Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed ~ 1 Corinthians 15:51
In talking to friends this week I realize we ALL have those moments of anguish right there mixed in with the normal and with the joy. The small storms of life that can wreck an evening or cause a perfectly decent day to be checked off as on par with Alexander's terrible, horrible , no good, very bad day.
Sometimes it is a half hour, when as a mother we leave the house for a drop off and return to tears and chaos. Or it is a situation at work that seemed fine and suddenly exploded into a huge mess. There can be challenges with children and with personal goals being derailed. These are moments that are small in the scheme of things but feel very BIG when they happen.
When a kid fails a test, are on the outs with a friend or loose a big game it can feel like the world is ending. Praying this week I realized how key it is to imagine some one else's perspective. I was brainstorming how to teach and model being able to weather the small storms in our days.
A's idea was to text mom, she will sometimes need to check in. She told me it is nice to have a safe place to vent and take space from a situation. Little M said it is harder when you are in public, or in a group to change the energy. At home he likes to draw sports comics in his top bunk looking out at the trees. N said memorizing some Psalms and prayers he can say silently in his head gives him a calm feeling. Jr would always choose to shoot hoops, but he has started having paper in his pockets and backpack to make Origami (ask him for a frog or a swan, pretty cool). J-L likes to re-set with music and used to always climb trees when he was overwhelmed. He misses the tree from our old house! Big M likes to watch sports, play sports or find a way to laugh. Little D wants to talk it out or do her nails. I have no idea where she learned those stress relievers.
Miss Lu usually pulls all nine of the rest of us into whatever mood she is feeling. Being four makes it hard to calm down when things do not go your way! This conversation has helped us talk to Lu about taking deep breaths, yelling into her pillow or re phrasing something upsetting. For example instead of saying she hates this shirt and will never ever wear it and it should be hit by lightening, she can say she would really like the purple dress instead. This is a work in progress.
To re-set as an adult can be difficult when you are meeting the needs of so many others but these conversations with the kids reminded me of how important it is to brainstorm our own "re-set" tools. For so long rocking a baby, just that cozy time has been both my therapy and re-set. Long walks, checking in with my own mother and dear friends and laughter are solid standbys as well. Reading both prayers and especially passages from the Bible, like stolen moments of Grace in the whirlwind of daily life have served me in times of stress. All these ideas I hope are ways to absorb the negative, filtering with prayer and action, allowing it to be swirled into positive. What a gift it is to have the power to change, to have ownership of our moods and choices. Not an easy gift, but a gift just the same.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19