Monday, March 28, 2011

Emotions a-Swirl

Well, I'm on the road - that place of adventure, ambiguity, and sometimes danger. Since a lot of what I'm doing involves going places I've never been before, interacting with people I don't know well, and sometimes standing up in front of people and speaking, I'm vulnerable. Vulnerable to taking myself too seriously, for one thing. Of thinking I'm the bee's knees. Or getting stressed out about all the things I'm not doing, or not doing well.

At several points during this last week my sense of fear and impending failure seemed insurmountable. Then something funny or serendipitous would happen and I'd be on top of the world again. One time it was just driving through a neighborhood with streets named Goose Berry Lane, Boysenberry Place, Thistle Berry Drive, Raspberry Street, and Mulberry Circle, only to find one little road named "Fred." Ha!

How do you maintain joy, when things like fear and humiliation lurk nearby, ready to take you down? How do you stay serene when you are are walking down a new trail? My friends in the airline industry are trying to answer that question.

Alaska Airlines wants to help you relax. The cup says:
"Don't think of this as a flight, but a long coffee break."
Some Southwest Airlines jetways feature life-size images of
employees who couldn't be more excited to welcome you aboard.
My friend K. is dealing with something much more serious than trying to manage a crazy schedule. She's battling cancer. And as chemo and radiation come to an end, she shares some of the lessons she has learned. I need to chew on these:
1. Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. Life will always involve pain but how I handle what is given to me is a choice. I am learning that God never wastes pain.

2. Relationships are mandatory. I truly believe that God has used people during this journey, to give me a glimpse of Himself.

3. There is ALWAYS hope! From personal experience I can say that the biggest thief of hope is a warped focus on myself - a perfect breeding ground for defeat and despair! Early on in this venture, a friend gratefully reminded me of Romans 15:13, and it has become my mantra... “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

4. Jesus is constantly ‘wooing’ me back to Himself. He wants to be in close relationship with me (such a thing of grace). He is trying to impress this thick brain of mine with the truth that HIS love defines me - not my self-absorption. I can hardly wrap my heart around the fact that He actually sings over me! (Lam. 3:17)
>> In shallow things or deep ones, what have you found to lift your heart?


TraciB said...

Beautiful post! The street named Fred made me chuckle, and the reminders of God's love and grace lifted my spirits.

Marti said...

Thanks, Traci! Nice to 'see' you and your hoop...

Not sure why my one photo insists on displaying, sideways, BTW

Debra Ann Elliott said...

I enjoyed reading your take on swirling. Great insight.

TheWriteChris said...

What a unique posting! I love the swirling thoughts from the airlines to driving and then to life.

E. G. Lewis said...

Wonderful post. I especially enjoyed the part about Fred. A few years ago our county required all private roads to be identified. Some of the names are quite inventive. Such as Honey-Do lane.
Peace and Blessings

Tracy Krauss said...

Your friends thoughts about life are true and very 'to the point'. It is easy to get caught up in the swirl of life, but important to remember what really matters. I especially liked the thought that we can 'choose' how we deal with pain etc.

lynnmosher said...

Swirling in life happens, in all sorts of measurements, whether cancer, loss of a job, death in the family, or whatever. Wonderful insights, Marti. Thanks!

Marti said...

Thanks guys! I haven't been spending much time over at CW - too much on my plate at the moment. But now I've executed this responsibility perhaps I will at least mosey over and consider signing up to be part of the blogroll for next month too.

Tracy, the line about pain being inevitable, but misery a matter of choice is what really stood out to me, too. Sometimes I think I choose to complain, resent, or wallow in a negative emotion as if it's my right - when joy is actually still on offer!

Yesterday, as I flew into Orlando, I felt as if God just opened my eyes and set me free from my subtle plan to tell everyone about my travel travails - to instead see them as an adventure from which I was not really any the worse for wear. The choice to focus on the positive was entirely mine!

Victor Travison said...

Great message today, Marti. Thank you for posting. It's amazing how the airline people can stand on the wall. What skill! :D

Anyway, I'm happy to have you in the chain.

~ VT

Nona King said...

What lifts my heart? The beauty of nature on a long drive with the hubs. Finishing the edits to a chapter that was, at one time, the bane to the novel's existence.

Megan Noel said...

i came across a great street name in Concord MA on something we were shipping yesterday:

Old Road to Nine Acre Corner

I wonder if Nine Acre Corner is still there or if people just still talk about it (I've heard people on Vashon still navigate by the Jesus Barn. It's actually been replaced by another barn, but they painted Jesus on the wrong side! which seems a great shame!)

Adam Collings said...

Some of the things that lift me when I am swirling in defeat are a hug from my wife/kids, or laughing with my wife at a good bit of british comedy on video ('Keeping Up Appearances' is our favourite).

I am finding in my own life lately, that when things seem really bad, God comes through at the last moment and gives me enough tokeep going - but not so much that I don't need to keep excercising faith. Hard lessons but good ones.

Thanks for your post Marti.

Sheila said...

Interestingly, I planned my next post about pain and joy. Thanks for the inspiration!

My grandchildren bring me great joy--especially the almost 2 year- old. He really enjoys life! (And loves his Nonnie and Poppop!)

Good post!