Day #4 Love Series: the Gift in your Hands.

By Monica C. Voskamp

Love is not jealous.

We all want a fairy tale life. Or at least I like the sound of it. 🙂 I loved Disney movies, still do. There’s something so sweet as all the ugly turning around to joyous beauty.

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Photo by Church of the King on Unsplash

Maybe thats the plot of our lives too, all the messy, pain, injustice, wrongs…will one day be right and beautiful. Then, we’ll be able to sing our own sentimental Disney song.

But in this place the Disney climax is not, where everything you hoped for is not,  I’ve met an extra ugly. I’ve encountered jealousy. I hate admitting it: I struggle with envy.

While on one hand I’m happy for others, there’s a part of me that can get jealous. I wish I had the health I see my incredible sisters have. I watch them achieve so much, and wish I could scale those types of mountains too.

I see their beautiful children. They are the most precious gems on earth–I know I’m bias, but my nephews and nieces are this beautiful galaxy of their own. I love them.

I see friends enter relationships and marry. I long to have a man adore me and be star-stuck with each other…enter Disney. 🙂 I watch my friends glow in love and wrestle with  marriage. It may be silly, but I wish I could have a healthy argument with my own man…because that means we’re together. We’re together to make up and forge through this life with its joys and heartaches.

I long for that first experience of holding my own newborn heart to heart.  I even wish I had the frustrations I read about…  children messing up the house in a crazy fashion and testing parent’s patience levels. 😉 I know–I’m a weird wisher.

I see the teachers in my family impacting this world in such incredible ways. When I was in grade 2, I made up my little mind and thought: I’m going to be a teacher when I grow up, a kindergarten teacher. I still have this crazy longing to be surrounded by 25 little kids and teaching them all the wonders of this world, watching them explore, discover, struggle and grow. I wanted to be part of that process. I want to make a BIG impact and have my time on this world be life-changing for people. Especially little people. 🙂 ❤

But I’m not able to be the person I had pictured in my head. At least not now. I don’t have the greatest health in the world. Unfortunately, I can tunnel vision on that limit.

The past 12 years of my health taking a radical change has also opened an inner war: Envy. I don’t want to admit this AT ALL. (Shaking my head here.) But I am jealous. It makes my heart sad to see what I don’t have.

I had this number in my mind: 35. I thought by the time I was thirty-five, I’d be married. It was kinda a goal in my head I figured WAS going to happen. But, birthday #35 is just around the corner.

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Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

I don’t have this in my hands right now. Literally, I don’t have a ring on my finger or wedding planned. Lol, need I mention a man?

I know… I can still get married after I turn 35, and love doesn’t have an age limit. I can still experience things that seem out of reach. Problem is, I can start to think I’m missing out.

I don’t want to be envious, its not going to help me get what I desire.  It robs not only me, but the ones I envy.  I’m sure they have their own storehouse of things they wish they had.

To live non-jealous, this is difficult for me. I’ve been avoiding this post in this Love Series. I did *not* want to write about envy. Maybe because it’s openly admitting I’m envious. I have a problem & want to deal with it.

So if I subtract envy…then what should I possess instead? And, how do I not be envious?

I was running last night and I saw a girl out walking. She suddenly made me think what envy is not. She was a former glimpse of myself, body wise. She had extra weight on her; it was clearly a struggle to do a fast paced walk, but she had this fierce look of determination.

I suddenly remembered me when I was 230’s pounds and more.

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When I was my own exercising beauty in the 200 pound category.

Back then I began to celebrate where I was. I stopped focusing on the body I didn’t have. I took my 10 minute walk each day and celebrated my now. I was still obese yes, but I was proud of the gift I was giving myself.

I think envy fades when I celebrate the joyous beauty in my hands right now. It’s not waiting for a happy ending, but savoring today’s joys.

Jealousy sees only what it doesn’t have and is never satisfied. Jealousy misses seeing what it DOES have. It robs one’s eyes to see the richness of the now.

Love is fulfilled with the cupful of gifts in today.

Love is satisfied and delighted in what it DOES have.

It sees itself richly blessed,

not deprived.

If I count all gifts I DO have in my life, I smile. It makes my heart lighter. It makes me see  incredible gifts ARE in my life. The changing power is how I see what’s within my hands.

Envy leaves no room for enjoyment. It robs not only your spirit, but your physical health.

Envy robs relationships, because envy doesn’t accept another person where they are. Envy can’t handle another’s goodness, because it has rejected it’s own goodness.

Envy, jealousy drains a person’s well dry.  Really, my well only appears dry when I look at others and see their water wells wrongly. That envious look dries up the overflowing water in my well.

Love delights in the wealth of this moment. It’s contented and does not want more. Love is not jealous.

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Photo by Almos Bechtold on Unsplash
Always love. Always believe. Always hope in these three. ❤

 

Day #3 Love Series: The way of Kindness.

By Monica C. Voskamp

Kindness. I’ve been trying to think what it means, and looking for it in today. Thoughts on kindness kept alluding me. After work, I laid in bed for an hour trying to sleep, but feeling too much pain. I cried. I thought about this “kindness” thing. I had angry thoughts in my head: God is this KIND? If you’re kind, why did you heal a women who had 12 years of a bleeding disorder, yet I’m 12 years in with my head pain and you don’t heal me?? Why did Jesus only heal some people, God? How is that kind? Isn’t kindness for EVERYONE?

I gave up the angry hurtful questioning. Eventually the painkillers took hold, and I went for a dusk walk, in the rain. I just wanted to be alone, I couldn’t make sense of how love is kind.

I thought of myself. How I’ve treated myself has definitely not been kind. I’ve poisoned myself so many times (with binges of food) my body expanded 100 pounds too many. I’ve etched sharp blades into my skin. I’ve forced myself to throw up so much, to try get thin. It seems I sure know what love is not.

I’ve let my body be used, abused sexually. So unkind…I want to say sorry, but more to undo the pain, the shame, the damage done.  Sorry can’t fix anything.

My heart freezes, sinks heavy as I think of these and other ways I’ve been unkind to my own self.  I’ve let others leave bruises on me. I’ve got a bank loaded with unkind.

I’m so sorry. 😦  I think I’m sending that out into the universe…an apology that can never make all these wrongs right.  It’s just some feeble offering.

What , what is love being kind?

I don’t know…but I want a bit of that kindness right now. I want the ‘kind’ I imagine. I think kind is gentle.

Kind treats beautifully, tenderly and nourishing. Kind isn’t out to hurt, to gain for its own pleasure. Kind isn’t out to punish. It’s there giving life, shining something bright into your day.

 

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Photo by Julia Caesar on Unsplash

What if kind is not so much the action of a good deed, but a way? The way a person is.

Someone’s tone, touch, words, their motives… are all blooming from the root of kindness. Certain people, I’d automatically describe their person as kind and good. It holds a purity, this kindness thing.

There ARE things people purposely do just to be kind. You know, kind as in: bring a bowl of soup over, bring spring flowers, hold the door, give donations, and the benevolent acts to help this world. But, I believe there is a quiet kindness that breathes itself each day.

Kindness is not simply intentional good acts, but rather the way a person treats you, interacts with you, speaks or the way they don’t speak to you.

Kindness is really an outpouring of who a person is.

It becomes a verb associated with them.  Yes, you see them do kind things, but it’s in their nature, interactions, and split second responses that kind is truly spoken.  Those “smaller” things are actually pinpointing to a person who is inhabited by kindness.

I see kind is deeper than thought-out deeds. (I’m not undermining those!) Kindness envelopes those thought-out deeds AND goes beyond. It’s a second nature to someone.  If you’d slap them in the face, accidentally or purposely, I don’t think they’d retaliate.  That split second response would be decided by something else that is always there: kindness.

The way we respond comes from a well deeper within.

Kindness is a well. Its not just a one time bucket of water given. It’s something that is always there, always responds, and never runs dry.  Love is kind.

Kindness is more than a deed and not limited to a deed. Kindness is an immeasurable ocean that will never disappoint. It is more than a one time thing or monthly gifting; it is a constant happening.  Kind is both invisible yet seen.

Kind just always is. It’s like this special north star type of reality. You can count on it. You can count on the person’s interactions and motives coming from a well of kind waters, because that’s what is within.

I’m not exactly sure I DO this kindness.  I *want* to be kind. I try to be kind…and I guess sometimes, I am kind without thinking. But, some days, I really don’t want to be kind. I know what I should do, but I’m sulky and selfish in my world and I forego what I’d usually give or be to someone.

So this makes me wonder. Is kindness something we just teach ourselves and strive to be? Or is it more a nature?

I believe kindness is alive, a nature.

Every body is a vessel for kindness. People have the capacity to house kindness. But every vessel can choose what they want their vessel to hold. I think that’s it: You welcome kindness in, it becomes a permanent part of you and then guides the way you are.

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Photo by Matheus Kohler on Unsplash

When you choose to house kindness, then kindness naturally emanates from you.  We all have the capacity to hold and welcome in the seed of kindness. We each can open our doors to kindness, to what is love.

It’s a choice, and then it becomes an overflow.

 

Love is kind.  I do see in my life, no matter my suffering, kindness has met and keeps meeting me.

Always believe. Always hope. Always, love will be. ❤