Reflections in the Rearview Mirror
Here's Looking at You Kid!
This Song Says it All!
I Laughed Until I Cried
Have you ever noticed that the day after you have a major emotional blowout, that you can see more clearly what it was really about? Sometimes there are things we need to laugh about and sometimes we need to learn to laugh with ourselves. Moments experienced in which we are humbled can be painful. The only other way to get pain out and be healthy is to release tears. Tears of disappointment, frustration, hurt, pain, and even grief. We are human, and that is normal.
Our heart needs breaking to stay soft. Sometimes in these times, love from God just overtakes me. When I cry, I am all better, when I don't, I feel the tension of trying to appear as I am not. Perhaps it may be necessary for us to learn from children, who have a tantrum or a good cry more than once weekly. The alternative is acting out, when we choose to create some kind of trauma that brings the drama to a stage where we can process all the junk we stuff down into our souls.
I am deeply wounded at times by a deep seated need to be included in things. I know that I can't be the only one on the planet who likes to be among friends, and sometimes gets overlooked because I am located a distance from most of them. Moving, at this point is not an option, and we live in the country. So feeling lonely one morning and a little distant from my family, I was not in the best place emotionally. Responding to my husband's request to help with the moving of some 75 cars to a museum, I was presented with an appropriate adventure.
This day I was used perform the best actress in a supporting role. My husband made a huge plan that once again, I knew nothing about prior, and it was already in motion when I arrived. Little did I know that he intended to use me as a shuttle bus for his buddies and kids. My perception was not good because I was physically, emotionally and spiritually tired. When I am grounded in Christ, I am able to withstand these things for the most part, and my focus is different. That's what I had planned, but didn't do before I left home. My bad, as I was about to experience.
He invited me to help drive the cars to their new location. In my own perceived usefulness to him, my life had new meaning. Enter misconception #1: My expectation of fun and enjoyment was high! I was actually included in the family of families. This was a new privilege, simply because he was actually going to let me drive, or so I thought! Pathetically compliant, I hopped in my car, and headed in that direction.
So I was wrong! I am not a materialistic person, but he had already promised to let others do the unthinkable...drive our cars! They were in fact all present, and had chosen the finest of our vehicles. Of course this traumatized my sorry little heart. I was broken-hearted and the anger was on! How dare he?
My husband offered me the excitement of driving the most dangerous, smelly and hard-to-drive car he owns, and I quickly, but contemplative declined. For one, it has a windshield but no windows, it's winter, no thank you. Secondly, I can't shift it properly, since the shifter rises above my shoulders. It is just on a wierd angle. Third, it is the roughest ride, and I wasn't about to make a "girl" thing. Several years ago, I rode in that jalopy to a certain breakdown which lasted for hours as we went out for a nice Italian dinner some 150 miles from home. We didn't own it at that point, but it joined our fleet shortly thereafter, for reasons I will probably never understand. A random act of impulse, I deduced at the time.
It got worse. Some guy I didn't know who just stopped by, tried to talk to me. I wasn't interested in his historical rambling about every car we had. I didn't even want to be there at this point, but was too proud to let them know how angry I was. They didn't care, so what difference did it make? The anger built up, and as always, I said nothing.
My husband spends hours on the phone with all his car guy friends, discussing every little detail of everything CAR. I was later to find out that this guy actually was a master aircraft mechanic, which means he was way smarter than I concerning the inner workings of vehicles. At the time, though, I wasn't too appreciative, specially since I was busy being kicked to the curb. If I would have had a wand, he would have been toast.
Little did I know that my first trip as a shuttle driver was going to afford me a constant one-sided "brilliant" conversation with this car technology specialist. I am a lucky girl! In addition I was treated to the various and sundry body odors that accompanied all but one of working men whom of course, my husband relegated to my vehicle. The kids rode with him.
I really couldn't believe this was happening. My mind went sideways, as I rehearsed the 101 ways he hadn't treated me well over the years. This topped them all. I now was consumed with the "privileges" that THEY were being given, in contrast to being relegated to the role of shuttle driver for their convenience. Me, who prides myself on being a servant. Ha, I thought, I won't ever forget he did this! If you are a man, you know how this works. We don't, ever! Enjoy it now, pay later.
Like it or not, we all are in a tug-of-war at times with our emotions and relationships. I wanted my place in the family but as a step-mom, I will probably never be valued that way. It is a false expectation, no matter what you do or how nice you are, the reminders are always in place. In fact, they seemed absolutely unaffected. What a surprise.
You are just Dad's wife, a second class citizen, who can never compare to the beloved, perfect real mom. You had nothing to do with the breakup, in fact you have practically given your life to reconcile the two offending parties, only to pay for it in myriad ways. You have no rights, no welcome suggestions, you are just there. Oh and let's not forget, you aren't entitled to have the same fun. You provide the listening ear, and clean up all the messes, but for no good reason, because you can't earn that status. You know what I mean if you are one. This was just one of those many days.
Properly placed in my role as observer, I began to evaluate my own stupidity in the matter. After 15 minutes of trailing them I was intoxicated with fumes. My second revelation of the day, why the heck did I bother to shower? Then I thought about the day I had planned, a nice relaxing uncomplicated day spent peacefully in my own home, and I got more worked up. There is however, a good solution: Just say no next time. After this reflection I freed myself to do just that.
He and his favored children rode together comfortably in his newest truck. I was so grateful to him for this extraordinary adventure. Really? I might as well have been invisible. As you well know, I was used to it. It is a way of life. My thoughts continued to run rampant. I just wanted to go home.
The only thing equal to that experience was the moment on the last shuttle trip when my sweet little granddaughter removed her socks and her shoes. We rolled down all 4 windows even in the cold to no avail. The smell was excruciating, and it was there to stay. When I parked my car some 2 hours later, my windows remained down. I'm not sure if I will be able to get the stench out of my nostrils. Love conquers all, they say!
Now for my final conclusions:
Let me say that I enjoy driving with my husband down the road to a car show on a regular basis, but I don't like to hang out where a bunch of inanimate metal objects just sit all day. They can't even talk to each other, they just sit there, collect dust, the batteries go dead and the tires go flat. They leak gas regularly, when no one is around to notice, judging from the smell of the shop. And the insurance is out of this world, whether you drive them or not.
In my estimation, they do serve one critical purpose, and that is to carry history from the past to the present. When I ride in them, I think about who had them before and what life was really like in the "good old days." I also like to watch people's faces as we pass by. Not as a status thing, but because seeing their eyes light up, because they remember, especially those who grew up in the 20's to the 70's. It's good to see others have happy memories awakened.
Every thing we do is just another lesson in life I guess. Sometimes it's good to not try to be first or noticed or even the important one. As I had to look at myself in the mirror this morning, I wondered who I was trying to be and why am willing to try so hard to get people to like me. I was embarassed,at my childishness.
I have heard it said that laughter is one of the ways that your liver can heal. I want to laugh, but I have always been far too serious, presumably having been raised with high expectations for my conduct. Ever the responsible one, high achiever and performer, I have been known to rise to the role. Thus I became overly-sensitive, sometimes a help, others a hindrance.
The best laughter, I have found, comes when looking in the "rear view" mirror of my behavior after one of these ridiculous moments. Then, and only then I can clearly recognize how foolishly I acted. I am able to see the humor, and I am considerably humbled. When my self-pity rises, my childishness joins in and takes the drama to a whole new level.
I began to laugh at myself. I laughed so hard I cried. I cried so hard that I released all the anger and frustration at all the poor family dynamics that have hurt so deeply over the years. I cried for all the children in the world, who choose out of their own neediness to reject and punish people that have come to bring good to them in difficult times. I cried as I remembered the wonderful step mom I had and what beautiful gifts she brought to my life. I have tried to be like her, forgiving and loving, but it doesn't seem to be making a difference.
It felt good, and surprisingly enough, it changed my outlook. I couldn't have done that yesterday, because I wasn't in that place. I could have just made the choice and been happy for everyone else that was having fun. I know, I have a long way to grow. Apparently, we all do!