Dave and I had a weird conversation with Maddock this morning. Now, for those of you who know Maddock, this doesn't come as a surprise at all. For those who don't know Maddock and his 15 year old strangeness, please feel free to come by and visit....you'll get it soon enough.
But underneath his awkward teenage communication skills, is a boy who loves deeply and thinks hard about what's going on around him. He is authentic to the core. There is no pretence about this kid and I am grateful for the gift that he is.
Today's conversation started off simply enough with the question, "why does it seem that some people's lives just go up and some just go down?" But wait for it... the question didn't end there.... "what happened to horizontal and diagonal and spikey?"
Spikey? Do you experience a spikey life?
We figured out that what he meant was more a zig zag.... one spike up, one spike down... etc...
Then he filled in the sound effects. MEH going down and HEM (being the opposite of MEH) going up.
Once the sound effects were in place, we then got the physical demonstration of a spikey life. Imagine the arm raising and lowering in time with the Meh's and Hem's... over and over and over and over... you get the picture.
As happens often with Maddock, once he realizes the weird awkwardness of his gestures and the confused stares of his parents, he quickly excuses himself and moves on, leaving us to sit and wonder where we got such a kid. (I blame Dave, he blames me... probably a combo deal).
But in light of the trajectory our life seems to have taken in the past few years, it's hard some days to see the HEM side of things. I personally, have been stuck in a MEH cycle for the last few weeks, unable to "get things done" or "function at a normal capacity" or "do laundry".
But while it's frustrating, it's also just where we are. This is where I am right now. And my hope is that it will change, that I'll be motivated to get out and do the things or be able to push past the depression that I'm giving in to right now. And I guess that my faith is such that I know this will pass, so I will just rest easy for now.
I feel my spikey life. I feel the weight of the MEH in dealing with a traumatized child, in taking chemo pills every day, in being judged by other parents. But I also feel the lightness of HEM in walking with friends, laughing at my teenager, snuggling with my husband, a lovely glass of red wine, a great counselling session... the list of light goes on.
Our question for many years has been, "How do you be?" (courtesy of the lovely Trisha Taylor). How do you be in the Meh? How do you be in the Hem? And my goal in Meh or Hem is the same. To be grace-filled. To be humble. To be kind. To be generous. To be grateful.
And I think it's pretty fair to say that I fail at these things every single day.... sometimes hourly. But the great thing about a spikey life, is that there is always room for a redo. There is always room for trying again. But the greatest thing about the redo and the trying again, is that you get to practice all these things on yourself first. Give yourself grace when you don't get things right the first time. Practice humility. Show yourself kindness, gentleness, patience. Be generous with self-love. Show gratitude for who you are, what you have, how you've been blessed.
As you practice, MEH turns into HEM. The counsellor told me so, and he must be right. Also, a lot of really smart people who study brains said this so, they must be right too. But I know it too. I feel it. I live it on my up and down spikey scale.
So sometimes I be MEH and sometimes I be HEM and sometimes my spikey life takes a downward trajectory and sometimes it heads upwards.... I think that's just life. But I get to choose how I be in all of that.
Today, I choose grace and humility and kindness and gentleness and generosity and patience and gratitude. And since there are 24 hours in a day, about 8 of those sleeping, I will have to remind myself approximately 16 times in this day... if not more.... that this is how I want to be. And what a gift to be able to choose the wonderful ways we show up for ourselves and for others.
What a gift, that in the midst of turmoil and spikey life, we still have the freedom to be....