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Posts tagged ‘community’

Father’s Day for the Fatherless

I was reading a book today titled Fields of the Fatherless, I was hoping it would be an interesting read. I was hoping it would shed some light on the fatherless but it really didn’t provide me with anything I didn’t already know. It would be a good book for someone who is just beginning to understand that we should be compassionate to the fatherless.
I found this book to be filled with duh statements. One of the first I read was when the author said that he was visiting an orphanage and was surprised at how clingy the children at the orphanage were. This was a duh statement for me because it makes sense. When you go to Africa do not the starving children ask for food? So to do children without love ask for it. They demand it, because they know that they need it.

Tomorrow it will be Father’s day and I have been blessed with a great dad. I have a great relationship with him that has flourished over the years. My dad had to learn how to be a dad because his own dad was absent. How did he learn how to do that? Did he learn it from his mom? I don’t know how he learned to be a great dad, I just know that he is a great dad.

But I know loads of people that are fatherless. Their father may be absent. Their father may be dead. Their father may have abandoned them. Their father may be distant. Their father may be too broken to realize that they have alienated their children. So how do the fatherless celebrate Father’s Day?

I know some people who have estranged relationships with their fathers that will be calling to say hello. I know some people that won’t even make the call. I know some people that will be visiting graves or spending a few moments in silence, in remembrance of those who have died.

How do the fatherless celebrate Father’s Day? One of the churches that I went to in Pasadena suggested that those who were not Father’s should be celebrated because they were “spiritual fathers.” From my understanding, a spiritual father is someone who shepherds someone through their faith. They are a mentor and friend of sorts with the addition of making sure to point out when they feel that you are doing wrong.

So that takes care of the men who are not father’s but what about the children without father’s? Do we even consider them on this day? Do we even stop for a moment and think about how hard it is for them? About how hard it is for them to not have that special bond with someone?

They do not know, nor do they understand the story of the Prodigal Son. They do not know that joy that the father experienced. They do not understand how someone could love someone after they behaved so badly.

That’s what a father’s love is all about right? No matter how many times I mess up or get myself into trouble I know that my father loves me.

This is sometimes easiest to see on the faces of new dads. The look they have when looking down at their child is one of pure love and pure devotion and pure protection. They would do anything for their son or daughter. So when does this pure love, devotion and protection go away?

Are some men born without it? Do some men just ignore it? What happens? Where does the devotion go?

The fatherless are sad to me. We have always celebrated Father’s day in my house. I found it interesting because my father had an absent father and my mother’s dad died when she was young. Neither my mother or father had fathers when they were growing up and yet they worked hard to give their children what they never had.

We always go out to lunch on Father’s day and tomorrow will be no different. I’m already planning out my pain management for tomorrow so that I can be present to help celebrate Father’s Day with my dad but I know that many of my friends and loved ones won’t be celebrating anyone tomorrow.

And it breaks my heart.

So what can we do on Father’s Day for the Fatherless? A professor once told me to never make a challenge to a congregation or group of people that I wasn’t willing to do myself. So this challenge is not to you alone. It’s to me too.

What can we do for the Fatherless on Father’s Day? I’m not fatherless so I don’t have all the answers but here are some ideas I have been thinking about:

1. A few moments of silence to recognize the Fathers that aren’t with us.

2. Adoption. Take someone who is fatherless with you for the day. Adopt them into your family not only for Father’s Day but adopt them to become part of your family. If there is a divorced family in your church or community and you know that the father is never around then invite the kid over for Sunday dinners once a week or once a month and then on Father’s day include the mom and the kid in your celebrations. If there is an adult in your midst who has an absent father do the same. Invite him or her to become part of your family and nurture them.

3…What are your ideas? How can we help the Fatherless?

I know God is the father to all of us including the Fatherless but we all need earthly fathers as well. How can we help the fatherless not feel so fatherless?

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Cornering A Cat

*the Science or psychology behind what I am saying came from Terry and Sharon Hargrave. I just adapted it to my situation.

Last night I had an argument, an argument over nothing and my reaction caught me by surprise. I haven’t felt this angry over nothing in a long time. It reminded me that heated arguments are rarely about the actual thing you are arguing over. Most of the time they are over the way the person felt, or how the other person’s actions made the person feel.

For instance, in this particular argument I felt like a cornered cat. There was no option for me other than to agree with the person. There was no where to go but to agreement and I was not ready for that yet. The other person even pointed out that I was overreacting to the situation.

So what about the argument was different or what made it more heated for me. I felt cornered. I felt like a kid getting a spanking for a dumb reason. When I feel cornered I protect myself and lash out, which is exactly what I did.

Each of us have our own reactions to be cornered. Some people will just agree so they can get out of the corner and other’s like me will lash out.

Like I said the argument was a silly one. One that over the time of about a half hour I was able to get over. My reaction was what surprised me. So I thought over the conversation. The person I was arguing with never said that I was dumb, yet I felt it. The person never said that was being a child, but I felt like one. The person never gave me a choice. The person did say I could run an experiment but it was said in a way that makes the other person (me) feel like a child. Had the person, or myself, stopped the conversation for a moment, googled the information and then shown me the webpage that proved that they were right things might have gone differently.

I may not have gotten so heated. But I was tired and when I am tired I kind of forget all the things I have learned and go straight to angry.

Terry and Sharon Hargrave taught that instead of going straight to the reaction we should try to first go for the feeling. When so and so did this I felt….

When so and so stated the information in what felt like a condescending way I felt small.

When so and so continued to argue their point without back up I felt angry.

When so and so would not give up I felt cornered.

Once you do three feelings then you are supposed to talk about your reaction.

When so and so would not give up I felt cornered and lashed out with words of anger.

I even had some cooling down and came back for round two. (I now know that I needed a longer cool down time.)

I came back with a reasoned argument but ended with the lashing out again in a semi-sarcastic manner.
What I should have done is come back with an explanation of what I heard (because sometimes what we hear is not what was said) and then explained how each statement made me feel.

The Hargraves also reasoned that you could use this system to find out how your argument partner (or spouse) fights or reacts to fights and how to best approach them to finish the argument in a way that has neither partner reaching for their flight or fight response. They cautioned that you were not to use the system as a way to manipulate your partner but instead to better understand them and yourself.

So my argument last night was not about the argument itself but instead about how the argument made me feel. I have a feeling that being away from my California therapist and California friends will teach me how to use all the different skills I have learned in a new way. I will get chances to put everything I have learned into use because no one here has taken the classes I have taken and no one here has been to all the seminars I have been to.

This might be a hard year because I might have to stop myself and figure out what is going on before lashing out and protecting myself.

Ahh new lessons, why do they have to be so hard?

The Complexities of Vulnerability

Thursday I got another lesson in vulnerability and it is has been something I have been considering for the past few days.

Since I was abused by people who were supposed to care for me and who I was supposed to be able to trust I have found it difficult to trust others.

I’ve been working on this because I know it is an important step in all relationships. Being able to share yourself with others is something that we all need. We all need to find a way to let go of our guard and really share who we are.

I have no problem being transparent with my life. I can share my hopes, dreams and desires. I can share my life story and how I process things but there are certain parts of myself that I hold back.

One part has been my feelings. For the better part of my life I thought that my feelings were bad and I had dissociated them. I would start to feel something and then immediately I would push it away. This happens to me a lot in therapy. I will start to feel sad and the moment I try to connect to it, it goes away and I am left feeling blank.

I have started to share my feelings. I have started to share my needs which is another huge step for me. I used to keep my needs to myself for fear that no one would ever meet them. I have gotten better at telling myself as well as my friends and family about my needs. For the most part, they seem to be able to handle and/or meet my needs but that doesn’t mean that they always do.

This is part of being vulnerable, you have to open yourself up to the possibility of either being loved or being hurt. You have to be wiling to take the gamble.

So I have been learning to be vulnerable with my feelings and that is hard enough but now I have to learn how to be vulnerable with my expressions.

I have this weird tick if you will. Whenever I am mad at someone or upset or even sad I will start to smile.

A few therapists ago, I had one who told me some upsetting news and then he asked me to read his face. It reminded me of a scene from Bones where Sweets is trying to teach Brennan how to read facial expressions and then manipulate people  into opening up to her.

My therapist showed me his face and asked me what I saw. They only thing I saw was anger. Then he started reading my faced and when he told me I looked sad I started to smile.

He asked me why I was smiling and I said that I didn’t want him to be sad that I was sad and I didn’t want him to see that I was sad.

I was vulnerable in that moment and wanted to end the moment by smiling. In this case I knew what I was doing but in some cases I will be smiling at the wrong time without even knowing I am doing it.

Thursday in therapy I was trying to tell my therapist how much him saying that I was a burden last week had hurt me. He explained that we had different meanings for burden. He didn’t want me to feel like I couldn’t take up space which is what it sounded like I was struggling with. And I realized that our definitions of burden were very different.

Anyway I brought up how upsetting that was for me and was inadvertently smiling while doing it. He asked me to try to show him with my face what that was like. So with my words and my face I showed him. I teared up and said that it was hurtful and that I didn’t like thinking that I burdened my friends and family that when he said that it felt like he was confirming the lie that I believe. The lie that no one wants to spend time with me, that they are forced to spend time with me.

While we were having this conversation I began to sit up and he began to scoot to the edge of his chair. By the time the conversation was over we were closer both in proximity and in intimacy.

And I began to realize that hiding my expressions from my face was denying myself and my friends the intimacy of seeing how I actually felt. He said he could actually see and feel what I was feeling. My feelings did not become his own but he could begin to see how much he had hurt me and in allowing him to see it I allowed him to get closer to me.

Of all my therapists this last one has really helped me relationally.

I actually said out loud, “Crap” (except if  you know me, you know I didn’t say crap 🙂 ). I realized that if I want all my relationships to be this close I have to let others see how they effect me. I have to let them see how much their influence in my life changes me and if they hurt me I have to let them see that as well.

Which just means I have to be even more vulnerable which is exciting and scary.

I am just now realizing all the complexities that are associated with being vulnerable and even though I know they are scary they are also worth the journey.

God’s Faithfulness #5: Becoming Ms. Waggoner, teacher at Indian Woods

Here’s a recap of 1-4 just in case you have missed them.

1. God held my heart

2. Surgery when needed

3.Food on the table

4. Internships at the last second

Today is #5:

5. Becoming Ms. Waggoner, teacher at Indian Woods. After I graduated from undergrad God got me a job. It took a while but God did finally come through so there is no reason that God won’t get me a job soon right?

Doubts aside there was a time many years ago that God put me in a teaching position. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in English Education in 2004. I walked with my class at graduation and that summer I had one more class I had to complete which meant that I got my teaching credential after my friends, after the school year started.

I went on many interviews. I did the group interviews and I did several interviews for teaching positions in all the school districts in my area (3).

I had an interview at my old high school that was 90 minutes long and I didn’t get that job. I had another interview after a woman that obviously got the job that lasted about 20 minutes and then I had a surprising interview that lasted 3o minutes.

I went into the interview not caring. After all I had cared for so many interviews and had never gotten the job so I figured a game change was in order.

I walked into that interview assuming I wasn’t going to get it. I laughed and I was completely relaxed. Later that day I got the call that they were checking out my references (which is awesome because who calls your references if they don’t want to hire you?). After they called my references they hired me. Turns out that interview at the school that lasted 20 minutes was worth it. The principal from that school called the principal at Indian Woods and recommended me.

It was great. I worked at Finish Line and was a substitute teacher until I finally got the job at Indian Woods. That job taught me so much and the people I met there were awesome.

It was a great honor to be there and to be hired there. I am proud of my previous career. I loved my time at Indian Woods and I was glad when it ended as well. Teaching in a school setting was not where my life was headed.

I teach now but in a different capacity. I teach ministry. I teach how to write papers but to grad students instead of 7th graders. I’m still a teacher but in a different way.

God came through before and got me a job that taught me skills that I still bring to the table: flexibility, caring heart, creativity and many other things.

I was blessed by my time at Indian Woods and I’m really glad that God came through that time. I hopefully that memory can help me this week as I continue to search for the right position for me.

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