So my post from yesterday was actually written on Sunday but I didn’t post it until Monday. I felt fine saying that I was still a Peaceful Pop Tart until mid-morning Monday. I made it a solid 2 hours before I realized I was a Sad Cashew.
It started with picking supplies up from my son’s sweet church school. I was not prepared that it would make me tear up. So I shoved those suckers down and got on with my day. “I’m a Peaceful Pop Tart today, I said!” reminding my brain and emotions of this decision I had made on their behalf. “We are fun, sweet but not too sweet, remember? We are rebelliously peaceful and a bit colorful. Get in line brain. This is us!”
For starters, how sad to think that snack-wise if a Pop Tart is like, say, a sparkly sneaker (Punky Brewster Kellogg vibes) then a cashew is like an orthopedic. It’s a bit beige. Wallowish no? It’s just a bit much in this climate to think of trading in my sneakers…
For a little while yesterday I also managed to morph into a Psychotic La Croix, but because the La Croix later became an ingredient in a margarita (2) I became less Psycho shortly thereafter. So in an attempt to shove it all away- I had grasped Peace after all, I could not go backward!- I walked, exercised, read, took 2 GABA and had 2 margaritas and felt “pretty good” by the end of the day. So “good” that I turned on a movie at midnight & stayed up until 3 AM…. sleep much?
Then boom. This morning watching chapel through Facebook I just started crying. I’m not crying, you are…. no I actually am again. There are usually so many kids in the chapel. Somehow they are always quiet too. Their hushed boisterousness alone is a miracle of God. Undoubtedly Divine. But seeing just one person in the chapel, sitting down, singing “In to my heart….. In to my heart…” to an empty room released what I’m still trying to shove down. Maybe picturing it literally, picturing Jesus entering your heart other things need to be released as he takes up more room in there.
And I am sad. I’m more grateful than sad. I’m happy too. But it does make me sad that all of these children can’t be with each other. I’m sad I can’t be with people too. I’m sad that when we see little kids out walking my daughter’s first response is to run to them and instantly be friends. “You’re 5, I’m 5, that makes us friends!” What a short window that exists! And that my immediate response is to remind her to keep her distance actually breaks my heart a little. Watching joy get robbed is sad. I start imagining that without the promise of getting to go out and play maybe she is less likely to skip. And she skips everywhere. And I love that. Please don’t lose the spring in your skip! That’s my grip. Remain a Tigger while I try Eeyore on for size.
Now as you can see, sadness can catch your focus for a bit. Taunting you with its bland orthopedic-ness. With it’s low-toned donkeyness. You might be tempted to think it’s rubbing it in your face that you’re not a Pop Tart anymore. “Maybe she’ll stop skipping…” it says.
But no. NO. Because Sadness has power. And it is not saying “You’re not a Pop Tart anymore” it’s saying “You’re not a Pop Tart today.” It’s reminding you that in order to really feel the good you must taste the sad. Sugar has a taste relevant to salt. To everything there is a season…. and a specific seasoning to accompany it.
No matter how much you would rather avoid suffering at all costs, it must be done. Which reminds me is really at the heart of Peeps and Smores anyway. You have to touch that fire to be transformed. Otherwise, that nice balance you have, like in a Pop Tart, gets really off-balanced and you wind up as one in a package full of Peeps.
When your marshmallow is at a crossroads there is always a decision to pack up with the Peeps or to let your mallow melt. (Quick say ‘mallow melt’ 10 times while patting your head!) There’s choice to be sure. You can be communal in artifice or communal in vulnerability. You can be unwilling to get near the fire. But we can’t forget that melting a marshmallow will also call out the graham crackers, and the chocolate, and the campfire, and the people! And the stars!! Don’t forget! So many more elements that you don’t even know exist if you just end up Peeping around it. You have to walk through it.And “When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned.” (Isaiah 43:2)
Today, I’m loving Richard Rohr’s words on exactly this. This friar has a LOT to say about marshmallows. No, I’m kidding. But his wisdom melts mine. And comforts mine too. It reminds me that not being a Pop Tart today is what ensures I’ll be a s’more later. (P.S. Let me state for the record, I do not like s’more Pop Tarts.) That suffering is the only action that leads to real authentic transformation and ultimately transformation is what we are all after.
If you don’t know about Richard Rohr, please see references below while I go grab myself a piece of a monster cookie because it’s 10:45 (snack time) and I need a new name again….
This is a great article of his. “Transforming Our Pain” Click Here to Read.
Some highlighted phrases:
–Pain teaches a most counterintuitive thing: we must go down before we even know what up is.
–I define suffering very simply as “whenever you are not in control.” Suffering is the most effective way whereby humans learn to trust, allow, and give up control to Another Source.
–If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.
-If there isn’t some way to find some deeper meaning to our suffering, to find that God is somehow in it,and can even use it for good, we will normally close up and close down. The natural movement of the small self or ego is to protect itself so as not to be hurt again.
–We can then see our own suffering as a voluntary participation in the one Great Sadness of God (Colossians 1:24). Within this meaningful worldview, we can build something new, good, and forever original, while neither playing the victim nor making victims of others. We can be free conduits of grace into the world.
For more Richard Rohr- Listen to this Podcast. “Growing Up Men”
I also recommend his book “Falling Upward”- It is Excellent.