There are a million reasons why I could be crying on the way home from counselling, and truth be told several were contributing to my tears tonight, but what triggered the ugly tears, the kind of sobbing that rattles the space in my head just behind my nose, was this thought: “I’m not going to be able to have a golden retriever any time soon.”
It was a therapeutic kind of crying. It rattled the resentment and the pain right out of me. There’s a real sense of loss there, a hole in my heart. It’s hard to let go of the golden retriever.
Today I developed a colors-based rating scale to help me measure my anger level. I’m trying to stop some destructive behaviors. The colors are:
- Green= no anger or irritation
- Yellow= mildly irritated, but can still make good decisions
- Orange= quite irritated, decision making is impeded
- Red= I’m mad and I yell or swear
- Purple= I’m mad and I lash out
I labelled the last stage purple because it reminds me of my deep need for God’s grace. It’s the worst part of me.
As a follow up to my scale, I wrote something on my fridge: “0 days.” 0 days since the last time spent in the red or purple zones. Tomorrow I am going to erase the 0 and write a 1. The next day I’m going to erase the 1 and write a 2. Hopefully the number will keep growing.
If I were an animal, and I were my best self, I think I’d be a golden retriever. There’s nuggets of fun, joy, excitement, safety and loyalty in me. The reality of my life right now, though, is that most of my time is spent in the yellow. I’m tired of living life on a scale of anger and irritation. It covers up everything else. I can’t get deep. I can’t see. There’s fog and tears in my eyes. I just want to see the sun’s golden rays.
My best self loves everyone, always. My best self doesn’t judge. My best self makes friends even with the burglars because it somehow senses the goodness in them. My best self has boundless energy, joy, and doesn’t even need to forgive because it is never offended.
I may not be able to live with a golden any time soon, at least not until I learn to live better in the yellow. And yet, I have faith, even this yellow can turn to gold, and one day no matter how well or poorly I live my life, I will be my best self: golden, shining, together with my Savior.
Until that day I pray that I can learn to be faithful to experience life more as He would have me experience it. Loving, as best as I can, as much as I can. Forgiving as if there were never any offense in the first place. When people see me, they’ll light up, not because of me but because of He who lives in me.
One day. Change is possible. The path is before me.