusted friends and experts such as Dr. Phil – she traveled to Arizona to meet with a guru and nature healer.  He was native American – with long braids – a very serene and gracious person who asked her to talk about the things that troubled her.  As she poured out her story to him – he said things very similar to what Dr. Phil had already told her – with a unique spin.  “What you do not acknowledge – you cannot change”.  He used 2 pound rocks to represent all the different aspects of the dark side of her personality – Anger, Rage, Bitterness, Frustration, Jealousy, etc.  He asked her if she had ever felt RAGE?  She told him it wouldn’t have been acceptable to do that – or to even be ANGRY.   Having been in a very controlled environment – that would never have been allowed – even as a child.  And there were some things in her that were buried so deep – and to touch them was very scary.

Then he told her to pick them up – and pack them around on her back while they took a little journey.  He said, “you carry them around now anyway – you might as well take them to know how heavy they are”.  So she did as she was told – and they were heavy.  Once they drove to their destination and walked in the desert for a bit – they came a place where she was instructed to take off the rocks and then he demonstrated for her what he wanted her to do to release these from her life.

He stood facing a canyon that echoed back and yelled, “WHYYYYYYYYY?”  Using his whole body to really take his time – from standing upright to going down on his knees.  Then he did it again – took his time – again yelling, “WHYYYYYYYYYYYY”? And letting it echo back.  He told her – you are doing this for youYou need to release it.  There is no answer.

She was reluctant of course – to look foolish.  But she wanted to comply.  When she tried to do it – it was difficult – especially when the subject of abandonment from her mother came up – and touching that emotion was so painful she couldn’t allow herself to even cry or become angry.  So again – he demonstrated and feel to his knees and sobbed like a baby.  She watched him – fascinated that someone could be so in touch with their feelings – and could release them and not hold on to the darker things.  And though she could not do what he wanted – by watching him – it touched something inside of her – and he knew it would be a long journey of healing for her.

As I watched this “teacher” and “nature healer” speak to her – helping her discover who she is and why she is still so lost – I was reminded of how God works with us.  We all carry around those heavy rocks too – but since no once can see them – we learn to hide and stuff – adjust to the weight of them.  And I realized that I am not so much different from Sarah – I suppress things – stuff them – control my environment so everyone including me is comfortable.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a moment of RAGE in my life.  I’ve been angry – but mostly my anger goes right to sadness – and I am afraid to touch it too much.

I remember pouring out my heart to God in a situation I had about 2 1/2 years ago – and it was scary going to that rage and anger – and sobbing seemed a more comfortable place for me – so that’s where I went.  Even though I know that God can handle my questions, my rage, my anger and my ugliness – it was still difficult to admit it – even to Him.

The dark emotions that each of us have – can be destructive – if inflicted on another – but I also learned that they are important to deal with and release – with just myself and God.  He can handle them.  He made these emotions.  And He can help release something in me – so that I don’t harm and inflict someone I love.

When was the last time you were really angry about something – and allowed yourself to touch that emotion – so that you could deal with it?  When was the last time you let God see that in you?  Is that okay for you?  Do you see it as a sign of weakness – or lack of control?  When is it wrong to be angry?

God Bless

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