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Be Gentle With Yourself


My hands cover my face as I hang my head in frustration.  I have lost my car keys.  Again.

This is losing keys after a lifetime of lost keys.

I did remember to send in a note to Josh’s teacher, reminding him I’d be picking him up at 9:40am for his doctor’s appointment.  Too bad, I find out when I arrive, that his appointment was an hour earlier.  Missed it.

It’s ok though, I rescheduled.  Unfortunately, I didn’t  look at the calendar first.  I wasn’t available during the time I rescheduled for.  I was planning on volunteering in Will’s class that morning.  Oops.  Forgot again.

“Just write appointments down when you make them. ” says, Drew.

“I did!” I told him.   I just forgot to look at the calendar….

Welcome to years of distraction.  Years of half finished projects and half read books.  Messy rooms and messy cars.  Forgotten appointments abound.  Conversations dart from here to there.  The details are completely overwhelming.  Planning ahead is foreign.  Some call this Attention Deficit Disorder.   I call it really frustrating.  Drew could say the same.   If ONLY I could absorb some of the attention to detail that comes so naturally for my Type A friends.

What a mess.  What a failure.  I’m a mom! I I’m in charge of little people    I’m 37!  When will I get my act together? I can’t get anything right.  The spiral begins.

And tonight, as we begin the drive to the Jesuit Center, Heather gives me words of life and hope.  “These thoughts-they are feelings you have about yourself.  They are not WHO you are.”   I begin to breathe more easily.  A bit of light enters in.

And then, as my Year One group gathers after our chapel service, I am handed  more words of encouragement.  The stories shared are moments of light, moments where Christ breaks through.  From another’s story I receive this.

Be gentle with yourself.

Yes.  Again, I breathe easier and the light shines a bit brighter.

I head back to my tiny, cozy, warm room and settle in.  I open a gift left for me.  It’s book from a friend.  As I read, I happen upon these words from Joan Chittister.

Life is not meant to be a series of resolutions designed to make us someone we are not.  It’s meant to be a series of explorations which, in the end, finally bring us home to ourself.”

I am Lisa.

I am loved.

I am a child of God.

I am not perfect.

I am not naturally organized.

I will never be Type A, no matter the resolutions.

I will continue to have scattered thoughts.

I will continue to fight distractions.

I will most likely continue to have half finished projects and half read books.

But, these things are only a part of who I am.  They are not the sum of me. And the next time I lose my keys, forget an appointment or struggle to organize another event, I will think back and be grateful for my community of friends who remind me…

Be gentle with yourself.  You are loved.   It’s our short comings that bring us back to God.

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. So true. I can relate. I interrupt myself and move around scattered here and there – all the time. Thanks. Be Gentle with myself is right. And who says the type A’s are the ones who have it right? Maybe it’s us!

    January 7, 2013
    • I like that Tina! Maybe it is us… 🙂

      January 7, 2013
  2. Thanks Lisa. This reminds me of myself!

    January 7, 2013
    • It’s always nice to know we aren’t alone, isn’t it!

      January 7, 2013
  3. Claire Stevens #

    Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your writing with us. From what you have shared, it sounds like I am more Type A than you but I still feel similar frustrations and struggle with anxiety. Since having children it’s been clear I need to be more forgiving and focus on loving myself. I appreciate the reminder I am not alone.

    January 7, 2013
    • Cousin! Thank you so much for your comment. I agree, it’s great to know we aren’t alone. I’m learning that more open we are about this, the more freedom we experience!

      January 7, 2013
  4. This is breaking me up! I can relate to so much of what you wrote, but I try so desperately to hide this part of me from people. I want people to think I am Type A, I try so hard to be Type A, but I still forget to light the candles at the right time! Most of all in your writing, I love the Presence that brought real and true thoughts into your mess. Thanks for bringing pieces of that Presence to me today!

    January 7, 2013
    • I am so blessed by your honesty as well. Thank you for sharing this Anna.

      January 7, 2013
  5. Jennifer #

    Thank you for another thoughtful essay. Some of my best friends are Type A, but I don’t think it is all it is cracked up to be. Let’s have coffee and celebrate our finer points! Like being able to switch gears more quickly, or overlook messes more easily, or avoid the compulsion to finish a book that doesn’t really move us. God likes those things about us!

    January 7, 2013
    • mullenlisa #

      Yes Jennifer, it’s time for coffee! Would love to sit down and catch up with you.

      January 7, 2013
  6. Deb Cone Halsey #

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart. I am not sure I’m a type A personality or not, but I struggle with things like…speaking before I listen, thinking I have the answer when I don’t and at the same time feeling like I lose my sense of self which I recognize in my defensiveness. I wrote my own list of things I see in myself and things I will likely continue to do…and then I wrote the ending of your entry about these things only being part of who I am and not the sum of me. I felt a bit freer and I too, feel so very grateful for the community of friends who remind me to be gentle with myself, that I’m loved and that MY shortcomings also bring me back to God.
    I feel so blessed.

    January 13, 2013

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