Thursday, May 21, 2015

Things I'm thankful for

Good friendships and fellow-shipping - one of the principles of the gospel is fellow-shipping. It's a long word that essentially means offering friendship to those around us. It sounds simple but for someone like me, acting on it is not so simple. But I've been doing it. Making friends, attending social gatherings, talking to new people who come to church. And while it's a bit painful, it is putting opportunities in front of me that I don't think I would have had otherwise. I've had a chance to make friends with some great new people in my ward and practice being a kind person. I'm really grateful to have such opportunities.

A strong body - my body isn't as strong as I want it to be, but I'm working on it. And I am reminded that I have a lot to be grateful about with regard to being able-bodied.

Knitting - What a great stress reliever! Okay, I'll be honest: my stress levels are lower than they've ever been in my life. But my capacity for stress is also lower than ever. Making lovely things out of string keeps me from wanting to harm myself and others. And it is more fun than it should be.

Choir - Oh, I joined the choir at church and I'm taking weekly voice lessons. Bet you didn't see that one coming.

Gratitude plays an important role in my life; it's not always easy to be grateful but there is a reason we have dumb phrases about it... so, what are you thankful for?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Death is nothing

I found this image on Facebook this morning. This resonates with me. There were so many times after Colin died when I felt like he was just in the next room. As though I would find him there if I turned my head quickly enough. So many times I would walk into a room and feel like he had just been there and I'd find myself with his name on my lips before I remembered.

Even now, less frequently of course, I'll see something out of the corner of my eye that feels like him. I like to think it's God, telling me that Colin is still with me.

Sometimes that is comforting to me; sometimes, it feels like my soul is inside out.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Never give or take offense

I offended someone recently. If you've known me for a very long time, you'll know that I normally don't care too much about offending people. That I think people are too sensitive in general; that people misunderstand me and for the most part I feel like that's not really my problem.

And that's how I used to feel. Not to be confused with a desire to hurt people's feelings - I just don't have a lot of compassion for people who read more into a situation than is intended. I find it annoying and useless when people do that, and I often lose interest in interacting with people who choose to be upset over assumptions they make.

That said, I don't actually enjoy hurting others, despite the frequency with which is happens. Over the last few years I have been learning a lot about how to be more sensitive and loving; about how to be kind even when people are overly sensitive. About how to care about others and to be more open to them and their feelings. It's hard work, and being sensitive is confusing to me. Squishy feelings don't have a good place to settle in my psyche and I often find myself wanting to get rid of them.

In the course of my work, I offended one of my customers. She didn't do what she was supposed to, and when I gave her instructions on how to do it better next time, I offended her. I got a nasty email today about it and I could tell from the tone of the message that not only did I offend this person professionally, I had also hurt her feelings.

I feel crushed. I'm so frustrated with her and this whole situation. I am angry that she is bringing personal feelings into something that is not at all personal. I am offended that she is twisting my words into something I didn't say at all, and I am irritated that I have to spend on-the-clock time soothing someone's bruised emotions.

But I'm also crushed. I hurt someone's feelings, and I'm really new to caring about that. Someone is feeling disrespected, offended, and disregarded because of words I used. In further conversation, I learned that this woman is being mistreated by her colleagues and isn't receiving the professional support she needs to do her job correctly and she is getting blamed for things that are not her fault. And then I walk all over those feelings. Even though it wasn't intentional on my part, I added to a situation that feels impossible for her. I feel like I might cry.

There's a happy ending though. I apologised, used better words to explain myself, and could offer honest regret for my actions. Even better, I was able to offer a solution that resolved her problem.

I've grown and changed so much, but I still routinely fail at interacting nicely with other humans. I'll be thinking about this the next time I take the sacrament.

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