Hello friends, and happy December! How was your Thanksgiving? How is your holiday spirit in general? How is the weather where you living out your life story?
Here at the farm we are enjoying dark, dewy nature walks and dense fog advisories, plus the luscious promise of more rain soon. We hosted a small, magical family Thanksgiving here, and our holiday spirits are high. From our nieces’ high school orchestra concerts and dance recitals to silly parties with friends and lots of simple weekly gatherings, we have more seasonal thrills and pleasures than we can count. I hope you do, too. I also hope that on the days your calendar is less full, you breathe deeply and rest. Soak up the nutrients of all those traditions and activities.
Do you have a moment for me to share a little lesson I learned recently?
Last week I ran across a simple passage about the value of letting people feel however they feel. Often I rail against charges of “toxic positivity” because, in my own experience, I have suffered greatly and fought hard for my outlook on life, so I see with unshakable clarity the fundamental and life-changing value of hope and optimism. For anyone to call me toxic because of that has so far felt hurtful and, ironically, umm, toxic? haha… A simple reminder shifted my perspective even on this: Denying anyone the space to fully experience their emotions, whatever they are, dehumanizes them.
OUCH. I would never consciously dehumanize another person, not even in an effort to help them. This was such a valuable redirection for me. Since reading this, I have noticed something beautiful. I am giving fewer pep talks to rescue people from sadness or despair, and I am spending much more time in private prayer. I ask for more miracles on their behalf but offer fewer bright sides and silver linings to gaze at. (Maybe I just offer encouragement to keep going.)
Many of those prayers are already being answered, and I know more answers are coming. I get to witness my loved ones enjoying not only better circumstances but also better outlooks, all on their own, without me possibly annoying them (or dehumanizing them) with the spiritual cheerleader bit.
Privately, of course, I am still free to maintain my own outlook and convictions. All by myself I know that life is good, that counting joys produces miracles, and that believing in Love means things tend to work out in our favor.
Choosing to step back and allow others to feel their emotions fully and experience their days and perspectives means I get to do the same, whether anyone agrees with me or not. Seeing this also showed me that all along I may have had a grain of loneliness in my pep talks, something in my heart that needed someone “out there” to agree with me that things were going to be ok, in order to fully believe so myself. I guess that’s human. But now, it feels incredible to pray and believe in impossible things all by myself, with just that intense, private assurance that God is listening and acting behind the scenes. He has been all along. He has been showing me new and amazing power in my life story, and He is doing the same for my loved ones. Why would I deny anyone that beautiful adventure?
A different mustard seed parable than we grew up hearing
I want to be an encouragement but not a stumbling block, as they say. If you need me to pray and agree with you about a miracle you need, speak up. If you want a specific encouragement, let me know. Otherwise I will just be here, quietly knowing that things are going to work out. Probably in ways you have yet to imagine.
“Faith is the bird that feels the light
and sings when the dawn is still dark.”