Thursday, September 17, 2015

"C.K. Dexter Haven, you have unsuspected depth!"

(I had no idea how to title this post, nor how it'd turn out, so bear with me.)

You all know those days, I'm sure, when you're just…oh, how shall we put it--not exactly feeling the greatest of kinships with Pollyanna?  Days when something that's been going on in your life is just weighing you down and making you weepy and poor-poor-pitiful-me-ish?  I've been having a couple of those days recently.  I've been in a bit of a "funk" off and on, one moment happy and contented, and the next subdued and heartsick (Well, you're an adolescent girl, Olivia.  Duh).


I don't want this to be a downer post, so I just wanted to share random rambling thoughts that have come to me as I've tried to deal with these sorts of days over the years (wise and learned sage that I am!).  

There's a very complicated familial situation going on, and I have to fight to keep resentment and self-pity from having their way with me.  Sometimes it's not so hard, and sometimes it feels like I'm Sam, trying to carry another person up flippin' Mount Doom.  And I've been realizing, through talking with the Lord and analyzing my thoughts and discussing it with my mother, that I have a deep-seated misconception about life, a misconception most of us have probably entertained at one time or another--the idea that my life should be fair.  

Ha.  

Life is not fair.  It's never claimed to be fair, and perhaps it's never even been meant to be fair while we're on this earth.  (William Goldman put this much more eloquently than I can in The Princess Bride, so there's another reason you should read that book.)  And when you hear that phrase, "life's not fair," it seems easy to accept as a no-brainer in the moment.  But then Stuff Happens.  You hear about terror in the Middle East, of human trafficking in your own state, and your family life is turning out to be much harder than you ever supposed it could be.  People make demands on your time, on your heart, on your mind, on your faith…and some little voice deep in your chest, half buried by your good intentions and your life lessons and all the healing the Lord has done in you, begins a muffled scream:  "This isn't fair."  And despite all your efforts, some days the voice reaches such a decibel that it seems to veritably force its way out of your better nature and raises a storm of emotions.  That's when we have to realize something, have to tell it to ourselves over and over until we understand that this just might be the way it has to be:  Life isn't fair.  Life. Is Not. Fair.  

But.

It is amazing.


I know we've all heard it a thousand times in various forms, but our lives can be beautiful regardless of what is going on in them.  There are some things that are up to you.  You can take control of your emotions.  Of course, one shouldn't stifle them, heavens no, but there is a battle being waged daily for our minds and hearts, and with God we will gain the victory.  

One of the greatest tonics for me when I'm "having a bad day" is to go outside and just be.  I live nestled in a valley of such beauty that at times my heart aches with it.  (Countrysides are gorgeous things that should be treasured and preserved and appreciated.)  Few sights fill me with such joy and peace as sunlight glancing through the leaves and spreading onto the grass.  That's why the hours right before dusk are my favorite times of day--late afternoon.  My word, what a paradise.  In the time between 4:45 and 7 o'clock (at this time of year, where I live), even just sitting outside and gazing at the beauty of the light contrasting with the shadows renews my calm and refocuses my thoughts.  Sometimes, the Savior whispers:  "Come take a walk with Me.  Down the hill to the road, and We can talk.  The road falling away beyond the fence towards your neighbor's farm, the wind gently stirring the wild grasses and flowers down by the creek, and the meadows rolling tranquilly as far as your eye can see--let the simple beauty wash you with My love, and remind you that there are some things that can never be taken from you."  Other days I feel a tug just to sit on our makeshift swing and let the security of God's nature ground me again.  (Of course, this endeavor is helped if one is finishing a book throbbing with Life while one sits…coughcoughALanternInHerHandcoughcough.  There's nothing like reading of the struggles and triumphs of another human life for calming the old nerves.)


Just let go.  Just let your mind wander to good places--if your heart belongs to the rustling, flaxen grandeur of the prairie, travel West, young mind.  If you're uplifted into the robins-egg blue vault of sky, soar.  If awe overtakes you at the untamable, mystical ocean, swim away.  And through it all, allow the Lord to whisper His words of healing into your life.  Be honest with Him.  He knows when you feel wronged by circumstance, and He will draw near to you if you draw near to Him.  


Also, just to make y'all jealous, hehe, I'm going to see Cinderella for the second time in a theater tonight.  SQUEEEE I GET TO SEE CINDERELLA AGAIN.  I'm really excited, as you might be able to surmise:D  Thusly, in addition to all the piffle I just spouted out, have courage and be kind.




51 comments:

  1. Oh Olivia. I understand and can echo every single word that I just read. I know EXACTLY how you feel and what you mean.

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    1. Thank you, Bailey! I appreciate knowing I'm not alone!:D

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  2. Except for the going to go see Cinderella part. :P I really, really, want to watch that, but unfortunately I don't have to resources to do so.

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    1. Hehe:P Aww, shucks, that stinks! It's awful when there's something you SO want to watch, and you just CAN'T, isn't it? It's happened to me too:-/

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  3. This post is surprisingly inspirational and uplifting. It's nice to know that I am not alone in my 'bad days' as you put them. :)

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    1. I'm so glad, Laura! Yes, it definitely is, isn't it?!

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  4. This is such a beautiful post Olivia!

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  5. Lovely post - thank you so much :)

    Wow, that's amazing! When I feel like that I love to go outdoors and just LOOK. I know exactly what you mean.

    Yeah, "have courage and be kind." And to quote the prince, "YOU'RE RIGHT!" *smile* I wish I could see Cinderella - but I bet I'd be scared silly and at the same time be sooo mad at the stepmother for how she treats Cinderella . . . So I'm not sure I actually want to see the whole thing. But I have seen clips and it looks reeeeeeeeeeeeallly cool :D

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    1. Thank YOU so much, Rosie!:D

      That's so cool! Great minds think alike;)

      Eeeeeek, yes! Oh, Rosie--you MUST watch it; it's the sparkliest, sweetest thing:)

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    2. Yes, I probably will watch it some day :) I love Cinderella's ball dress to pieces!! And I like the scene where they (the prince and Cinderella) meet.

      "You don't know who I am! Oh - people call me Kit. That is, my father does . . . when he's in a good mood."

      *enormous grins*

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    3. Kit and Ella are one of the most adorable, squee-worthy couples EVAH. They're just so cute:D

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  6. Oh! Dear Olivia! My heart responded immediately when I read this post. I have so many days like this. So many. Sometimes I feel like I'm simply balancing on a thin line between giddy happiness and uncontrollable tears. Family situations can be so hard sometimes. My family has been changed pretty drastically since we adopted last year, and I definitely have feelings at times of it not being fair. Life isn't as peaceful as it used to be and sometimes I feel cheated of what my home used to be like. But you're right. Life isn't fair. And yes, maybe we shouldn't even expect it to be. Hardships bring growth, and it's very comforting to know that God holds all these things in His hand, and that He's working it all out for the good of those who love Him. Life IS amazing. That is so true. It amazing because we have God. And no matter our circumstances, He never changes!

    This was a lovely post, Olivia. Beautifully written. You have a marvelous way with words. Keep talking to God...He's with you through it all. (And also, just so you know, every family has it's struggles. You're not alone.)

    I hope you have a peaceful and restful night. Thank you for taking the time to write this. Your focus on the Lord and your dependence on Him is so encouraging.

    (Oh, and I just wanted to add, your comment about being a wise and learned sage made me smile! :) Love that.)

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    1. Miss March, thank you so much! You are so encouraging!

      Exactly--"feeling cheated." It's a struggle. Oh! I'm sorry about your family situation. Stay strong in Him!

      Thank you so much! It's so sweet of you. And yes, thanks--I know other people have just as hard a time of it as I do, but sometimes in my selfishness it's so hard not to compare. He can help me, though!

      Thank you again so much--I did have a lovely night, helped largely by your sweet comment! It touched me so:) You are so welcome! Thank YOU for reading it!

      (Haha, thanks. I had fun with that;D)

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    2. Oh! I'm so glad! It's wonderful to be able to encourage one another. I know you've encouraged me! :)

      ~Miss March

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    3. Yes! Aww, good, I'm so glad!:D

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  7. Olivia,
    Yes, this was beautiful. I can completely understand- we're going through a hard (and rather sticky) time in my family too, and sometimes it's SO hard to cope. I know I often ask myself 'why me' but really, every family has its hardships. :-) I hope the problems smooth out quite soon (and even if they don't, which is more my case at present) I hope you find true peace in the Lord. And we are still blessed in many things. I particularly love the place in the Bible that says God will never give us more than we can bear. :-) Also, HAVE FUN WATCHING CINDERELLA!!!! I saw it twice at the movies too :-) (It's been out on DVD for ages here, anyway.) I think the first time is best, but I picked up on little details the second time. But you can never NOT feel lie watching that gorgeous movie. :-)
    ~Miss Meg March

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    1. Thank you, Miss Meg!
      Oh, wow--YES. I'm so glad I'm not alone in these sticky family trials. Yeah, sometimes it's hard for me to imagine it smoothing out any time in "the foreseeable future," but with God all things are possible!:) Thank you so much--and yes! His promises are wonderful!
      THANK YOOOUUUU!!! I did. I loved it again:D Except we missed like the first twenty minutes, which was a shame because I love her mother. Oh, well. Yes! I liked it better the first time, overall, but like you said, you pick up more details, and it's still just gorgeous;)

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  8. Olivia, you are a poet. :-)

    That's about all I have to say.

    Thank you for sharing these strong words!

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  9. Thank you one again for your honesty Olivia!! I can really relate, and sometimes it is good to just be alone like that a bit, with no one but the Lord, so you can let the feelings go. Faking that you are okay gets so tiring!

    You write so beautifully! Please, may we have more?!

    And going to see Cinderella again!! Oh you lucky duck! I would love to see it again. I really should get that on dvd… Hmmm… Have fun m'dear!

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    1. You're so welcome, Abigail; thank YOU! Yes, it is so helpful to know that others understand, isn't it? Yeah, trying to be "together" and sympathetic can be exhausting.

      Oh, thank you so much! You are so sweet; seriously, y'all's comments have been so encouraging and uplifting for me.

      Yusssss:D Thanks a bunch! I did;)

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  10. Olivia, this is wonderful. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

    I know just how you feel. Seriously, I can relate to ALL of this. And it's so helpful to know that other people are going through this kind of stuff, too :)

    And what you wrote--yes. It's so true. It's like the Gospel reading we had at Mass last week: "Take up your cross and follow Me." Life IS going to be hard for us, just like it was hard for Him. But He will help us deal with it all.

    "Be still, and know that I am God." :)

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    1. I'm so glad it encouraged you, Jessica! Thank you so much for your comment. You girls are the best.

      YES. Yes, yes. And that is a wonderful Scripture--encouraging and sympathetic as well as motivational.

      Yes! The Lord was really washing me in that verse during one of those walks recently. It was amazing:)

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  11. Oh! By the way, I've been meaning to ask you--have you gotten a chance to watch "Masked" yet? Because Rosie and I have been really enjoying it :) Seriously, the weekly installments are SUCH a pick-me-up that it's not even funny.

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    1. I haven't gotten to Masked YET. I'm sure I will eventually, but the thing is, I have a number of other "shows" going at the moment and I'm trying to keep it to a minimum so I won't be too distracted from work XD But it's good to hear that it's well done--you like the way they're retelling it?

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    2. I know how you feel :) I really appreciate that each episode of Masked is so short, actually, cause I have SO much else going on :)

      Well, um . . . To be completely honest, I've never actually read The Scarlet Pimpernel, just skimmed it, so I'm not the best authority on that, I guess :) But from what I know about the book and the movie, it seems like they're doing a really good job with the story. So far we haven't actually met Sir Percy himself, but we've met his boys--the League--and they're a LOT of fun. Especially Tony Dewhurst. :) And Margot (Marguerite) and Suzanne are purty awesome.

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    3. Haha, well, you SHOULD read the book;D It's pretty great. Anyway, cool! I'm sure I'll like it when I get around to it:D

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  12. Ahhh, I loved how you put this: "sometimes it feels like I'm Sam, trying to carry another person up flippin' Mount Doom." HA
    I too have had to learn this lesson....and yet I'll probably learn it again and again throughout my life.
    But I loved how you put it! Life is not fair...but it is amazing. YES.

    Oh my--you do that too? My favorite thing when I'm "fed up" with life and people is to go outside somewhere. We have a creek I love to sit by (although I haven't done it as much this summer because, -cough- bugs and heat). I'm looking forward to fall because, for me, it's the best time to hang out in our woods by the creek. So peaceful and beautiful. I just love to be able to clear my thoughts and drink in God's nature. I like being able to be quiet and feel close to Him that way.
    The part you wrote in italics made me tear up. It's perfect.

    You're reading A Lantern In Her Hand!! Do you like it??
    Ah, yes, I'm jealous. I haven't seen Cinderella ONCE. You lucky thing, you. :P
    Thank you for this, Olivia! You have such a way with words and I love how open you are in your posts. :) I will keep you in my prayers, friend!

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    1. Hee, thank you. I liked that part myself;)
      Yep. I'm sure it's just gonna be a lifelong learning part of sanctification. Sigh. We have a wonderful Guide and Mentor, though!

      CREEKS ARE DA BEST. Seriously. We don't have a creek or stream on our property, sadly, but there are a number close enough so that I can at least look at them;) Anyway, YES! The Lord speaks so gently yet clearly in the midst of Nature, doesn't He? Thank you for sharing that:)
      Oh! Did it, really?! Thank you for telling me--for some reason it really touched me.

      YUUUSSSS! Well, technically, I've finished ALiHH. And now, after my in-between re-read, I'm into The Merry Adventures of Our Favorite Hero!;D But ALiHH was breathtaking. I'll be talking more about it in a later post, I'm sure!

      Aww, poor thing:P No, seriously, that is a shame. Can't wait till you watch it and please let me know what you think of it. It's like the most beautiful thing everrrr:D

      Thank you so much, Natalie! Your comment was such a pick-me-up! And I SO appreciate your prayers! Right back at ya, love!

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    2. Yes, indeed! We certainly do have that. :)

      I know, right? I used to dream of having a creek or brook at my home (so many lovely literary stories seemed to deem them a must ;)) so it's been such an exciting blessing that our new home has one! I never thought I'd actually have "my own" creek.
      Aww, your welcome!

      Oh, good! I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it! And on TMAoRH! :D

      I'm so glad! Thank you!!

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    3. Aww, I'm so glad you "got a creek." :D I can still hope for one eventually;)

      Haha, yes! It's...complicated...I'll explain later;)

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  13. I've tagged you for 5 male characters!

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    1. Eeeeek! Thanks, Ivy! I've been thinking about that tag recently--ya know, wondering what the categories will be, and such:)

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  14. Good post! It's encouraging to hear about your God-centered reaction to challenging times:)

    Also, your writing style is gorgeous, girl. You really need to try your hand at fictional writing!

    AND CINDERELLA!! That was playing in Costco yesterday as a promotion for their TVs and it was SO tempting to just stand in front of the TV while my mom shopped, which of course is weird, so I had to peel myself away from it;) And it was the second to last scene, too! :D

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    1. Thanks! Oh, good, I'm so glad!

      Thank you so much! That's too kind of you:D

      Was it really?! How come *I* didn't go to Costco the one day they were playing Cinderella?! Heehee, oh well, it was still fun to hear about.

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  16. ::Gives you a virtual hug::

    I'm heading into what I know is going to be a really tough week -- my husband is leaving on a business trip and I'll be a single mom for a week, which is always difficult, and I've been having a really hard time not dissolving into a pity-party-for-myself puddle. But God promises never to let us go through anything He can't handle... so I'm trying to remember this is not all on me.

    Besides prayer and being in the Word, though, I find that sometimes the most comforting thing to do is watch a movie about something incredibly hard or depressing -- and when I do, I get this feeling of, "Oh, well at least my life isn't THAT bad!" I'm not trying to take a hill surmounted by a Nazi pillbox full of machine guns, or trying to punish my father's murderer, or living out in the woods during the winter while trying to stay away from the Nazis who want to put me in a prison camp. It could be so much worse!!!

    How come you get to see Cinderella in the theater? Happy you!

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    1. *returns hug*

      That certainly does promise to be really hard. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers! And yes, He will never overwhelm us.

      Really? That's so interesting, because that has the opposite effect on me, hehe. I internalize almost everything I see/hear, especially the bad things, and when I watch or read about things like that, and things like depression and suicidal tendencies, it somehow translates into my brain as, You should be feeling that, too.. For some reason, it's almost like I feel that if I feel that too, maybe it'll somehow help the others. Weird.

      Heehee, I know:P

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    2. I actually get the same way--that's why I have to be pretty careful about what I read or watch, because if it's too sad/depressing/gritty, it gets stuck inside my brain and can seriously mess with my peace and stability if I'm not careful. :) Dunno exactly why that is. But it IS that way. If you follow me.

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    3. Awwww. Well then, by all means, avoid depressing things, both of you! My mom is rather that way too -- she can be blue for a couple of days after a really depressing movie. I find tragedies cathartic -- if I'm starting to feel down, watching something really sad just sort of pushes me through the mood and on out, I guess. Like, "Here, have all the angst and sorrow in one giant dose instead of stringing it out for days." And also I do get a, "Could be worse!" feeling from them too. Perhaps I'm not as empathetic as you two are?

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    4. I think that's it, Hamlette--the empathetic thing. Olivia and me recently discovered that we're both INFJs, and empathy is one of the strongest INFJ characteristics. Like, if we see somebody who's really sad, then it's a pretty sure bet that WE'LL get sad, too. It makes it really easy to understand and relate to other people--but it also means you run a very good chance of getting totally overwhelmed by the whole "emotion-sharing process." It's not like I can never watch sad movies, but I have to be careful not to watch something that's TOO intense--and especially not when I'm actually down/depressed myself.

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    5. I can see that! I'm much more sympathetic than empathetic -- my first response to someone who is sad or hurting is, "How can I help?" I feel sad *for* people, I don't feel their sadness as my own. As an ISFJ, I have a real drive to rescue and defend, which gets interpreted most of the time as wanting to help get rid of what's making people sad.

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    6. Ahhhhhhhh . . . Hamlette, thank you SO much for explaining that! Because, you see, I've run into that so many times in my own life, but I couldn't understand exactly how it works. Like, my mother is that way, too--her first question is always "well, what can I DO to help you?" if I'm feeling sad or angry or what-not. And that always puzzled me, because I was like, "I actually don't want you to DO anything, I just want to know that you understand what I'm feeling!" Because that's my own strength--understanding what people are feeling and sort of feeling it along with them.

      When I was reading about INFJs online, one site termed them the "counselor" types, as opposed to the ISFJ "defenders"--for INFJs, the most important thing is trying to understand others' emotional issues and problems, and that's definitely very true for me.

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    7. Yup. It totally messes with my brain. I understand, Jessica:D

      Yeah, maybe this is it! Isn't it so cool how many infinitesimal nuances there are in each personality? God is an amazing Creator:) Thanks for sharing, Hamlette and Jessica! It's really helpful to hear.

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  17. I'm happy to have cleared that up for you! I know this sometimes causes problems for me. Like when a friend emails me and pours her heart out about her terrible job, and my first instinct is to make suggestions about how to find a new job or whatever -- but all she really wants is someone to listen and sympathize. I'm trying to learn to pause before i leap into fix-everything mode and consider whether fixing is what's needed.

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  18. Yes, it's so funny how different everybody is--and yet it's wonderful, too! If we were all the same, things wouldn't work out nearly so well. God knows that we need BOTH "fixers" and "empathizers," and that's why he creates both kinds :)

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