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Arms Outstretched and Hands Raised

Last night was kind of the crowning glory for me.  A moment in time when I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole.  And to be sure.  I have had my fair share of awkward moments.  Moments when my truly funny life has imitated fiction.  Watch me in action for about five minutes and you could probably catch me doing something just a little left of center.   We fools are probably why they formed channels like TLC.   We’re just a little bit on the special side.

Adorable, but special nonetheless.

So I guess it could be said- there have been one too many times in my insanely crazy real life when real life has imitated art.  As long as you understand that the art I am talking about is a very entertaining (albeit low-budget) television reality show.  (Shout out to the Duggars… love you guys!!)

But physically mistaking my friend’s husband for my own has got to be a low point of the week thus far.  Even for me.   I made contact with the poor guy’s shoulder…!  Yes, it could’ve been worse.  Thank the Lord for that.  And yet.  This embarrassing faux pas has got even me wondering: what next?  How am I going to top that one?  If only…I hadn’t been rubbing his shoulder…if only I had caught myself before making contact.  If only Brian and half of West Price had not witnessed the event….   If only.  So much embarrassment could have been saved.  But nevertheless.  The ‘if only’ is not what happened.  Obviously.  And here I am to tell the tale.

What next?  Can there be any lower levels to reach?    I am already lying face down at the bottom of the barrel.

So it wouldn’t be surprising to any of you, now would it, that I was again late for work this morning.  I should just shoot myself and call it a draw.  This is becoming a habitual rite of passage for me, transitioning from my home self to my professional self.  I feel like one of those old time coal engines that take their good ole’ time warming up.  And when they reach full steam, look out.  They cannot be stopped.

This morning was the usual busy morning.  Rushing, meltdowns, fights over clothing.

Yadda, yadda.  The works.

But what was different this morning was I had actually convinced myself that I would be on time today.  (Stop laughing, fellow co-workers.)  I felt like I really had a fighting chance of arriving at work before the expected check-in preliminaries, for a lovely change.  Everything was seemingly lined up in my favor.  I had an extra hour today to play with, an extra hour within which to arrive.  So it should naturally follow, if ‘one’ had so much extra time on their hands that ‘one’ would thus arrive at work at the very least, before their first meeting of the day.

Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve.  And it should be noted: I am ‘one’ gal who has always been the exception to the rule.

So.  Since I did not arrive on time… but instead arrived late (5-7 minutes late, to be exact…but who’s counting), and since I missed the introductory staff meeting, as well as my first grade level meeting (very small short meeting)… I was extremely disappointed in myself.  Frustrated would be another choice word.  And so it was.   That I spent the majority of the morning berating myself and beating myself up for my ineptitude and uselessness.  Telling myself I was incompetent and a total let-down to my profession.  What.a.jerk.    (And this is just my day job.  Don’t get me started on the other slack areas of my life….)

About half-way through the morning, I made a trek up to the office.  Sheepishly looking around to see who was watching, all the while wondering if I would ever be able to arrive ANYWHERE, ever again…on time.   And so, I decided to unload all my feelings and frustrations on the very capable and caring shoulders of our amazing secretary.  And as I proceeded to tell her the very many ways in which I felt I was unable to live up to my expectations of myself (not to mention the expectations everyone else probably had of me), the conversation took a turn.  It swerved away from me apologizing over and over again for all the failures in my life and instead started heading in a direction I like to call ‘forgiveness’.  Grace.  Acceptance.  Toward a place where a body can say to themselves,

“You know what?  You’re not perfect, girlfriend, and you never will be.  So why don’t you start forgiving yourself your failures and start concentrating on what you’re doing right.  And while you’re at it, start learning to say NO.  YOU ARE TIRED, girlfriend!  You need to cut yourself some slack!  If you drop a few of the balls you have in the air, nobody is going to be the worse for the wear.  Stop trying to live up to everyone’s expectations and start setting some limits for yourself.  And while you’re at it, do something nice for yourself this weekend.  Get a coffee just for the fun of it.  Buy something pretty.  Read a book.  Go for a drive.  Call up some friends.  Laugh.  Love.  Live.  YOU DESERVE IT!!!”

And I don’t know about you, but I kinda like the view from that place- from GRACE.  From Forgiveness.  From self-acceptance.  Because it is so freeing when you tell yourself that you’re okay.  Just the way you are.

And I tell you all this because?

I don’t want to hide my life behind a facade pretending to be something I am not.  I am exactly what you read: a bumbling fool most of the time, but for the other twenty-five percent of the time, I am a girl who is learning to love herself.  Flaws and all.  And I think that when we take down the walls that hide our true selves from public view, we come to discover…we are all essentially alike.  We have insecurities, flaws, un-met expectations of ourselves.  We do embarrassing things.  We mess up.  We live crazy lives.  We are a work in progress.  And if we can share with each other a small portion of ourselves, it might encourage us all to live life as if we had no secrets.

And life stripped of all that baggage- those feelings of inadequacy and failure and incompetence and disappointment, is SO MUCH BETTER than hiding behind a false barrier.

We need to live life in view.  Maybe not as in full view as I do (I have pretty much no pride left- my dirty laundry is hanging out for all the world to see baby.  And those hip-hugging puppies are not pretty, let me tell you.)  But let’s be serious: we are so very much the same and we can learn so much from one another when we come out from our hiding places.  When we live our lives with arms outstretched and hands lifted.  And we stop hiding who we truly are.


2 thoughts on “Arms Outstretched and Hands Raised

  1. Lori- This reminds me of something I read on Momastery.com years ago, and something I remind myself and my family and friends of (almost daily): Stop making _____ harder by pretending it’s not hard. On Momastery the blank was parenting, but I think it goes for everything. Many things are hard, and many easy things are hard depending on the day. You know what? Sometimes getting places on time is HARD. Sometimes = all the time for many of us. People may get irritated, WE may irritate ourselves, but that part doesn’t make us any less worthy.

    I used to think we all needed grace in the BIG moments. The tragedies and the shocks and all of that. While that is true, all of those big moments are just little moments, like the drive to work and the not falling off the shoes I’m walking in. Grace there = grace everywhere, I think.

    Much love to you!

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