Thursday, January 06, 2011

What My Mama Taught Me...

Lately, I have been reflecting on how I grew up with the standards and I guess you could say the moral compass...that I have now. My mom had some sayings growing up that she kind of instilled into us. Now, in all fairness, not all the things she said stuck or even made sense or were valid. ha ha. 

For example, she told me once that those kids that go para-sailing at the beaches just couldn't land without breaking their legs. I was about 20 when she told me this on the way to Cancun with a school trip and I knew her plan was to scare me into not going para-sailing. So I responded sarcastically, "yea and with all those kids and their broken legs, how do those guys stay in business?" Anyways, I went para-sailing that trip. It was one of the most horrific experiences of my life not because I broke my legs either. Some day I will share that with you. I waited about 5 years to tell her as well. :)

But I grew up with at least 3 things that she said to me that have impacted how I do my adult life.

Don't Burn Bridges
This has particularly hit home the last couple of days. We have some friends that just kind of played dirty with another friend. They weren't respectful, loving or thoughtful about anyone else but themselves. They are all believers...involved in the same community. I just thought as I watched the whole thing unfold "man...they are burning some bridges". And my mama used to also say "don't do anything in relationships that can't be reversed." And I truly believe that with time trust can be built again but it will never be the same.  

Think about when a bridge burns. What it looks like and the charred pieces of wood. You can't cross have to start all over with a new bridge in a new location. 

There is a girl here who has had a hard life and has been living with Angie for the last 6 months. She lived with Angie and I last year for awhile too and then fled to go back to her old life on the street. When she came back in June, Angie told her if she left again without saying goodbye she could no longer be her roommate. She didn't say goodbye this December. She just didn't come home. She burned a really sweet bridge that was taking her on the path of healing, education and eventually getting her 3 year old daughter back. 

Always leave a place looking better than when you arrived
My mom mostly said this when I went to other people's house to babysit or for a sleepover. I think she lived with a fear that her 4 kids might be a nuisance to others. But she said to me specifically when I would babysit to pick up the toys, do the dishes...even if they weren't mine, etc. I think this taught me to be a blessing to others and a good house guest. So even as an adult, I am at someone's house doing the dishes in the middle of the party. I want to help, relieve a little burden and be a good friend.

A situation happened a couple of weeks ago where someone didn't think through their departure very well and I was left picking up the pieces. Probably about 2 hours of cleaning. And I thought....didn't their mama teach them this? I was miffed at first. Cause I thought this was a cardinal rule.

Now, I don't want us to go to extremes in this. Our worth in who we are is not based on if people think we are good houseguests or if we "serve" well. But we should learn to think about others needs. I mean read the first couple verses of Phil. 2. That kind of puts us in our place. Jesus served. I should pick up my mess too. 

Don't the the sun go down on your anger
Now this rule was particularly funny growing up. I would be mad at my sister and I would storm into my room change into my pajamas and think, "Forget it. I am done with this for the night". And then came Cath to tell me that I needed to go talk to her. My mom has always been a little uncomfortable when her kids aren't getting along. I think this was her way of easing her own sanity is by forcing us to make up.

But it has been interesting being married. Sometimes, I want to resolve it and sometimes I just want to go to bed crying cause I feel so hurt, misunderstood, etc. Sometimes I want to sleep on the couch instead of being next to him. My way of resolving conflict isn't exactly the way that Gabo does it either. I am always ready for a good, lively discussion and he is more of a timid, quiet person. 

But the sun has gone down on my anger. And I don't sleep that well. I wake up feeling yucky and like trying to sleep was a waste anyways.

So those are some things that I feel have more weight now than when I was 10. What did your mama tell you?

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