Is the worst.
I have a lot of friends who went to graduate school to obtain degrees in art therapy. I’m not up to speed on what they actually learned or what they actually do in their profession, but I do know that therapy that utilizes art is valuable.
Back in March, I decided to learn a new instrument. Rather than capitalize on my already-honed piano skills and try something similar (like an accordion, for example) I opted for something else.
So I’ve been strumming on those little nylon strings for about seven months now, and while I’m not anyhing special, I can at least jam out on a few of my favorite songs (like “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”, an instant ukulele classic).
I was gifted a handmade ukulele by a coworker of mine, and so I keep one at home and one at my desk, and whenever I’m feeling upset or stressed I pick it up and pluck at it.
Almost magically, the stress disappears. I don’t know why, but playing this instrument is extremely therapeutic for me. Maybe because it’s just such a silly little thing, making the sweetest little sounds, but regardless it melts away the blues.
I’m curious — what helps you unwind? What takes away your stress? Do you use art to channel your emotions? Painting? Writing? Cartwheels?
My son Dax is awesome. Here are some great things he says sometimes and what they mean.
“No Mama do it.”
Translates to: “Mama, please don’t do the thing that you are currently doing.”
“Dax hold it.”
Translates to: “Please give me some item whose name I can’t verbalize yet, but I fully expect you to figure it out.”
Translates to: “Look! Mama is eating noodles!”
“Mama pray Why.”
Translates to: “Mama, please pray for Super WHY!”
“Mama run; Mama gitchoo.”
Translates to: “Mama, please run so that I can get you.”
“No ews mouth!”
Translates to: “Please do not wipe away the snot that is dribbling from my nose and into my mouth.”
“Dada kiss Mama.”
Translates to: “Dada, kiss mama.”
“Strawbess? Yergurt? And?”
Translates to: “I would like to eat strawberries and yogurt.”
“No yes share!”
Translates to: “I will not share, even though you just told me, ‘Yes, share.'”
I can’t remember how young I was when I learned that there are “bad guys” out there, but it was pretty early. I remember being not older than maybe 5 or so, and my cousin (two years younger than me) and i were at Disney and in line for Splash Mountain and I remember a man, probably a dad, in his thirties or forties, letting my cousin and I go ahead of him (probably because he couldn’t see our family watching and thought we might be alone). And I distinctly remember panicking and telling my cousin that this man was going to steal us away and kill us, so I grabbed my cousin’s hand and dragged him to the front of the line so we could evade danger.
This afternoon, Dax and I were sitting on the floor watching some LEGO Marvel superhero show on Netflix (he really wanted to see Hulk and this was all that was available). He knew who most all the heroes were — Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, and OF COURSE Hulk — but these good guys were doing battle (in the sky!) with a bunch of enemies I didn’t recognize. But I tried to explain to Dax who they were anyway.
“Those are bad guys,” I said.
“Bad guys,” he repeated.
“Yep, Hulk is fighting the bad guys. Don’t worry. Hulk will win.”
A few minutes later, Dax got up from my lap and went out onto the lanai.
“Bad guys, sky,” he said, pointing to the horizon.
“Oh no, Bubs, there aren’t any bad guys in the sky for REAL. That was just pretend.”
“Bad guys, sky,” he said again.
And then I felt my stomach drop. Because I’d just lied to my son. It wasn’t even half a day ago I was in my car hearing the latest reports of the Islamic State and comments from Pakistani leaders who are disappointed with Malala Yousafzai’s awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize because she is no more than just a “useless girl” and feeling overwhelmed with the number of bad guys in the world.
But there are heroes, too. There are good people, too, and I hope that I am providing enough examples for my son so that when he is old enough to realize the bleak state of the world, he won’t be nearly as cynical as I am.
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. – John 10:10
“As soon as we pay off our student loans, then we can really enjoy life.”
“As soon as my son passes the ‘terrible twos’ and stops throwing tantrums over dinner, we’ll be in good shape.”
“As soon as I learn how to master every chore in the most efficient way possible, then I can really relax on weekends.”
These are just a handful of “if, then” statements I’ve muttered to myself over the past few years. There are plenty more, but they are all essentially the same in that they don’t allow me to experience joy until certain stars align. I get myself so focused on the THEN, that I feel like I can’t possibly enjoy the NOW.
I was thinking about that this week as I was preparing the discussion for our monthly small group and the above scripture jumped out at me. It is Jesus speaking and, in most teachings, the “thief” he refers to Satan. And certainly I think this still applies. But there are plenty of other thieves that Satan employs in our lives that come to kill and destroy the abundant life that God has promised:
- work stress
- financial woes
- health issues
- mean people
- and many more.
The thing about that scripture is that there isn’t a waiting period. It’s not like, “As soon as Lindsay gets back from vacation, then the thief will steal her joy with a pile of demanding emails.” Or, “As soon as Lindsay’s paid off all her student loans, then the thief will attack her with a four-digit hospital bill.” The thief doesn’t play that game.
But thankfully, neither does the Savior. He doesn’t say in that verse, “As soon as Lindsay goes on vacation, then I will give her an abundant life.” Or “As soon as Lindsay can figure out how to tithe on the regular, then I will rain money on her head.”
It is automatic. Abundant life is automatic.
Joy is automatic.
We just have to quit waiting for it to show up.
Sure I haven’t paid off all my student loans yet; but I can afford my rent and I can buy groceries at Publix.
And sure my kid is in his terrible twos; but being his mama, I’m also his absolute #1 favorite person in the whole entire world.
And the scoreboard of my life is currently LAUNDRY-49, LINDSAY-0, but I have clothes on my back to keep me warm (regardless of their state of cleanliness and/or wrinkledness).
Joy abounds RIGHT NOW. Be glad in it.
My husband is sick and I’ve been going nonstop since 7AM so this is my limit.
Sorry blog but it’s crash time.
The church where I work also has a private school onsite. My good friend Corri, who dyed my hair red, works as a teacher’s assistant there and asked me to swing by the lunchroom during lunch so she could check out how my hair turned out after washing it last night.
As she was checking out my tresses, one of the girls called out to her.
“Ms. Corri, is that your mom?”
“What?” we both shouted. My mouth fell agape. Corri quickly followed up with, “Does she really LOOK like my mom?”
The girl nodded.
“HOW OLD DO YOU THINK I AM?” I was shocked.
“I don’t know, like 24?”
“Okay,” I laughed, “so If I’m 24, how old is Ms. Corri? Like 12?”
“Well. Okay. Sure then. I’m her mom.”