Betty Cooper Hands & Showing Up for Love

Our family has recently been hit with the local plagues--flu, ear infection, sinus infection, and all the symptoms--we've had it all at our house for two solid weeks.  4 out of the 5 people have been down for the count and the last one standing told me her throat hurt yesterday.

Hold me, Jesus. 

I was afflicted on Wednesday and was told to stay out of work for the remainder of the week. Other than shuttling the girls to school, I kept my bottom glued to the couch and tried to figure out which show was going to help me pass the time.  After flipping through options I finally settled in on "Riverdale" (Archie comics meets murder mystery RIP Dylan McKay aka Archie's dad) after hearing a few people talk about it.  

It's terrible. 

Ok, terrible might be strong, but it's not good.  It's all very DRAMATIC with blue filters and everything's a little smokey and serious.  It's got a lot of unsupervised teens who are at school but rarely in class doing all sorts of things (sex, drugs, gangs, getting stabbed) at all hours of the night and day.  I'm aware that an almost 40 year old mama is not the target audience, so I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt.  However, I got sucked in because I was feeling terrible, out of options, and I, too, wanted to know who killed Jason Blossom.  

One of the scenes showed Betty Cooper clenching her fists so tightly when she was angry with another character (but trying not to show her feelings) that it left fingernail cuts on her palms.  I have thought about that scene a lot.  How raw her hands looks with perfect crescent shaped fingernail cuts.  How angry she was, but wanting to remain composed.  I know what that feels like--to clench and feel like you're trying to keep it all together without unleashing the emotions within.

I bet we all feel that way sometimes.   

In truth, I've felt that way a lot in the last year through a series of unfortunate events and twists and turns in my life which has resulted in a sea of negative emotions.  Anger.  Confusion.  Fear.  Frustration.  Disappointment.  Loss.  Failure.  Rejection.  Let down.  Worry.  Anxiety.  Discouraged.  

I have clenched and clenched my fists and tried very hard to keep it inside my body and rarely shared my feelings--with the exception of a handful of people.  I tend to feel emotions in big ways, so I try to sort through them before I expose them to the world.  I don't need the world knowing that my head is telling me to flip tables and/or run away.  

But in February, my resolution was to Show Up for Love (even when I didn't feel like it).  I thought it would be the cliche loving my family and friends, but I learned that Showing Up for Love was going to take me a little deeper.    

I received a frustrating phone call while I was at work and I was instantly mad and confused.  I had been trusting God to help me through a challenging situation and it seemed like every time I made some progress, something yanked me back to square one.  I unloaded my feelings on my assistant principal, who happened to be standing there and she, once again, reminded me that if things were meant to be, then God would work them out, and I went back to my classroom.  I paced the hallway outside of my room and just stated over and over, "You are good.  You are good.  You are good." because I had run out of words to pray, and I was having a hard time seeing His goodness working in my situation.  But I wanted to believe it.    

I had to open my hands to the Hands that made the world and trust, once again, that those Hands could handle this ridiculous situation and my strong feelings about it.  I could hold tight to my feelings and plans, or I could release them to Him and trust that He's going to work it all out.  I had to trust that His goodness was going to be true for me, and that He was fighting for me and with me.  I had to show up for Love with my raw and bruised heart, simply because I was out of self-made options.   

Because the alternative was to clench so tightly that I let my feelings become ugly scars on my hands and in my heart.  

But He already has scars on His hands . . . because He showed up for Love.  

            to be continued. . .

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