If I’m honest . . . I admit that when I have leftovers after a meal, I feel bad throwing them away because of all the starving children all around the world. So, I carefully store the extra casserole in the refrigerator and wait until it turns green and fuzzy and then I can feel a sense of accomplishment when I throw it away . . . because I have actually cleaned a little bit of the refrigerator!
If I’m honest . . . I confess that I have over 50 wine glasses. I love them. Some are crystal that a friend gave me, some are stemless, some are colorful, and some are filled with memories – including several that we carefully inscribed with Y2K. Here’s the thing – Kevin doesn’t drink wine. And as of a couple years ago, wine hurts my tummy, so I don’t either. Why do I keep them? Why do I still want to buy more when I see lovely ones? (I don’t buy them but I really want to). Maybe it is seeded in my dreams of hosting lovely parties every weekend . . . because that’s going to happen. I actually don’t know why I love them so much. (I am also working on a blog on Scarcity. But I don’t think wine glasses fall into that category. I really don’t think I am afraid I won’t have a wine glass to use).
If I’m honest . . . the truth is, when summer comes, I carefully pick my raspberries, blueberries and Marion berries from my garden. I gingerly wash them and bag them up for the freezer. It takes so much time to pick them and they are so colorful, delicious and wonderful that I only want to use them for extra special occasions. And the months roll on and then the next summer comes and there they are, in the freezer – all freezer-burnt, because I was waiting for some imaginary, extraordinarily special, worthy event to serve my berry gold. And so I have to throw them away. Tragic.
“Struggling with one’s own shadow self, facing interior conflicts and moral failures, undergoing rejection and abandonment, all daily humiliations, experiencing any kind of abuse or form of limitation, can be gateways into deeper consciousness and the flowering of the soul — if we allow them to be. These experiences give us a window into our naked nowness, because very real contradictions are always staring us in the face. Except for God, nothing is perfectly anything. Even as we set necessary and healthy boundaries, we are also invited to forgive what is, to weep over and accept our own interior poverty.” Richard Rohr Daily Meditations, 6/19/19
Let’s be honest. Being honest with ourselves is not as easy as one would think. It takes courage to be honest – especially with ourselves. Once I can “forgive what is, to weep over and accept my own interior poverty,” then I can forgive and accept you and your inconsistencies. You can only pass on to others what you have accepted in yourself first. It’s all those contradictions that we get so uncomfortable with. We want desperately to pretend they aren’t there – so I put the leftovers in the refrigerator . . . or I spend years over scheduling. What about being honest with my time? That’s been a long journey. I have years of over scheduling – packing in the days. As I ponder the source of cramming and abusing ‘time,’ I realize it is complex. But I think the source is deep; a place of fear. Maybe even scarcity. Digging deeper, for me, it’s about the fear of abandonment. I came out of childhood desperate to take care of my world, so I wouldn’t be abandoned.
How is that helpful? We don’t want to feel those hard feelings. It takes lots of time to ask the hard questions and root out the source. So we deceive ourselves and just manage the surface results of our coping strategies. I just need to find more cupboards to store my wine glasses. But the crazy thing is that when we dig down and sort through and ask the hard questions and choose to be honest about a certain interesting puzzling choice we continue to make, there is a healing and freedom that comes. You don’t even have to fix anything. Just look at it. That is enough. Looking is where the courage is. Just look. The exposure is enough.
The source of my time abuse is exposed. And my response is crucial. The little child you were, is still with you and holds a lot of the source of your grown up struggles. Little Brenda is still afraid of being abandon. Little you is still afraid of whatever the wounds of your childhood were. It’s all still inside us. Where else would it be? And so the invitation is to speak to ourselves with compassion and tenderness, because we are really speaking to a child that is afraid. All any of us want is to be seen and have our feelings and stories validated. Acknowledge the fear and then speak honestly to your heart with warmth, comfort, kindness and understanding. Don’t discount the feelings. They are real. A child’s feelings may seem unfounded to us, but they are based in something real from their perspective. That is true of the child within you as well.
The good news is that I am actually going to use my frozen berries this year. I hope I get to share a cobbler with some of you. I am determined to be honest with those leftovers – which will actually save me time too! My fear of abandonment is slowly experiencing healing as I choose to forgive the reality of my past wounds. And so I am freer to place margins throughout my days; margins of time sprinkled amongst my appointments and ‘to do’ lists, which gives me breath, hope, peace and a spaciousness that renews me. But I think I’m keeping all my wine glasses. I don’t know why. I just am.