on the roller coaster

Photo credit: n-heath-_px33d4yu1y-unsplash

I have always loved roller coasters – the wind-in-your-hair speed, the crazy-high ascents that plummet headlong into out-of-your-seat descents, the crushing-your-neighbor curves, the hands raised high, and the laughter screams – oh, the screams. I have loved them backward, upside down, twisting, and splash-landing into water. I have especially loved riding the roller coasters with a beloved family member at my side.

But things have changed.

We are on a roller coaster of
circumstances, life habits and emotions.

And I do not like it. I have worked hard to adjust and adapt. I have helped my family create new places to study and work and purchase what is needed. I have controlled my anxiety and fear and helped others work through theirs. We have figured out how to stay away from people physically and still stay connected virtually. We keep our personal space, wear our masks and wash our hands.

Every day the ride changes.

The statistics of cases and deaths keep rising and invading one location after another. The estimates for business and school re-openings are months away with nothing certain yet. Hope and discouragement regularly alternate their visits; sometimes they show up simultaneously and sometimes they hide in a crowd of unnamed emotions. As soon as we get one challenge figured out and come up with a satisfactory alternative, something else changes or gets taken away. The economic impact is adding a spinning-saucer sensation to this roller coaster and that stomach-churning effect is one I have never enjoyed.

I am remembering today that roller coaster rides are usually very short-lived, a few breathtaking minutes at the most. This crazy ride we are on is going to last much longer. The highs and lows and the twists and turns go on and on and on. I have had enough already. I want to get off, but I can’t. 

I will need resilience.

An extended journey requires a different mindset and different preparation than a ride that lasts only a few minutes. This crisis demands long-term physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual care. I cannot simply hold my breath for the few brief moments of a short thrill ride. I will need deep, long, oxygen-filling breaths to give me endurance for the distance. Attitudes and actions must be adjusted, and then re-adjusted again, for a long haul. It helps to remember Who travels with me.

Thankfully, although I cannot control my situation, I can control much of my reaction to the circumstances. In this case, simply recognizing the kind of ride I am on, gives me new perspective and helps me choose a better response.

How are you getting through this crazy crisis ride?

courage – a word for 2013

Courage File Drawer Label Isolated on a White Background.

Do you ever need courage?

I have chosen courage as my word for 2013.

Last year I picked the word authentic; I have tried to be authentic with my fears, emotions, needs… and also with what I wrote here on this blog.

This year I know I am going to need courage…

My family is facing my mom’s terminal cancer diagnosis. We will need courage to face death bravely so that we are thoughtful and thorough in our help and preparations. A lot of people are afraid of dying… and afraid of pain… and afraid of loss. My mom and family will face those fears; I don’t want my fears to make it any worse for them… I will need courage to face the crisis and challenges this year brings. 

Crisis can cause a lot of stress in the relationships for those involved. When there is stress in my life, I often react with impatience and criticism of my husband, my family and my friends. I sometimes pull away and isolate myself with an “I’m the only one who______” attitude. I am often too tired emotionally to make the effort to face conflict for fear of getting hurt or making things worse. I will need courage in my relationships.

This next year will bring a lot of change for me. We will move again and change jobs, since our assignment this year is a temporary situation. This may involve a trip across town and a new desk, or it might mean a different state or even a different country. It will certainly mean more work, some sad good-bye’s, meeting new people and learning new things. I will need courage to accept and adjust to the changes.

Finally, I think about me – my character, my personality, my strengths and weaknesses, my faith. A times, the scariest thing of all is doing a good, deep look inside and evaluating what I see. It is easier to stay busy running from one thing to another and miss time to reflect on: Who am I? Am I satisfied with who I am now? What do I need to change? Where do I need to grow? I am going to intentionally slow down this year and leave some time for this kind of reflection. I will need courage to grow personally.

So courage is my word for 2013.  Please follow along and see how this word gets worked out in 2013!

And for you? Have you taken some time to think about what you need or want for 2013? What is your word?

coraje – una palabra para 2013

Courage File Drawer Label Isolated on a White Background.¿Alguna vez has necesitado coraje?

He escogido coraje como mi palabra para el 2013.

El año pasado escogí la palabra auténtico; he intentado ser auténtica acerca de mis miedos, mis emociones, mis necesidades… y también con lo que escribí aquí en mi blog.

Este año sé que voy a necesitar coraje…

Mi familia está enfrentando el diagnostico de cáncer terminal de mi mamá. Vamos a necesitar coraje para enfrentar la muerte con valentia, para ser considerados y meticulosos con nuestra ayuda y los preparativos. Mucha gente tiene miedo de morir… y miedo del dolor… y miedo de la pérdida. Mi mamá y mi familia enfrentarán estos temores; no quiero que mis temores empeoren las cosas para ellos… Necesitaré coraje para enfrentar las crisis y los desafíos que traerá este año.

Las crisis pueden causar mucho estrés en las relaciones con los que están involucrados. Cuando tengo estrés en mi vida, muchas veces reacciono con impaciencia y crítica hacia mi esposo, mi familia y mis amigos. A veces me aislo a mí misma con una actitud de “Yo soy la única que _____.” Frecuentemente estoy muy cansada emocionalmente para hacer el esfuerzo de enfrentar el conflicto por temor a salir lastimada o empeorar las cosas. Necesitaré coraje en mis relaciones.

Este próximo año traerá muchos cambios para mí. Nos vamos a mudar de nuevo y cambiaremos de trabajo, ya que nuestra asignación este año es temporal. Puede ser que requiera un viaje al otro lado de la ciudad y un nuevo escritorio, o puede significar irse a un estado diferente o hasta a otro país. Definitivamente significará más trabajo, más despedidas tristes, conocer nuevas personas y aprender cosas nuevas. Necesitaré coraje para aceptar y ajustarme a los cambios.

Finalmente, pienso en mí – en mi carácter, mi personalidad, mis fortalezas y debilidades, mi fe. A veces, lo que más miedo me da es mirar profundamente dentro de mí misma y evaluar lo que veo. Es más fácil mantenerse ocupado corriendo de una cosa a otra y no tener tiempo para refleccionar en: ¿Quién soy? ¿Estoy satisfecha? ¿Qué necesito cambiar? ¿En qué necesito crecer? Este año, intencionalmente, voy a bajar el ritmo y dejar tiempo para este tipo de reflexión. Necesitaré valor para crecer personalmente.

Así que coraje es mi palabra para el 2013. ¡Por favor sigue conmigo para ver cómo esta palabra se desenvuelve este 2013!

¿Y tú? ¿Te has tomado un tiempo para pensar acerca de lo que quieres o necesitas para el 2013? ¿Cuál será tu palabra?