Thursday, February 20, 2014
How Are You Feeling?
The theme "Love Your Feelings" didn't inspire me, at first. I'm not loving my feelings lately. The verse I kept thinking of was Ephesians 4:26, "Be angry and sin not..."
Suddenly, it clicked for me in a way I hadn't thought of before. I've always thought of feelings as bad, dangerous, even. Feelings can get you into trouble. Acting on your feelings is frowned upon. But the Bible says to be angry and sin not. It doesn't say not to get angry. What if we substitute other feelings? Be sad and sin not. Be frustrated and sin not. Be disappointed and sin not.
In fact, the only feelings I can think of that we're told not to have are anxiety, "Be anxious for nothing..." (Philippians 4:6), jealousy, "You shall not covet..." (Exodus 20:17), and hate, "Whoever hates his brother is a murderer..." 1 John 3:15.
So feelings, in and of themselves, aren't the problem. It's how we act upon those feelings. That was really freeing for me. I've been feeling horrible for the way I feel about Luke's challenges. And I think the added guilt makes it even harder for me to align my actions with what they should be.
Here's my reality: I feel like a lousy mom for not connecting with Luke. Somehow, I have this idea that a perfect mother wouldn't need any sort of validation from her child. Perfect Mom wouldn't care that Luke never smiles at her, and in fact, often starts whining and hitting himself in the head when she comes near him. Like some automaton, she would just continue to smile and serve and hum and bake and birds would chirp in the background.
Well, that's crap. I think we've already established that I'm not a perfect mom. Honestly, I don't even want to be. I think it would be a disservice to my kids, in the long run.
I'm feeling overwhelmed.
I'm feeling terrified of the future with Luke. I don't want to spend the rest of my life taking care of somebody who doesn't even like me. I'm feeling regrets.
I'm feeling a faint glimmer of hope, which scares this fragile heart, that we might be getting close to a diagnosis. I'm feeling guarded. I was finally coming to terms with the whole "maybe we'll never know what's wrong with him" thing, and I'm afraid to get my hopes up because I don't want to be let down again.
I'm feeling like everyone thinks I'm horrible for not being madly in love with my child. I feel sorry for Luke that I don't have the same affection for him that I do for Katie and Hannah.
I'm feeling a huge sense of loss for the spunky little boy I was hoping we would be parenting. He may have only existed in my mind. He may have been a composite of the cute pictures of other people's boys from China, and memories of my older boys at age 2. But the smallest things set off a longing for "that boy" some days. Hearing the garbage truck come down the street and wishing that I could could holler, "Lukey! Garbage truck!" and have him come running over and climb up to see out the window and point and say, "Truck!" and be excited. Meeting another mom with a boy the same age and knowing the two of them will never play together.
I guess the realization that it's OKAY to have these feelings comes with the responsibility not to wallow in them. I don't know if I'm at the point of loving my feelings quite yet, but at least I'm acknowledging them.
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