Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I guess I'm happy and I know it

"I will put off my sad face and wear a smile"
Job 9:27

What words would you use to describe yourself?  What words would someone else use to describe you?  The answer might surprise you.  Sometimes we are so critical of ourselves, that we define ourselves by our faults, when the people around us don't even notice them.  Alternatively, sometimes we think we're awesome, when really we are oblivious to personality "quirks" that others find prominent in us.  

Well, whatever words that someone would use to describe me, none of them would be perky.  I promise.  Neither would I be called jolly, exuberant, or "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed".

Well, maybe that last one.

But in the past several weeks, both of my kids made comments that I thought were ironic, in a funny and puzzling sort of way.

My Amazing Boy and I were talking after one of his baseball games about something that had happened during the game, and when I saw it in a glass-half-full sort of way, he said to me, in a rather somber tone: "Mom, no offense, but you're the kind of person who sees the good in everything."

I thought it was so funny that he'd say that as if it were a personality flaw; as if I didn't fully understand the seriousness of his situation.  

Then cut to several weeks later, at one of my Awesome Girl's volleyball tournaments.  They had a rough outing that day, losing more of their games than she was happy with.  But of course, there's a lot more to it than that.  There were great hits, great saves, great plays, great effort all around.  But later that evening, my daughter said to me, "Mom, how come every time I look at you during a game, you're smiling?   No matter what's happening in the game; even if we just lost the point, you look happy!"

It was a complaint, not a compliment.

So with those two pieces of input in mind, I decided to be a different person at her next tournament.  I smiled when we won the point, but furrowed my brows when we lost the point.  I shook my head in disappointment, and frowned at our team's mistakes. 

It was exhausting. 

Clearly, by forcing myself to be unhappy, I was attempting to react outside my nature. That takes more effort than just reacting automatically.

But more than that, I was having to think a lot more.  In the past, when I would smile even though we'd lost a point, it's because I was smiling at the effort the girls had made, or how they'd been working together.  And because it's volleyball, before a point is earned, there might be 12 or 15 or 18 great shots ~ digs, saves, or blocks.  So I got confused about when I was "allowed" to smile.  What if we lost the point, but we were still ahead?  What if one of our struggling girls made a great shot, but we lost the point? 

See?  Too much trouble. 

I'm just gonna have to tell my kids that they're just gonna have to suffer with a mom who smiles even when things go wrong, and who sees the good in everything. 

Hopefully, someday, they'll see the good in that. 

~ "Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!" ~
Psalm 144:15

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