Three Blocks

Lately I’ve been thinking about how our thoughts shape our lives and even our emotions.

Be grateful.

Be mindful.

Spewing forth negative words will make them come true.

Naturally, my rebellious spirit is kicking in.

Yesterday was a windy, cold and bitter day with temps in the 20s. The dreaded polar vortex of last winter had arrived once again despite rumblings that the almanac was wrong about another harsh winter befalling us.

I noticed one woman pushing her stroller across Queens Blvd. with a plush-lined hand-warmer on the handle of her stroller for her freezing hands. Probably no sales in my hometown of Los Angeles, CA.

After I was able to testify about my recent good fortune, I became discouraged to fight very familiar inner demons once again.

I can still testify as it was NOT just a fleeting mountaintop experience but I have been lured back into bad (thought) habits.

I am once again craving radical acceptance of where we live and how we live.

I had truly been delivered from anger, bitterness, and envy when the Lord brought my rings (and watch) back to me after 22 days.

Then the cold hit and I found myself struggling again in the same areas as pre-deliverance days.

I talk about this all too often on this here blog but it’s because it’s a recurring struggle for me. When I park our family car in the outdoor lot about three blocks away and stroll or walk home with the boys, I am accompanied by an angel and a demon on my shoulders, vying for my thoughts.

In warm weather, I didn’t mind it as much though still annoying at best.

It’s not just “boo hoo it is so damn cold and I have to hoist these little warm bodies home.”

It has become:

“How was I ever grateful for just getting a parking space after 80 people were ahead of me on our co-op waitlist? Sure it’s 100 times better than having no spot but with the elements and the little ones, it’s not enough any more! Reminders to be grateful only make me feel like I am failing.

This is no way to live with two active young boys. I want amenities. I need all the help I can get emotionally and mentally from the golden sun yet here I am feeling imprisoned and raging as soon as the cold hits. I know it’s only JUST arrived but it may be here for long, just like last year.

Don’t tell me to think positive because that only makes me feel worse. Yes, I know that today is less windy and ‘warmer’ (30s and sunny – oxymoron). Please don’t tell me that Others Have It Much Worse or At Least…At Least you have two healthy boys, At Least it’s only three blocks. ‘AT LEAST’ makes me not want to talk to you. I hope I never ‘At Least’ at someone.”

I am not proud of this but boy, do I compare. I think about my friends who have a parking space in their driveway or in their building and I feel angry all over again.

And those who tell me that they don’t get mad about the same things over and over again, I don’t even believe them unless they’ve dealt with my set of particular challenges or beyond. Not that I have it the worst BY ANY MEANS but unless you’ve walked in my shoes, don’t speak from them.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons I enjoy nurturing my friendship with my friend who has six children. She can say anything to me and I know I will take it to heart because she always has a fuller plate than I do. I don’t want to become such a small person who only wants to spend time with those who have more to deal with but sometimes, it helps. Not to be lectured but to gain natural perspective, by watching a friend live out her full life.

This is not meant to just be an itemized complaint about those Three Blocks. I want to know how I can change my thought life by using these three blocks for growth.

I feel beside myself as I am back on this useless, dark path of regret. I KNOW IT IS USELESS AND STUPID but I keep thinking, “Why did I marry someone so geographically undesirable? Why did I underestimate my sacrifice when my younger self said that I would leave CA to follow the love of my life to NY? I even volunteered to be the one to move! Joking that it’s not a huge deal since they speak English there too! Why didn’t I say CA or Bust, take it or leave it. Why can’t I get over the past? Why do I keep resenting him over and over again when it not only hurts him but me, too? And the boys!”

I don’t WANT to be so negative but I also have to be able to express my less-than-grateful thoughts before I can release them. I can’t just Be Positive without expressing then exorcising them. And repeat.

In fact, I can’t quite trust those who only share the positive. Holler at me when you can share some raw thoughts, too. Otherwise, I can go browse the cards at Hallmark, thanks.

I find myself getting annoyed with every saying:

“Choose Happiness.” Shut it.

“If you don’t like it, change it.” SO EASY! WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?

“It is what it is.” It blows.

I’ve tried them all. I need new sayings.

On my good days, I can wrangle my beloved boys home gratefully but when I’m struggling, like walking home with them during Monday’s rainstorm with pain in my forearms from strolling so much weight or not being able to feel my hands today as I lifted them out of their carseats to trek home.

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My rebellious nature says, “I’mma feel whatever I want to feel instead of constantly editing my emotions and willing myself to think more noble thoughts.” But that doesn’t serve me well at all!

Lord, I’m sorry for all my grumbling so soon after I was testifying. You know I am full of flaws, messy emotions, demons, bad habits, whatever You wanna call them. Even Your Word feels like extra pressure on me – something else I’m failing at – Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

I don’t plan to wallow in this. I just know that I operate best when I allow myself to throw a quick pity party, then clean up after myself.

PLEASE just help me not to party too hard.

(And yes, I know tomorrow, we will be blessed with a balmy 41 degree high but that don’t appease me either as I hail from a land of 80 degree weather and palm trees all year ’round.)

2 thoughts on “Three Blocks

  1. Hey dear mama, I love how real and vulnerable you are. Thanks for sharing. I know I am more than blessed too, especially after our Bangladesh trip this summer. But that feeling of “why I marry this guy….” occurs too often than it should- like 5 times today, especially when I got terrified by his running up the escalator that was going downward with Elizabeth in his arms and Elijah running after him, who unsurprisingly copied the same thing only to find himself falling down the escalator. Thank God he was not hurt! Picture that! Whose has a crazier husband than than?! Of course the challenge I’m facing is more complicated than this. Sorry I have no solution for your situation. Can only offer my prayers and hope that changes will happen soon for good. Thanks for giving me a chance to rant. But after all I know we both love God and appreciate His love and patience even when we act childish and spoiled. Praying for us both to find joy in life despite of circumstances. Trust that our husband is the best for us, and embrace the fact that God’s gift of marriage to us is not simply for our happiness but also our sanctification. My pastor asked us to pray Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians for each other last Sunday. Here I pray for you and me both:

    16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

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