From the Heart Friday

Welcome to my sun room here on Pineapple Lane. It is a place filled with sunshine and plants, hibiscus, bougainvillea, ferns. Have a seat in my white-washed wicker chair. Let’s sit and talk a “spell” and sip on raspberry, sweet tea.

Hawaii 320

Everywhere else on my site you’ll get a piece of my brain ~ educational  information out of my training and continuing research. 

But here in the sun room, you’ll get a piece of my heart every Friday as we wind down our week.

I hope you’ll return often to share this brief time with me.

Finding Peace in the Midst of Downsizing

SG7095S8T9

 

In 2009, my husband and I made a decision to move from Michigan to South Carolina. It’s not the sort of decision that most people make. But those in ministry positions will understand how you can decide to leave a position and then end up with no where to go.

We did the only sensible thing. We moved to the area of the country near our children.

But we left a house in a state with a terrible economy and a down-turned housing market. We moved to a state (unknowingly) that had an unemployment rate second behind Michigan, South Carolina. Wow! Were we in for a ride!

We moved into an apartment. Ugh! Then downsizing took on new meaning.

It wasn’t that we were old, and it was time to pass on the family heirlooms. It wasn’t that we had Alzheimer’s and couldn’t find our way home anymore.

It was necessity. Plain and simple.

Some of you have been there. Some of you will be there. Some of you will hate it like I did.

But, like the grown, mature, woman that I am, I bucked up. I made up my mind to be happy with where I was – then.

I knew the road to peace with this was through my mind, my thoughts.

What can I say? I engaged in a lot of self-talk, and I mean a lot. And often.

Here is the culmination of that time period. Help yourself to the ebook.

I was pretty proud of myself for rising to the occasion.

BUT . . .

  • Self-talk wears off . . . quickly.
  • Any initial adjustments made only last for so long. This is a continual process. Get use to it.
  • Wishing things were the way they use to be happens often. Or even wishing that things just weren’t the way they are also happens . . . often.

What do I hope will come out of this . . .

  • I’ll be a stronger woman.
  • I’ll be a more compassionate woman.
  • I’ll leave a legacy of contentment for my kids.
  • I’ll leave an example of keeping on through adversity for my children.

One of my bylines is “I’m making peace with downsizing.”  You can be sure that I have reached one of those readjustment periods if you hear me saying that.

But more importantly, I can be heard saying, “Things won’t always be this way.”

Hope and peace go hand-in-hand.

Wishing Away Someone Else’s Happiness

Imagine getting to do all the things you (1)

I’ve been thinking about other people’s happiness for a bit now. Well, maybe for a few years now.  I know; I know. That’s a long time to be pondering one subject.

I suppose the “ponder” started after the stories began spreading about those wives who didn’t want their military husbands to deploy with their units to Iraq (and now to Afghanistan).  The stories about wives gone awry while their husbands were deployed played some part in my curiosity as to handling other’s dreams.

There is a wife who feels her husband has placed the military above her, choosing to serve rather than stay home to be with his family.

The perception is that that choice is made easily for the soldier. I doubt that to be reality. The wife then places her warrior in a binary trap to choose his love for the military or his love her.

No doubt this wife wishes for the safety of her husband, the security of the knowledge that he is safe – here at home, and the partnership of rearing their children.

That perspective is juxtaposed against fear – fear of injury or death, fear of the adjustment upon return, fear of long nights without love, fear of the 24/7 of child rearing.

For the wife, door number one will always be her choice. That’s her wish. That’s her happiness.

But what about the soldier? What are his choices? For him, it is a choice of serving country, providing safety and security for not only his family but for a nation, for freedom, for opportunity, for his calling.

Or he can remain in the safety of America to be near his wife and family while other’s fight for his calling.

Who gets their wish to come true? And why does that person’s perspective become the final answer.

Are you wishing him into unhappiness?

Why does it have to be that way? A binary trap, I mean. Does choosing to fight mean that a soldier doesn’t love his wife?

Why does she make him feel that way?

  •  Doesn’t she realize that the decision for deployment is a hard one?
  •  Doesn’t she realize that he knows he can’t make her any guarantees? And he feels badly about that.
  •  Doesn’t she realize that he knows the sacrifice he is placing on her should he deploy, and wishes that life could be different?

But it can’t. He has two fires burning inside him.

She holds his dream in her hands. Wishing him to stay home just may be wishing him into unhappiness.

I haven’t observed the shadow of the man who must choose his family over his “other” passion. The man who must find his happiness, not in his “other” passion, but in supporting those who are living it, and maybe dying for it.

Will he become that shadow that feels he has betrayed his brother-in-arms? That feels he didn’t finish the job he started? Will he be unhappy lingering behind?

AND then, and then what will she have? Is that the man you wanted around? Unhappiness and unfulfillment exact a portion from the soul.

Just to be clear ~ military life is not the only life that asks of its participants to choose how to handle the happiness or fulfillment of the ones we love.

  • Long hours by doctors leave their wives lonely.
  • Unnecessary expectations for pastors leave their families drained.
  • Laborers dictated schedules determine their absence at family functions.
  • Aspirations defined by parents lead to unfulfilled dreams.

A perfectly logical question then is, “Why does his happiness come before mine?”

While the long version of that answer needs a whole post of its own, the short answer for the sake of our illustration is that often our choice in situations like this is not based in fulfillment or happiness.

It is based in fear. The soldier’s wife will not be any happier if her husband stays home. She’ll just be more secure.

  • The doctors wife will not be happier if he works less; she will just have company (even if they are sitting in two different rooms doing two different things).
  • The pastor’s wife will not be happier if her husband’s life is “normal,” she will just have less to worry about.

  • The laborers wife will not be happier if attends all the family events; she will just have the help she needs to get there.
  • The parent will not be any happier if their child follows their dream; the parent will just have a false sense of self-esteem.

This predicament of vying for first place can only be exhausting for  those who will have to choose.

But the question to me is, “why do we make them choose?” Why does he have to choose between two loves, two passions?

Let’s face it the “other” passion will never support us. It has no will, no voice.

But we do! We can support the “other” passion. We can exercise our support for the things that bring happiness to our loved one. To demand our way become the way of happiness is selfish; it is only our happiness, not theirs.  Why demand his compliance to only our happiness when we can be part of his happiness?

I’m going to venture a suggestion here, but by supporting the dreams of the people we love, we actually become the benefactor of their happiness.

Imagine getting to do all the things you love AND getting to do it with the people you love!

That would make him happy and his happiness makes me happy!  That, my dear friend, is a win-win!