Sunday, April 11, 2010

Coon Hounds are Tear Jerkers

I started weeping tonight about coon hounds. I'm thinking either this means I have a secret longing to get me some dogs and hunt in the river bottoms of Kentucky, or it's a really well-written book that touches on the emotions and yearnings of life we all deal with, or there is something seriously wrong with me. I was sitting on the boy's bed, one little arm slung over my shoulder, another little body sliding constantly off the mattress and onto the floor at my right, and there I was, voice trembling, trying to gain composure but eventually losing it as tears poured down my face and I lost all sense of who or what was around me outside of the story of this sweet boy and his years of hard work saving money to buy the coon hounds he so desperately wanted.

This seems to happen with some regularity in my life, this weeping and tearing up over any and all kinds of things. I sensed a change after the first time I got pregnant. It was like the floodgates had opened, and little did I realize they would never again in fact be allowed to close. I also realize I am not the bubbliest girl on the block. I tend to look at things through a pretty melancholy screen. It's hazy in here. If you hadn't noticed. So, it may not come as a surprise that I deal pretty regularly with the doldrums. But deal with them I do and though others may find it easier to see life as generally pretty uplifting and charming, this doldrum-dealing has been my particular lot.

My husband read a passage to me this morning from Les Miserables... it was a beautiful description of the contrast between a poor and rich man's perspective on life. The rich man, having much to occupy the "lesser portions of his brain" in amusements, etc. is little moved to think on things beyond himself. The poor man however, spending most of his time working to earn what little he has, is then left with nothing but the earth, the heavens, and humanity around him to turn his mind to. I listened, and wondered. Is much of my bummed-out thinking a result of having too much?

Then yesterday, I ran along the water's edge, listening to a panel discussion from Kindling's Muse on the exodus of Canadian young people from the church. At one point, a panelist mentioned that the culture is informing the message taught in many of these youth groups, rather than the other way around. The message in particular being that God is your Friend and just wants you to be happy. I thought about how I know this danger. But, in spite of all my knowing, I wonder if I too really think this most of the time. My dissatisfaction lately, my unrest and frustrated spirit, could it be because I too sit around thinking about all that I don't have and all that I think will make me happier... and I expect Him to give it to me?

I don't really want coon hounds. But whatever they are, these things that give me unrest, they make my gaze flit here and there and everywhere but here, where I am. They make me shifty, uncomfortable in my skin in this place, unwilling to sit very long and smile at the people around me. They make me worry about future days, days I have no business thinking about or planning as though I were the potter, and not just the spinning, whirring, dizzy and dazed clay.

So, I'm not really sure what the exact reasons are that I always get in scraps with this big brute, this bully Discontent that kicks me around here and there when I think I'm getting along so nicely. I suspect it is many things, some mentioned above and some I either haven't perceived or He has mercifully kept disclosed for now (never more than you can bear, you know).

The thing now is to kick back. That being said, I hope you don't mind if I use this space to practice a little exercise. There have been many who have gone before me in this and have done it much more eloquently or with perhaps greater transparency, but I will simply try to keep myself accountable by posting here, for a little while at least, a list of daily thanks for things whether small or even smaller. An attempt to, if nothing else as I wait and ask for the haze to lift and my gaze to clear up, look for what is given instead of what is not.

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