Memorable Messages

Today is Thursday, Day 114 in Bahrain’s stay-at-home time, day 79 of The Isolation Journals with Suleika Jaouad. The prompt is by Angela Cooke-Jackson, “Think about the memorable messages—either positive or negative—you received during your formative years about sharing your intimate feelings and grief with others. Where did the messages come from, and what made them memorable?…”

One of my memorable messages came from my co-dependent family. We were always good in my family. We didn’t often express ourselves. After my alcoholic father died when I was very young, the message stayed with us. Denial and dishonesty, suppressing emotions, and compulsive behavior with food were ways it manifested for me.

I’ve gotten better and healthier, but sharing intimate feelings and grief is still not easy for me. This unprecedented time, however, is helping me face the grief.

Today, Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, wrote about this time we are in, when Black Lives Matter is a movement supported by the majority of Americans. He explains it as a kairos moment–“a propitious moment for decision or action…when things come to a head.” I want to be part of keeping this kairos moment alive. And that means owning my only feelings and grief, but also attempting to make a way to let those who are oppressed in this country carry their grief, loss and feelings.

But this past month has shown me that this time feels different. I pray that this time is different. If there is not a different response to what is clearly a kairos time, there could be devastating consequences for the soul and safety of the nation. It is time — time for all of us to embrace and act upon this kairos moment.

Here was the most beautiful thing I saw today. It’s a six-minute video of a watch night speech by Valarie Kaur called “Breathe and Push.” It was given on New Year’s Eve 2016. And I just watched it today.

Watch Night Speech: Breathe and Push

Another message that came out of my childhood was “Be nice.” It was born out of dysfunction, but it is certainly not a bad message in itself. Now, I’ve learned that a better message is “Be Kind.” Kindness is the true fruit of the Spirit that I want to emulate. Kindness doesn’t always look nice, but it is always just and right. It doesn’t deny and suppress emotions. Sometimes it isn’t easy to be kind. I am proud to say that my daughter has helped me develop that message. She works for Special Olympics and has been instrumental in their @prsnfrst initiative that promotes kindness, inclusion and Person First Language.

I feel like this man today. I don’t know why it took me so long, but I’m not turning back.


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2 thoughts on “Memorable Messages

  1. Again. Same. “I want to be part of keeping this kairos moment alive.” Denise, I can NOT thank you enough for all of your vulnerability and sharing that helps me be vulnerable and share. Truly. I realize more every day – the more everyone shares their stories, the closer we will get to understanding each other, even if there are disagreements. Kind of a side note: I’m in a book club for my school. We’re reading PERMISSION TO FEEL by Marc Brackett. It is helping me to name my feelings a bit better. I’ve used his “Mood Meter” in class, and (for a time) it helped some students recognize and use more specific language for their feelings, as well.

    1. Thanks, Joy, for the book recommendation. I get some of my best recommendations from my teacher pals here or on their blogs. I’l will definitely get this one because we take our own baggage to our classrooms, don’t we? I’m glad you were able to use what you learned from this book in the classroom. Thanks!

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