I have an urge to address the question of ¨sad days.¨ Where do they come from? Suddenly, Ifind myself in the midst of a very rainy and cool day, feeling very sleepy and suffering from a sore throat, stomach pains and a total loss of bearings for the day. Things that were so amazingly interesting and essential just yesterday, personal emails to be read and answered, thoughts to work through and things to do suddenly lose their basic appeal, and I can't feel any sincere affection for any human being in this world (what do married people do on "sad days", I wonder?) Yet, I make a choice to persevere through the day. In my mind I tell myself that the rain will not last forever, and my sore throat will go away, and I'm not really alone in this world, but I'm stuck in the emotional hole and can't climb out of it on my own.
So, I think, I should ponder some solutions for such days and be prepared when it hits me again.
I've decided to post questions that we've been discussing with a dear friend of mine on Facebook. I thought that we would benefit from having them on the blog, as we could always come back to the blog and "read it anytime we want and think and, hopefully, be encouraged that we are not along in the world." Nice...I'm quoting myself her :):)
So, "lol, isnt it weird that some friends seem closer than some family!!"?
Dear Liz, let me explain. The question was posted by my friend Jess (Jess meet Liz, Liz meet Jess), and I thought it was too interesting to be confined to the chat on Facebook. I haven't posted any of my thoughts on this question yet, but I will. Thank you for taking part in the discussion - I couldn't think of a better person than you to think through this question with us.
Here is what I have said previously,
2:52am Masha People can be shy, focused on themselves...and it's kind of scary when in about 10 minutes of your conversation they place you in a particular box where you are doomed to stay...Yuck...I've been in this situation...and I'm prone to putting people in such boxes that totally prevents me from seeing and bringing out the best in people. Does it make sense?
Now, to go on with my thoughts:
What if you see a person, and you just end up talking about weather...yet, at times, you do meet people, and they seem very interesting (kindred spirits) even initially.. but then your further communication can either reinforce your initial interest or prove otherwise.
At the same time, I'm thinking about the first impression that people have of us. There are friends that have known us for years. What if we go through some major transformation of our character and mature and grow, I wonder, if their opinion of us evolves, or does it always remain the same? It would require for this person to look at us through the eyes of love and confidence that we can change to change their opinion. I have a friend whom I have known for a long time. I imagine, he has witnessed some fundamental changes in me, but I always have a nagging feeling that, no matter what, he place me in a particular character/personality/maturity box where I'm doomed to stay. It puts me in a very complicated situation where I can either just be myself and disregard being assigned to a particular box, or focus on trying to prove to that friend that I don't belong there, or admit that some people just don't bring the best in us. It's not that you are not supposed to live in peace with them, but it's just that...there are people who make it very easy for us to be ourselves...and we can be funny and courageous and smart and decisive, and they bring the best in us. And, there are people who, somehow, conform us to themselves. It's not only that their fellowship doesn't bring out the best in us, when we are around them we have to fight for the basic right to be ourselves.
For me it's been a blessing to grow in not presuming things about people. Instead of focusing on creating my immediate opinion of them, I'm trying to focus on the interaction and creating the most comfortable circumstances for them to open up. So, I guess, it's the question of where your focus is...if your focus is on the other person, then you've done everything you could to meet the person in a very friendly and warm way. If you focus on your own performance, and how you come across, then you'll always try to live up to your initial "stage performance" around that person.
I'd like to mention here that meeting new people at church is the pain of all pains for me. I get embarrassed and awkward, and it takes every bit of my energy and perseverance to practice doing it in a friendly and heartfelt manner, which I hope, in return gives them more freedom to be themselves. Yet, I need to say that there is something in these situation that puts me off, and I'm hoping to work on a better attitude about it. It's the whole "over familiarity" thing. You meet someone for the first time, and that person totally violates your boundaries, and asks you to share you testimony while he is still talking to ten zillion other people, and tells you that it is really awesome of you to come to that church though he has forgotten to inquire of your name. Wow, I sound like a bitter snob here. Niiiiiice!I guess, what I'm trying to say that if I end up seeing this person only once in my life for a couple of minutes, I'd like to do my best and give him 2 minutes of my undivided and sincere attention. I fail at it all the time though.
Of course, we are not perfect, and it takes "two to tango", but you can be responsible for your own actions and attitude and try to get better at them. In the last several months I've been severely convicted by Philippians 2:3 "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves" in the way I relate to people.
I think, at the end, the first impression does matter, and it takes more work to "un-do" it if your act around this person was weird. But, again, it's up to that person to give you grace and presume that you could be either shy or tired, or distracted or self-conscious and give you, two, another chance to get acquainted better. It does seem though that quite often we end up in someone else's box and have clearly marked boxes for other as well, thus either missing out on the joy of getting to know another person or endlessly trying to prove to another person that we are not who we seemed to be on our first encounter.
I'm in the limbo of being physically exhausted after getting back to St. Petersburg from a trip to Vladimir. My mind has great plans and things that need to be done and accomplished, processed and communicated, finished and started. My body refuses to do any of them choosing to sleep 16 hours a day. Eventually my mind finds peace in the Lord dwelling on Luke 10:20, "Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." No household projects have been started (mmm...no laundry has been done in the last three weeks :), no work has been done, no food purchased. I've been spending a lot of time communicating with my beloved PCS students, watching the IT Crowd, reading Phil Smith's blog, pondering the peace of the closure of some personal stories, looking at my pictures of the Vladimir trip, looking at the pictures sent by a friend, listening to praise and worship songs, planning to eat Sushi and to buy some bananas for two days in a row and wondering if I could finagle the money to go to Peoria for the high school graduation in May. Should I be able to afford the luxury of giving my body a chance to snap out of the "tiredness limbo", or should I force it out of such state?
My Internet provider is experiencing difficulties, and my Internet access is limited. There is a random selection of sites that I can't go to now, such as Facebook and Amazon.com and many others that contribute to keeping my daily curiosity at a manageable level. I tried to deal with the situation and called the tech support, where I got to converse with a couple of very "The IT Crowd" geeks; I was able to figure out the my Internet provider is "experiencing difficulties." As a side note, both IT geeks and I were equally displeased with our interaction finding it annoying and offensive. It seemed like that they have immediately placed me in the "pesky and annoying computer dummy" category, and I, quite willingly, have placed them in my mental folder of "have you tried thinking before" people. It didn't help that my perfectly polite sarcastic comments were not even detected by the scarce number of the brain synapses in their innocent heads. It took a lot of inner struggle for the young men to acknowledge that there were problems that they could not fix right that minutes. I was beginning to feel like I was trying to force them to testify in the court of law, and they were under oath.
Me, "So, you admit that right now you do have problems with the Internet access, and you can't really tell me when it will be fixed?" Antisocial IT geeks, "Yes, there are problems, but these problems are not "ours." We do not have any problems." Me, "So, am I the one with the Internet problems?" Antisocial IT geeks, "We don't have any Internet problems."
I am not even sure now how we got out of the logical "dead loop", but now I am facing a different reality of not addressing Google for every pertinent life question. "What is the meaning of life?" "What is the best chocolate cake recipe?" "What is the weather like now in Papua New Guinea?" I guess, I'll just have to deal with it and do some work instead.
I keep telling the world that I haven't posted anything new in 5 months. Apparently, my posting and creative energy goes to communicating with my friends via emails, chat and Skype. I dare to post this little explanation as to encourage myself to post at least something once in awhile.
I find myself being overwhelmed with the choices that I need to make on a daily basis. I'm not talking about huge and important moral choices that affect your entire life. I'm referring to a huge number of various, seemingly unrelated tasks of work and daily life that one needs to accomplish during the day in the light of a steady stream of the new ones that are cheerfully being added to the "to do list." Things appear to be under control while the number of tasks is manageable.
Finally, the critical moment comes, and I look at the entire list and understand that I'm a slave of my "to do's", and, one way or another I have to complete these tasks. Yet, I keep struggling through figuring the order of my actions. Should I go to the store and buy groceries? Since I don't own a car it's a rather time consuming task. Should I go to this store and than another store? Should I go to church tonight and then go to the store? Should I do this work project right now, but I don't have the time to do the entire thing, so...should I not do it at all (it's a joke) Should I cook some food and do a load of laundry right now or later? And, two most unanswered questions for me are, "How do I lower my living expenses?" and "How do I motivate myself to go to bed earlier than four in the morning?" Help! Should I write more here, or should I read my Bible and drink more coffee?