possess many talents. One of those talents just happens to be pity parties. I really do my best to avoid them, but sometimes the party committee just shows up and wants to have a heyday.
These past few weeks have been pretty insane for Bobby with his work schedule. Lots of early mornings and late, late nights. It has been typical for him to be up at 5 AM and not return until 9:30 or 10 PM. Then he has to get up the next day and do it all over again. He is amazing, doing absolutely everything he can to be present to me when he’s home and working his tail off when he’s not. He’s one of the hardest workers I know.
Now, if at this point you’re thinking, “Oh my gosh, poor Bobby!” that’s GOOD. He is the one you should feel badly for here, not me.
But the other day, that sneaky little pity party committee showed up for me, toting their black and grey balloons and streamers. They really like to go all out. We all languished on my mental couch and they commiserated with me about lack of quality time with Bobby and LOTS of quality time with myself.
Then it was the craziest thing because God showed right up to my party. I know this because these thoughts were not coming from the pity partiers and they certainly weren’t coming from me. This new perspective meant a totally different guest had arrived.
“We are invited to hold a shivering God in our hands, and in turn, that shivering God holds us.” ~ Nativity Artist ~
And guess what? God didn’t pop the balloons and say I shouldn’t be feeling sorry for myself. He didn’t yell at me to stop moping. He didn’t get all preachy and theological on me, telling me that I really should be relying on him in the first place to fill me. Nope.
He said this instead: “Listen, sweet thing. I know your love tank is feeling a little empty. And I know that YOU know it’s just a season right now. But I also want you to know that I’M here to fill your love tank because you deserve to have it filled to the brim.”
If you’ve read the book The 5 Love Languages (*that’s an affiliate link with my wholehearted endorsement), then you’re familiar with the various ways in which our “love tanks” get filled: acts of service, gifts, words of affirmation, physical touch, and quality time. (If you haven’t read the book, then you simply MUST. It has given Bobby and me such a good vocabulary to talk about our needs within our relationship.)
So after this little chit chat that God and I had, you know what happened? He showed up. Like he always does when I’m paying attention. And one precious moment at a time, he started adding to my love tank…
Acts of Service: I took Graham to the dog park the other night, not knowing that he was about to go mud wrestling. It had just rained, the grass was shot, and there were multiple puppies there who all wanted to GO CRAZY with him.
By the end of our dog park session, Graham looked like a spotted cow. The mud was thickly coated to his fur and paws. There was no way I could bring him into our apartment building without either picking him up and carrying him or getting slapped with a fine.
Then Cindy, the owner of a golden retriever puppy, asked if I wanted her to show me a hose where I could spray Graham down before heading home. The church she attends is nearby and happens to have a hose in the back – she had asked her pastor the other day if she could occasionally use it to clean off her dog and he was fine with it. AMAZING.
(As you can see, Graham was not so fine with this situation. He backed up as far as he could on the stairs.)
Now, I had never seen Cindy before, and Graham and I go to the dog park every single day. It just so happened that she was there to spread some kindness and lead me to a hose on the day when I absolutely needed it most. I can’t describe how flustered and frustrated I would have been without that. Total act of service.
Thanks, Cindy! Thanks, God!
(Just for your viewing pleasure, here is a picture of Graham as a monk. It never gets old to drape him in this towel after a bath – because YES, he definitely still needed a bath, even after being doused with the hose.)
Words of Affirmation: I haven’t frequently been checking the email address connected to this blog (although it’s on the contact page if you’d like to get in touch!). I noticed that I was getting more interaction through the comment section and people weren’t really using the email address…so I haven’t been in the habit of checking daily.
The other day, though, I was working with my brother on some blog tweaks (major shout-out to Stephen who is an endless source of help on the technical side of things) – and he asked if I could just check the email. I did and let out a little gasp when I saw a message from a total stranger!
This turned out to be a super nice and thoughtful email, too. Not just a quick line or two but a legit multi-paragraph letter that said that this blog has been a huge force of momentum and encouragement in her life. What?!? My blog?!?! I was so excited. That’s EXACTLY what I’ve been hoping, wishing, and dreaming for this space to become.
They were the perfect words of affirmation and such an encouragement to me. Thanks, Iliana! Thanks, God!
Gifts: Just when I thought Christmas was over, Bobby and I received a package in the mail. It took every ounce of my self control to wait until Bobby got home to open it because it was a package from our incredible friend Lauren who I swear is my soul twin – our taste in decor, books, hobbies, and lovely things all overlap to an insane degree. I knew that whatever was in that parcel was going to be so beautifully wrapped, perfectly curated, and chosen with care.
When it finally came time to open it, I audibly ooo’d and aww’d over everything.
Look at how she decorated this wrapping with her writing. I love everything about it:
Inside was this cocktail book (*affiliate link) by the owner’s of Commander’s Palace, a fancy and AMAZING restaurant in New Orleans. When we all lived in Nola, we actually lived just a couple blocks away from Commander’s Palace…Lauren was in the front house along with some other dear friends, Bobby and I lived in the carriage house in back, and we all shared a pool. It was heaven.
We all had some magical, New Orleans nights, sipping on Bobby’s cocktails and sharing life. Now Lauren is in California and I miss her like whoa. But this book is obviously perfect for reminiscing, creating more delicious concoctions, and remembering that cherished time in our lives.
She also included the CUTEST little fox ornament that is now hanging on the branch above my crafting space and supervising all of my projects.
On top of that, she made a special run into San Francisco to grab me a multitude of my favorite pens. The folk-art can now continue!
Lauren apologized for the Christmas package arriving so late, but unbeknownst to her, it could not have arrived more on time. It definitely helped fill my love tank.
Thanks, Lauren! Thanks, God!
God just poured into my love tank through two strangers and through a dear friend – and I have a feeling he’s not going to stop there, so long as I keep my eyes peeled.
Now here’s the messy part about being human…I’d like to wrap this all up in a tidy parcel, say I’m all cured, that the sad feelings are banished. Even when God pulls out all the stops, it doesn’t always work out nice and neat like that. But I do feel known, and cared for, and sometimes that just has to sit and mingle with all the other human feelings. That’s enough for now.
So. If you’re having a rough day, or week, or month, just know that I feel you. And that I also truly, sincerely believe that God, or the universe, or however you view it is going to show up for you, one way or another. You can do this. We can do this.
Chin up, buttercup. And be on the lookout.
So good! I’ll be on the look out now too :) it also reminds me that its good to reach out to strangers, because they might need a friend just as much as I do.
Love you Grace!
So true, Leah! I think there are a TON of people walking around, acting like everything is fine when they’re actually dying for a friend – it’s good to remember that we should always be trying to reach out and make the world a little smaller and more friendly. I love you, too!
I am sad to hear you were feeling low, Grace, but I totally understand. Working at home, missing your friends, and not having Bobby around much means days are l-o-n-g. I am glad, though, that you had three wonderful people who brightened your day by reaching out to you and that you felt enriched and opened up by their kindness.
Thanks so much for the understanding, Gini, you’re the best! This has definitely been a change of pace for me…most days are great, but things have been catching up to me lately. But yes, thank goodness for wonderful people who reach out (like you!). Love you so much xoxo
What a great post, Grace. I love your art, your writing, your humor and your honesty. (I guess that translates that I really love you!:)) Thanks for sharing all this with us. “Chin up, buttercup.” That’s cute. I’m going to use that now. Love you!
Thanks so much, Mom. I appreciate all of that! Yeah, isn’t that a cute phrase? Rin, an amazing mail art blogger (Papered Thoughts is the name of her blog), put that on a sticker once and I think about it every once in awhile. Love you, too!
I love this post. And I love that you debunk the “solution in a tidy parcel” myth. Also, this is the bonus of putting your struggles out there in a public forum – you have to pull out of the spiral, consider your thoughts as thoughts and not typhoons, and find the relatable perspective. Thanks for all the reminders you give us with this post!
Anis, I’m so grateful to have you reading and for your thoughts! Thank you! You’re so right – it’s almost a therapeutic process to write about struggles, distill everything down, and move forward. It’s interesting what you said about considering your thoughts as thoughts and not typhoons because I just listened to two separate podcasts that were driving that same point home! I’m thinking that’s a message God wanted me to hear this week. :) Love to you!
The pity party creatures are sooo hilarious. I may forever visualize them when I’m tempted to throw one. Just catching up today, Grace. Fantastic insight and reminders. xo
Haha thanks, Michelle! It definitely gives the pity partiers a little less power when you envision them as their true, pathetic little selves. :) I love you!
What great insights, Grace! Thanks for this little chapter from your life. I know it’s not always easy to write about personal and ongoing struggles, but it’s great to be able to share in your moments.
I get stuck into dips full of pity parties, but usually there are things that would pull me out if only I’d give them the chance. It can be hard to give that space. Sometimes you just want to be sad, you don’t want to admit there are reasons not to be.
However, writing about things can be empowering as you get to take control of the details that might otherwise control you and see a pattern in how you feel.
I’ve totally had that feeling – “I know there are things that can make me happier right now, but just leave me alone and let me be sad!” Then I’ll usually turn on some wistful Ingrid Michaelson song and soak in the sadness, ha. Thanks for the understanding and encouragement, Celeste!
Hey Grace. I loved this. Thank you for sharing!!! AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! I hope you are having the best day!
Aw, thanks girl! And thank you for the birthday wishes – it really was a wonderful day (minus the fact that I’m not in the same city as you to celebrate with some birthday dessert, of course!).