Fra-JEEL-ee: Handle with Care

8:57 AMHeather

Yesterday was not a red letter day.  Nope.  Oh, it had some good moments.  Then some really terrible awful moments.  It all finally ended well, but not without a path of destruction in the aftermath.  For the sake of protecting the innocent and not-so-innocent parties, they shall remain nameless.  Just picture a very stressful situation where people you love and live with are not treating each other all that well.  Picture a perfect storm of fatigue, frustration, raw emotions, and just plain blah all culminating into a catastrophic event.  Now, I'm sure this NEVER happens at your house.  But, I must say in hindsight--this blog post that I read just prior to said situation became a bit prophetic when the doldrums in our household turned into a full blown problem.

The thing is, my resistance was thin.  I'm just plain feeling a bit beat up and bruised from the last chaotic six weeks.  And that's just my own little pity party.  Not to mention the impact of all the tragic events this week, between the Boston Marathon tragedy and the tragedy in West, Texas.  West is a quaint little farming community not unlike where I went to high school.  West is also just moments from my alma mater, Baylor University.  I have many happy college memories from West.  My then boyfriend (now husband) and I spent many evenings two-stepping at West Fraternal Hall.  And every Baylor alum who has driven that stretch of I-35 knows you gotta stop in West for their delicious kolaches.

So, I am worn down and raw, friends.  Just overwhelmed with processing the hurt and pain and suffering.  While at the same time, completely moved to puddles of tears by the love and support and humanity shown within the horror.  The Run for Boston campaign and the first responders who jumped right in and the blood drives and donation centers.  That's the interesting thing about these events.  Within the wake of such suffering, our very best shines through.  Our bond as Americans.  Our need for each other.  Our best foot is put forward and our faith in mankind is rekindled and sparked again from the light shown in the dark days.

All of which leads me back to what happened here at my house last night.  Because there, in the dark moments of anger and attitude, I was reminded of something.  I remembered bringing home my second baby boy from the hospital.  His big brother was infatuated.  And sometimes, he might love his new baby a little too much--if you know what I mean.  The same thing happened when baby sister joined her two rough and tumble big brothers.  If I had a dime for every time I said, "Oh, gentle, honey.  Gentle.  Be gentle with the baby!

That became my mantra last night as we sat together to sort it out and ask forgiveness and find resolutions.  The reminder of how we need to be gentle with one another.  The firm reproof that we impact each other with our words and actions.  We must take responsibility for the wake we leave behind.  We must stop and note how we've inflicted wounds on those we love and know--who are already bloody and beaten by the demands of life anyway.  

Because we are all like that leg lamp from that classic movie A Christmas Story.  

Don't you love how the dad says it must have come from Italy?  Because the box says, "Fra-JEEL-ee!"  Listen, people.  One thing that I guarantee we all have in common is that we are fra-JEEL--ee.  Oh, we might put on a tough exterior or a happy face.  But, we are all fra-JEEL-ee.  We are all cracked and broken and worn thin by the challenges of life.  Some days, we live on the edge of a breaking point where a small gust of wind will undo us.  Other days, we go about feeling rather resilient.  Yet, still--how quickly we can unravel.

The thing is we usually keep these cracks and crevices behind lock and key, hidden and masked, lest the world see.  But that approach doesn't erase the greatest need we have from one another.  The need to handle each other with care.  The need to remember that we must tread softly, hold each other up, offer kindness and gentleness, and do all we can to avoid unduly harming one another with our words or actions.   We must be ever mindful that no matter the exterior, our hearts are all packed in a wooden crate marked with the word, "FRAGILE."   

We must go through each day with the pursuit of extending grace and kindness in our texts, FB comments, statuses, emails, phone calls, and face-to-face interactions.  We have to take responsibility for the truth that when we are harsh or take out our frustration on each other, we can leave a wake of wounds behind.   New bruises on a battered soul.  I don't care if it's how you talk to the guy at the pharmacy or your very own child.  We must picture ourselves holding a delicate newborn within those interactions.  We must be gentle.  We must remember our own brokenness and vulnerability and think of how quickly we can be undone.  And then treat the other person as we would want to be treated.

Listen, it's easy to be inspired to action when we see photos of the bloodied and injured after a catastrophe such as our nation has witnessed this week--not once, but twice.  The wounds are so obvious.  Those first responders gently applied pressure and spoke in comforting tones.  There was no harshness or apathy or venting on the hurting.  

You may not live in Boston or West.  And the person next to you may have no visible wounds.  It makes it challenging to remember the absolute requirement to be gentle with one another.  But, we can not afford to be lazy here.  We cannot forget that we are all in this together.  We are all damaged in different ways to varying degrees on any given day.  We are all fra-JEEL--ee.  

Be gentle, beloved bloggy friends!  Be a healing "first responder" in someone's day today.  In so doing, let's keep the light shining, no matter the darkness that tries to consume us.    

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