PART 2: In my last blog I wrote about abandonment and holes in the soul. But there is hope with CONNECTIONS. (of note: Connections will go on my list of possible words for next year)!
After listening to the Bible Study, and the many books I had been listening too, it became quite obvious that my connections to people had been broken. I had filled my life with many things other than people. Also, in the day of technology, it is easy to replace FACEBOOK as a way of “connecting” versus FACE-to-FACE! There is not much better for a rough day or a moment of encouragement than to hear a friends voice on the phone or better yet sit across the table talking. Friends can just pick up where we left off.
One of the other things mentioned by my friend, Johnetta, at the study was to ensure our connections are HEALTHY. She mentioned on about Facebook, and how she had to assess if the relationships / “friends” were healthy. She encouraged us to look at that. I had already hid some from my daily view based on their language choices or picture postings. But I assessed the number of “friends” that drained me just by negativity and hid those as well from my daily view. I have them in a separate group so I can periodically check on them and say an extra prayer. However, their negativity does not feed into me daily anymore.
Well, I have also been checking some other connections… and I have some major re-networking to do…
Generally speaking, my immediate family pays for when I disconnect when I fill my time and energy without putting them as the priority. Jim takes the hardest hit. Yes, I will do the daily texts to check in on his day, and we may talk a little at home. But, we are generally a couple of few words. I remember the days, I would do the little things to let him know I loved him, and now it is easier to be a little snarky than pour into him. I am still the night owl and he is the early bird, so often our schedules do not connect. I work weekends and he is off. I think as parents, our marriages are often the first disconnection. As a working mom, I pour what I have into our children. My husband is definitely someone I need to make sure the connection is secure. This past weekend we spent in Gettysburg connecting as a family. As we drove the different routes, we talked about things he wanted to do. I wrote them down because I truly care, and if I don’t write it I won’t remember. So, now armed with a few things on his “bucket list”, I can connect by helping them to happen. Sometimes, it requires me going outside of my comfort zone to connect.
As a mom, overall I think I have a strong connection. We talk just about everything and I am physically here every day. I am blessed to work from home 3 of 4 days, but I am hidden away in my space. When I am “off” work, I generally find myself pouring into my to do list. Dishes, laundry, projects, etc… A perfect example, which hurts to even admit, happened recently. Sam’s birthday is on a Saturday in June. (remember, I have worked every weekend for years, and hate to take it off and ask others to work, and was limited to the weekends I could request). So, I have Friday off and asked Sam if we could celebrate a day early. He hesitated, but then said okay. I really thought it was “okay” with him until I overheard him talking to his speech therapist. He told her that we were celebrating his birthday a day early because I was too busy with work (OUCH!). I was crushed. I waited till later and asked him if he was really okay with celebrating a day early (I thought he would be excited to go shopping early). He said, could you just tell work it is a really important day to celebrate and ask if I could have off. Honestly, there would have been a day I would have still tried to negotiate with him. This time, I said absolutely and just took the day off. When Mary asked me to sit at the table while she did school, I sat and worked on things. When Sam asks me to keep him company while he takes a bath, I say yes. I am working on deepening the connections, but it is definitely a work in progress.
I definitely could work on my connection with my Heavenly Father. I am working on this too. I now pause to watch the sunrise, the sunset, the flowers, etc… his box full of crayons leaves me in awe! There would have been a day I would have been too busy to notice. I will be honest, I have to write down people to pray for, or set my alarm to remember. My mind just isn’t what it used to be. If I wait till night time, I will be honest, I will fall asleep (do you know how many times I start a grateful list and it never gets posted because I fall asleep.). My grateful list is like my thank you / praise to God. I have been doing it for a few years and I can tell you, when I go days without a list, I am likely going days without connecting with God. I have friends who are so dedicated of first thing in the morning, but I struggle with mornings. I have a list of reasons I could provide. Part of my problem use to be I had an expectation that I would do a certain length of time, and when one day fell short, it was like my ongoing diets… I fell off the bandwagon and didn’t get back on. Now, I do my praise/grateful list, routinely search for scriptures for a friend, listen to sermons online by downloading to my phone, and have loaded my Nano with all Christian music. I need to pour in Christ in my life, even if just for 15 minutes. On the video at Bible Study they talked about how the prodigal son had wondered, but when he returned His father reconnected with Him. Christ does that with me, every time I stray and return He welcomes me back ready to reconnect. Christ never moves… it is me. The connection is always there, I just have to move closer.
I have really been really working on what I describe as “following my gut and not my schedule!” Yes, I have certain commitments in my calendar, but it is imperative that I fill the gaps between obligations with PEOPLE. Life is so busy and rushed, but if I can’t pause to remember people, then I need to re-evaluate my connections! I need to spend more time with Christ, write more notes, have more meals (or desserts) with friends, dates with my husband, visits with family, say extra prayers because just as electrical connections, they give me energy and renew me, unlike my ever ending to-do list that leaves me defeated.
When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves. – Jack Komfield