I have been accused of being chatty…a chatterbox, someone who talks a lot, verbose, loud-mouthed…you get the picture. Recently I was accused of being tense, even of creating tension. I take exception to most of these titles and I wanted to share why…because it caused me pain and I had to reflect on this. Hence, the post!
When I was younger, I was a real gabber, often speaking because of the joy of it, without anything of merit to really say. I have always loved talking. Quite often, I have had people not want to read emails or answer their phones because they just don’t have the time to chat with me, or read my long emails. I tend to write as much as I like to speak, because it is a way to communicate. And I have been told since I was quite young that I should be a writer. Quite often I feel like I do have a lot to share, and a very limited audience. Hmmmm….dichotomy.
I personally feel that I have completely changed from being a chatterbox. I may write a lot of words, but readers have the choice to stop reading the written word; it is much harder to walk away from someone in a one-on-one conversation, or to get off a phone call that is getting too long. I have worked hard at practicing Holy Silence throughout my days, as well as choosing to speak less and listen more. I contemplate more, speak less.
We recently, as many of you know, relocated a great distance from our familiar turf. In the past three years, we have relocated more than 3,500 miles from our home in Southern California. For someone who loved to chat, being that far away from close friends took a toll. It is, in part, the reason I have become a person of fewer words; there’s been no one to talk to.
Being a wife is being a partner, a helpmeet, a better half, a friend. These roles are supreme, coming before motherhood, in my perspective. If my husband and I are not united firmly in our commitment to one another, the family falls apart. And so I have tried to be there for my husband, supporting him in everything he does, and everywhere he opts to move us. We make these choices as a team, so he does not arbitrarily move us to another state. We talk, we confer, we pray, we contemplate, we weigh and ponder, muse and discuss some more before we choose to do anything. But ultimately, the choice lays with my husband, as he is the head of this family. And I support him 100%. Being accused of being tense and creating tension in the home really got to me. I see myself as the peacemaker, the one who smooths the ruffled feathers, calms the fears, and bolsters sagging egos; I do not see myself as the “pot-stirrer” in our family. And so this accusation really hit me today. And I contemplated it while browsing the grocery store aisles, looking for bargains and fresh broccoli.
We are who we are. Sometimes we are completely different than the people we were in childhood. Sometimes we are just taller or older than that awkward kid we once were, with all the awkwardness intact. Maturity does not necessarily come with age; sometimes all we are is older. We have people come into our lives in many ways and circumstances. They have a perception of us and they cling to it. Years of living apart, both in mileage and life experience, can bring a certain expectation; that they assume you are who you once were…and perhaps therein lies the misconception.
I have been holding it together pretty well, I thought, keeping my frayed nerves under control; my worries buried deep in the wounds of Our Savior. I read a tale about St. Christopher the other day. He was a huge man and used to carry people across this deep and treacherous stream. He saw himself as strong and a protector. He was asked by a man to carry him across this treacherous stream and as St. Christopher waded further into the water, the man got heavier and heavier. He asked the man about it and He explained that He was the Lord; His weight was so great because of the burden of our sins He carried. St. Christopher offered to carry the weight of our sins, and Our Lord, across that stream. He is a Saint; we are not, although it is our goal, to become Saints. We are not meant, however, to be St. Christophers, or Christ-bearers. It is the opposite; Christ bears our burdens. And I firmly believe that. I firmly believe that, as Mark Hart the Bible Geek coined, “God’s got this.” And I know that if I did not have Christ to lean on and cling to, I would have sunk in that treacherous stream of life long ago. I also learned to honestly, and truly, give to God what He can handle, and what I cannot handle, without Him.
I believe that anyone can change. And that once we do, it is up to us to share that change with others. We are to bear Christ, but in our hearts, not on our backs. Being a Christian is a freeing thing. It comes with responsibility and some rules, but it frees us from so much burden, it is eternally worth it. I thrive in my faith and prefer that to floundering in the world. I think those who accuse me of being certain ways, after having known me for their entire lives, should take a step back and really see what is happening. Perhaps they would catch a glimpse of the Divine in action; of the Holy Spirit working in our lives; of the immense trust we have placed in God to bring us to this place. There will always be tension, especially since we’ve taken this immense risk and are worried sleepless about mounting bills and the lack of income. But there should also be evidence of trust in God; that our lives are in His hands. If that is not apparent, or is lacking, that is a fault on my part. I can believe what I want, but I need to be what I believe. My beliefs need to be who I am…and that should be visible to everyone.