I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last couple years. Life has a way of bringing out stuff you need to learn. One thing I’ve found is that I feel things very deeply. When I hear about something tragic, sad, awful.. I feel it on a very personal level, even if I don’t know who the people are it happened to. I immerse myself in it and it consumes my thoughts, feelings.. everything. I find myself depressed and disengaged in my own life.
For a long time, I couldn’t put a name to it. I just thought I obsessed about stuff, which on a certain level, I do. A good friend said to me, “Jodi, there’s nothing wrong with you, you just feel things very deeply.” It was like a light bulb went on. YES that explains it perfectly!! So now what? How do I keep myself from going down this path of emotional empathy? Some people can see, hear about things and shut it off… I can’t… I’ve never been able to.
There was a lady I knew through a friend whose son was dying of cancer. She would send email updates and we had been praying for him for a while. I asked my friend if she had gotten email updates lately and she said yes. So I wondered why I hadn’t been getting them. She said, “I didn’t forward them to you. I know your tender heart wouldn’t need to be filled with those details.” Again, a light bulb moment. It was ok if I don’t know the details. It doesn’t make me any less concerned, empathetic, loving.. whatever. It makes me smart. I KNOW myself, I know what I can handle and what I can’t.
Last Friday’s events were horrific. I heard the news on the radio in the afternoon and I just cried. Having 3 Elementary school age kids (4th, 2nd and Kindergarten), it really struck home. Picking them up from school was emotional. My mind couldn’t comprehend such an awful act. I knew I was going to have to really protect my heart and mind with this. I could really emotionally go down hill very fast. So I limited watching internet updates on it. I didn’t watch TV specials about it. I can’t. I won’t. If for a minute I let my mind be consumed, I’ll be wrapped in a well of deep empathetic grief. Does my heart ache when I think about it… absolutely. I don’t know any mom who ISN’T effected. But I know my limits, I know what I can handle. And my responsibility to myself and my family is to guard my heart and mind so that I can engage in the life God’s gifted ME with. We pray for the families. As mom’s we mourn with them. But it’s ok if we disengage ourselves from the details. Yes, it really is ok. In fact as a mom, I think it’s essential. And with God’s help, I’m doing my best to remain engaged in my own life while still grieving with mom’s all around the world.
Proverbs 4.23 “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” The Message Bible