The Cheese Stands Alone

I can remember the whole way back to pre school and singing the Farmer and the Dell. It’s a kid song that winds down. The farmer takes a wife. The wife has a child…yes, ai still remember all the words. At the end the cheese is alone. But maybe the cheese isn’t really alone. Maybe the cheese is surrounded by fellow cheese helping him. I’m going somewhere so just take this trip with me, okay?

If you now have that song stuck in your head, know that you are in good company because so do I.

A few hours ago I got a text saying “Another positive doctor appointment we are winning” and let’s be honest even though you don’t know this person or their struggle you do know that this is good news. When I got it I welled up. Each good report is a victory. Each good report is a prayer answered.

My family has joined me in prayer for this person. Some friends have too. But even if it was just me I’d still be praying with all I have. I’d be the cheese standing alone. And you know what? I’m good with it. Because if it were me I’d gladly take the prayer of one than in that case being the lonely cheese.

But, if I am the cheese for someone else then they are never alone. They always have someone.

Can I say that I love cheese? Like if you add cheese to a meal I am most likely thinking you didn’t add enough. If add more, it’s still not enough. Always more. Always adding. Because one single piece of cheese is never going to get the job done more is always better.

So now, I’ve made you cheese too. You’re welcome. We are cheese together and with that we stand together, not alone. We add flavor. We had connection. We will in the gaps.

Lets be cheese and not let any other cheese stand alone.

Snap the Crack

About a year ago on his walk home from school Noah was swinging his lunchbox around not paying attention to his surroundings he whacked it up against a tree. It didn’t break, but it did crack. I was able to pop the piece back together and though you could see the crack it still worked just fine for carrying his lunch. For some reasons passing understanding he stopped carrying a lunch box in exchange for a plastic bag so Jim is now using the cracked lunch box.

The crack is still visible but no one pays attention to it until it no longer held in the contents of the lunch. See, Jim had put a container of pickles in his lunch and apparently the lid was not on the pickle container securely because it leaked. If the lunchbox had been properly cared for it may have never had a crack that eventually caused a pickle juice mess in the bottom of Jim’s work bag.

So, why am I telling you this?

Well, that crack reminds me of past hurts. We snap ourselves back into place; seemingly unhurt, undamaged. But eventually our cracks start to ooze out the hurts and the pickle juice is everywhere! Oh, the mess our exposed cracks really do leave! Pickle juice leaves a residue that is sometimes sticky and slimy not to mention a very distinct and hard to get rid of odor.

Hurts are like that too. In an effort to hold in the hurts we say and do things out of pain and hurt that we may have never done to begin with. We speak from a place of pain. We lose a piece of ourselves by just snapping back together a crack rather than dealing with it. We need something more than a quick fix.

I know it seems like the easy thing to just brush yourself off and pretend that thing didn’t happen or that it didn’t hurt you, but it did. There is hope and there is better than the appearance of OK. 

One Sunday morning at church I saw a sweet friend of mine and asked her how she was. She sucked her self in and stood tall(or as tall as a 5ft tall person can), gave me a radiant smile that didn’t touch her eyes and said “I’m great”. Not buying it I said “It’s okay not to be great.” and to that she revealed a struggle she was going through. We sometimes need permission not to be great. It’s okay to have bad days, it’s okay for the crack to be visible.

So what do we do when we are not okay?

  1. Don’t hide it. Find someone you love and trust, who loves you enough to be a soft place to land, and share your heart with them.
  2. Pray. The Bible says we are His workmanship. He created us and He can restore us.
  3. Chocolate heals. Yes, I said it. Eat some chocolate in your favorite cozy time.
  4. Write out your pains. Put them down on a piece of paper not so you linger over them but that you physically release them.
  5. Take a walk. Now you’ve left them on the paper, get out and move. Shake it off. Breath deep. There is restorative power in a beautiful day with fresh air and seeing how alive the world is.

I am guilty of this too guys, but maybe we can learn this together. We’ll be in each other’s corner reminding each other that it’s okay to process and deal with the hurt.

 

Bigger Me, Bigger you

In life we sometimes have to be the bigger person despite not feeling like we can be that person. And it’s okay if your bigger person is the person that stays at a distance. Not everyone that has hurt us is supposed to be let back in.

Yes, forgive.

Yes, pray for them.

No, don’t allow yourself to be in a position where they have the power to hurt you again.

I was told that I had to be the bigger person in a situation but I realized a few things, it’s okay to be my own kind of bigger person. My bigger person is smaller, meeker, but loving and present. My bigger person texts rather than calls because calls usually end with me in tears and Jim livid. My bigger person says I love you and I care through checking in because I love you and I care are not heard well from the other person. My bigger person is patient and gives grace.

I don’t fully know this newly created person yet, but I like her. She is vibrant and sure of the love she gives out. She cries less and loves more.

The person I am being a bigger person with is walking through some health issues right now and I find myself now being more concerned with their well-being and less worried about how I am going to approach them. Ya’ll, I found freedom in my spirit to love on my own terms.

Stepping back allowed me to lean in love. Giving the bigger me the space to press in with love has not been easy, it’s entirely new to me. But if you are like me and need to be a new kind of bigger person here are a few tips.

Don’t rush it- Allow your words to be few and meaningful rather than many and worthless.

Don’t push who you are on them- I love Jesus but I don’t know if they do so my Jesus talk is left to talking to Jesus but my Jesus love is spread through my simple words.

Keep your expectations low- I know this is countercultural, but if you are dealing with a surly individual that tends to be mean for the sake of it then don’t expect hearts and flowers back.

Accept that you did your best- no matter their response know that YOU stepped up, leaned in, and loved even if you hit a brick wall.

I pray that when you need your bigger person that these tips are helpful. Love big because love breaks down even the hardest of moments and people.