Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Feeling Too Much in an Unfeeling World

I wear my heart on my sleeve. There’s no hiding it, and it gets stronger as I get older. I have been highly sensitive my entire life and it is something I embrace about myself. I embrace it because it gives me a clearer view of my soul; it allows me to know myself on a deeper level and understand how the world affects me. Though I feel anger or sadness or stress much more deeply, I also feel happiness and joy more intensely. I feel the emotion in everything from TV commercials to music to greeting cards to pictures and home videos scattered across Facebook. I feel a spark of joy when I see flowers blooming or a rainbow arching through the sky. I feel everything, all the time. And whatever it is I am feeling will always manifest itself through my words, actions, and expressions. It does not hide behind anything.

But all of this feeling can be too much at times. There is no denying that we live in an unfeeling world. Though I know there are others who are sensitive like me, the world as a whole is brutal and callous. It’s a big wig business that is cold and careless. So many people have no problem judging or gossiping or lying. So many people have no problem being rude or disrespectful to others. So many people lack even a bit of sympathy or compassion. And now that I have my kids to protect, any words or actions against them put my defenses on high alert.

In the years I have spent as a military spouse and living five different states, I have learned that the good ones are few and far between. I have learned that kindness seems to be a virtue that is slowly becoming a thing of the past. I have learned that my intuition is pretty good at knowing who I can trust, and sadly there aren’t very many.  I have learned that adults don’t always outgrow the click-y, condescending nature that usually appears in middle and high schoolers. And I have learned that people who are meant to help others often don’t perform their jobs very effectively.  

Since everything I observe stirs up emotion, I have slowly begun to feel discouraged with the world around me. My heart has hardened towards people in general. I want to see the good in people, but their words or actions turn me away. I want to trust others, but having been deceived too many times causes me to guard my heart. I want to believe in kindness, but I have to accept that the world will walk all over me if I am not careful.

When I look back I see a smiley, curly-haired little girl, naïve and gullible but optimistic and joyful about life. Now, I feel so sad for her because she had no idea what the world was really like. She had no idea that when she grew up, her positive, uplifting nature would be one that the world kicks to the curb. That little girl was me; and I want so badly to be able to go back and warn her about life outside of blue skies and rainbows.

So how does one who feels so much move on in an unfeeling world? I refuse to give up on kindness. Despite how unkind the world can be, I still believe kindness is the greatest virtue. I embrace the love that my husband, kids, and I share for each other. I appreciate my family because they raised me to be who I am and always accepted my sensitive nature. I cherish the friends I have grown close to because I know they get me, and I can trust them with anything. And I recognize those who have proven themselves to be kind and honest and understanding by thanking them for what they have done.

All hope is not lost. The world still holds good, but now it’s just harder to find it. I’m determined to seek it out. I’ll do it for my kids. I’ll do it for my faith. I’ll do it for the amazing friendships I have found when I was least expecting it. I’ll do it in honor of military families, who are all working hard towards keeping our country great. And I’ll do it for that little curly-haired girl who only saw the good in the world.

I may feel way too much, and that can make life more challenging at times; but I’ll never regret my sensitivity. It’s my soul’s way of clearing out the junk and keeping me focused on what means the most to me in in life.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Honoring Our Fallen

There’s nothing quite like seeing Arlington National Cemetery in person. Driving across Arlington Memorial Bridge and looking over to see the rows upon rows of white headstones that seem to go on for eternity is awe-inspiring, yet sad. Each of those white stones is a name; the name of a brave, young soldier whose life was cut too short; the name of a dedicated Marine who left behind a family, children he would never get to see grow up; the name of an infantryman who died in order to save his comrade; the names of so many service members whose love for our country left them paying the ultimate sacrifice. It just doesn’t seem right.

Yet it is right. It’s right because that’s what those men and women were called to do, and I guarantee most of them would do the same thing again if given the chance. They are part of an elite group of people, people who are willing put their lives before anything in order to honor our country and protect the lives of its citizens. They believe in our history, they believe in maintaining freedom, and they will do anything to uphold those beliefs. They are our real-life superheroes.

While most of us will be enjoying the upcoming long weekend, many will be grieving. Some of us might head out to a local parade, while others won’t be able to bear the thought of getting out of bed. Many of us will head to a party with friends or family, but others will head to a grave. Many will smile, but all too many will shed tears.

This Memorial Day, take a moment to remember the real reason we have this long weekend. Take some time to say a prayer of thanks to all of those men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Say a prayer for the families who have lost a service member, that they might find peace in knowing that their loved one was a hero. Tie a yellow ribbon around a tree to remind others why we celebrate Memorial Day.

Please do enjoy your long weekend, enjoy your family and friends, and celebrate life. But always, always remember, Freedom is not free.