I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s new book, Daring Greatly. It’s about shame, shame resilience, courage, and vulnerability. I have experienced dozens of aha moments in just the first few chapters. Moments of realizing that I am not unique in my insecurities. Moments of recognizing why I think, and feel, and respond, the ways that I do. And … more painfully … moments where I recognize ways in which I have heaped shame upon others. On those I love most. I think, in all honesty, that even not knowing WHY or HOW, my words, attitudes and actions were wrong, I sensed that they were. That I was being unfair or unkind. I believe that God gives us those cues. Even when we don’t understand why. A little tickle in our spirit that warns us. But I didn’t always listen. And so I have regrets. Things I wish I could unsay, undo …
I shared with you previously that I have been on a journey of discovery and that one of the things I was discovering is that men and women perceive things (actions, attitudes, tone of voice, etc.) very differently. As I was listening to the audiobook, Daring Greatly, tonight, Brene was emphasizing the fact that men are conditioned , from childhood, to feel great shame at any perceived weakness or failure. (It may also be helpful to note that men typically react to shame in one of two ways: rage or retreat.) Two memories instantly slammed into my consciousness. Things I wish I could undo. Neither takes place in a single moment in time. As women, wives, mothers … you may be inclined to excuse what I share here and urge me not to be so hard on myself. I promise … I’m not beating myself up. I just wish I could change the past and thereby change so many things.
The beginning of my story …
I’m not sure why God is asking me to share this story. I hope that maybe someone, somewhere, can learn from my mistakes and manage to avoid the regrets that I now carry. That would be reason enough for writing this down and hitting publish …
Before 4 years ago
Bert had been in poor health, off and on, for some time … maybe 2 years… seemed like a really long time. Mostly weakness and exhaustion. Just working wore him completely out and he seldom had the energy left for any sort of socialization, going to church, etc. I was scared. He was, and is, self-employed, our sole source of income, and we didn’t have health insurance, so he put off going to the doctor for a long time. As his weakness, exhaustion and pain grew worse he finally went to see a doctor but without expensive tests … diagnosis was a bit of a guessing game. He was treated for gout, ineffectively, so they ruled gout out but didn’t rule anything else in. As his health continued to deteriorate … my worry grew … and I decided that we needed health insurance and the best way to get it was for me to find a job with benefits. So 5 years ago, I went to work full time, and once the insurance was in effect we began to pursue answers to his health problems. That first year he was diagnosed with a form of rheumatoid arthritis and we thought that was the answer. Not an easy fix but at least we knew what was going on … or so we thought.
4 years ago
We went to Branson for our 29th anniversary at the end of September. He was feeling pretty good and we spent the day at Silver Dollar City and then went to Sight & Sound Theater to see NOAH that night. It was an awesome show and we both really enjoyed it although my allergies were kicking up a major fuss by the time it was over. Due to my crowd issues we waited for the majority of the audience to clear out before we headed for the parking lot. He was walking quietly as I jabbered about the show while we walked to my car. Suddenly he passed out beside me. No warning. He had been here one minute and was gone the next. I thought he was dying and I grabbed him, tried to hold him up, and screamed at him not to do this to me! What seemed an eternity but was probably mere moments later … he was back. Weak, exhausted, but back. I wanted to take him to the hospital but he wouldn’t go. So I made him promise to go to the doctor first thing Monday morning. I was scared again!
This is not the major point of this story but I need to pause, and and point out, to myself as well as to you … that my out of control fear was not just a failure to trust God, which I knew, but it also conveyed to my husband that I didn’t trust him, that I thought he was (physically) weak, that I didn’t believe he could take care of us, etc. I believe that it was the right thing for me to go to work and get health insurance at that time. It has been a HUGE blessing! But I did it the wrong way and with the wrong motivation. And I unknowingly shamed my husband in the process!
It’s almost 4:00 A.M. and I am so tired. I haven’t been feeling well or sleeping well. I need to go crawl back into bed and try again. I will share more of this story tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.
Can I please ask you for a couple of quick favors?
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I have discovered that my Facebook page is getting abysmally low views due to Facebook’s algorhythyms. I really don’t know how it all works but the simple reality is that the more I can get people to interact with my Facebook Page … the more it will get seen. If, and when, you happen to see a Masterpiece Facebook post, would you please like, comment on, or share it? Any of those help immensely!
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