Hey Deb, here’s a beautiful sunrise!
ugh…its snowy and icy again?

Here’s a funny text from a friend!
..I haven’t been a very good friend to them, lately…

You look so pretty today!
…lies…I’m at a terrible weight..he must be saying that to make me feel better.

Life has been trying to hand me unexpected moments of grace, lately. And I’ve been trying very hard to ignore them. I’ve found reasons to deny them, convinced myself they’re not good enough, and most importantly, decided I did not deserve them. It was like I had an anti-joy shield up; and I was in a death match, determined to ward off happiness. And the more I denied the graceful moments, the more I became convinced that I didn’t deserve them. But the grace kept coming at me.

Here’s the thing about grace: by definition, it is undeserved. It literally means to get something good (happiness, forgiveness, love) when you’re an ugly, grumpy mess and actually deserve quite the opposite of what it’s offering.

But here’s my problem: I like to earn things; I don’t want anything for free. I want to earn love, earn friendship, earn kindness, earn assistance. I don’t want to owe anything to anyone. I always want to be on the top end of every relationship- giving way more than I’m receiving.

But I’m beginning to realize that this isn’t necessarily because I’m humble and generous, although that’s certainly what I would like to be. Often, it’s a very fierce, and sometimes ugly pride rearing its head. It’s saying I don’t want to accept your love and help because I don’t want to be vulnerable. I don’t want to put myself in a position of needing something when I have nothing to offer you in return right now.

And frankly, it’s hypocritical, because I want people to accept my love and help, even if….especially if…they’re empty.

What happens is that this works for me a lot of the time. I’ve got a good life and I often find myself with an excess of time, of love, of affection, and of kindness and cheerfulness to give away. But when I don’t, it shoots me into a pretty viscious cycle of sadness, and I find myself alone, unwilling to put to my hand out for help. I have painted myself in a corner and can’t get out without swallowing my pride…and we all know that pride is the biggest, grittiest horse pill known to mankind.

But, as life tends to do, it ignored my feeble attempts and just kept shooting rays of unicorns and sunshine at me.

Random phone calls,

Silly dogs,

Complimentary coworkers,

Unconditional love,

Funny texts,

People who refused to let me look away.

And soon, I got tired of holding up that shield against the onslaught. I slowly began to lower it, and BAM! I was knocked flat on my ass by happiness. I laid down and just let the love wash over me until it cleansed me (almost drowned me) and cured me of my self-reliance.

For all of you stubborn people that had a hand in it, thank you. And for those of you who are having a hard time hearing this because you’re exhausting yourself holding up your own shield,

Try lowering it.

Just for a minute.