Love Series Day#8 Part 1: the prison of selfishness

By Monica C. Voskamp

Selfishness.

This has been the hardest aspect of love thus far. What I’ve uncovered I wish to deny, hence, I’ve stalled on this post!

Selfishness revolves around ONE world, the person themselves. Think about it. That holds heavy implications for a person’s value. It means your value is a shifting one, and you don’t actually matter. Hear that…you actually do *not* matter in a self-centered person’s life. It’s all about them and what they can gain from you. If you suffer along the way, tough.  Your loss doesn’t matter as long as the self-centered person’s world is spinning their way, in their control.

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Photo by Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash

Looking at this aspect of love has forced me to honestly examine myself. I’d like to think of myself as a good person, beyond reproach, you know kinda perfect lol. 😉  But I’m not perfect, but deep down I strive for perfection, measure myself by perfection, and oddly believe myself close to perfection or at least more perfect than others. (this is so absurd!)

This is fantasy thinking. I’m not anywhere near close to perfection. Ha. It’s such a lie, foolish to even think so.

A good friend told me: Monica, you’re not perfect (& neither will he be.) We were discussing relationships. 😉 When my friend stated that part about me, it was an awakening, a relief.  The past couples months I’ve mulled over selfishness and I can’t help but truthfully admit: I’m not perfect… I’m actually selfish.

Okay,  you may say, sure every human is selfish. What’s the big deal? Admitting you are selfish is a big deal to a person who doesn’t think they are!  It’s easier to deny. Selfishness avoids the truth, because yes, the truth hurts and is scary to face…but the truth also heals and frees up new space in your life.

As I traveled into the recesses of my soul, I’ve realized there is a dark land residing within ME. I was shocked. I’m a selfish person (I don’t want to be!!) but it’s something I won’t deny anymore, this humanity in me. What’s more,  I want to face it’s dark and kick the sh*t out of it, so my heart can breathe and have room for love.

When I live from selfishness’ dark land, I don’t care about others. I close my door to love, purposely. I’m not concerned about anyone but me.

When I was a little girl, I was rather possessive over food. When it came to sharing that coping mechanism of mine, well, have fun with that! My baby sis can testify. She *still* reminds me of the time we were given a bag of chips to share. My little sister would quickly stake her claim, a little pile of chips, before I could devour them all. From past experiences, she couldn’t trust that I’d be fair, never mind even offer her more than fair.

Selfishness doesn’t care about being fair. Selfishness doesn’t give a sh*t if you are in need. Worst, selfishness breaks trust.

I’m talking deeper than chips here. I’m talking about experiences I’ve had with selfish people….the time a person evicted me, called me horrible names and falsely accused me…the time a drunk man yelled at me for hours and threatened to call my mother and say vile things to her..Selfishness doesn’t care how much it wounds you.

I feel sheepish how I hoarded those chips from my sister. I know I was just a kid but my selfish behavior never righted itself by itself.

Heads up: Selfishness doesn’t resolve on it’s own.

Our family wasn’t well off, but we got by. New clothes were not a thing, the thrift store and hand me downs were. The closest to new clothes we got were clothes from our relatives in the city. I was always SO excited when those fashionable clothes came. I was sure to be the first to dig in and pick out the prettiest ones for myself. My other sisters didn’t care too much about clothes. But my attitude was selfish.

Somehow the cute clothes were often WAY too small. Yet, regardless if it fit properly, I’ll still nab it as my mine. I wanted the best for myself and didn’t care about my sisters needs. I honestly didn’t even consider thinking that way..or if I did, it was probably a guilty conscience voice!

These examples are petty, yet give the basics.

Self-seeking wants the best for itself and not for others.

It doesn’t take too much observation to see selfish people are NOT generous people.

Love would’ve looked in those bags, seen the stylish size 4 skirt and thought ‘Hey this skirt would fit my sister just perfect and its even her favorite color!’  But no… I was selfish and tried to fit in that skirt myself even if it was uncomfortably tight.

Selfishness hides beauty meant for others and tries to hoard it for themselves.

Self-seekers have themselves as #1 one on the list. Actually, they are the only person on the list. Various times in my life, I’ve missed out on the joy of giving and known the misery of selfishness instead. Selfishness will grab hold of something and cling with fierce tenaciousness; it’s not interested in sharing. This isn’t love, love doesn’t hoard.

Love creates a space where it doesn’t demand to have those 6 cupcakes now, doesn’t demand for instant sexual gratification. Love doesn’t use money as a means of greed, to benefit oneself only. Love doesn’t dictate relationships because it fears it may lose the person if it doesn’t control them.

 Selfishness cares about instant gratification, but is never truly filled.

I’ve felt voids & tried to fill them with other voids. I’ve misused food, sex, money, exercise…I’m sure other things too. But void-living has never lead me to happiness and freedom. Selfishness only hurts and enslaves. It doesn’t help, anyone.

When I have a void and am struggling, I’m afraid to say so. I would rather run the other way than admit the secret not so pretty places of me.

Selfishness fears vulnerability. To be vulnerable you have to be willing to expose your soul to another person and not know how it will turn out. You have to let go of the controls. You have to give trust a chance. You probably need to change the way of going about things. These things don’t sound super appealing to most people, so selfishness is preferred instead.

When I’m struggling in a void, I feel lonely.  Why? I don’t want to admit the issue I’m struggling with. I would rather cling to it’s misery than seek out help. I’m ashamed.

Aren’t we all? Aren’t we all ashamed to admit we are imperfect selfish creatures? Aren’t we all afraid to admit our issues? But if we did, maybe then we’d realize how not so alone we really are.

I grew up with church people who were striving to be and living to create the look of perfect, yet we failed. We FAILED to admit our imperfections, our voids, our selfishness.

Instead we persisted in saying we are right, when really we weren’t so right. We’re just as human as they come. Religious or not, no one escapes the nature of humanity.

 Selfishness misses out on love because it’s bent on doing things it’s own way.

It refuses to admit it’s wrong. The selfish person never finds freedom or heart joy. They are forever caught in the whirling madness of selfish poison.  It’s really sad.

I finally understand a bit of the narcissistic people I’ve dated, people I’ve met, organizations I’ve been a part of.  If I set their horrible behavior aside, I see lonely, angry, hurt, proud and fearful people. They are afraid of love. They know the world of hate, anger, and greed. To reckon with the honesty of their selfish living is too much for them.  Encountering the light of love scares the heck out of narcissists and ego-sized people.

Selfish people have chosen their prison. 

They actually don’t want freedom, what they DO want is to continue doing life their way.  They’ve accepted their prison and made it home. They use control, intimidation and positions of power to keep their own sanity I suppose, and maybe more so, to deny the magnitude of their prison.

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Photo by Simon King on Unsplash

I DO NOT want to end up like that. EVER! I’ve seen it’s cruelty and misery. I don’t want the prison of selfishness; I want the freedom of love.

As much as I’m scared of my fumbling journey to love, I believe love’s power is enough to break the grounds of any and every dark in my heart, including selfishness. I believe this voyage to love is worth pursuing.

And that’s why I”m still here, writing, chasing the truth about love.

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Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

 

Always believe. Always hope. Know love will always be. ❤

Love through the eyes of a silly old bear (Pooh Bear)

By Monica C. Voskamp

How is it the magical moments of Disney stir up so much emotion and connection? I was watching the movie “Christopher Robin” only a few minutes and I was already tearing up.  Yes. I got *smudged* mascara from a Disney movie! And a very slow moving one at that.

Maybe though, it’s when you slow, your emotions can surface, breathe, and truly exhale. In this fast paced world, there isn’t much time to slow, to breathe, to stay still awhile.

{I pause here, head tilted with a soft smile on my face.}

How important it is to play, to breathe in the fresh air, to smile, to laugh with each other.

The movie Christopher Robin captured this so beautifully. It stirred me to tears, both angry and happy tears. In watching that ‘funny old bear’ movie, I had a deep aching. I think it was when adult Christopher Robin put his arms around Pooh Bear in the meadow, when it was just the 2 of them. He hugged Pooh close and Pooh said: “You’re squashing me.” My heart hurt. It hurt because I long to be held. I don’t like being alone.

I’ve placed so much importance on belonging to a someone and having our own little someones. I’m aching that disappointment and realizing it may never be, this long aged dream of mine. I’m oddly releasing this dream as I step into 2019, as just me. I suppose letting go (of this long held dream) is what really ached me.

I realize my heart has an undeniable joy for the world of children, enjoyment for the fantasy world, and inspiration by curious things. Maybe I’m much like Pooh…a little pudgy, way too much of a sweet tooth, but I find joy in the simplest things (like Pooh Bear with his red balloon), and see the profound in simplicity.

In years gone by, I’ve always been slightly miffed when my friends and family called me Pooh Bear. But I never realized how smart he is. Instead, I saw him as the fat, slow minded, dumb one. So ya, I took a bit of offense..because that’s what I translated to myself…Pooh Bear.. Monica fat, slow..dumb-minded.

Now, I see Pooh Bear anew…he’s so darn cuddly cozy(!), someone you just couldn’t resist hugging. 🙂 He’s huggable and a hug giver. He’s intelligent. He brings a smile, warmth and connection to the world. He’s definitely not a less than! Pooh Bear is more valuable than all the achievements in the world, more than Christopher Robin’s work briefcase in the movie.

Pooh Bear reminded me my achievements and status are not the prized things, but rather cherishing people and every day moments are the treasures.

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Pooh Bear is the world’s biggest giver. He knows how to love, how to give a warm hug to someone’s heart and soul. In the movie, he couldn’t find his friends. He cared about them (& yes, he also didn’t want to be alone!) But he did something about the problem. He went to get Christopher Robin’s help…he actually crossed into another realm for his furry friends.

Love doesn’t look to gain for it’s own self. It cares about others and goes to great lengths to show that.

Pooh Bear is a quiet hero. It doesn’t have to be said; he doesn’t say it or steal the spotlight. He just is a spotlight of sunshine. Love does that. Love is a hero yet doesn’t ask to be noticed. It’s not looking for attention, it’s giving attention.

Love doesn’t feed on attention nor does it withhold itself. It’s like the sun that simply shines it’s brilliant warmth and isn’t partial on whom it shines.

Pooh Bear was true to who he was. (Remember the train scene in the movie? He was happily counting the objects…) He didn’t lose his spirit in the face of animosity. Christopher Robin was so selfish and didn’t care about Pooh. Christopher Robin only cared about getting his work done and being rude to Pooh Bear was just part of Christopher’s journey to success. Christopher keeps telling Pooh to count the objects quieter. Love doesn’t shut people out, it welcomes people to be who they are.

Yet Pooh Bear didn’t lose his heart of gold nor stop shining because of Christopher’s selfishness.

Love continues to live in the face of selfishness.

Pooh Bear has a heart of compassion and never lost who he was. Mind you, lol, he does get directionally lost. I can feel with him there! 😛  In the movie, Christopher Robin got angry Pooh Bear didn’t know how to use a compass right and got them lost.

Love doesn’t demand you know the way or that you do things perfectly.  It actually helps you find your way.

Pooh may get lost physically, but the compass in his heart is right on. Love is a compass that will always guide you north, no matter the weather.

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Photo by Jordan Madrid on Unsplash

Love gives you true direction. It gives you hope when you can’t see the way out.

This movie moved me. It made me smile and cry. And gosh, I laughed too. It feels good for these cheeks to hurt. I realized, perhaps, I’ve been fighting my calling. I’ve been striving for what I thought I wanted, deserved, and is expected of women…marriage & a family. I’ve resisted thinking of a life without this dream. By letting go of wishing for something that just isn’t, I can embrace and accept a different path for me.

Love doesn’t fight against the current of life. It’s a force that moves you forward. It’s quite selfish of me to demand my life to be a certain way, to demand myself to be in a situation that cannot just magically be. Selfish thinking holds one back.

Love allows new possibilities to happen. Love is open to newness and isn’t set on one way.

Sometimes I think I see things quite backwards, like me thinking God is holding out on me because of the way my life has gone.

That’s what I didn’t like about the beginning of the movie. The movie flipped through Christopher Robins growing up years.  I watched him grow up, find his love, have a child, and grow in his career. I watched the movie unfold his growing up story…And I vented my disappointment at God, at the universe. Why didn’t I get a love story??

The days are past where I can be young and in love. I’ll never get to be that young stupid couple figuring out life together (lol, maybe that’s a good thing. 😉 ) My health has stubbornly blocked so many career and life goals.  I’ve sailed a different boat because of it. I’ve demanded (subconsciously) that God should give me a husband and children. He just should. I’ve tried to be a good person! But then I think maybe I don’t deserve love, maybe I’m not good enough for God to give me that. And I keep waiting for this never-to-be day when I’ll finally be good enough (for love)…It’s futile.

Love isn’t something to be gained or deserved. Love is like Pooh bear sitting on that grassy hill, right in this moment with you, regardless of your mood, regardless of your situation-what you do or don’t have. Love sees the treasure of you.

Love doesn’t wait till you are good enough, love wants to be with you in this very moment.

And if I look around, I see love is with me in my moments.

This Christmas, I was joking with my dad about getting old. My little nephew, who was standing in the room too, overheard me and piped up: Aunt Monica you’re not old!! What an absurd thought to him that I could be old. Of course not. 😉 His emphatic statement made me melt. He made sure I knew the “truth”…his truth…the truth through a child’s eyes.

I think that’s what I miss, what I long for, and what I need:

truth through a child’s eyes.

The world is truly a more beautiful and hopeful place with such eyes. And yes, it may be a bit off kilter to reality, but sometimes child-like truth is actually more relevant than we realize, just like Pooh Bear’s sunshiney and unique way of looking at life. They have eyes of hope, of warmth..of love.

This is why the Christopher Robin movie is so heartwarming. It made me feel warmth, and desire to chase after that warmth. The warmth is love, a love that always gives, always is. Watching that funny old bear awakened me to live in truths that really resonate…right here (hand on chest.)  ❤

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

Love Series Day#7: Honor Redefined.

By Monica C. Voskamp
                                                                                                                                                                   I’m looking at something a little beyond me: honor.  I have mixed feelings: I’m confused and conflicted. I’m like this princess. I’m confused even though I’m dressed in beautiful colors and crowned with gold. I should feel honored, but inside I churn with confusion.
                                                                                                                                                                   I’m confused because what I’ve been told is honor doesn’t match the voices I’ve heard. It doesn’t feel right. Something is off.  I’m wishing I could be anywhere but here, in this place of deception.
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Photo by Alice Alinari on Unsplash
   I’m posing in a position of honor, but its deceived me, its not what it’s cracked up to be. This is what I’m finding in the religion of Christianity. I don’t feel honored, but I’m told I am. You see, the moment I take off this crown, these golden clothes, that’s the moment I’m dethroned. I lose my honor. This compares to the moment I don’t follow the protocol of a Christian, that’s when I lose worth, my honor in the other church goer’s eyes. (I’m being wide brushed here, not ALL Christians are like this…but this has been my overall experience.) It conflicts me. With dethroning of who am I, how am I anything special? What does love even mean?

Love isn’t hinged on status, appearance or behavior. The honor of love doesn’t hold back because of what a person is or is not. Love embraces that person and ALWAYS honors them in every state. Always.

Honor is suppose to be a standard of integrity, truth, respect, fairness, dignity. It’s a place of great esteem, a position that is privileged, its a gift someone else gives you, or you gift yourself with.  https://www.dictionary.com/browse/honor
                                                                                                                                                             Honor does not strip one of respect.  Yet I’ve experienced that by people who say they know love.  Honor holds to a standard of purity, and remains true to its being. Again, I’ve experienced deception and hypocrisy, and still I’ve been told it’s a place of love. Truth is, I’ve been lied to about love. Honor is integral to love: love cannot be without honor.

    I’m struggling to decode how love honors.I’m frustrated. What IS honor?

What does it even have to do with love? I’m just reading facts in dictionaries that talk about honor but it doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe because I don’t really know the true definition of honor. I feel disconnected from this great thing called honor. I don’t feel honored or honorable. Is that it? I just don’t know honor, or recognize the truth of it.  How the heck can I figure out a vital component to love if I don’t even know what it (honor) is?
                                                                                                                                                                   I think of times I’ve felt dishonored. Shamed. Loss of respect. I felt shamed when I was having sex outside of marriage. And loss of respect. Definitely. I felt I was less then.  Before, I thought I was someone good, someone looked up to and admired…and in a short time, by one action, that all disappeared. I felt very alone. Certain people came down hard on me because I was behaving a certain way. What kind of love is this?

   This honor and dishonoring thing shakes my identity.

When someone messes up bad, looks weird, they get dishonor, looked down on. When someone achieves great things, they get honor, recognition, applauded, and admired. That’s just how it rolls in life.  Apparently, love does not dishonor others though. Is this for real? Its suppose to be: ‘..Love does not dishonor others..’ (1 Corinthians 13)

I think what love is saying is this: Love doesn’t do that dishonor thing at all. It doesn’t hand out shame. It doesn’t give disrespect. Love doesn’t make one feel insignificant. It doesn’t esteem disdain on people. It only honors. Dishonoring is not part of love’s person.

My understanding of love holds both dishonor and honor in it. This is my conflict, I’ve been lied to and believed a lie about love. But even outside the religious circle,  I’ve experienced dishonor…when I’ve been mentally ill.  I experienced a great deal of dishonor, humiliation in that state. I didn’t feel like a equal human. I was (treated) way less than. That’s a blow to the core of my lovableness, my worth.

How is it sometimes I can receive honor, and other times dishonor? Love doesn’t contradict itself. So how are love and honor synonymous?

I remember being in the midst of trauma and mental illness. I didn’t understand what I was going through. I was scared, alone and reaching out to an unseen world that would somehow make things right. But God, that world didn’t exist. The world that did exist couldn’t understand my behavior, for the most part.
                                                                                                                                                                         I do remember one paramedic and one police officer that gave me dignity in that broken, delusional state. Who would’ve known they’d be my ‘church.’ To the rest of the world, my behavior was bizarre. But a cop saw deeper than my exterior.
I hadn’t eaten for days. My lips were peeling I was so dehydrated. My clothes were messy, my hair disheveled. I hadn’t been sleeping, probably hadn’t showered. In short, I looked like a homeless person.
                                                                                                                                                                          Back to the policeman…We had been simply talking face to face. Then suddenly I recoiled from him and cringed into a fetal position,  fell down into the bumper of my car. I was just down there cringing and curled up tight.  I heard the cop radio 911 to come for a person experiencing trauma.
                                                                                                                                                              The policeman gave me space. He talked gently and continued to assure me till I calmed  and got out of that fetal position.
                                                                                                                                                                       I was terrified of men at that time… I have a bad rap with men being liars, abusers, manipulators, and saw them as scary controlling beings. This has been my understanding of men.  Trauma had taken over any common sense at that time.  I suddenly reacted like he was all the bad men. Thankfully, he contradicted what I knew of the unholy grail of men.
                                                                                                                                                                                   The police officer conveyed respect, didn’t intrude my space and gave me time. He didn’t force his way into the situation. That is HUGE. My personal space has been violated by men. Things have been forced on me. This man didn’t do either.  (Good cop 🙂 ) He stood at a distance and stayed an amazing calm. I don’t know what he all said, but he talked me out of that fetal position. I’m still amazed.
                                                                                                                                                                        911 was called off, and I let the officer come close and was able to interact with him again. It was the most bizarre thing for me to experience, one minute I was talking to that police man and the next I was cowering and clutching onto my car for protection from him.  Trauma suddenly took over; it was an awful experience. Trauma is a brutal reality people face and deal with.

   That cop respected me right where I was and talked to me with dignity. He honored me.

                                                                                                                                                               Later, the policeman left me with his card and invited me to call if I ever needed him. Unfortunately I lost his card, but I’m forever grateful to him…and wish I could thank him.
                                                                                                                                                                  My experiencing love’s honor didn’t stop there. I wish I hadn’t learned it this next way, but I don’t know what other way you learn the honoring love other than through lowly, humiliating positions.
                                                                                                                                                                     A few days later, I was found unconscious with no ID. Miraculously, a nurse found me laying on the floor of an empty building. Without a pulse.  I remember in my subconscious hearing her tell 911 I had no pulse. I heard the panic in her voice and I could feel fingers probing into my neck. Inside me freaked out, and then she found a weak pulse. Whoever that nurse was, I may never know, but I’m glad she found me.
I don’t understand what all happened still. I just know some of the paramedics (after trying to help me) actually laughed at my behavior. At the time, I was terrified of them and wouldn’t let them come close to touch me. My trauma reactions had escalated. I could hear the anxiety of the paramedics at first when they didn’t know what to do. I screamed at them if they tried to touch me and kept banging on head on the cement. In my traumatic mess, I thought I could pound my head, myself, into another world and all the wrongs would be made right….:(  I’m sorry to my head. And I’m sad those first responders didn’t know what to do…except one.
                                                                                                                                                             Someone spoke to me like I was human. He told me, ‘You need to stop banging your head on the floor, you got to stop doing that. You’re hurting yourself. Please (his eyes imploring me) please, don’t do that anymore.’  He broke into my trauma, he entered into my chaotic world and brought the light of love. I calmed and locked eyes with him.
                                                                                                                                                                   Up till that moment I refused the help of the paramedics.  I was scared as hell about those people trying to grab me (now I know they were just trying to get me to stop banging my head.)  I didn’t want them to “rescue” me and keep me in this awful world that has hurt me. But when the young man of a paramedic connected with me like a human, I suddenly relaxed…I felt the touch of humanity meeting with humanity. A shaft of love shone into my darkness. He gifted me.
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Photo by Kushagra Kevat on Unsplash
He was so young, maybe 27, yet he was the one that gave me honor. I latched onto him and upon my insistence, he accompanied me in the ambulance to the hospital even though it wasn’t his vehicle. He assured me. So much. It’s hard not to cry thinking of him and how he interacted with me.
                                                                                                                                                                         I remember him giving me a last look before being wheeled away. The paramedic gave me a look of compassion. I saw the agony of his helplessness intermingled with care.  I can’t forget that. It’s still imprinted in my mind. It was a beautiful spot in a lot of ugly in that time of my life.
                                                                                                                                                                         I wish I could tell both the police officer, paramedic, thank you. Thank you for connecting with me, for caring even when I was in an undesirable state.

Honor doesn’t see the broken as broken. Honor doesn’t disdain the unlovable, the rebels, the mentally ill, and the ones this world can’t understand. Honor sees others as valuable regardless of the situation. Love doesn’t treat them according to their state. Love knows them always in a position of dignity.  This is honor redefined.

                                                                                                                                                                   This type of honor bypasses human logic. The policeman and that young paramedic did not see me crazy or ill. They recognized my state yes, but they didn’t treat me accordingly. They extended the best thing I’ve ever received: honor.

Honor isn’t reserved for special occasions. The honor of love is found in every day.

                                                                                                                                                                    Love realizes honor isn’t limited to events or prestige.  It’s not the big show of recognition in an elaborate award ceremonies.  Love just does honor.
                                                                                                                                                                              Honor is a hidden aspect of love. It’s something I didn’t realize, but it is integral to love. Without honor, love cannot be.  Look for the areas in your life where you have been shown respect and dignity REGARDLESS of your situation, capabilities and behavior. This is where you have met love. ❤ This is honor redefined.

Love isn’t limited to a certain day, certain situations, certain behaviors or certain people. True honor is not partial, it’s universal to every human being.

                                                                                                                                                                          You can find honor in the back of a cab, in the slummy part of the city, in the coffee shop, in the mental institution, in the traffic lines…love is the undercurrent power sourcing through this planet. It is found in the mundane and profound. Love is the steady heartbeat in our world.
                                                                                                                                                                      Love isn’t always defined by words. I’m finding love is worked out in my life, and then I can place a word on it. Right now, I have some words to describe love ONLY because of what I’ve experienced. And this is what I’ve experienced: love does not dishonor others.
                                                                                                                                                                   At the lowest, most humiliating part of my life, a policeman and a paramedic showed me love honors others. They honored me. I have an incredible heart of thanks and respect to those men. You honored me when a whole lot of the rest of this world didn’t know how to react to my trauma induced crazed state. Thank you for showing me love, for showing me how love does not dishonor others. My heart thanks you. ❤

You don’t need a church book to teach you about love. Love exists beyond the book, beyond the church and in the places you would least expect it.  Love honors others.

Always believe. Always hope. Know love always is. ❤

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. ❤