Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Emotional Creatures

Last night at Bible study, an array of black and white photos were spread across the table and counter of the kitchen we meet in. We were instructed to peruse the images and then pick one or two that grabbed us. The next step was to quiet ourselves and ask God to speak to us through the images.

I selected two photographs. One was an interesting shot down a tunnel of barbed wire. The second was a striking image of a young boy comforting an old woman, the smooth newness of his skin contrasting with her wrinkles even as the peace on his face contrasted with her sorrow.

What struck me most about the barbed wire image was not the danger posed by the barbs, but the safe protected space within. The first thing that came to mind was that as I journey through trials, the only way safely through the barbs that surround me is in the center with God. "Remain in my love," echoed through my heart.

The second image spoke to me of generational blessings, a precious legacy of reciprocal comfort and compassion between parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted," was the verse that came to mind.

This morning though, another perspective on the barbed wire image has emerged. What if I missed the point? What if the barbed wire image illustrated one way (my typical way) of dealing with trials/emotions -- isolated, controlled, with a wall of defenses -- while the second image represents an invitation to continue to learn a new way to deal with strong emotions -- by truly mourning so that I may accept and give comfort?

I've spent too much time afraid of big feelings and strong emotions. Of letting tears come, of acknowledging anger, even of getting too giddy with joy.

Lord, please show me what sorrows I am leaving unmourned, what joys unrejoiced, what injustices without proper indignation. You wept, you laughed, you drove the moneychangers out of the temple and railed against the hypocrites. I want to be as fully human as you and in turn teach and model for my children how to accept themselves as the emotional creatures you made us to be.

In one of those God things, I followed a rabbit trail of blog posts this morning and came across this very apropos January 2009 post on the Graceful Parenting blog

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