I broke a couple of toes the day before Thanksgiving. It has been an incredibly painful couple of days. Come Monday I'll be calling my podiatrist, there are pins in my foot and I need to make sure they weren't compromised with my great kick. That's probably how I'll refer to it. It wasn't even much of a kick but "my great toe stubbing" doesn't sound as glamorous.
Since I'm bound to sit as much as possible because standing causes incredible, painful pounding, I've been reading a few blogs and catching up. The thing is? I really wish I hadn't started. I'm reading about so little beyond pain and hurt feelings and ministries having to close down and.. well.. very little in the way of "good" news.
It has me thinking. It has me realizing that I'm not the only one dealing with a mother who is battling cancer (and not winning that battle), I'm not the only one with broken bones or pain in my heart because of family difficulties.
I mean... I knew that. On an intellecutal level. But on a heart level? I really have been focusing more on me than on anyone else. I've given up my two nights a month doing devotions at the local homeless shelter. Why? It was just too difficult for me to get up there. I haven't really made an effort to find out about babies and moms who need showers there, either. Why? Too much for me to coordinate. There just isn't time. I need to focus on my family.
And any one of a dozen other reasons that are starting to sound just a little whiny and a bit like excuses.
Thanksgiving day I got to see my newest niece in person for the first time. She was born June 6th. She lives less than 10 miles away but my sister & brother-in-law haven't spoken to me in over 2 years and they've been using this latest child to punish me. It's childish and ridiculous and all I could think as I looked at this little face was... nothing. There was no deep connection and when that hit me, it broke my heart. She is blood, she is family and my heart didn't leap at the sight of her. All I could consider was my anger at her parents for their inexcusable behavior. Their cowardice. And my family's apathy in dealing with it all. And how angry I am that they've taken these relationships away from me (my sister & brother-in-law have 3 girls, 13, 9 & 5 months), used these children against me. How wrong it is. How unfair it is. How childish it is.
At least...that's my perspective.
Who knows what their thoughts are. We never did share anything on a deeper level. Sometimes I don't think I have a real relationship with anyone in my family. And I wonder - is that me or is it them? Probably both but I can't do anything about their part in it, all I can do is ask God to help me examine myself. And I'm not really sure what He's telling me most of the time. There are so many things He has changed in me, so many areas in which I have grown. So why is it all still so messed up? Why can't I seem to get being me right?
Perhaps it isn't just what I need to learn. Maybe... just maybe... all of this "ugly" that so many people seem to be going through is something we all need to learn together. Maybe, as much as we like to "think" we're a community, we still have so much missing. Maybe...just maybe... we're relying on this online community a bit too much. I don't know. I really don't. Perhaps we think we're more balanced then we are and we don't think we're turning to the internet too much but maybe God is pushing us back to interacting more with those people who are genuinely in our lives instead of those who are only superficially in our lives. I could most definitely be wrong and that could be my problem, my problem only. After all, I used to be quite addicted to AOL chat rooms. I was a "regular." I was "popular." I could be slipping into some old habits.
I don't know but...
How many times do I read "I consider you my friends, even though I wouldn't know you if I passed you on the street." Or something like that... How is that "real" community? Isn't there more to Christ's teaching than us realizing who "we" are? Aren't we supposed to become less so He becomes more? Am I really doing that or am I assuaging some guilt somewhere by "learning" about myself so God can make me better? Isn't that still making it about me? I read an absolutely brilliant post that has me thinking about how I react, or think about things and I start wondering...does it really matter what I think? What does God think? And then...I put that thought process down because it really is a pretty tough road to walk. It means ignoring what I want and that is pretty tough to do.
I don't think this is finished. Not by a long shot. And perhaps, just perhaps, I'll have the guts to look at it closer, dive into it deeper. Clear out all of the fuzzy stuff I just wrote and have it be a bit more understandable. Maybe. Then again, if I stay true to form, I'll think it far too difficult and not enough about me and I'll move on to something else...
God, I pray not.