Well, truth be told, it began with all the thank you notes I was taught to write for every birthday or Christmas. A simple salutation isn't as simple as your parents & teachers lead you to believe. As a child learning the time honored skill of thank you notes lead me to much anxiety as I tried to decide the appropriate way to sign off of that note...Sincerely, Yours Truly, Love You or my personal favorite Cordially... & I decided that drawing a heart was all I could pen without assigning too much feeling or too little.
You see, I am not that girl.
I am not the girl that speaks her feelings to just anyone.
I am not the girl who gives hugs freely.
I am not the girl who says "I love you" to anyone just willy nilly.
I am not the girl who expresses deep feelings out loud in the light of day.
I don't do confrontation.
I can speak unashamedly about my HANDSOME, almost PERFECT husband.
I can speak of my children with great enthusiasm & sometimes frustration.
I hold intelligent conversations about what God is doing in our lives.
I can extol the wonders of homeschooling for our family.
I love to talk chicken care.
Medical care is fascinating for me with my nursing background.
I could go on & on about birth, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, & related subjects.
I'm sometimes lose the opportunity to speak on something in a conversation because I'm thinking about how to say it correctly & everyone moves on. (Although I can speak with abandon about things that don't matter in the grand scheme of life because I'm so excited to just speak with someone over the age of 11!)
The rub comes when conversation turns to deeply emotional topics. When I get the courage to speak about things that affect me deeply, I shake. My whole body shakes, my voice quivers & my teeth chatter while I try to get out whatever it is that is so important. My husband knows that something is really important to me when I begin to shake while speaking & it's usually at night when I can finally get it out. This is not his best time to talk as he is a morning person but he tries really hard to give me his undivided attention when I finally get up the gumption to talk to him at 11pm or later. Right now, as I type, my hands are beginning to shake.
There are times that I wish I were the girl who could just say "I love you" to people. But then, that seems too intimate like something I should reserve for just my husband & kids. I have very strong feelings for my family & my close friends but it feels weird to say that as you leave their house. "Thanks for having me over. I have very strong feelings for you." or signing off on the phone "Well, it was good talking to you. I have very strong feelings for you, Good bye". See, it's weird.
I have been trying to be more verbal when I sign off on the phone with my sisters & my grandma. I make a point of saying I love you even though it makes my stomach hurt. I don't know why. Maybe I'm afraid they just feel obligated to say it because I said it first. Or if they say it first & I reply they assume it's just the cursory reply like at church when people say "Hi, how are you?" and you know that they expect you to reply with "fine, how are you" when you aren't really fine but they don't actually want to hear anything else so they can keep on walking to their destination. But that's another topic entirely. I really do love them.
I am loyal to the core. I remember my first fight was in the 1st grade. A little boy named Shawno Johnson was chasing my twin best pals Sadie & Jenny Wiens & they were really upset so I socked him in the chest & told him to knock it off. Now, I have moved over 27 times, lived in 4 states, gone to 3 elementary schools, 1 middle school, 3 high schools, 1 university, & nursing school. I remember the names of my friends from each place & sometimes my brother & sisters info, too. I fondly remember all the kids from my various church youth groups. I especially remember all the adventures with my cousins even though we only lived by them until I was 10.
I want people to know how I feel but words are so flippantly used. People say they love pizza or movies & I say it sometimes also. I feel like it would be so much easier to show them. I could make them dinner when they are sick or take care of their kids when they need a break. I could serve them any number of ways but I know that many people need to hear how I feel. I have 2 children & a husband who's love language is encouraging words so it's definitely know how important this is.
As stated above this realization all came to a head on Facebook. All those birthday wishes were fine & I resigned myself to the fact that I didn't have to feel guilty about not sending the cursory "Happy Birthday" worded differently than everyone else's so that they know it wasn't just expected because Facebook told me to do it. People don't know if you're sarcastic, teasing or serious even if you use those smiley faces.
...But then, a HUGE thing happened! My cousin's wife got cancer. I know that a lot of people aren't close to their family. Especially when they live in a different part of the country & have only met in real life a couple of times. But I have VERY strong feelings for my family & I had recently found a kindred spirit in Stacey. I introduced her to my favorite website board for mothers of many children (she has 5 & I have 7) & found that we have many of the same ideals & interests. She was my connection to my extended family during a really tough time when I didn't know how they felt or if they even wanted me in the family anymore. Then, she got cancer & I began to pray fervently daily. She was always in my thoughts but I couldn't send a note so I sent a care package for the kids. People are sending words of encouragement via Facebook & the Caringbridge site but I can't bring myself to write anything worth sending. It never seems to fully express what I am feeling. I don't want to say the wrong thing but I don't know what the right thing to say is either. I want to say something but...
I am not that girl but sometimes I want to be.
Then, yesterday God reminded me that there are many words for love in the Greek. 1. Phileo "brotherly love", 2. Storge "parents' love", 3. Eros "sexual love", & 4. Agape "Godly love". I came to the realization that I need to focus on the definition of Phileo love & try to express that out loud more often to more people (just not willy nilly). I'm going to try to say something because I would rather be the person who said something than the one that didn't say something & nobody knows the extent to which I really do love them. A great fear of mine would be that someone would think I don't care at all when I really have such great affection & love for them. That would be much worse than not getting a reply or worse, getting a cursory reply that meant nothing.
I am not that girl, but I'm going to try.