So, this is a slice of life, random sort of article that jumped in my head and decided to shove its way through the line of other blogs waiting patiently to be written. I only have a small window of opportunity to write this morning because a group of lovely women are about to descend on my house to share their stories and let me share mine. (Insert happy squeal here!) (Also this happened on a Thursday, but I’m posting it on a Monday.)
I tend to have vivid dreams. Often I wake up disconcerted, emotional, and sometimes freaked out. Twice, I have literally dreamed a serial killer was in my house. I woke up screaming when he touched my arm. I dreamed once that policemen came, arrested my husband, and threw him in jail for 13 years. I might need to watch how often I read about Christians persecuted in other countries. Or, what I’ll do is keep muscling through it no matter how many bad dreams it gives me cause I need to know. I don’t need to stop having bad dreams. They won’t ultimately hurt me. I do need to know what my brothers and sisters in Christ face on a daily basis. That’s more important than comfortable dreams.
This morning, I woke up feeling very ‘misunderstood’. Ha. Looking back, the dream was so stupid, but as dreams often go, it was more about the emotion involved than it was the events. My husband, one of my sisters, and I were trapped somewhere and none of our friends could come pick us up. I think we were near the ocean or something. I remember water and tree branches. For some reason, my husband and my sister were being mean to me. I don’t remember anything specific other than my husband handing my sister his phone to give directions instead of me. I do remember an overwhelming sense of being upset and them not caring. We finally reached a friend who headed over to pick us up along with all our stuff, while also planning a Dungeons and Dragons game for us to play. (Remember, this was a dream.) Again, I cried and screamed while my husband and sister made fun of me or just totally ignored me—they would never ever do that in real life. It was so silly.
It made me think of a song my mom taught me: “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I guess I’ll go eat worms.”
(Just picture five children chanting this song over and over. Not creepy at all.)
In today’s world, my mom might be considered a bad mom. She did things like spank us, make us clean our plates, learn to play together, let us ride our bikes without helmets, hike for hours on end all over creation, shoot guns, and other things like that. She also taught us that song.
And boy, am I glad she did.
Looking back, we sang the song cause we thought it was funny and gross. (We were and still are into gross. We enjoyed the song about never laughing when the hearse goes by, too. ) We learned from that song that there are times when you will feel like everyone hates you. You will be tempted to put on the airs of a martyr and sulk because nobody is doing anything like you want them to. No one is paying any attention to you. Nobody loves you. We all experience points in our lives where we feel that way, but very often it’s about as realistic as eating worms. See, I woke up feeling rotten. I felt like my husband didn’t care one bit if I was upset, and that my sister didn’t care either. I woke up feeling ignored. That’s a horrible feeling.
Did I wallow in that feeling? No. I held it up against reality and realized my husband, even when he is super busy, cares about me. My sister, either of them, would never ignore me if I was crying, even if I was crying in a childish, pouting sort of way. It was only an emotion, and a passing one at that.
It’s important to teach kids how to judge their emotions. Why? Emotions lie. Emotions aren’t the epitome of humanity. They lie. When we indulge in them, we end up with kids who are out of control and just looking for the next emotional high. We have bullies and the bullied. See the bully is getting an emotional kick out of hurting others. No one is demanding self-control from him. The bullied is also getting an emotional kick out of sulking around feeling bullied. When I was a kid, my parents taught me not only that my martyr feeling was only good for worm eating, but that you stood up to bullies and you stood up for the weak. My parents taught me to defend others and myself. They taught me self-control so that I could withstand the lies of my own emotions and not follow their whims. They protected me, not from the dangers of zero trophies on my wall, but the dangers of my own heart. They protected me from the real dragons, not the made up ones.
Emotions are to be enjoyed, but not worshipped and not trusted. They flit and fade just like my dream did as soon as I opened my email and realized I have things to do, a house to clean, writers to encourage, and a husband who is happy to come home.