March 29, 2012

undone

"love is not impatient. love is not mean. love is content. love is humble. love honors others. love seeks others. love is calm. love keeps record of rights. love delights in good and does not rejoice in lies. it never harms, never doubts, never despairs, never gives up." 1 corinthians 13 rearranged
 "love me when i least deserve it, because that's when i really need it." swedish proverb

the life lessons that i am learning just keep on coming. right when i feel that i have mastered one concept, i am then thrown back on my knees seeking help in handling and mastering another. my newest lesson as of late is that regarding the danger of becoming undone.

 i am learning that our true colors are shown in moments of trial and in moments of weakness. in those moments when we don't get the answer we wanted. when our world turns upside down. when the last thing we thought would ever happen becomes our reality. when we feel betrayed. when we feel alone. when we lose trust. when we feel wronged. when we feel lost. when we are confused.

and with the same token, true love is demonstrated to us in those moments when we least deserve it, and we show true love by giving it when it is least deserved. when we are the betrayed, alone, wronged, lost, and confused one, we prove whether we truly have meant the things that we have said or done by how we act in the few moments that follow.

 and in those moments, we only have 2 reactions to choose from: we either keep on doing, or we choose to become undone. when we choose to keep doing, we seek to continue the good that we have already done. we keep going. we keep building. we keep trying. we apologize. we make things right. we don't give up despite a bump in our course. and we keep showing the colors that we claim.

when we become undone, however, we lose it. we get angry. we seek revenge. we want repayment and vindication. and we justify it because we are hurting and broken. and we quickly undo every good thing that we ever said or did.

it begins like a run in your pantyhose that is, at first, insignificant and tiny. a tear in your jeans that nobody can see but that you can still feel. that one annoying pulled thread in your sweater that you can't help but notice. and once you begin to touch it. once you begin to pick at it. once you begin to pull it, it begins to unravel, and soon those little sweet nothings that you had built up and established turn into sweet little piles of nothing. everything good that you did becomes undone.

1 poor decision destroys 10 years of reputation. 2 minutes of gossip destroy 2 hours of praise. 3 sentences expressing doubt destroy 3 decades of trust. 4 words of anger destroy 40 years of peace. and 5 minutes of thoughtlessness destroy 5 months of thought.

so it is my knew goal to remain intact. to refuse to unravel. to refuse to lose it. to refuse to undo the good that has been done. and instead to keep on doing. to keep on going. to keep on shining. to keep on showing the color that i claim. to keep being consistent. to keep demonstrating my character. and to fight every personal temptation to become undone.

March 11, 2012

the great grad school 8

oh, friends, it has been far too long, and for that i apologize. but i am getting back into the swing of things as my educational career is some 50 days from coming to a close. :) with 6 years behind me and final exams, the PRAXIS, and my first job before me, i am enjoying checking off boxes and figuring out which hoops remain on my incredible journey of becoming a speech-language pathologist.

not only am i checking off boxes at this time, but i am also reminiscing and reliving the life lessons that i have learned in the past 2 years. i might even go as far as to say that the life lessons have surpassed the educational lessons in my experience. and i as i collected these thoughts tonight, i couldn't help but to share them with you. these are the great grad school 8 as they have greatly impacted and changed my life in the past 2 years.

1) hindsight truly is 20/20. i cannot say how many times in the past 9 months i have uttered the phrase, "if only i had known what GOD had planned." in moments of heartache, betrayal, or just plain confusion, i've seen firsthand that sometimes man's rejection is really a form of GOD'S protection. i look at what my life could have been if i had made certain decisions or if certain choices hadn't been made for me, and i am so grateful for all of the closed doors of my life. sometimes it is just so refreshing to treat life like a series of tests and to look back at the questions with the perspective of now knowing the answers. i look back at the test questions of my life that seemed so difficult to answer just a few months ago, and i say, "well, of course #4 was B!" i know that there will be many more tests and many more times when i don't have the answers, but there is such peace in knowing that those answers will be revealed and that GOD truly has a plan.

2) every dead end is merely a detour. with the idea of hindsight being 20/20, i've realized that every closed door is merely a signal that there's an open window somewhere very close. i've realized that just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly, but those final stages of caterpillarism were probably absolutely terrifying! at the end of the day, however, there's a silver lining to every cloud. a pot of gold to every rainbow. and a detour via a dirt road to every dead end.

3) every lost battle is a won war.
i'm realizing that every detour, mistake, or challenge in our lives may initially appear to be a lost battle. but we aren't meant to win every battle. we aren't meant to escape life with a perfect record. we are meant to win enough battles in order to win a war. and the truth is that we might not be able to win the war without the knowledge and experience gained from losing a couple battles. and while we will definitely lose a few battles, we must count and accept our losses, pick ourselves back up, learn from our defeat, and move onward to victory in order to gain our prize.

4) words hurt worse than sticks.
whoever said that stones hurt worse was extremely hard of hearing. we only fool ourselves when we pretend that the negative words said about us don't sting, burn, and wound. and we fool ourselves when we believe that the words we say won't return to their subject. it takes 10 positives to overrule 1 negative, and once a certain number of negatives are unleashed, we will never be able to take them back or to regain the trust we've lost. i have learned to choose my words with great care. to taste them first. to write them down. and to test them out before actually sharing them.

5) true friends stab you in the front. i believe that the single hardest thing for most people to do is confront. in my experience of being both the stabber and the stabbed, i have learned that there is little worse than hearing negative words about yourself from a secondhand source. and it is a coward who insists on using the back door instead of the front. i have discovered my true friends in the past few months by those who have been willing to confront me in times that i have needed correction or constructive criticism. and i am making it my new ambition to actually have the courage and respect for other people to confront.

6) the early bird beats the second mouse. there has been a great controversy among our society for the past several decades: does the early bird get the worm, or does the second mouse get the cheese? i am here today to say that it is my firm belief that the early bird does in fact get the worm. in my career as a student there has never been a card that can trump the triple threat of punctuality, initiative, and the second mile. there is just something so intense about a driven individual who makes things happen, gives them his or her best, and appreciates the sacrifices made by others in the pursuit of knowledge and abilities. the second mouse might get the cheese, but only if the first mouse wasn't crafty enough to fool the trap. the early bird, however, always gets the worm.

7) worry is a misuse of imagination.
in a nutshell, my imagination is as wide as the pacific ocean. i can over-think and over-analyze any situation with years of experience under my belt. the reason that i constantly overload and overwhelm myself with busyness is that if you give me too much time on my hands i will worry myself into a tizzy. but i am slowly learning to channel my worry into imagination and to allow myself to let go of my fears. by freeing myself to GOD'S control, i find that i have so much more time to fulfill the plans and purposes HE has in mind.

8) the LORD avenges the still.
i have always been one to think that i needed to be in the middle of the action. i believe that it is an inherent desire of people to receive attention and be noticed for their humor, personalities, abilities, and skills. but i have noticed the joy of living a quieter life. of stepping back and letting someone else receive credit. of taking some time to be still and to let GOD work. and i'm also finding that it is in those moments that GOD avenges us for wrongs that have been done to us. HE fights for the silent instead of the ones dying for attention. HE admires those who lead a quiet life and strive to be at peace as far as it concerns them. and with all of the quirkiness and bubbliness and momentum and pandemonium of my wonderful life, i am enjoying learning to be still.