Monthly Archives: March 2014

My name is Kelly and I’m a sinner

Hello, my name is Kelly and I’m a sinner.  I seem to be in a mood for a bit of self-revelation tonight.  See, others seem to think I don’t know my own foibles, weaknesses, and sins.  They seem to think I just want them to look at me and tell me, “You’re an angel.”  Well, if they did that, I would look at them and ask, “Now, who is lying?”

I have made a big error in judgement.  I assumed that those I spend a huge chunk of time with each day and who smile and nod and act like they care about me, really don’t.  In fact, not only do they not care about me, they call me names behind my back.  They say one thing to my face and say the exact opposite when I’m not there.  When I thought we were each working toward the same basic goal, I found out that we had two totally different goals.  Mine is to run an honest, hardworking business where every person we work with is part of our larger extended clinic family.  Theirs is to get a paycheck and do whatever they deem necessary to keep getting that check.

My second error in judgement?  To expose my kids to these false relationships as well.  Because of my time being needed by my kids through homeschooling and my time/presence being needed at the business, I had combined both so that I could pop between duties on a regular basis.  I loved the experience of having my kids with me and yet still being able to help my husband as well.  But, instead of them getting an education about how business works and how to serve others through your work, I have exposed them to the same hurt that I have experienced — feeling betrayed by those who seemed to be care about us.  The biggest problem with this?  I can deal with the feeling of betrayal.  I’ve experienced it before and will more times through my life.  My brain can process the realities and can help my heart along with knowledge.  But, my kids don’t have that ability to process what happened. And so, I hurt even more at their confusion and pain especially because ultimately, I know I was the cause of their pain.  If I hadn’t exposed them to that experience, they wouldn’t have been hurt.

For a while there, I felt a level of pride.  That I was actually following God’s will and still providing for the needs of the girls and providing the support for my husband.  I felt like I had actually figured out how to balance and keep spinning all of these plates.  In fact, the last post I made was about a vision that instead of having all of these different plates to keep spinning, I really only had one plate.  That plate had different items with different weights, but that it would be possible for me to balance out those different weights and keep the plate spinning evenly.

Well, that was the hope.  That was the dream.  That was actually the illusion.  I find it interesting that as soon as I thought it was humanly possible to do such a thing, life as I knew it crashed and became a huge mess.

So, why do I say I’m a sinner?  Because, I am.  I can see now looking at my recent thoughts and patterns that I was letting Satan into my thinking.  I can’t do anything on my own, especially what I thought I was doing.  I am the weakest and most fragile being on my own.  On my own, I can do nothing.  I was praying and I was telling God what I needed to do.  I wasn’t asking.  I was telling.  I did at one time ask God to help me do it and to guide me in doing it.  But, doing it wasn’t an option in my mind.  In fact, when a priest questioned me on whether I really should be doing what I was trying to do, I felt angry.  How could he question me on that?  He didn’t know my life.  He didn’t know my options.  He didn’t know me and couldn’t judge me.  So, instead of hearing his question and examining it, I closed my mind and heart to the question and in so doing, closed my heart to God and set off on my own path.

So, whether I have done the sins I was accused of the other day or not, I know without a doubt one sin I have done.  I re-played the role of Eve from Genesis that we heard about in the readings at Mass today.  Just like Eve, I thought I could be as wise as God and that I could do this on my own.  Instead of realizing that I am a creature born with original sin, a sin which continues to challenge and tempt me every day to not need God, I thought I was God and could control my own life.  How much worse can it get? All other sin pales in comparison to this one.

Overall, reflecting on the past few days, I want to thank God for the pain and hurt I have been feeling.  This open wound humiliates me and cleanses me.  This pain is truly a gift of mercy.  Thank you Lord for this gift of pain!  Your gift Lord is my salvation!

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Lent and spinning plates

Today is Ash Wednesday.  In many ways, it isn’t any different from any other day.  But, for so many of us, it is a special day.  It is a day of fasting and abstaining from meat.  It is a day which includes Mass and being reminded that from dust we came and to dust we will return.  And, it is a day that many of us begin a Lenten process of dying a bit to ourselves and turning more of our attention to our Lord and the sacrifices He made for us.

Maybe it was the fasting part that got me started thinking of plates. 🙂  The image of spinning plates popped into my head early this morning as I drove to the hotel where the annual conference I was attending was being held.  That image has stayed with me and has developed over the course of the day.

Many years ago, I heard a talk from Dave Durand where he discussed a time management/life management concept and used the imagery of a juggler who had many spinning plates on the ends of sticks.  The juggler’s job was to keep moving from one plate to the next, keeping them all spinning, and not letting any of them slow down enough to fall.  That was the image in my mind.  I remembered how Dave described how each of those plates stood for the different areas of our lives that we all need to keep spinning.  Health.  Finances. Physical.  Spiritual.  Intellectual.  Emotional.  All of these areas and so many more need to be kept in a perfect balance within our lives for us to achieve happiness and a sense of peace and balance.  Sometimes certain plates need more attention.  At other times, we put too much focus on one plate and forget to watch the others and they flounder and fall with a crash.

But, as I thought of all of these plates, the image of one, filled, dinner plate came to mind (as I said — I was hungry).  On this dinner plate, there were several items in different quantities.  Each of the items had different weights.  Each of them took up different amounts of space.  On the dinner plate I imagined this morning, half of it was filled with a serving of steak, one-third taken with a pile of mashed potatoes and then the remainder taken with a serving of string beans.  I couldn’t help but wonder — would it spin??

Nutritional balance is, of course, important (and one of the areas I need to focus on during Lent as many of my old eating habits are creeping back in).  But, the question that kept popping into my head was –  would it spin?  Was the plate balanced enough so that it would spin?  An ideal plate would be well-balanced among the different weights of food so that it was evenly proportioned and the plate would spin smoothly.  My thought was that the plate described above would not spin evenly.  It was too heavily weighted with the steak and the potatoes and would tip in that direction.  A healthier and more balanced option would be a smaller portion of steak and potatoes and a larger portion of string beans. Once the weights were more evenly divided, the plate would probably spin.

Isn’t life a bit like that?  Rather than imaging many plates all spinning by their lonesome selves on those sticks, I like this new image of one plate evenly balanced and spinning smoothly.  The items on that plate are in healthy portion sizes and balance each other out.  Items like work, play, prayer/spiritual life, friends/relationships, physical health, and emotional health all need to be evenly proportioned in order for our plates to spin properly.

Sometimes, one item might be a bit heavier in our life.  So, counter balancing with other items needs done so that the plate doesn’t topple before it can even possibly spin.  Life for me has included a huge shift in weight of one item — specifically work — in recent months.  My plate has gotten out of balance because I haven’t spent the time I should have to shift the other items around to counter balance this new weight.  With the balance off on my plate, life has been spinning pretty roughly.  My weight has gone up. My stress level/emotionalism has been much too high. My prayer time has shifted and in some cases dropped. My physical health has decreased as I haven’t taken the time to exercise. And instead of setting up the counter balances, I have rationalized all of this with an ‘Oh woe is me’ attitude.

Thankfully, Lent is here and I’ll get the kick in the pants I need.  I can’t change the weight shifts that have occurred on my plate.  But, I CAN change how I arrange my plate to adequately counterbalance this heavier weight of work in my life.

So, here goes 40 days of a new balancing act.  Broken plates will be part of the act.  If you want to watch this circus show, tickets will be $1 a piece. 🙂  The collection basket for your ticket fee is at your closest church.  You will probably see me there mending those plates in the confessional…

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