Tuesday, October 1, 2013

31 Days: October 2

Interesting, how often I asked myself if I was noticing things today...

And how often I evaluated just what, exactly, I was noticing. And whether or not it would make a good blog post.

Not the point.

I reminded myself that the blog was a reflection of life, not the other way around. I stopped myself several times from framing a conversation, a moment, a feeling, simply to make a more attractive post.

I had plenty of opportunity, let me tell you; I cooked two five-pound chuck roasts this afternoon, made mashed potatoes and prepped the house to be fit for company. The carrots and onions were beautiful as they simmered; I considered taking a photo and making up some drivel about noticing the beauty of root vegetables.

Not the point.

Eight or nine people - I lost count - and two adorable preschoolers filled the house tonight. We sang and talked and watched videos and laughed and considered what we might offer our community in the coming season of Christmas. There were plenty of moments made - including the accordion duet at the end - and I would love to tell you those happy stories and count them as things I noticed.

Not the point.

I was busy living those moments, and nothing really took me by surprise.

So here's what I did notice today, during our monthly leadership meeting. We talked about family systems today - a fascinating theory of human behavior that "views the family as an emotional unit and uses systems thinking to describe the complex interactions in the unit." It is compelling and spot on and has undergirded a great deal of my personal emotional health in the past five years, along with the health of our workplace and ministry teams.

During the teaching time, several folks opened up to ask questions or share. In some cases, deeply personal memories were shared. At one point, one of my coworkers described a poignant encounter with a parent, as they pushed through a point of conflict to have a real - albeit difficult - conversation.

His eyes filled.

My heart contracted. And my eyes filled as well, and I was in that moment. My heart flooded with emotion and a resonance - not with my coworker, but with the parent.

 I felt so deeply. 

And that is what I noticed; that I felt, that it was a real, powerful, resonant surge of energy. It made me think, not so much about what I was feeling in that moment, but about the relative absence of such deep, intense emotions these days. There was so much empathy in that moment, but it dredged up something about me as well.

It was a moment, and I noticed, and that's about all I got. I know there was a time when I lived in the raging waters of emotional turmoil consistently, for several years. Those were the defining, first days and years of my life in Virginia. It was a familiar place to me, the hot coils of anger, fear, sorrow, grief, pain and regret.

That place is a memory now, it seems. And it's been a while since anything felt quite so intense. I wonder why that is?

Noticing...and wondering.

This is not necessarily comfortable.


Brandee Shafer said...

Brian turned me on to the family systems, and I actually paid for the Kindle version of a book on the subject. Thanks for reminding me to go there.

annie said...

The family systems theory sounds interesting, and vaguely familiar. We were "schooled" in a little of it on one particular occasion in regards to my son. We all worked together on it.

I'm sorry for your discomfort. It's a bit of a surprise how our first day worked out with this.

Lori said...

boy, does this ever hit a nerve... I am noticing... as I shrink back into my seat and nod my head. Knowing we get used to not feeling is not a good feel and noticing it flings it right into our awareness and says
"here! this is you.."
I'm noticing my own discomfort at the moment... and that is a good thing. Thank you Beth, truly that's a good thing.