Thursday, May 12, 2016

Disappointment, Disagreements and Grace

I should be asleep. 

I need to be asleep.

However, I know that I will be writing this post in my head if I even tried to sleep. So here I am.

You see, my favorite band of all time, the first band I ever remember seeing live and the band that I have seen in concert more times than I can even count...The One, The Only - DC Talk, made an announcement today.

DC Talk

It all started with a cryptic picture last week with just the number 2017 on it. Fans went NUTS! You see, DC Talks last album was called Intermission. And fans have been waiting with baited breath (anyone know that TV show reference????) for 16 years for a new album, a new tour...anything where we could all go see them again. There wasn't much more after that...a social media post or two maybe. But that was enough. THIS. This one picture held the promise of all that we had been hoping for over the last 16 years...keep in mind for some of us 80's babies, that is HALF our lifetime!

Then today the announcement was made. 

They are doing a cruise in July of 2017...the cheapest room is just under $1000 per person....and since it is a cruise ship, I am assuming that the most it can accommodate is 3000-5000.

To say that the majority of the fans were disappointed is quite the understatement.

But I am not here to debate whether this announcement was set up to fail from the start because of the hype.

What is bothering me the most is not the announcement and the disappointment that followed. What bothers me are the comments from people who are fans of this group that speaks of God's love in their music. Fans that I would assume the majority of are Christians. How would people view Christ if they saw the mean things that were said among God's children?

Most of the people who were expressing their disappointment were polite and kind. Some people made some disturbing and uncalled for comments in the heat of their disappointment.

While I, too, was extremely disappointed, I realize that we need to show DC Talk and their PR firm (who I hope just got a nice sit down about how to promote something and not fired) GRACE. 

It wasn't the best thought-out plan of action. It set itself up for failure. However, I am sure that every single one of us have made a bad decision in our work life before. In the moments where we realized that we messed up, wouldn't it have been great if someone showed us grace?

Then there are the people who are insulting those who are disappointed that they cannot afford to go on the cruise. One commenter was stuck on if those complaining gave up their daily cup of Starbucks, then they could save up and go. The people this commenter continued to target (yes, target) were not speaking in a hateful or disparaging way towards DC Talk. They were just expressing their disappointment. There was no call for the comments made by this person accusing people of mishandling their money or there would be no way they couldn't afford to go on the cruise. (I won't even go into the logistics of why his nasty comments didn't make sense for the average family.)

Even though these people were making comments that flared my way-too-short temper, I had to remember...GRACE. 

I tried to engage with some of these commenters so that maybe we could find common ground to stop all the hurtful words that were being spewed, but mostly I just found they turned their hateful words on me. I am thankful for the few that seemed to at least turn to being respectful.

Please know that I am not trying to same I am blameless. I'm positive my ears turned red while I read some of the nastier comments. And there were plenty of things that ran through my mind that should not have. Like I said, I have a short temper and mean people light my fuse quicker than anything. However, I refrained from saying the things that I shouldn't. I tried to speak life (although by some of the responses I received, I may not have done it as well as I intended). Speak Life is one of my favorite songs by TobyMac. If you haven't heard it before, go check it out. I'll wait. ;)

So what's my point?

I have read a lot of things online lately where Christians have pitted themselves against each other. The exchanges are heated. The words are full of anything but love. The dialogue makes me want to cry.

If you are someone who doesn't know Christ, I know it is asking a lot, but please show us imperfect, sinful Christians some grace. When we act this way, we are not being good representatives of our loving savior. Jesus is FULL of grace. He also tells us to show grace and love to others. Sometimes we fail. And I am sorry.

If you are seeking to find out more about Jesus and come across this type of exchange, please close the window. The internet is a vicious place sometimes and tends to bring out the worst in people. Grab a Bible and find the book of John, you can find it in the table of contents in the front or go to the New Testament, it is the 4th book. Start reading. THERE you will meet our amazing Savior and find out all about His life changing love for you! If you don't have access to a Bible, let me know. I will get one to you! I mean it.

If you are a Christian and find yourself getting riled up online and speaking words that you wouldn't speak in front of your momma, your grandmama and your pastor all at once, just stop. Get out of there! Satan loves to pit God's children against each other!

If DC Talk ever stumbles upon this post (highly doubtful, but you never know!), yes, most of us are disappointed. More importantly though, I and your other fans still love you dearly. I am so very grateful for the influence you had on my life when I was young and that I have had your music with me for well over half my life. I still remember the last two concerts of yours I went to vividly...both were with my sister. They are some of my all-time favorite memories...for one, the second to last concert we went to was with people who only knew the reserved side of my sister. Once you took the stage, she and I were on every lyric (like always) and dancing and having the best time worshipping our Lord...and the jaws dropped of those who were with us. It was priceless! The last concert we went to was at a large church...and amazing. If that is the last time I see you together, live in concert, I will cherish the memory all the more. If my sister and I can someday go to see you in concert and make the jaws of our children drop at how we have your lyrics mastered, that will be a joyous day. Please forgive those who are being mean right now and show them grace. They are just hurt and sometimes hurt people say things they really don't mean. We love you guys. I know you guys will have an amazing time on your cruise! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

One Year

To be perfectly honest, I was dreading today. (It is still today for me since I can't sleep and am still up writing...but technically, I'm talking about May 2nd.) 

I knew that it would suck. 

I knew that it would be hard.

I was right.

I'm a blubbering mess and have been all day.

To top it all off, my dreams/nightmares started the torment before I even woke up. 

You see, today was one year since I received that phone call that changed my life. The phone call that told me my beloved Gramma was gone.

I know she is better off. I know she loved God and is now perfectly whole, healthy and filled with a joy that she never experienced here on earth...that no one has experienced while in this life. And I am happy for her. I really am.

I cry and ache for me. It is the selfish side of me that is hurting. It isn't the only side, but I had a good idea that side would rear its ugly head. Unfortunately, I was right. 

I don't want to talk to anyone. I don't want to smile. I don't want to laugh.

I'm mad. Mad that the only grandparent I got to know past when I was the age of 15 is gone. Mad that the last years of her life were full of more hospital stays than life. Mad that my kids won't remember her laugh and the way her face would light up when we would walk into the room. Mad that I will NEVER leave Verizon because I saved voicemails from her and still listen to them all the time just so I can hear her voice again. Mad because I can't go back and spend more hours sitting on her porch with her talking while I play solitaire and she took care of the flies with her ever present fly swatter no matter how much I wish I could.

I don't know the stages of grief, but today I'm just mad. 

I know it is stupid. I know that being mad isn't going to change anything. I know that I was very fortunate to have the time I did with have all the memories I have of her. I know I should focus on them. 

I guess most of all, I am mad at myself. I'm mad that I didn't adjust faster to the role of being a mom. Figuring out how to do anything with first one baby and then two was so hard for me, and I feel like I failed Gramma. 

Before I had my beautiful babies, who Gramma loved so incredibly much, I was with Gramma almost daily for years. She is who I spent my lunches with when I started working just down the road. After work, she was my first stop. I would try and get her to eat her lunch and dinner and she would try to pawn it off on me. She would listen to me rattle on about whatever was flittering through my mind at the moment or we'd read the Bible or a book together. Before that, I would sit with her through her physical therapy and remind her that the staff was trying to help her and to work with them and not against them...cheer her on as she had to work back from a broken hip and celebrate with her as she was getting stronger and stronger. Before even that, we would go to the park together and go for a would be 80 out, but we'd put a blanket on her lap so she wouldn't get cold while I pushed her in her chair and we would walk round and round the path just talking. And after my divorce, she didn't judge me or condemn me. She didn't shame me. She loved me. She listened to me. She was one of my best friends. 

Then I had kids.

Everything changed.

I failed her. 

And I guess that is what I am mad about the most. 

I know she was upset with me for not bringing them over more. I know she wanted to see me more...see them more. I was struggling to just keep my head about water and struggling to figure out how I could be a good mom and a good grand-daughter and a good everything...and I never did figure it out in time.

I see some moms who seem to adapt seamlessly into being a new mommy and going everywhere with their little one and make it look so daggone easy. But it wasn't for me. It was a struggle. Heck, Iyla is over a year and a half old and I am just NOW getting to where I am not scared to take both kids out at the same time on my own. I'm slow on this. I didn't know I would be. I had always wanted to be a mom. I had no idea it would be such a hard adjustment for me. But it was and is, and now she has been gone for a year. And it is too late. In the last 2 years and 11 months of her life, I couldn't be what she wanted or needed me to be. I know you  aren't supposed to live with regret and usually do very well in not doing that. However, in this regret, I am having an incredibly hard time. 

Gramma, please forgive me. Please know that I tried. I know that I disappointed you, but I hope you know just as much that I am so so very sorry. Oh how I wish you could have hung on for just a few years more so that I could have had a chance to make it up to you once I got the hang of all of this...but I guess that is selfish of me. Just know that I am sorry...I love you so very much...I still miss you with an ache that is all consuming at times. 

They say it gets easier with time. I hope "they" are right. One year and 23 hours and 32 minutes down since I got that phone's hoping that each of the next 364 days will take me in the direction of forgiveness of myself, healing of my broken heart and to the place where Gramma would want me...smiling as I remember how wonderful spending time with her was. 
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