Thursday, June 19, 2014

So in my last entry I warned that I am " a little on edge." Truth be told, I am a lot on edge.

I have never been one of those "emotional people." I learned how to build walls at an early age and I've become pretty good at it. I'm not bragging; that's nothing to brag about. It's weird when other people cry at movies or songs or Folger's commercials and you are the one wondering about the staging or the marketing concept behind a young man returning from college and fairly-well breaking and entering and no one hearing him except the baby sister. These people must sleep like rocks. And what about the dog? Not even a woof. Oh yes, you remind yourself, I'm supposed to be misty-eyed right now and rushing to the kitchen for a cup of emotion.

Can I add that, along with a degree in Personal Masonry, I minored in Sarcasm and Cynicism?

Long ago a good friend (who is much like me when it comes to All Things Emotional) and I went to see "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." I said it was a long time ago. Don't ask me why we went; it was the '70s and if that's all I have to regret I'm doing pretty well. (Instead ask why they had to make a movie with the Bee Gees in the first place.) There was a scene in the movie where the obligatory love interest had died and they were having the funeral. Complete with the coffin scene. A glass coffin. Peter Frampton singing to Strawberry Fields. And she's a girl and she's in a glass coffin. I am not lying. Look it up on imdb . I did, to make sure I was remembering correctly. As they picked up the coffin and the inappropriate music swelled, my friend and I both noticed that the actress's head slid, ever so slightly, to the end of the coffin. That was all it took. We didn't even need to discuss it. We didn't need to look at each other to know we had seen it. So in the middle of the theater, surrounded by overly-emotional teenage girls, we began to laugh. We could not stop. You couldn't have stopped us if you had tried, and a few people did. (By the way, "shushing" people only makes them laugh more.) If you are reading this and if you were in that theater, I still do NOT apologize. It was a stupid scene with bad actors and, for heaven's sake, a glass coffin.

So to find myself becoming teary-eyed lately has left me shocked, curious, and a little annoyed. What in the world is happening to me? I would blame it on the pain meds or just the pain: after all, it's as though someone took a ball peen hammer to my foot, then wrapped it in scratchy gauze and an ace wrap and then kept hitting it and sticking it with pins. Yeah, there's pain. But no, I was getting this way about a week before the surgery.

I remember driving through the Poconos with my husband last month, and not being able to take a whole breath because the Brooklyn Tab choir (pumping through my husband's new speakers) was singing like it was already in heaven. I was overcome with joy and love and gratitude and all of the emotions and all I wanted to do was...cry.

It was at that moment that I started thinking about the things that do touch me. The moments that Break Through. So here they are. The stuff that causes Darth Vader to choke up. That makes Clint Eastwood blink. And wipe his eyes. They may mean nothing to you, but they do to me. Feel free to add your own "joys" in the comments. Open up. Let's see where this goes...

(these are most certainly not in any particular order; so don't judge me if some "salvation subject" is listed under "watching kittens play." Just an example)

1. Birds Yes, birds. Most everything about them. But mostly the fact that, when God made them, He could have just stopped with making one. Or for that matter He didn't even have to make one. But He did and then He made more, in different colors, shapes, sizes and to do different things. Then He gave them SONGS! Of all things- I mean they already have feathers and they can fly, but they also can...SING! And don't they just sing their little hearts out? Of course they do. Maybe they are thanking Him for letting them sing. I know I am.

2. Flowers For basically the same reason as the birds. No, not the song. I'm not on that much medicine. I mean the vast, immeasurable variety of flowers and plants that God filled this soil with. Stop and think about it because you should- He made them all and so different and so beautiful...just because He could. If that doesn't make you grateful, dear heart, you are not reading this in the way it was intended and you're not thinking of Him the way He wants you to.
Jesus Himself said that, unless we saw signs and wonders, we would never believe. (John 4:48) So here we are. Surrounded by signs and wonders, yet we overlook them. Don't overlook them- take a moment (or the rest of your life) and give God the attention that He deserves.

3. Mountains I grew up in a coastal area. Some of my earliest memories are of going to the beach. As soon as I was able to drive myself, I spent as much time at the beach as possible. But not because I loved it. I mean, it's beautiful and I appreciate God's handiwork and His might and the power of His hand in creating something as huge as the Atlantic Ocean (as well as the others), but it does not cause me to...well up inside. The beach was just the Thing to Do.  But the mountains. I cannot even grasp what happens to my heart when I am in the mountains. Even the first glimpse of the first rise and my eyes begin to fill up with the tears like the tears you get when you see a good friend after a long, long time. I think of His hand guiding and perfecting the ridges and the valleys and the peaks. I stare and try to grasp the courage of my ancestors pulling and tugging and dragging their heavy loads of meager belongings through these hills to eke out their living and their livelihood while trying to survive. No matter the season. No matter the weather or the view-- they are one of the few things on earth that I have trouble grasping that I am worthy of looking upon. One day I will see mountains through clear eyes, but for now, my eyes are always filled with tears.

Finally I am moving away from nature before I have to have some oxygen delivered to this house.
4. Prayer  I'm not really referring to my own prayers right now; I'm talking about the prayers of others. I've spoken about this before. The kind of prayer that...hushes you. The kind where you know that the person is revealing the way they converse with the God of all. The very One Who created everything is listening and speaking back to this person and you are blessed enough to hear it and to come alongside and join in it. It is personal and private and precious. And then one step further, that puts me over the edge, is when it is done on my behalf. The very thought that someone would take the most valued private time with our Savior and use that time to utter my name to Him is the most humbling feeling that comes into my heart. I am never ungrateful and never untouched by that. Hopefully I am never unchanged by it, either.

5. America  I am about as patriotic as you can get. I love American history. I love being a native Virginian. And again, I mean I love it to the point of tears when I stand on the lawn in front of George Wythe's house. When I sing the National Anthem. When I put out our flag. My husband and I may not have met but for the fact that both of our fathers stayed here in this area after having been stationed here during WWII. We may not have married were it not for the fact that we passed each other's Favorite President Test while dating. Yes, it was and still is THAT important. Never mind how many kids you think you'll want or if you like to go to the movies or if you leave the toothpaste cap off...who was your favorite president and why and what part of the Revolution was the turning point for you and for goodness sake please don't say that Plymouth had the first Thanksgiving or I will have to get out of the car right now!!! Yep. This country and all it stood for and what it still tries to stand for will bring me to tears every. single. time. And I am proud of it.

6. Goodbyes  I am horrible at goodbyes. I do not do it well, I do not do it pretty, so I avoid doing it at all costs. I am so bad at goodbyes that I want no more pets. Not even a goldfish. I dread the times that I know that friends are moving and I try (and now the secret is out) to plan something that will make it impossible for me to attend the farewell. I cry and become overwhelmed and cry more and look awful and never, ever, say the things I want to say because I can't get the words out because I am crying. I would much rather write the note and leave it on the gift table before the party. And slip away and cry like a baby because I just can't bear the thought.

7. Answered Prayer  Totally different from the Prayer entry, this is a thing all its own. If you have ever prayed for something specific, then seen that specific prayer answered, you, my friend,  have witnessed a miracle. For it is something only God can do. But this miracle isn't rare. My God answers prayer. All the time. We just need to see His hand in the answer. Sometime it matches up with what we are praying for; sometime it doesn't. But what it always does is right and good and will have everlasting effects. So to have joined with God and to have seen this thing through and to see Him work in a have been Part of It. No words. Only emotion.

8. Seeing the Holy Spirit Move  For my friends who may read this who are not Christian, obviously this is one that is hard to understand. But it happens. And if you know me well enough to be reading this, you know me well enough to trust me. It happened just yesterday, as a matter of fact. I was covered with  grace during an unexpected moment and I was able to conduct myself with that grace and dignity and come out on the other side of it stronger and closer than ever to the Lord Who was with me in the storm. There was a moment yesterday when I experienced the God of the Universe working in my life. In a huge way. In every detail. And that moved me to tears and I am so glad it did.

9. Really Good Music I mentioned the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir earlier. I have to mention them again, as well as many Christian and secular artists. I can be moved to tears by a piece by Mozart or Mannheim Steamroller. I am not going to name all of the artists; there is no need. Just know that both Chris Tomlin and Billy Joel are responsible for my having to keep tissues in my car.

So there you have them. No particular order. Stopped at nine because that's where my thoughts stopped- not forcing a Top Ten or anything like that. Sure, there are other things that, from time to time, will cause me to become a little verklempt, but for the most part these are the things that make my heart fill up and pour out. I would love to know yours.

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