What Do You Need?

     As I sit comfortably on the couch, I hear my toddler over the monitor: "Mama. Mom. Mom. Mum-mum. MAA!"

     He's supposed to be sleeping, but try telling him that. The irony is, he's been asking to do just that for hours. Poor little guy is overtired, and has been slumping in his stroller the better part of the afternoon. And if his glazed expression and irritability weren't clues enough, on his own impetus he literally stood up, turned off the tv and said "Night Night" to the room before walking to his bedroom. He left us giggling as we stared at his little back disappearing down the hall.

     So I know he needs sleep. I know he is overdue. It would seem that even he knows that. And yet here he is: "Mamma... MUM UM... MOM!" while he runs around his crib squealing and kicks the walls.

     And because I'm a therapist and get to think about things like this for a living, it makes me contemplate: why don't we take what we need when it's offered? Because this experience sure has me thinking it is a innate human characteristic.

     Like the addict who won't admit there's a problem and get treatment, or the combat vet who refused the VA's services, the dieter who turns down an accountability partner, or the person who tells you (with tears in their eyes) that everything is okay.... Why do we refuse what we so badly need? Why do we insist on proudly plowing ahead when what we really want is to sit, for one moment, and accept grace?

     Is it pride? Fear? Denial? I'm not sure. But what is clear to me: it is harder to admit and accept what we need, than not to. Which surprises me when I first think of it. But the more I contemplate it, it sounds about right.

Meanwhile, the monitor is finally quiet- thank you!

Wishing you grace and kindness in your life,




Much has been said on the subject of Forgiveness. (Or, the "F" word as I like to call it...) I doubt I can say much more profound or helpful things on the subject, so instead I want to tell you about my own experience with it. 

I was flying to Los Angeles for my best friend's 30th birthday. It was Friday afternoon and I was feeling more than a little excited about the prospect of a girls' weekend, away from the kiddos, at a friend's beach house. Really, could life get any better than gossip magazines on a 45 minute Southwest flight- where I did not have to ONCE get someone a cracker, change a diaper, or dig through my bag of tricks!?

I was so in my own head, I didn't even notice him. But there he was, sitting right across the aisle from me the entire flight. Time had changed him slightly, and I almost made it the whole way there without realizing his presence.  But as soon as he turned and spoke, "excuse me ma'am" (he had bumped me with his bag) it was like a movie moment... in an instant, we both recognized one another.

This was The Guy. You know the guy. The one that screwed you over royally. The one that took your pride, your reputation, your dignity and your self-respect in the name of their own interest. The one who climbed to the top on countless backs, including yours. The one who no doubt has a body count in his wake. The one who you *should* have known better than to ever work WITH, much less work FOR.

And this was The Moment. You know the moment. The moment you dream of, where you are calm, cool, and collected. Where you catch them off guard (for once) and you have all the clever things to say. The moment where you slice them to shreds by your words and leave them, mouth agape, staring as you walk away, wishing they had just done things differently. Oh yes, you know the moment. It might only be fiction... but here it was.

We're all smooshed together like cattle, waiting for the door to open. He has just been totally taken off guard to realize who I am... and I have had years preparing just the things to say....

And as I contemplate my options, the funniest thing happens, a huge grin spreads across my face. I looked at him- crumpled business suit, beat up and overstuffed briefcase, flying Southwest (coach) on a Friday night, looking haggard and out of breath and I realize: he's still hustling. Not one thing about him has changed in the least.

On the other hand, I look at myself. How since the time he knew me, I became a grad student, an intern, and finally a licensed therapist. I became a wife and mother. I am going to the beach for a girls' weekend. Most of all, I am smiling, happy, content.

And I let him walk away.... Smiling like a goofy idiot the entire time...

I realize for you that might seem either A. Unsatisfying or B. Noble
But I assure you it was neither. You see, what I hadn't realized is that at some point I had stopped laying awake at night fantasizing all the ways to make him hear me. I had stopped thinking about him very much at all. Instead of his betrayal being a formative and angering thing, it had become simply a part of my history. And like all history, it made for interesting discussion... but I didn't feel much about it.

My decision to let him walk away wasn't based on some level-headed nobility. I was not taking the high road here. What happened is he had become the best thing of all: inconsequential.

And to me, that is what forgiveness is all about. You see, my forgiveness didn't mean jack to him. He really could not have cared less I imagine. I was just one of many.

But instead of that run-in RUINING my weekend... it MADE my weekend. I had the best story to share with my friend when she picked me up. Because you see... forgiveness set me free.

Oh, it was sweet!

Wishing you health and happiness,