Tuesday, June 14, 2016

We Interrupt Regularly Scheduled Posting for the Burden On My Heart


This will be a very different post than the one I started writing this morning. I woke up disappointed. I slept through my 5 a.m. alarm, and my 5:15 alarm. I dozed or stared at my phone right on through the 6:15 and 6:30 alarms, mentally berating myself when I couldn't get out of bed. I finally did. I wished my husband good luck as he left the house for his workout and tottered around in my pajamas before it was time for my son to wake.

I sat down at my computer, my mind buzzing with negativity and disappointment. In the world. In politics. Violence, hatred, everything. Wondering how our priorities as a country can be so different and knowing there's no easy answer. Ever. Even when it seems like it should be straightforward, it is not.

When David got back from his workout, I reluctantly put on my own gear, laced up my shoes, looked out the door at a morning much more advanced than what I'd planned. Not looking forward to the humidity, or the sun that might fry me on the move, I willed my feet out onto the porch, the paving stones, the street. I put in my earbuds, went into my podcast app, and today's Running on Om podcast was titled "Mario Fraioli on Staying the Course in Running and Writing." Fitting. I had no idea who Mario Fraioli was, but staying the course resonated.

I was convinced that I would not run. "I cannot possibly do this today. It's hot, the air is soupy, it's so much later than I wanted to do this." So many excuses. So many reasons not to do it.

The weight in my chest, the very real burden on my heart, was in not knowing how to navigate...anything. I can get angry about ugliness in the media and politics, I can log into Facebook and fight with the people in my life, I can post snarky commentary or vent. For what exactly? Who am I winning over to my way of thinking in those situations?

After 15 minutes of walking and listening and thinking and walking and listening and thinking, I had to ask myself some fundamental questions. I backtracked from where I was in that moment to the basics of where I want to be. I have lived my life by one rule: Be useful, be kind, and help. It's not a statement. It's a command. Christians talk about burdens on their hearts, and I feel it the most in moments like this...of change, demand, or confusion.  It's not my job to convince people to my way of thinking. It's my job to live a positive life. Plant a seed.

I've told my son and plenty of other people in my life, if they ask for my input or advice or are struggling the way I've struggled lately, "You may have to try harder than you've ever tried." 

As I was still walking and listening and thinking. Lather, rinse, repeat. I was disappointed in the approach I've taken to speaking my own truth at times lately. It's so easy to let the angry, frustrated parts of ourselves take over. I knew I would be disappointed if I didn't try running. I would be giving in to these dark, sad, angry bits.

Was it about running? No. It was about trying. Trying harder than I have tried any other day. I ran and I cried and I wrestled with this burden and how how how how how to do these things. I didn't have trouble breathing (except when I cried), I didn't have any specific, unendurable pain...just the burn of intention. The demands of moving, extending the effort, staying the course.

I left some of the heartache out on the road today. I came home satisfied with my effort but knowing that there's more to do, and at times it will be harder to be kind than it is to be angry. I will try harder than I have ever tried to give grace and love, lend my voice, hands, and gifts to the things that benefit others. I will be an ally and a helper. Stay the course.





25 comments:

  1. Oh man. I've been in the same place as you so many times. Fighting it right now but on a lesser scale. Yesterday I was so down that I ended up dragging my butt outside to eat lunch instead of sitting in the dimly lit lunch room. I was happy for the fresh air and momentary solitude. And then... I got home and noticed ant bites allllll over my body. I was like, Holy Cheeses!! Are you kidding me? My hub was like, this could only happen to you and you know what? He's right. I set myself for this negative thought process all the time. I do manage to pull myself out but not quickly. I tend to want to bitch about it a little before I move on.

    I think the fact that you got out there is what matters. As you said, the trying part is tough too but the doing part is even harder. We all have down days and mostly it's because of what we expect the day to be like. The setup is sometimes the problem.

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  2. Love. I'm also feeling weighed down by hatred, negativity and sadness lately. Part of it is my job (the media and all), but it's more than that. Just so much ugliness lately. Just have to keep moving. <3

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  3. As we talked about this morning, we're both here. I'm glad the walk/run helped. This world. Geez.

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  4. I look at my children, young adults, and I fear for the world we are leaving them. The politics are ugly and divided and while I want to remain friendly with others who disagree with me I am battling my negative feelings of "how the hell can you support that/him". I am beyond sad at the violence in Orlando, it's not just close to me geographically but in my heart as my kids have been to Pulse. Leaving a positive legacy, impacting others with my sense of good and right is what I will strive for. Love is love is love is love....and I can choose what I leave. Thinking of you my friend, and I'm always around if you need an ear.

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  5. Oh, Andi. I completely understand. I actually had a horrible incident this weekend where this woman spouted vile, hateful things at my whole family as we left a restaurant. I did not react well. I reacted terribly. And I have been trying so hard to be kind and empathetic to people. It's hard. I have been debating writing a post about it, too.

    Just as with most things in life that are worth anything, kindness takes work. And some days, it is harder than others. Same is true of running. E for Effort is, in my opinion, a very real thing worth rewarding!

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  6. Hugs and great job you for running and crying and TRYING. Be useful, be kind, and help - great words to remember.

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  7. It is almost always harder to be kind than it is to be angry, so true. I have been weighed down by the world lately, even more so since Sunday, and it's so hard to know what to DO. Sometimes I feel so small and helpless. But, like you, I feel the need to be useful, be kind, and help. So that's what I'm going to do. Every act of kindness matters in this harsh world. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. -Laila

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  8. All love and praise and thanks to you for this, Andi. <3

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  9. Walking and running are good for that. I do try to be good and help others - if I see an older person needing help, I often hope that by my helping them, maybe someone will help my mother when she needs it. Still, I know there is plenty more I can do. Wouldn't it be wonderful if this tragedy would be a wake-up call to multitudes of people?

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  10. My heart is so heavy with so much sadness and despair at the world we're in. Orlando is my home. I have friends who lost friends that night. An employee at the company I work for was killed that night. I have friends who live across the street from that club. I have friends who never felt comfortable being themselves, felt comfortable and open and free in their own skin, until they started going to Pulse. But it's not just that. The negativity and vile things I'm seeing on facebook make me want to delete my account and crawl into bed forever. I can't figure out what to do or say or how to react so I say nothing. But silence is not the answer either, and I'm still stuck. I'm working on the kindness thing but wow is it difficult these days.

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    1. I have to respond to your comment and say that I am so sorry for your losses in this tragedy, Heather. My heart breaks for all the families and friends and co-workers and acquaintances. This is such a painful time for so many and I hope that a kind word from a stranger gives you a little bit of comfort. I'm thinking of you today and in the coming days. {hugs}

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  11. And this is why I used to run. To think. To solve. To try. To believe. To forget. To forgive. To move forward. To heal.

    My heart aches for this country. For the children just becoming aware as young adults. For my granddaughter. For those who have lost a loved one to gun violence. I found myself looking around at work today... in a store, nonetheless, wondering where would I hide? Where would I cower in fear? How would I help others to escape? Why do I even have to think about these fears?

    My heart aches.

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  12. I have three grown adult children who tell me that I may never get to be a grandmother (something I have longed for for years) because they just can't imagine bringing children into the world we live in, where people are so divisive, corruption is so rampant, we refuse to care for our planet. I have to keep reminding them that the world has always been a scary place but the good people have to persevere. We cannot give into the hatred. We need to work to make the world a better, safer, more loving place. But some days it's just so hard to imagine it will ever make a difference. Sunday was one of those days.

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  13. This was so great, and when running is good, it totally lets you leave your troubles on the road (of course, when it's bad it becomes one of your troubles, but let's not talk about that!) one of my favourite sayings is 'holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die' and I think it's so relevant to this. Choosing kindness over anger is not just about helping other people, but helping yourself too.

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    1. LOL so much agreement re: running when it's good and bad. I love that saying about poison, and OH MAN it's true! <3

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  14. I think I already said something to you about this on Twitter (read it first on my phone), so I'll just say that I love you for being you and sharing your thoughts with us.

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  15. I was resisting the urge to give into someone's baiting me to engage in political debate today on Facebook and I came to the conclusion that there was no point because both our minds were made up (feminism and racism; he thinks both are non-issues, but I digress). But that's just the thing; how will our country ever evolve if there isn't dialogue and mind changing? But, who needs to change their minds? Who needs to evolve? It's hard and you're right, there are no real answers.

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    1. And I think for me it's the adission that the changing is not gonna happen on Facebook. Not if we're overtly like, "CHANGE YOUR MIND, BIGOTS!" which is my inclination even if it does no good. So yeah, trying to take a more rhetorically sneaky approach. lol Holding Mary Wollstonecraft and "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" in my brain.

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  16. I so appreciate the sentiments you've expressed here, and exalt your philosophy of "be useful, be kind, help."

    It reminds me of a verse I try to live by in Micah: "No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."

    We can't go wrong with loving one another even when everything else in the world is wrong. xo

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  17. I had a wise friend, in her eighties, named Helen who used to work the blood drive with me at our church. One day I was ranting to her about yet another person who was acting in inexplicable ways to me. She paused and said, "A minister's wife once told me something I'll never forget. Christ never told us to understand people; he told us to love them. Just love them." Whew. Hope I can do that one day. Just love them.

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  18. I'm going between wanting to hide in my stack of books and wanting to be more active politically. Probably should do both. Love to everyone else whose heart has been broken like mine this week.

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    1. So you got a notification of this old post, too? I've chatted with Andi about how it turned up in my email box and we blame it on gremlins. But how timely, no?

      From another broken-hearted soul...

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  19. I know we are all struggling with how to handle Tuesday's results. Some of us are still mourning. I know that I shed tears and struggled with how to move on into this new world of fear and uncertainty. Yet, I did. I got up and went to work, moving but utterly heartbroken. As I was sitting at my desk looking at my Twitter feed one major thought came to mind. I need to take action. I may have donated money to the HRC campaign, but did I do anything else? No, I bitched on Twitter about DJT and RT'd more than my fair share of Hillary promotion. But that is not doing anything.

    One of the reasons I left FB back in 2012 was because I realized that I would never be able to have an open dialogue with someone who was not politically like-minded, and I could not live with the vitriol that was coming out of my far-right family members and in-laws back then. Social media is a great medium for finding that circle of friends who support you and think like you; it is terrible when your friends and family have opposing viewpoints. I forget this understanding during this election. I thought I was helping fight the good fight on Twitter and Instagram because I was promoting HRC. It does nothing but confirm who my followers are and what they already believe.

    So, I could have sat on Wednesday continuing to wallow in despair. It would have been so easy to pick at the open wound just by reading various headlines. I chose to do something different, and it has made all the difference. I chose to take action - more action than I have ever done in my life. Writing letters to senators and congressmen and -women. Checking out local chapters of the ACLU and NOW. Becoming informed and prepared to fight. THAT is how you make change, and that is what I am prepared to do. I am done staying vocal on social media but silent in real life. It got us nowhere with Trump, but perhaps if we all make the same choices, we can protect the future.

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