- Written by Lucy Shaw
Dear Lucy: I'm just not what I used to be. I know that we all change, but I have lost my fire. I don't want to go anywhere or do anything. I just noticed that my favorite answer to every request is "no." No, I don't want to cook, clean, go out, listen to your problem...
I am not depressed. It's just that my get up and go has gone. Help.
Dear CH: That's funny. I have this picture of the get up and go running off into the sunset waving goodbye!
I was sitting in a meeting recently and looked down at my hands. I noticed that they were the hands of an older woman. I don't exactly remember when they changed but they are different in a very subtle way. The skin is not as tight, the knuckles seem larger, they seem to have gotten darker. Maybe it's my imagination.
In the language of the Bible, hands refer to purpose. As my hands have changed in their outward appearance, so has my day to-day purpose. Yet, the overriding purpose of my life has not. I know with clarity that my purpose on this great planet, in this great country and this great city is to learn – to add to my understanding.
And as I allow learning into my life, my purpose is to share it with others. This is how we grow and make ourselves useful. It is also how we follow Jesus' admonition to "love your neighbor as you love your self." Often we forget the loving ourselves part and end up unable to love others. When this happens, we get on a guilt trip about it and start saying "no" to life. We start saying no to learning new ways of using our hands.
So yes, I have grown older, my hands look different, my outlook is different. Yet, the purpose of my hands has not changed. They are for reaching out and taking hold of life, learning, loving and living full throttle. My hands are open when they need to be. That turns out to be most of the time. But they are also closed when they need to be. There are times when "no" is the right answer. There are more times when "yes" is an invitation to feel, to share, to learn.
Cook and invite someone over. It doesn't have to be fancy. My friend Charlesetta invited me to eat pinto beans and salad the other night. Clean that one little corner, not the whole house. I did that recently and found a treasure that had been missing for months. Go out to the movie, the mall or wherever. Heck, go next door!
Don't allow your thinking to constrict or restrict your joy. It's not depression. It's just a habit. Responsibility sometimes gets us into the rut of being responsible people who stop saying "yes" so we can look responsible! I know that sounds silly, but it's true.
Surprise yourself. Do something that just feels good. Maybe you haven't done what you really want to do in so long you have forgotten what it feels like. Give yourself permission to remember what the fire felt like and say YES. Trust yourself...you won't become an irresponsible fool. You will remember what it means to love, respect and honor the wonderful, valuable, useful Being that God made you to be. And the only way to be useful and bring joy to others is to bring yourself some joy first. Get back in practice.
I like pinto beans, hot water cornbread, southern fried chicken, fresh tomatoes, spring onions and sweet tea with lemon. Feel free to invite me over. But I am not waiting for you. When I want some, I get up, look as cute as I feel like looking and go down to Miss Peggy's or Stein's and get the hook up, watch some people and come home full. I have learned that there are hundreds of ways to say YES. We just have to choose to start somewhere. The fact that you wrote to me says that you are ready!
Hope I made you hungry!
(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy's new book, "BE NOT ANXIOUS." Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or go to her web site www.heartworks4u.com.)