I came away from a Miranda Lambert concert with two evaluations. First, I wished I had the profit off the beer tent and Second, I liked her energy. That girl has been through some tough days lately. She says not to take sides in her divorce, but I have. I have! She is going to keep living her life and singing her songs. Her words are helpful.
“Some of that might mean nights on my porch crying, drinking whiskey, and going, ‘Man, this sucks right now.’”
Getting through the holidays when there are tire marks across your heart or question marks stenciled across your mind is seldom jovial. Ms. Lambert models a couple of good coping suggestions. She is expressing her emotions. “Drinking whiskey” is not something I would recommend or sing about, but I’ve never been in her boots.
“…and going ‘Man, this sucks right now.’”
That sounds so healthy—acknowledging the pain and placing a time limit on it: “right now.” It isn’t going to last forever. It gives permission to cry or scream or pound your fist. You can mourn what’s been lost even while you acknowledge what you still have. Your grief doesn’t lessen your gratitude. It transforms it. Tears turn an ordinary, two-dimensional Thanksgiving table into a complex and glorious altar. (I don’t know if I wrote that or if I am quoting someone.)
I heard these suggestions from podcaster Mike Kim: For those sitting on the porch with a square bottle, a soggy handkerchief and the realization that the difficult days are going to “suck” for a while. But, by God’s grace and my confidence in Him it will not kill me!
1. Write in your journal or Evernote, your five most limiting beliefs.
These usually begin with “I will never,” or “I can’t,” or “Everyone knows…,” or “If only….” However you frame the words, these are self-fulfilling prophecies. They are limiting or crippling.
2. What three things do you need clarity on?
I’ve been thinking a lot about clarity. It is difficult, if not impossible, to gain clarity without input from your closest friends, a therapist-counselor, a spiritual director connected by the Holy Spirit to your specifics. Clarity often shows that what we’ve been believing and doing have not served us well. But, they are our survival kit coping tools which is terrifying to think of losing.
I talk about clarity in my new book Depot. Our son was in a restaurant recently to meet a friend. While waiting for the friend to arrive, a guy at the bar asked his name and then said, “I know your family. You’re the singers.” The first few years on the road gave us a ton of stories which we repeat whenever we’re together. Although most of them are funny or had eternal impact, not all of them were good experiences. Some of those experiences drew blood! Clarity asks what impact the events that are still vivid and hurtful have on our present lives. If someone in the vehicle asks, “What is that noise?” every Benton will feel the instant fear that is 30-40 years old.
Clarity also demands that we ask if we are remembering the story correctly. Can those who experienced the event with me corroborate what I remember?
3. What five or ten people and abilities am I thankful for and celebrate? In the face of what I’m facing or what I’ve lost, who will never leave me? What gift, ability brings pleasure to family or solve problems?
“Man, this is going to suck for a while,” is a healthy and healing statement. One of my peeps says, “This is an inconvenient time to have an anxiety-driven mental break down.”
Meet you on the porch?
© D. Dean Benton bentonministries.com
Writer, Wonderer, expert in pondering and meandering.