Monday, February 4, 2019
No More Pity Parties
Last week I didn't like myself. I'd snapped angrily at a co-worker. And my boss noticed. It came after feeling pretty down because of another co-worker's absence. You see, the missing employee was one of my best friends. We could count on one another when we could count on nothing else. We shared life stories, God stories, and the love of stories. We had so many similarities, and I thanked God every day for putting this woman in my life. How I missed her.
Yes, a bigger workload fell on me. I couldn't help but feel sorry for myself. And that was the problem.
Too many times in life, I developed the "I'm sorry for me, boo hoo" routine. Nothing good ever happens to me. Another person always catches a break. I have so much to do. It's only me. I'm the only one that ever works this hard. Yuck.
I had to phone my brother and talk with him. Not only is he a therapist, but he's very close to me, and I felt the need to confess my complaining and whining.
He did understand, and admitted that he, too, does this same thing. Well, then, perhaps I'm not so evil after all. But I knew that I still had to make a change. I didn't like myself and who I professed to be, versus who I really was.
With prayer, forgiveness, and great advice from my brother, I set out to make changes. Instead of looking at the whole day ahead of me at work like I was the lone climber on a very steep mountain, I calmly began asking others if they would help with certain tasks. Not only were they willing to oblige, but they also became very good at the jobs, and were a great blessing to me. No longer did I feel alone. I had team members who were also going above and beyond. We bonded during a difficult time and not only survived, but thrived.
I think back to the one person in my life who never whined, complained, or played the "poor me" game. That was my father. Life threw many curves his way and he always handled every situation with grace, patience, and tireless understanding. No, he was not perfect, but he was good, truly good. He worked early hours in his years at the postal service, sometimes leaving at 3 a.m. I never heard him say a word of protest about this. Even when he had to leave on snow-covered roads that no plow had yet touched, my father kept his chin and spirits up.
He was a hard worker around the house and in the years that Mom had anxiety and unable to do normal tasks, my father stepped up and went beyond his own duties, but never said a bad word about my mother, or seemed angry to have to pick up the slack.
When his health began to fail, Dad wouldn't stoop to pity and sadness. When asked how he was feeling, he cheerfully answered, "Fine!" And we believed it. This man never had the spotlight of attention, whining, or any type of coddling. He was a hero to our family, a real man's man.
I need to remember this when I feel the assault of a pity party coming on. I need to remember the man who showed our family that true strength comes from quietness, calmness, and sometimes even brokenness.
God, may all of us in this family take on the traits of Dad. Help us to learn to do our duties without complaint, our responsibilities without anger, and to take what life gives us without regret.