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Monday, June 1, 2020

Shame

I was recently listening to podcast about the book/television show, Little Fires Everywhere, and Brene Brown said something that stopped me in my tracks.  She said, "Parenting is a shame mindfield.  We are so shaming to other parents because we are the most likely to shame others in areas where we feel the most vulnerable to shame.  Where we feel full of self worth we usually don't shame others.  When we are scared to death we are making colossal mistakes we are very quick to shame..."

It spoke to me on so many varying levels about so many different things.  Our current state of unrest and violence is extremely troubling (to say the least) and on top of that disturbing truth you often (almost always from my perspective, while social media scrolling) see others shaming one another for speaking up or not speaking up or for feeling a certain way or not feeling a certain way.  This quote made me realize why people may react in this manner or post things that are geared towards making others feel shameful about their reactions.  It helped me understand that it may in fact be an internal struggle for those people that actually has nothing to do with others.  In light of our current situation it makes me sad that on top of the hurt we are all already feeling we now have to feel shameful for the way we react to it even if our reaction is completely innocent of malintent.

I believe we each have a part to play in spreading love and also remaining unified.  Right now, I believe that looks different for everyone.  I think we need to work really hard to be understanding of how that process looks different in one another also.

I am currently trying to help my seven year old children walk through the natural consequences of a global pandemic that has changed their lives tremendously.  Yes, they're grieving different things than our 2020 seniors and families that have lost loved ones and they're definitely grieving differently than those people in our world that are persecuted for the color of their skin but I learned early on in my own grief journey that "the worst loss is always yours."  All of us, while doing what is right for ourselves, need to call out what we have lost, sit in it, feel it, and then (when we can) help one another by sitting in grief together as we walk through those minefields.  Our world is full of hurt.  Our hearts are heavy and it is important for us to remember that as we navigate more hurt and pain in the news daily. 

My kids miss their friends.  They miss their teacher and the normalcy of a typical school day.  They miss the swimming pool.  They miss stopping at the grocery to help me pick out something for dinner.  These are the things that are in the forefront of their seven year old minds.  I am going to let them feel those feelings and I am going to help them navigate that pain without adding another layer of distress and heartache to their minds.  I know allowing them to see or hear the things on the news right now would be hard on their emotional well being and I do not think for our family this is a "teachable moment."   

This is the choice my family is making today.  That does not mean everyone should make that decision for their family and it doesn't even mean this is going to be the choice we make in a week.  Our decision won't be what is best for everyone and that is what makes our world and our country so great.  We have different people with different perspectives doing different things.  We need each other and we need all the different perspectives to help one another grow and learn.

What we do not need is shame.  I hope we can help one another without adding another layer of hurt and heartache to our lives.  I hope we can love one another and fight for kindness instead of hate. 

Monday, April 6, 2020

Big Oakie

Have you ever done something really hard (and even fought with yourself about whether or not you actually wanted to do it as you were trying to do it) and then looked back on it and realized it was one of the most fun thing you have ever done?! 

I was thinking about this when John and Macy and I went on a hike in the Tree Trails in Fort Thomas.  We made it to the tree they have lovingly named "Big Oakie."  They love this tree and know that when it comes up in the trail they want to stop and see if they can actually get inside.  It has an opening big enough for them to fit in to and then once they are in it there is actually a little more room to move around.  They have never before had the courage to crawl inside. 

Once we made it to "Big Oakie" on this particular hike they were determined to get inside of it.  They tried.  They changed their minds.  They attempted again.  They got their head inside and then got nervous and backed up quickly to ensure they wouldn't get stuck.  There were even tears streaming down Macy's face as she tried and then got too nervous and backed up.  She looked at me and said, "I am not going any further on this trail until I do this!"  They were both determined but also so so scared.  After probably 20-30 minutes of trying and failing they finally both did it!  The success of Macy's was just the push John needed to do it too.  When they got inside they were not completely relieved because they still feared whether or not they would be able to get out.  Obviously I knew they were going to be fine.  I wouldn't have let them do it if I thought they were in any real danger. 

It reminded me of God and some of the things we are going through right now.  The parallels are not perfect but it reminded me that for most of us, this pandemic will impact us in small ways compared to others.  We will have to stay home more than normal, we will grocery shop alone with masks covering our faces, and our "normal lives" will be impacted and put on hold.  We may feel uncomfortable while we are in the midst of it all just like Macy and John did as they tried to get inside the trunk of that tree, but I have a feeling when we look back it may be some of the sweetest time we spend with our families.  When we walked away from that tree they said, "That was really fun!"  If you had been there as a witness I have a feeling you may not have thought that was the most "fun" part of the hike, but they did!  They enjoyed figuring it out and being pushed outside if their comfort place. 

I think this crisis could teach us all to be still more.

I think we may learn to take advantage of our time without distractions.

I think we could even look back and say, "That was fun." 

Obviously, some people are experiencing different stories than our own.  Some of our doctors and nurses, and food service friends are on the front lines.  I am not in any way downplaying any of that or the seriousness of this virus but for those of us staying home and waiting this out, I hope we can look back and think that wasn't as bad I thought it was going to be.  I hope being interrupted and pushed makes us better and stronger than before.         

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Uncovering Lessons in the Midst of CoronaVirus

In the midst of hard, uncomfortable experiences we learn more than we ever could cozied up with the perfect circumstances and scenarios.  I am learning so many things about myself and about the people I love that I may not have known without this forced time together.  I wanted to write a few things down so that we could look back on this time as a family and remember some of the things we were feeling right in the middle of it.     

1. My mind is constantly consumed with horrible, difficult things and I haven't watched one single thing on the news about Coronavirus.  I literally have not watched ONE single thing; not a press conference with our governor, Andy Beshear, or a new channel broadcasting on the subject, nothing.  I am not recommending this but I do believe our mental health needs to be a priority and when we fill our minds with too much negativity (whether it is true or not) it can transform how we think.  If I need to know something John (or my mom and dad) will fill me in.  I can't let my mind be inundated with anything else that may keep me from finding the bright side in the midst of this terrible virus.  I already know it is bad and I already know I need to be careful in public places when I shop for our families groceries.  I am not panicked but I am anxious.  I have to take care of my mind.  This is one way I need to do this and I think that is ok.   

2. The past few days I have been overwhelmed by the fact that I need to entertain my children constantly in order for this to be less traumatic for them.  I have quickly learned after a few chats with good friends that that idea is in fact not true.  Each evening I am going to start asking myself; Do Macy and Johnny know they are loved and safe?  YES!  Are they fed and bathed (well bathed most of the time)?  YES!  Are we all together and finding joy in small moments?  YES!  All the rest then needs to fall by the wayside right now.  That is not something I can let consume my mind either.  In the words of a friend, "Today my kids stayed in their pjs, did not brush their teeth, had chocolate for dinner, and played on their iPads all day.  But they went to bed happy and safe and that is a win today." 

3.  Everyday is different.  Our moods and temperaments (especially) change from day to day.  If we feel upset or frustrated one day it is important to remember it may be completely different the next day.  Take advantage of the moments you feel "normal" and do things that you know will sustain you during those days that are less than ideal.  This advice is for myself as much as it is anyone else!

4. There is a scripture that says, "God doesn't necessarily take us out of pain and heartache.  Instead He gives us all the grace and everything we need to persevere in heartache."  1 Peter 1:3   That has so much truth packed into it that I do not need to dissect it at all.  We're not perfect but we can continue because of his grace and hope.   He will help us persevere.






 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Corona Virus Update

Corona Virus Update from the Gesenhues

Johnny: "This Corona Virus changed the world for me because we can't go the grocery stores unless we really need something.  I can't play with people outside.  I have to do homeschool which I don't like as much as real school.  I want to go back to school to see my friends and teacher.  I'm super, super frustrated because I just don't like it."

Macy: "It changed things for me because I don't get to see my family very often.  I miss them all so much.  We don't get to go to Florida for Spring Break because we aren't allowed to go on planes or on vacation.  We have to stay 6 feet away from other people. I don't like that we can't be by our neighbors or play with our favorite friends.  I can't even say hi to my teacher expect for online.  My teacher brought us a bag of candy to make us smile.  It makes me worry a lot."    

 
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