About hope, shame and love

When I’m excited I overshare.
When my husband is excited, he makes stupid jokes.

Last night we got to pray for the courage to speak boldly the things that need to be said, and for wisdom to know when to keep silent, and do that the rest of the time.

We got so wrapped up in doing things and connecting with people, that we numbed our numbness. It has been a rougher and rougher season, of preserving our emotional energy while waiting for our second daughter. Having my blog and my words to express and process my longing, my frustration, my pain, I have filed many of them away and I don’t feel as crushed as my husband feels right now. Stuffing emotions can be safely done only for so long. Winter is hard but it’s just a front to the winter he feels inside. He fears he forgot to feel full joy, to let go and completely rejoice in something, anything. Last night we voiced our fear and longing in prayer: we knows that meeting Evelyn will not solve everything, and this milestone will not restore instant joy. We hope we haven’t forgotten how to live without having a heaviness hang in the back our minds. Her absence. Maybe the postponement, the ever shifting milestones have made us lose hope. The insulating of heart hardened us as well.

I pray the paperwork will be all done, new certificate in hand, come August, so we could attend ROM in Fuzine. I dream of the moment when the girls will be asleep in bed and we’ll share a glass of wine, overlooking the lake, and having time stand still.

Maybe one of the reasons we dream, pray or make to-do-lists is that we can acknowledge the accomplishment. It’s a clear separation before and after fulfilling a plan we set our mind to complete.

When we overextend our time among people, we make it work but we also forget to live for ourselves, checking in, aligning, listening to the other’s heart, seeing the other with a brave eye and loving them just the same. 

When a kid acts up, is disrespectful, throws a tantrum, or is just being overly silly, I picture the composed and loving eyes of the parent, love that can shift the winds. Like Jesus who calmed the possessed, who healed the woman, who raised the daughter from the dead, who shut the mouths of the Pharisees trying to trick Him with just a few simple words. 

“When you’re embarrassed, I’ll be your pride” says the line of a song. A loving gaze from a parent or a spouse is a lifeline in a sea of judgmental onlookers. Or when we make a fool of ourselves.

Shame is a natural corrector, as long as it’s not overvalued. As kids start school, they become more socially aware. And I am learning how fast they adapt to social expectations and community life. But they need a good leader among themselves to course-correct, and to help them keep their natural, genuine empathy. 

Jackie had to finish writing some letters at home. Her hand smooth coordination needs work. This is one of the things we need to practice due to the age difference compared to her classmates. She is a year younger than most of them. But I keep this information lightly in my heart and don’t use it an excuse.

My instinct tells me to let her find her motivation in being responsible in the little things, like remembering to pack her sports shoes, or her water bottle, or her Sunday school book. I let her make mistakes because embracing failure also builds resilience. And it’s my joy to see how she grows in stature and abilities and embraces responsibilities. 

But the other day she cried as I picked her up from school. She said she had a hard day. As she and another boy were the only ones who didn’t finish their homework neatly, they didn’t get the sticker reward. The problem is not the sticker, it’s the temporary social exclusion that comes with it. And for repeat offenders, those who take longer to learn or course correct, it becomes a stigma. So we, the adults, need to tread lightly… Be wise about it. Let them feel the weight, but not let them be crushed by it. Help them process their big emotions, love them whole and not overprotect them.

I often overlap parenting and marriage wisdom. One helps clarify and solidify the other.

I believe love empowers people to overcome challenges, to embrace change, to grow. Loving someone before they are perfectly lovable is what true love is. And that is the love I aspire to.