Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Category: in over my head (page 1 of 2)

Crayons and fires

My third-born developed a pattern: when she’s lonely, she’s destructive. The moments that we we want her to go and play like a nice little girl, she shoves herself back into our line of vision, sometimes with a crayon on our wall. She can’t contain her emotions and will react to small frustrations with bites upon her older siblings. Usually, she’s asking for something (a nap or a cuddle most often) but she uses the wrong words. The wrong means.

As a mother, especially of many, sometimes I don’t want to have to give that to her. I might prefer reprimand and get angry that she took her aggressive feelings out on other things and people. It’s inconvenient to sit and listen and hold, especially when I cannot identify with her feelings of frustration that come with broken crayons or a brother that won’t do as he’s told. These seem like pretty insignificant ordeals in my world, but to her corner of the universe, they matter. On my Good Mom Days, if they matter to her, they matter to me. That’s how things like empathy, kindness and love take root in a heart and grow us into beings that recognize the holiness in all things and people.

I chose not to learn a darn thing about Ferguson (chastise me later). I don’t know the names, the actions, the anything. I know there’s a police side and a black side and a whole lot of feelings. For a second just join me over here and set your opinion aside. I want you to hear me clearly. I’m not talking about agreeing or disagreeing with a grand jury right now. I don’t know who or what to agree or disagree with, and knowing my track record, I probably agree with everyone.

Right now there is a population of people who is so angry, they feel the need to burn things in order to get our attention. We might want to yell and discipline, but if we’re good humans, we should stop and question why riots have to happen in order to get our country to talk about race.

We have brothers and sisters in this country trying to say something. They’re telling us about a hurt, something so outside our immediate context that we have difficulty identifying with them. We want to blow it off, tell them to stop the current behavior and believe we’ve fixed a problem. Hear me: I’m not justifying behavior. I don’t like crayons on my walls nor fire in my streets. It’s not okay. But behavior modification will not fix this problem – it’s a symptom of a larger issue.

My three-year-old has taught me about human nature in her action. She has also shined a light on my propensity to gloss over her very real hurt with my reaction. Finally, in the third year of raising the third kid, when we see these behaviors I have come to ask myself, “does she need something from me that I’m not giving her?” The answer is nearly always, yes. She needs my attention. She needs me to hear. She needs me to try to imagine her world and what this is like. When I give her those basic internal needs, she exhibits the kind and loving behavior we seek from her. Her behavior has a direct correlation with her sense of security and place in our family dynamic.

What we lack in understanding, may we make up for in a willingness to listen to the real request of these behaviors.

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What I was trying to say was…

I’ve inadvertently been walking through the book of Matthew lately, around the place where Jesus gets ready to head to Jerusalem and be crucified. Yesterday was Jesus reminding the sons of Zebedee (and their mother) that in his kingdom, the first will be last and the last, first. I can see by the bold header that tomorrow is the day Jesus comes to Jerusalem as a King – aka, Palm Sunday.

Wedged in here were this morning’s 5 verses:

[box] As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.[/box]

Another healing story. They’re everywhere in the gospels. If Jesus wasn’t preaching or teaching, he was healing. A dead girl here, blind there. The lame guys at the pool. The one on the mat that interrupted his dinner party. Part of me wasn’t to surprised to read it and, honestly, my first instinct was not to give it so much thought.

Then I remembered how the Biblical writers didn’t toss out pithy blog posts, unlike yours truly. It was written with a purpose. Even more, things like time-order weren’t always the utmost priority. The way in which something was written gave it as much meaning as the words. So why would Matthew toss in this story, here, about a few blind dudes on the side of the road?

Was it about the place? They were leaving Jericho, on the way to Jerusalem for the Passover. Because the feast was a big deal, I’m guessing was a large percent of Jericho was also making the trip. Was it about the timing? Right before the big feast. Between a major, major lesson on servanthood in the Kingdom of God and Jesus’ walk to his death.

Or was it his company? “The crowd” is referred to numerous times, even the subject of sentences. The Crowd followed him out of town and was the first to hush the men alongside the road. It was only after making a bigger scene that Jesus heard them and responded. He called over – so they weren’t close.  I wonder if he could even see them.

Yesterday’s post stirred up all kinds of unintended thoughts and feelings. What I tried to say couldn’t be heard through the noise of healthcare, personal (or corporate) liberty and my love (and need) of the IUD. It was poorly done on my part. This morning’s reading is what I was trying to say.

On the way to live out the most important act of his life, Jesus didn’t loose sight of how his Kingdom operates. It didn’t come only through big, sweeping events but rather one by one and two by two – and those people either following him or returning to the village to tell others.

I have to wonder if Matthew tossed in these 5 verses because he knew the propensity of Jesus’ followers to get swept up in the march toward the capital, the excitement of a pending Kingdom reign, and we forget to look alongside the road. The largeness of our agenda ahead looms too large that these voices crying out for help – well, we just don’t have time for that. We have Kingdom work to do.

Changing the world is hard work. I’m thankful for the co-laborers in the trenches, each with his or her avenue and platform. In its own way, I believe Hobby Lobby is trying to live out its (their?) version of kingdom work, even if I don’t fully agree with certain aspects. What I was trying to say yesterday was that HL, as well as you and I, need to make sure we’re not hushing the blind on the side of the road who cry out for help in an effort to follow Jesus to the cross.

And perhaps, in this case, that means not leaving women without an IUD.


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lighter side

It’s been a rough couple of days. Lots of weight on my shoulders and stress in my brains (sort of an antithetical Dr Seuss, eh?). But a few things have put a bit of wind into the sails. 

1. Tom’s soap, deodorant scent. It’s so refreshing. 
2. H Boy’s facial expressions. He’s got this new one where he talks out of the side of his mouth, especially if he’s thinking or disagreeing. He’ll add in a little head bob, too. Says things very matter-of-fact-ly.
3. When the kids are laughing and talking together. Today Miss M entertained baby C after naps while I wrapped up a work call. She loves sneaking into H Boy’s room in the morning.
4. A clean sink. I hate doing dishes, but sparks of contentment shoot through my insides when I walk into a dimly lit kitchen with no dishes awaiting. 
5. A supportive husband who says “Go get ’em.” And believes it. 
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